Main Menu

UMass-Amherst’s Antosca Wins NCDGC First Flight


Joey Antosca (far left) and his UMass-Amherst teammates. Photo: Josh Black

University of Massachusetts-Amherst junior Joey Antosca has only been playing disc golf for two years. In that short time, he has amassed a 950 player rating and, in related news, some occasional jealousy from fellow players.

“Yes,” Antosca said with a laugh. “And I tell them I’m jealous of the people who started when they were 10 years old as opposed to 19 years old.”

Now, the 21-year-old operations and information management major has another reason to engender envy: He’s a National Disc Golf Champion.

Antosca took home the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships' Individual First Flight title Wednesday after two rounds at the Hippodrome Disc Golf Complex. His afternoon 9-under par 51 at the 20-hole Hogback course vaulted him from the chase card and gave him a one-shot victory with a 15-under par 105 total, while Iowa State University’s Matt Polson finished in second place with a 14-under par 106. Clemson’s Kevin Kelly took third place with a 13-under par total, and North Carolina State’s Clay Edwards – who tossed the morning’s hot round with a 13-under par 47 – stumbled with an afternoon 2-over par showing to fall to fourth place, where he tied Ferris State’s Connor Gortsema with an 11-under par 109 overall.

Antosca is the highest-rated UMass-Amherst player and the second-highest rated competitor in the First Flight. He could likely contend in the Championship Flight – that’s where most schools’ A squads reign – but the Minutemen failed to qualify for that division when they finished in sixth place at the Liberty Flamethrower Championships in November. Playing in the NCDGC’s second field, then, left the former baseball and volleyball player with mixed feelings about his accomplishment.

“It’s tough for me to say,” Antosca admitted. “I’m pumped I won – there were 80 players in the field – but it was just the First Flight. I’m curious to see what the Championship [Flight] scores are. That’s just me being competitive. I’m pumped to have won.”

Though Antosca primarily throws backhand, he said he relied heavily on his background as a shortstop and pitcher since Hogback is “very forehand-friendly.” He missed several putts inside the circle throughout the day, but he emerged bogey-free in large part because of clean tee shots. Most importantly, though, he knew he had helped to keep his team in contention since singles scores are added to each schools’ doubles performances to determine totals on Saturday.

“I really wanted to put our team in a good spot. I think we did OK – I think we were right around par for the day,” Antosca said. “We’re not out of it, but I don’t think we're leading.”

Indeed, that is one of the quirks of the NCDGC: There isn’t a clear picture of which teams are winning until more rounds are played. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of action to accompany opening ceremonies on Wednesday, though, as team doubles took place in the Championship, Women’s, and Second Flights.

Championship Flight (Dunipace Dunes) Score
Mississippi State 43
Texas A&M 44
Central Michigan 45
East Carolina 45
Clemson 46
Ferris State 46
Oregon 46
Georgia Southern 47
Kansas 47
Liberty 47
South Carolina 47
California - Santa Cruz 48
Cincinnati 48
Colorado State 48
Georgia 48
Oregon State 48
Saginaw Valley 48
Tennessee - Martin 48
Western Kentucky 48
Wisconsin - Platteville 48
Colorado Mesa 49
Iowa State 49
Minnesota 49
North Carolina State 49
North Carolina - Charlotte 49
Texas - Austin 49
California State - Monterey Bay 50
East Tennessee State 50
Augusta 51
Purdue 51
Wisconsin - Whitewater 51
Arizona State 52
Southern Arkansas 52
Virginia Tech 52
Wisconsin - Madison 53
Women's Flight (Headrick Hills) Score
Liberty 60
Southern Arkansas 65
Oregon 68
Liberty 2 73
Second Flight (Moody Woods) Score
Ferris State 52
NC State 52
Central Michigan 53
Wisconsin - Platteville 54
Liberty 57
Clemson 58
Mississippi State 61
Ferris State D  

Thursday now brings the major fireworks, as singles competitors in the Championship Flight will play three rounds and Women's Flight players will toss two before Individual National Champions are crowned in the evening. Both the First and Second Flights will embark on team play, and Antosca, who spent the last few months snowed-in up in the Bay State, was prepared to continue his hot play under the South Carolina sun: "I'm ready to have some fun and play some doubles and enjoy the rest of the week."

Aces

  • Gage Gunnerson, Iowa State University – Hogback: Hole 13, 157 feet (First Flight Singles)
  • Chase Pruitt, University of Oregon – Dunipace Dunes: Hole 1, 270 feet (Championship Flight Team Doubles)

 

chase_pruitt-oregon.jpg

Chase Pruitt celebrating his ace on Dunipace Dunes' Hole 1. Photo: Josh Black

Submit a comment

Log in or register to post comments