Athletes ‘qualify’ for a heckuva good time at W. Md. Food Truck Festival

Spradlin-Vogelsang, Wills, Bladen go 1-2-3 in CTP contest
30 of 39 athletes qualify for putting contest random drawing (9 discs given to area kids)
Next up: Youth Clinic on June 17 in Cresaptown (free)

* Allegany County Disc Golf Club on Facebook
* Summer Youth League begins June 20 (free to play)
* Summer Flex League begins June 23-26 (free to play)
* Scroll down for additional (larger) photos

CRESAPTOWN — Perhaps never before has the desire to “qualify” meant so much to a young athlete.

Raheem Bryan made arguably more putts from a distance of 9 feet than anyone else on Saturday during the Western Maryland Food Truck Festival at the PVAA Sports Complex in Cresaptown. But the 6-year-old from Greencastle, Pa., had more than his fair share of difficulty making two out of three throws to the disc golf basket.

Arayah Atkinson, 7, of Cumberland, won the 6 p.m. drawing among eligible putting contest participants for a free disc.

His persistence, however, paid off.

On what might have been his 11th try, Bryan made a second putt within three chances at the Allegany County Disc Golf Club’s demonstration area. The putter hit the chains and sank to the bottom of the cage. Even at such a young age, Bryan knew exactly what that meant.

“I qualified,” he exclaimed, raising his arms in triumph while wearing a face-painted grin as wide as the Mississippi River.

The festival is one of a handful of community outreach events in which the Allegany County Disc Golf Club intends to participate this year. The club, founded in May 2022, aims to grow the sport through new player recruitment — and those new players can be of any age. Already in 2023, the club has had players ranging in age from 5 to 72 throw plastic. That doesn’t include the 73 competitors (ages 55 to 92) from across West Virginia and the country that the club judged a putting contest for the Aging & Family Services of Mineral County during the West Virginia Senior Olympics earlier this week.

On Saturday, 30 of 39 individuals ranging in age from 5 to 43 qualified to be in the pool for potential winners of hourly random drawings. At the top of each hour from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., players anxiously awaited news in person, or via text, to learn if they had won a free disc. Some expressed brief disappointment in not being called, then quickly moved on to putt some more or enjoy other festival activities.

Children ages 9 and younger were asked to make two of three putts from 9 feet, while those ages 10 and up were required to make one throw at 9 feet and, upon success, move back to 12 feet and (if successful) 15 feet. Several family members decided to win kinship bragging rights — all because of Ellery Nagle. The 11-year-old from Cumberland was the 27th athlete to participate but the first to make a putt from all three distances. In fact, she made it look easy.

Her success motivated Daniel Nagle and Arabella Nagle to do the same, and immediately afterward, Al Navarrete, Sam Navarrete and Nila Navarrete attempted — and, after a few ties — accomplished the same feat.

Other putting contest qualifiers included: Nolan Jefferys, 8, of LaVale; Claire Helmstetter, 11, of Cumberland; Raegan Daley, 12, of LaVale; Piper Daley, 10, of LaVale; Mariam Bladen, 11, of Frostburg; Sara Jefferys, 34, of Cresaptown; Tierra Daley, 35, of LaVale; Lenny Dicken, 35, of Cresaptown; Khloie Poindexter, 11, of Greencastle, Pa.; Zion Travis, 13, of Greencastle, Pa.; Wyatt Twigg, 8, of Cumberland; Annabelle Morehead, 12, of Cumberland; Jo Bladen, 10, of Frostburg; Luke Spradlin-Vogelsang, 9, of Frostburg; Jake Wills, 9, of Cresaptown; Ethan Morozek, 10, of Cresaptown; Ambrose Bladen, 7, of Frostburg; and Emmett Morozek, 9, of Cresaptown.

Meanwhile, there was enough drama in the CTP (closest-to-the-pin) contest to fill Rose Bowl Stadium.

The competition was separated into two divisions: Adult and Youth. But the younger players were aiming for more than the disc closest to the designated orange cone thrown by their peers.

Instead, they wanted it all. And they got it.

Mariam Bladen, 11, of Frostburg, took the early lead in the Youth Division. It was Bladen’s second time throwing plastic, as she and her classmates had (enjoyed / tolerated) a total of six days of disc golf last month at Mount Savage Middle School. At school, Bladen quickly took to the forehand, but a newly found backhand throw combined with a favored midrange disc (a Streamline Echo) helped her show off her muscles with every throw that landed closer and closer to the orange cone.

In the middle of the day, though, Luke Spradlin-Vogelsang showed up to help the club facilitate the booth. During some down time, the 9-year-old Frostburg kid and rising fifth-grader at Beall Elementary School decided to throw some plastic. He threw it pretty well.

Spradlin-Vogelsang quickly took over as CTP leader — not only for the Youth Division, but his throw also bested the effort of eventual Adult Division winner Lenny Dicken, 35, of Cresaptown.

Upon returning from some other festival activities, Bladen took one look at the leader board and realized her name wasn’t listed first. She made a beeline to the CTP area and began throwing again.

She took the lead, and Spradlin-Vogelsang took it back. The two decided to leave the area for a bit. That opened up an opportunity for Luke Wills.

The 12-year-old from Cresaptown failed to qualify in the putting contest — he was close more than once, but the second of three shots simply didn’t sink to the bottom of the cage as required.

It seemed that distance, though, is more Wills’ style. On his first throw, Wills released a putter with near-flawless technique. It landed ahead of Spradlin-Vogelsang’s best effort. Wills’ second throw beat his first.

Upon returning to the disc golf area on the football field, Spradlin-Vogelsang — like Bladen before him — realized he was no longer atop the leaderboard. Like Bladen before him, he made a beeline to the CTP area.

Spradlin-Vogelsang once again took the lead. Wills beat him, but only briefly. Spradlin-Vogelsang’s next throw landed 34.5 inches from the cone — 7.25 inches closer than Wills’ best.

For the rest of the evening, Wills was given quite a bit of leeway to try and catch his opponent. The two took turns collecting each other’s thrown discs. When the club finished cleaning up the area and it was time to call it, Wills remained 7.25 inches back from first place.

Dicken, however, chose not to receive his Adult Division prize — a free disc. And Wills’ little brother Jake, 9, had already won a putter when his name selected in the sixth and final random drawing. So the club awarded Spradlin-Vogelsang a disc-to-be-determined, a Makko 3 midrange to Wills, and an Envy putter to Bladen.

The club awarded nine free discs to well-deserving athletes on the day. It’s hoped that some of the 39 players who participated, and any who didn’t but seemed interested, might choose to participate in the upcoming Youth Disc Golf Clinic on Saturday, June 17 at the PVAA Sports Complex in Cresaptown, or play in one or more weeks of the Summer Youth League at Hoffman Park Disc Golf Course in Frostburg. League play begins June 20.

Note: A heartfelt “thank you” to Ken Pellini, Noah Spradlin and Luke Spradlin-Vogelang who worked the event as club volunteers. The CTP and putting contests would not have gone nearly as smoothly without the ability and expertise of each.


Parker Logsdon, 7, of Cumberland, won the 4 p.m. drawing.

Arayah Atkinson, 7, of Cumberland, won the 6 p.m. drawing among eligible putting contest participants for a free disc.

Luke Spradlin-Vogelsang (center), Luke Wills (left) and Mariam Bladen (right) finished first, second and third, respectively, in the CTP contest (all three beat out all adult participants).

Mariam Bladen, 11, of Frostburg, switched to a backhand during the CTP contest.

Kip Daley, 8, of LaVale, won the 2 p.m. random drawing among eligible putting contest participants.






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