NORTH AUGUSTA — It was rivalry day Wednesday at the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships , but as the University of Oregon Ducks teed off against their state foes the Portland State Vikings, it seemed more friendly than adversarial.
Fist bumps and high-fives went around, and rivalry lines blurred as they played on the Old Glory course at the Hippodrome Disc Golf Course.
“This course is great, and the weather is beautiful,” said Adam “Skippy” Clairmont, from the University of Oregon.
Ninety collegiate teams from across the country traveled to the South for the four-day top event in collegiate disc golf. On the first day of pairings, teams are put together according to geography, with rivals taking the field together.
“This is the big one,” said Kyle Ritter, a junior at Arizona State University. “And this is the most beautiful course.”
There are six courses at the Hippodrome, making it one of the largest disc golf complexes in the country, according to John Baker, the tournament director.
Disc golf is a club event. Many of the teams spend several months raising money to make the trip. There are 32 qualifying events leading up to the nationals. Teams are ranked according to their finishes at the other events, Baker said.
Augusta University has won the national championships three times, including last year’s, and was ranked seventh going into today’s competition, Baker said. Indian Hills Community College from Ottumwa, Iowa, was ranked first going into the first round.
There are competitions in three different flights and a women’s division.
This is the third year Isaac Heinen from the University of Kansas has competed in the event. He has placed seventh and eighth individually, and his team has placed 12th and 14th. The trip to Augusta is something his team looks forward to.
“I love coming out here,” he said.
Baker said it looks like Mother Nature will cooperate with the tournament this year.
“The past three of four years we’ve had torrential downpours,” he said.
Spectators are welcome to attend the event, which will begin about 9 a.m. today. Admission is free.
To find out more, visit the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships’ website as www.ncdgc.com.