Inaugural USJDGC Crowns First 10 Champions

Lilly Ruthen added to her 2018 Junior World Championship

Fox Run Meadows Disc Golf Course Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen – USJDGC

The next generation of disc golf talent had its run of the courses at Smugglers’ Notch Resort as 10 inaugural national champions were crowned at the United States Junior Disc Golf Championship.

In what operated as a mini preview of the PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championship, September 2-9 at the same courses in Jeffersonville, Vermont, Kids Disc Golf hosted 86 players over three rounds Friday through Sunday. All divisions played the first two days on the Brewster Ridge course before finishing at Fox Run Meadows for the final round. Divisions played one of four possible tee positions, with the Junior <18 players using the same gold layout that will be in use for Worlds.

Junior <18 US Junior Champion Alden Harris. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen – USJDGC

Alden Harris was the big winner, taking down Junior <18, the event’s largest division, in come-from-behind fashion. He shot 967-rated golf over the tournament including a 1006-rated final round, which helped make up a four-stroke deficit going into Sunday. Alden finished at 1-over par 186 total, three strokes ahead of Jarrett Johnston and Justin Gilbert who tied for second at 4-over par 189 total.

Alyssa Van Lanen

Evan Scott rode an opening 975-rated round to a three-stroke win over Zach Arlinghaus in Junior <15, an 18 player field. Lily Marr, Junior Girls <15; Luke Taylor, Junior <12; and Lilly Ruthen, Junior Girls <12, all won their respective divisions by 25 strokes or more. Ruthen also won the Junior Girls <12 at the PDGA Junior Disc Golf World Championship, giving her two big wins in the last two months.

Junior <15 US Junior Champion Evan Scott. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen – USJDGC
Junior <12 US Junior Champion Lilly Ruthen. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen – USJDGC

In Junior <10, Jai Badajos topped world champion Wyatt Mahoney by one stroke. Ava Meyer won big in Junior Girls <10. Finn Etter won the first PDGA event he entered as a member to become Junior <8 champ. Addison Lowery, Junior Girls <8, and Caleb Cilley, Junior <6, were the final two winners.

Junior <8 US Junior Champion Finn Etter. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen – USJDGC

Disc Golf Carter

Disc Golf Hunter

While no plans have been announced to make USJDGC an annual event, Kids Disc Golf have every intention of turning it into a premier juniors event. With the vacation-ready, activity-laden setup at Smugglers’ Notch, as well as the stellar disc golf infrastructure, it seems like an ideal location to make it the full-time host of the event. A consistent host venue would be in keeping with the other annual U.S. championships, the United States Disc Golf Championship in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and the United States Amateur Disc Golf Championships in Milford, Michigan.

  1. Bennett Wineka
    Bennett Wineka

    Benn started playing disc golf in the '90s but has somehow never gotten any better. He lives in Decatur, Georgia and cares too much about Atlanta United and UNC basketball. Follow him on Instagram at @bennwineka if you never want to see any new posts.

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