Former Liberty cross country runner Wyatt excels at disc golf
November 15, 2017 | Lynchburg, Va.
A six-sport athlete in high school, former Liberty University cross country and track and field runner Heather Wyatt didn't discover her seventh sport, disc golf, until this past spring. It has quickly become her favorite since joining the Club Sports team this Fall semester.
"One of my friends who I ran on the track team with, Jeremy Miekley, joined the disc golf team mid-season last year, so he kind of introduced me to the sport," Wyatt said. "I played in a couple of tournaments, unattached from Liberty, and I kind of fell in love with it."
She also competed in soccer, volleyball, basketball, and softball in high school and still plays pick-up games of basketball and beach volleyball on campus. But none are as enjoyable as disc golf.
"You can go out and have the worst round of your life but you can still have fun doing it," said Wyatt, who earned an undergraduate degree in government with a specialization in politics and policy and will complete her masters in sport administration this Spring.
She also works as a graduate assistant in Liberty's Athletics Compliance office, a career field she plans to pursue full-time next summer.
Wyatt is currently the most experienced of the Lady Flames' four players, with sophomore Savanna Fox and junior Hannah Trotz picking up the sport in September and senior doubles teammate Cortney Cooper joining the team the week before Liberty hosted its seventh annual Flamethrower Invitational
The Flames' and Lady Flames' foursomes qualified for the April 11-14 National Collegiate Disc Golf (NCDG) National Championships in North Augusta, S.C., with their first-place finishes at that Nov. 4-5 tournament, played on their two 20-hole home courses located on East Campus and near the Hydaway Outdoor Recreation Center.
Wyatt, who was the singles champion at that event, edging Clemson's Alex Lambert by one stroke, noted that each of Liberty's four women players have different strengths so they complement one another perfectly in doubles.
"I throw sidearm, Cortney (Cooper) is a former college softball shortstop, so overhand is really natural for her, Hannah (Trotz) is left-handed, and then Savanna (Fox) throws right-handed," she said. "Forehand is a little more difficult to learn, but personally, I've played cello for 13 years, so for me, that movement and that stroke is a lot more natural-feeling and backhand is a lot more unnatural."
She said her best shots are drives off the tee pad and short-ranged putts.
"Mid-ranged shots are a little more difficult for me just because I'm more of a power player," she said. "So, being more tactical, and a little bit more careful, I can hit lines, but sometimes, I'll overshoot the basket when it's in mid-range."
Wyatt's running background gives her an advantage over many of her female opponents in tournaments, which can last for several hours over multiple days.
Her learning curve in the sport remains steep and her potential is unlimited.
"A lot of other sports you can't really see yourself improve as much, but with disc golf, you can go out and pace yourself, keep track of your scores at different courses over the years and try to see yourself improve," she said. "That's the great thing about this sport. Anyone can get to be decent at it."