Disc golfers open season Friday at Dean’s Cup in South Carolina
After having several of its players finish just off the pace of the winners in April’s College Disc Golf National Championships in Marion, N.C., Liberty University’s disc golf team has returned with renewed spirit and competitive fire for the 2021-22 season, which starts with four men’s players competing in Friday’s and Saturday’s Dean’s Cup held in conjunction with the United States Disc Golf Championship in Rock Hill, S.C.
“It’s been great to be back,” said graduate Spencer Ellingson, who serves as one of the team’s spiritual leaders. “I know all of the returners after falling just a little bit short at nationals in every single flight last year, it kind of left a sour taste in our mouths and lit a fire, so we all had group messages going throughout the summer of making this year our year and then came in and immediately got to work.”
He said September’s tryouts brought out one of the best groups of new recruits in recent years, complementing the returning veterans.
“It’s just great to see the improvement in the talent pool from year to year that I’ve been on the team,” Ellingson said. “From a talent perspective, we’re just as good as we were last year and we’re hungry and we’re ready.”
Senior Justin Rosak, another spiritual leader, and a few of the other top returning players have spent the first few weeks of practices helping the less experienced players with proper technique.
“We’ve been out touring this summer, playing in the top pro events, so we’ve been getting in the reps there,” Rosak said. “We just want to help the new guys out, get their forms down, get them throwing well, getting ready for this season like we were preparing all last year for nationals.”
Rosak and sophomore Triston Lambert will form one tandem and Ellingson and junior Stephen Curry will form another in the Captain’s Choice-style Dean’s Cup doubles competition, with the Flames’ foursome facing two doubles pairs from Texas A&M in one semifinal on Friday at 9 a.m., prior to the USDG Championship tee times while teams from Georgia and Missouri S&T square off in another. The winning foursomes will meet in Saturday’s championship doubles duel to determine the overall winner.
Liberty placed third in the 2019 Dean’s Cup, with Curry and Rosak getting their first experience there as freshmen.
Head Coach Steve Bowman said after last season being abbreviated by COVID, it will be great for the team to have a full fall season to prepare for the spring semester.
“We’re building that momentum back, building that stability in the team, the reference points of what it takes at the very end of the season to be polished and ready and excited to compete at that level,” Bowman said. “Last year, all being stacked up in the spring, it was busy. It was kind of a blur.”
He is excited to see his team in action in the Dean’s Cup, which only invites the top four teams in the nation based on last season’s nationals finishes.
“Then, the first weekend in November (6-7) is the Flamethrower (Invitational at Liberty), so we’ll be glad to have a couple tournaments to be able to establish that flow and momentum before we leave (for Christmas Break in December),” Bowman said.
Video by Hayden Robertson/Club Sports Video & Media Assistant