Wisconsin-Whitewater secures NCDGC berth
October 11, 2017 by Baker Helton in Recap with 0 comments
Nate Sexton and company weren’t the only ones to tackle Winthrop Gold over the weekend: Some of the top collegiate teams in the country participated in the Dean’s Cup as part of the USDGC festivities. Although the event was not a National Collegiate Disc Golf Championship qualifier, there were still bragging rights on the line for Ferris State, Arkansas State, Wisconsin-Platteville, and Winthrop University.
Plus, there it was an opportunity for young players to set foot on some of disc golf’s most hallowed ground.
“We got to Withrop at 5:30 a.m. It was dark outside, but we walked onto 17’s teebox. We just couldn’t believe we were there,” Arkansas State Captain Parker Sitton said. “Once the sun came up, it was more beautiful than we imagined.”
The first round featured a tilt between last year’s third and fourth place NCDGC finishers, Arkansas State and Wisconsin-Platteville, while the defending national champs, Ferris State, took on hosts Winthrop University. The heavily favored Bulldogs took care of business against the hometown team while the Red Wolves of Arkansas State pulled away after garnering an early lead versus Wisconsin-Platteville.
The first-round victory allowed the Red Wolves to get the matchup that they traveled 700 miles from Jonesboro, Arkansas, for.
“Ferris State is a team that many people look at in collegiate disc golf as a powerhouse,” Sitton said. “We were wanting to play them during nationals [last year], and I’m glad we finally got the chance.”
The Red Wolves couldn’t, however, capitalize on their opportunity to take down the Bulldogs. The Ferris State team consisting of Carl Bouman, Connor Gortsema, Sam Mrdeza, and Patrick Nemmer shot a 3-under par 63 to best Arkansas State’s 2-under par 65.
Sitton was undeterred after the match, and instead looked at what the performance could mean for the rest of the season.
“The championship round didn’t go quite the way we wanted, but it was great to get the confidence to know we can compete with these guys,” Sitton said. “We want to win Nationals this year. That’s been the goal since last year.”
While Arkansas State was battling the ropes of Winthrop, the rest of the Southern Collegiate Disc Golf Association faced off down south. The weekend action saw Hendrix College beating the University of Arkansas; undefeated Ole Miss continuing their winning ways by beating Tulsa; and Southern Arkansas University picking up their first ever SCDGA win against Central Baptist College.
Southern Arkansas University team captain Ethan Bolick looked forward to returning home after the Muleriders fell in the first two matches of the year.
“After starting the season with two losses, we knew we needed to get things going,” Bolick said. “Knowing we were playing on home turf this week, that took a lot of weight off our shoulders.”
The Muleriders’ home-course advantage was augmented by the fact that they were playing a course that Bolick designed.
“This match was really special to me because we were playing on the course that I’ve been working on since April,” Bolick said. “It was very satisfying, for the team, that we got our first win of the season, as well as winning the first of many events on our new course.”
Other collegiate action saw Wisconsin-Whitewater winning the Warhawk Collegiate Qualifier at their home course. The Warhawks shot a total of 139 to beat Wisconsin-Madison (144) and a pair of short-handed Wisconsin-Platteville teams (148, 151. The Warhawks of Whitewater punched their bid to April’s NCDGC.
Many of the same programs will be back in action next weekend with the Wisconsin Collegiate Tour Finale taking place in Green Lake, Wisconsin, with the Southern Collegiate Disc Golf Association also continuing play.