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Eagles Disc Golf Aims to Return to Nationals

Oklahoma Christian University Eagles Disc Golf is back for the spring 2024 season. Landon Clark, sophomore hybrid athlete/coach, spoke on having to focus on competing and mentoring simultaneously.

“It’s a learning process this year. I’ve definitely felt like I’ve grown a lot within everything here on campus that I was doing last year and adding the coaching role is tough,” Clark said. “I definitely got it down now, but it was tough in the beginning.”

The Eagles have three different teams in the men’s divisions: one in D3, D2 and D1. Clark explained how all of their goals still align.

“I would like to have all 3 teams competing and placing at nationals,” Clark said. “Last year was our first year as a program, and we got a feel for it. We won the bid to nationals, but unfortunately didn’t play as well as we wanted to. Several things occurred that had people a little sidetracked with the goal of competing for the title. So going out there and having teams that compete very well is our goal.”

Clark is not the only person on the roster who has two different jobs. Graduate student John Liaz is a cutter (receiver) for the ultimate frisbee team at Oklahoma Christian. Liaz spoke on what life as a double athlete is like.

“I’ve been pretty fortunate for the most part because most of the time, tournaments are on different weekends,” Liaz said. “My life is busy because I’m constantly at a tournament every single weekend. We practice as a disc golf team on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and the ultimate frisbee team trains on Tuesdays and Thursdays.” 

While the team is aiming to return to nationals, Liaz said he also hopes to advance further into the tournament.

“I’d like to make the second round of nationals in the individual round,” Liaz said. “Around 10% of players who get to play in nationals make the second day of competition. I didn’t do too well on my singles round last year, and I’d like to improve on that this year and try to make that second round.”

Liaz took some time to highlight some of his teammates on the D2 team.

“Ethan Tripp has such a hard work ethic, has been out there doing field work, practice rounds, just putting in the work this last offseason,” Liaz said. “And it’s just been showing on the course, all throughout in making putts from 60-80 feet, to driving from anywhere like 400-460 off the tee. It’s really awesome to see.”

The Eagles are one of the top ranked teams in the nation and boast one of the top ranked players in Micah Tatro, a senior hybrid disc golf/ultimate frisbee player. Tatro was ranked 15th in the nation individually per the college disc golf Instagram. Tatro spoke on how he felt no pressure about it, stating it was an overdue accolade for him.

“I feel like I should have been a top ranked player last year and wasn’t,” Tatro said. “This is more or less me taking what I should have had last year. I still feel like I should be ranked higher, but otherwise don’t really have any feelings about it.” 

While the Eagles have yet to host a lot of events on campus, Clark aims to change that status. 

“Unfortunately, we haven’t had too many events on campus. That is something I’m trying to push for more in the future, maybe even through some student events during the week,” Clark said. “Something so people who either like playing disc golf or have never played in their life can come out to learn more or just have fun with their friends.”

Due to the program being so new, the team is open to more players, according to Clark.

“If you have any questions or want to join the team, just reach out to me,” Clark said. “Like I said, this is the second year of the program, and we’re looking for people who are interested. So if you are curious, just give me a call.”

The Eagles next competition is the Oklahoma Conference event in Durant, Oklahoma, on Saturday, Feb. 24.

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