Red Wolves escape semifinal scare to emerge victorious
November 7, 2016 by Baker Helton in Recap with 0 comments
The Southern Collegiate Disc Golf Association crowned its first champion over the weekend, as Arkansas State University knocked off Ole Miss at Pine Valley Disc Golf Course in Sherwood, Arkansas, to win the league’s first title and earn their way to the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships.
Arkansas State, which entered the tournament as the number one seed, outlasted a four-team gauntlet to emerge victorious, dispatching Hendrix College in the semifinals before its final round tilt with Ole Miss. From there, it was smooth sailing, as Arkansas State jumped out to an early lead on the backs of Matt Reid, Jonathan Underwood, and Jared Aschbrenner, who each took home singles victories. Ole Miss’ lone singles victory came from All-Conference performer Alan Logan.
With the Arkansas sun setting, the two teams then played a shortened, 15-hole doubles round for the championship. The turning point of the round came on hole 13, when Aschbrenner put Arkansas State within 30 feet of the pin and Dawson Burge nailed the putt to net them the birdie. Ole Miss, on the other hand, struggled to get off the tee and had to take a bogey 4. That two-stroke swing gave Arkansas State the breathing room they needed to walk away with a four shot win and a 5-1 overall victory.
Despite the loss, Ole Miss’ Logan left the event encouraged about the college disc golf scene and Ole Miss’ place in it.
“This event definitely proved to have enormous potential for the future in collegiate disc golf,” Logan said. “Pine Valley was a great event and location for the formats played and facilities needed. Ole Miss is here to stay and will be competing in the State Games of Mississippi and Mid-South Open before year’s end.”
In the semifinal round of the tournament, Arkansas State looked to avenge their one loss in the regular season, which came at the hands of the fourth-seeded Hendrix College.
Underwood, Burge, and Aschbrenner all won their individual matches to put the team up 3-1 after singles play, with Hendrix needing to win doubles to force a tiebreaker after Baker Helton picked up the lone win for the squad.
The two teams were deadlocked going into the last hole of doubles when Hendrix’s Charles McCracken decided to go big, throwing a huge hyzer over the trees to park hole 9 at Pine Valley and force a tiebreaker. Arkansas State then leaned on the continued consistent play of Underwood and Aschbrenner to win the three-hole tiebreaker and secure their spot in the finals.
“Our tournament performance was basically a perfect summary of what Hendrix Disc Golf is: clutch at times, but in need of some putting work,” McCracken said. “I am proud of our play today, and I know we are all looking forward to next year.”
The other semifinal matchup pitted the number two seed, Central Baptist College, against Ole Miss at the three spot. The tightly-contested match was deadlocked after Logan and Zach Fisher pickup up singles victories for Ole Miss and Austin Lewis and Caleb Guyton countered with victories of their own for Central Baptist.
The doubles matchup saw the two teams battle back and forth, with Ole Miss eventually taking the lead on hole 16 and holding on during the last two holes to secure the one stroke victory and a spot in the finals.
All-Conference awards handed out after the event went to Arkansas State’s Kellan McCann and Burge; Ole Miss’ Logan; and Rhodes College’s Andrew Lowrie. Rhodes’ Joey Carton, Central Baptist’s Austin Lewis, and Hendrix’s Helton were named Honorable Mentions.
“It was a huge honor to be voted All-Conference by my peers,” McCann said. “I feel extremely blessed to have my team behind me supporting me and knowing I have their trust. As a team, winning was a huge accomplishment for us because it shows our growth from last year. Our team is extremely fortunate to have added a few key players to give us some great depth and confidence for this event. We trust each other to execute the needed shots to put together solid rounds.”
In other weekend college play, the Liberty Flamethrower Collegiate Tournament saw host Liberty University dominate, with their A and B squads taking the top two slots while North Carolina State took home third place. With the top teams already having their places at nationals secure, the tournament’s two berths went to North Carolina and Elizabethtown College. Liberty University’s Brent Prudich took home the individual title.
On the West Coast, the Oregon Collegiate Disc Golf League continued with the University of Oregon edging out Portland State to keep Oregon on top of the league standings.
Six bids to the NCDGC will be up for grabs next weekend, with the West Coast College Open in Monterey, California; the Charlotte 49 Hole Showdown in Charlotte, North Carolina; and the Western Pennsylvania College Championship in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, all on the schedule.