By DAVE CECIL
---- — Ottumwa had been so busy the last few months getting ready for the thousands of people who came to enjoy our Oktoberfest and all of the activities. Even though we have events all year long, this event pulls the businesses and hundreds of volunteers together for planning and execution so everybody will feel welcome and enjoy their time here. Indian Hills Community College has their Homecoming week the same week. All of the alumni are invited back to socialize with old classmates and instructors. Most are from the local area and enjoy the opportunity to see old friends and family.
Indian Hills sponsors two events that bring people to Ottumwa at this same time that the general public may not know much about. Both involve disc golf. One is the Heartland Collegiate Disc Golf Championships, and the second is the Indian Hills Area High School Disc Golf Tournament. With 16 courses in 12 surrounding cities within 40 miles, Ottumwa is in the middle of this little mecca. We have four courses here with two that are championship quality – Memorial and IHCC.
At the national level, Indian Hills has been the highest ranking junior college in the nation for the last four years. As a result of this, Indian Hills has the honor of being a Select Qualifier for Region #3. The top two college four-person teams win a seeded spot in the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships in South Carolina in April.
This year, we had a three-day event with Friday as a hospitality day for the schools coming early to learn the courses. We had two events — distance and putting — at Wildwood Park, which set records for our tournament. Jake Lauber of ISU set our Distance record of 455 feet and Adam Padget of ISU set out putting record with a putt of 50 feet. Prizes were donated by HyVee North and South, Walmart and 18 under par disc golf (Tom Cremer).
We had six colleges and nine teams competing. The order of finish was 1. Iowa State U, 2. U of Northern Iowa, 3. Kansas State U, 4. IHCC, 5. Mt. Mercy U, 6. U of Iowa. Although the Indian Hills team did not get one of the two qualifying spots available, they will have one more chance at the ISU tournament next weekend. Our two winners, ISU and UNI, are two really good teams, so Region #3 will be well represented in South Carolina in April.
The Saturday after the qualifier was the Indian Hills Area High School Disc Golf Tournament. It is the only tournament that I know of in the Midwest that is only for high school students. We had five high schools represented – Ottumwa, Pekin, Burlington Notre Dame, Fairfield and Oskaloosa. Riley Ballard of Ottumwa won the Senior Division. Logan Ullrick of Pekin won the Junior Division. Brock Dowell of Burlington Notre Dame won the Sophomore Division. Brock Dowell was also the medalist with the lowest combined total score for the two rounds. This is the fourth year that Hy-Vee Drug Town has supplied bags and discs as prizes. Logan and Brock are two of the best junior disc golfers in the state and both said that they would be back next year.
Both events are growing and bringing more people to see the great town we live in. Like Oktoberfest, it doesn’t work without sponsors and volunteers. I would like to extend a special thank you to all of the sponsors and the following people for all they do for us: Dr. Jim Lindenmeyer, President of IHCC; Dr. Victor Streeby, sponsor of the IHCC Disc Golf Club and teams; IHCC Building, Grounds and Security; Gene and Chris at the Ottumwa Parks Department; Ina and Daniell at Hy-Vee North and South; Michael and Shelly at Walmart; Dick Langford at Hy-Vee Drug Town; and of course, Bob Kramer and Tom Cremer.
I was honored to be the Tournament Director for both tournaments this year. Space is limited, but I do wish I could pass on the many compliments and good comments about our town, our parks, our tournaments and our beautiful campus. Ottumwa can take pride in all of the hard work put in to make everybody’s experience here a good one. We did the same for the people who came here for the tournaments. Several said it was their best one ever. That old cliche fits here — and a good time was had by all.
Dave Cecil was the tournament director for the Heartland Collegiate Disc Golf Championship and the Indian Hills Area High School Disc Golf Tournament.