Months of preparation and pursuit of excellence paid off for Ferris State University’s Disc Golf Team as members of that club sport won the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championship, hosted in North Augusta, S.C. The Bulldogs held off the University of North Carolina-Charlotte by posting a 687 team score topping their opponent in the final grouping, by four strokes.
Associate Provost Leonard Johnson, advisor for the disc golf team, described the team’s pursuit of the championship, from April 12-15, as a focused effort which began in September 2016 with a win over Central Michigan University at the Great Lakes Collegiate Open in Wayland, Mich.
“That was on a private course which our team used for practices since the start of the academic year,” Johnson said. “Our players stayed sharp by arranging a putting league which was held at The Sawmill, on Big Rapids’ east side, which continued through the winter.”
The team also committed to participating in the Tigertown Throwdown, March 11-12, in Central, S.C. Johnson said that event, during Ferris’ spring break, was sponsored by Clemson University, and it allowed the participants to assess the best programs in the southern part of the country.
“There were 17 schools there, including many of the strongest contenders for the championship,” Johnson said. “It was a real opportunity to play tougher competition and assess ourselves. We won that tournament by 17 strokes.”
Prior to returning to South Carolina, for the national championship tournament, Johnson said practices were held regularly at Northend Riverside Park, in Big Rapids, and on occasion at Deerfield Nature Park, near Mount Pleasant.
“Eight of our competitors were members of 2015 national championship teams, where Ferris won all the flights held at the tournament,” Johnson said. “It was an inspiration that Brian Murphy, a member of that 2014-15 championship team, offered to serve as assistant coach and ‘be on the bag’ or carry discs for those on the course. Much of our success resulted from his support of those in the competition.”
Johnson said his hopes are high that Ferris can assemble another championship-level team when the next academic year begins.
“We should have up to eight returning players,” Johnson said. “Some of our team members are Pharmacy students, which helps us build a veteran presence.”
Disc golf team members included (Players are listed alphabetically, and are from Michigan, unless otherwise noted):
Ryan Brophy, Saline
Andy Martin, Findlay, Ohio
Sam Mrdeza, Mount Pleasant
Brenden Tetloff, Saginaw
Carl Bouman, Big Rapids
Blake Budreau, Ludington
Connor Gortsema, Grand Rapids
Xavier Locke, Muskegon
Charlie Kuhn, Grand Rapids
Anthony Lewis, Battle Creek
Marcus Martinez, Holland
Patrick Nemmer, Mount Prospect, Illinois
Troy White, Davison
PHOTO CAPTION: Members of Ferris State University’s Disc Golf Club Team celebrate their 2017 National Collegiate Disc Golf Championship, after taking the top flight at the tournament held in North Augusta, S.C., on April 12-15. The Bulldogs held off the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, as they posted a 687 score for the tournament, to win by four strokes.