By Sam Kaye, 2023 Men’s Overall Champion
The weekend started with many competitors trickling into Fredericksburg on Thursday. Due to an environmental project, the back 8 holes of the disc golf course were closed, and temporary holes had been designed and set up. Players played practice rounds of golf on the new temporary holes and set up DDC courts for some casual pickup games. The first organized event of the weekend was Mini Disc Golf at Riveryby Books. If you haven’t had the pleasure, this is an amazing, chaotic, creative course where players throw Wham-o minis around three levels of a used bookstore. While there are plenty of creative rules, one that sticks out is that if you knock a book off a shelf, it’s a 1 stroke penalty, unless you buy the book.
Friday morning started with the first official event, DDC. We had 19 teams converge with many of the usual faces. Al Bonopane and John Cohn teamed up again and there were a few first-time Virginia States visitors, most notably, from Sweden, DDC great, Stefan Karlsson. There were also 4 women’s teams that played an intense round-robin format. The weather was hot and humid reaching almost 90 degrees during the day. After initial pool play and splitting to the teams to A and B pools, the tournament progressed smoothly while we all attempted to stay hydrated. The team of Jason and Jim from Tallahassee was the top seed into the semi-finals and chose to play against Mike and Stefan. The remaining teams were me and Dave against Conrad and Nate. The finals ended up being Mike and Stefan against Conrad and Nate, and despite Conrad experiencing some intense cramping, they were able to emerge victorious.
Saturday morning started with a player’s meeting where Tournament Director Eric Olsen announced after many years that this would be his last VA States as the TD. He passed the torch to me and Jay at the opening ceremony. This was a surprise to almost everyone, and he was recognized for his incredible dedication to the event. Golf was sent off and field events started for the morning. There were many junior players (mostly under 10) who threw MTA as we were getting started. A world record 9+ second MTA was in and out of the hands of a U8 player after having to navigate the crowd watching, but a couple of the scores would have been enough for the cut in the open division. In the morning field events, the wind was fairly strong, and it is reflected in some of the distance scores including the longest throw of the weekend by Jack of 193 yards. As we broke for lunch and the first golf round came in, a storm approached the area and dumped an enormous amount of rain on the event. Because of the lightning and thunder, we were all forced to just hang out with Laszlo, a gift in itself. The stock tent (now a trailer) opened and while some folks left the field for more favorable shelter, most remained and reminisced in Shelter H while we watched the deluge. The delay lasted about 2 hours and just as we were about to call the rest of the day a washout, the skies cleared up and we were able to resume playing. Because the temporary course was a shorter loop than the normal course, we were still able to get in all the events, despite the delay for rain. As the light faded for the day, the finals for women and men’s Distance occurred with 16-year-old Brayden winning in the finals over some veteran distance throwers. The hot golf round (and course record) was 8 under and Ron Turner was 3 strokes clear of the field afterwards. We all scatted to find food and rest after a long day.
Sunday morning, the weather was cool, crisp, and beautiful. The storms the previous day had dropped the temperatures by 20-30 degrees and the skies were clear. Golf started the day and after getting hot during the round, Randy took the lead over Ron. Ron stormed back with 5 out of the last 6 birdies to finish the tournament in a tie at 14 under par. Randy shot a (new course record) 9 under par. There were a few other scores under 100 cumulative, but the two leaders were well ahead of the pack. The cooler temperatures brought inconsistent wind for the MTA semi-finals and there were NO 10-second throws. Moving on to the womens and mens MTA finals for the coveted (and amazing glass blown) Mr. and Mrs. Bubble trophies. There were a few familiar faces in the finals but also Drew Priess who threw a 9 second throw with a DDC disc to make the cut. Jack threw a the first 10 second throw of the finals, but on my 4th throw was able to best it with a 10.6 winning my 4th Mr. Bubble, and second in a row.
Accuracy was being thrown throughout the weekend when time afforded, and Conrad emerged victorious again with a 30 over the two rounds, just one better than Tom Cole. The only event left was Freestyle. There was a very deep field this year with some amazing jammers. Each pool had 10 teams and as we got started, it was clear that the play was going to be incredible. I am not the best to describe the competition, except to say that it was amazing. On a personal note, Jay and I freestyled together and had a great time, including having our daughters bring us beers in the middle of the routine.
Despite my very poor accuracy scores, I was able to still win the Overall due to some other good results. Second place was Chris Horn and third was Stefan Karlson. In the women’s division, Katy played in all the events and took down the title. Maple Cymrot was the winner of the junior division. I am sure that I am leaving out some key details from the weekend as there is always lots of action happening at the same time all around the event.