This was the closest team tournament yet. We had three teams separated by one stroke after 36 holes. The weather was just about as good as you will ever get. The course was set up in its long tournament configuration. We had the state title on the line. To top everything off, a seeded spot to the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships in South Carolina in April was going to the winner.
We had three of the top 25 nationally ranked teams vying for the title: Iowa State - last year's Iowa Championships winner and nationally ranked at #9, Indian Hills - nationally ranked at #17, and the University of Kansas nationally ranked at #23.
What a show this turned out to be. ISU #1 and Kansas were tied at 166 after the first round. Indian Hills #1 was four strokes back. As each card came in after the second round, it became closer and closer. In the end, the Kansas team of Nathan Hoffman, Joey Brown, Bobby Domsch, and Jake Lazzo shot a 336 total to win by one stroke. IHCC made up three of those four strokes to tie ISU at 337.
To break the tie for second, Tournament Director Bob Kramer took the two teams back to hole #2 for a CTP playoff. Hole #2 is about 335' with about 275' across water. If you go 10' too long, you can fly or roll on over the bank and down about 35' into more water & OB. Each team member had a chance to win it for their team. The tension was high for each shot. Matt Drilling landed an excellent shot 12' from the pin for ISU for second leaving IHCC in third place.
The Medalist honors went to ISU's Zach Moses with IHCC's Nick Steinbach placing second. Zach Moses was our Iowa's 1st Team All-American at the National Championships last April and was expected to be a strong contender for the Medalist Trophy.
The ISU #1 second place team was composed of Zach Moses, John Mershon, Matt Drilling, and Mike Bullis. The ISU #2 team was Marcus Clark, Nick Nelson, Joey Lane, and Todd Nelson.
The team members for IHCC #1 were Nick Steinbach, Ryan Anderson, Rob Kepler, and Rafael Ramirez. The team members for IHCC #2 were Jeff Scott, Chuck Walraven, Phil Smart, and Ben Wagler.
We should have a special trophy for special circumstances. My hat comes off to the so far unmentioned team from Graceland College in Lamoni. When I called Brad Carr at Graceland to invite him and his team to our growing tournament, he told me that he would spread the word around and send a team if possible. Our paths haven't crossed very often for the last three or four years except for a few phone calls, but Brad is a strong supporter of disc golf. He told me that he could send up a team of three. They wouldn't be seasoned veterans like the first three colleges I mentioned.
The Graceland team was Derrick White, Alex Bogda, and Rhen Corless. None of them had more than a couple of years or experience while some of the other team's players had played for ten years and more. They got to represent their school in the strongest field yet in an Iowa collegiate tournament. They were upbeat every time I saw them. They showed me the same spirit that Pete May told me that he saw in IHCC when they came to South Carolina to the Nationals two years ago. We talked afterwards and they all said it was a little overwhelming, but they had a great time.
As far as I am concerned, that is the true spirit of disc golf. Like I have always heard, whoever has the most fun wins. A big thanks goes out to Brad for allowing these three golfers to have a chance to play a great course on a great day. He could have taken the same route that several other colleges did by saying that they would wait until next year to send a team. My guess is that Brad is using this as a building year as they have two really challenging courses there in Lamoni - the Graceland College course and Bob Kelly's J&B Rolling Hills. Thanks again for your support in our effort to organize disc golf at the college level in Iowa. Hope you can come with them next year.