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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M Disc Golf freshman to make National Championship bid

Josh+Mueck%2C+Chris+Chambers%2C+Ethan+Vacula%2C+Spencer+Luton%2C+Patrick+DiLullo%2C+Max+van+Noort%2C+Matt+Reed%2C+Asher+Mueller%2C+Brian+Whitley%2C+Ben+Mueck%2C+Sam+Park%2C+Noah+Johnson%2C+Chris+Doyle+sit+for+a+picture%26%23160%3B%26%23160%3Bafter+Battle+of+the+Bayou+on+Oct.+14%2C+2022.
Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Disc Golf Team

Josh Mueck, Chris Chambers, Ethan Vacula, Spencer Luton, Patrick DiLullo, Max van Noort, Matt Reed, Asher Mueller, Brian Whitley, Ben Mueck, Sam Park, Noah Johnson, Chris Doyle sit for a picture  after Battle of the Bayou on Oct. 14, 2022.

Texas A&M freshmen Noah Johnson has his focus on competing at the 2023 College Disc Golf National Championship.
A fall competitive season culminated in a nationals bid for the A&M Disc Golf team, and Johnson is eager for his first Collegiate National appearance.
Johnson, a general engineering major, is one of many who took up the sport of disc golf during the COVID-19 pandemic. The competitive sport features field play in open spaces and parks, which allowed the sport to pass the required distance regulations and make it something of an overnight hit.
“I was a part of the pandemic disc golf boom,” Johnson said. “As someone who enjoys the outdoors, I found myself missing being outside and being in nature. I would drive by a course by my high school and longing to be outside, [I] quickly found myself outside on the course.”
As a new member of the A&M Disc Golf A Team, Johnson has quickly managed to establish his dominance on the course. Early achievements include a third place finish in singles at the Battle of the Bayou in October and a fifth place finish at Griplocked Flex #14 in June, according to pdga.com
After a first place team victory at the Battle of the Bayou Collegiate Disc Golf Qualifier in Baton Rouge, A&M clenched one of the two bids to advance to Nationals in April 2023, placing first out of 16 teams. A&M is also advancing three additional teams to compete at the championships
The 2023 College Disc Golf National Championship will be held in Marion, N.C., at the North Cove Disc Golf and Social Club from April 5-8, 2023, according to collegediscgolf.com
A&M treasurer Ben Mueck is one of the founders of the organization and noted the quality in the team’s depth. With 24 current members, the club will advance four teams of four to compete at the national level, said Mueck, a graduate student studying finance.
“Our quality and talent runs deep throughout our whole group, shown in advancing a fourth team compared to our previous season,” Mueck said. “We have 16 guys competing at a high level, and eight guys at home that are just as competitive.”
The team features players with unique advantages, such as two left-handed players, Mueck said.
Johnson’s physical strength helps him remain competitive against more seasoned players. The ability to get the disc to travel further throughout play provides an extra advantage on courses with several long-range holes, he explained.
“I have a lot of power when throwing the disc,” Johnson said. “I have the strength to get the disc traveling down the fairway.”
A third place finish at the Texas Collegiate Championship – Regional Qualifier in November means Johnson has already faced many of the competitors he’ll be up against at Nationals.
“Teams such as UNT have my attention,” Johnson said. “The conditions at regionals were unbearable playing though rain showers and storms going through the rounds. I just had to remember I’m playing for something so much bigger representing my university.”
Teammate and national qualifier Sam Park – who also picked up disc golf during the pandemic – described competing at the collegiate level as a unique opportunity. It is a privilege, Park said, since many do not get the opportunity to take part in competition at that level.
After receiving the bids to Nationals, A&M is now focused on dominating at the April 2023 nationals competition.
“As a freshman, I am eager to compete at nationals and to prove my ability,” Johnson said. “The preparation for nationals has begun.”
Kendall Smidovec is a senior general studies major and contributed this piece from the course JOUR 359, Reporting Sports, to The Battalion.

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