Shreve’s ‘almost ace’ highlights Winter Doubles League finale

Von Hagel/T. Farris edge Shreve/S. Farris for the win
Doubles Championship set for March 4

* Registration open for Doubles Championship on March 4
* February glow round schedule set
* Allegany County Disc Golf Club on Facebook
* Results: Week 1 . Week 2 . Week 3 . Week 4 . Week 5 . Week 6 . Week 7 . Week 8
* Tournament, casual (and glow) rounds highlight March club calendar

MOUNT SAVAGE — Heading into the ninth and final week of Winter Doubles League, every player on site knew no one had managed to throw an ace over the previous eight weeks.

No one had thrown one during the nine-week Fall Doubles League, either. That meant there was $147 in the ace pot at stake, not including the amount added by the players showing up for Week 9 competition on Sunday at Mile Lane Disc Golf Course in Mount Savage.

Noah Davis makes a putt from the woods.

And after the 18th and final hole, still no one had hit an ace. But boy oh boy, did Bill Shreve come close.

The 46-year-old from Cumberland toed the tee pad on short No. 9, considered the temperature of roughly mid-40s, the angle of the sun and the steady winds of about 20 mph — with gusts much faster than that — and threw. Shreve’s righthand, backhand form is as consistent as any player who is a part of the local disc golf scene. It’s rare he doesn’t get a result at least close to what he’s looking for. Shreve’s MVP Terra, an overstable control fairway driver, The disc went up to the right side of the fairway and, as it began to approach the basket, began to fade left.

“It hit a lot of chains,” Shreve relayed later, “and also hit the bottom of the basket, but did not want to stay.”

Instead, the disc bounced in, then in excruciating fashion, out and fell to the ground.

And had it stayed in, Shreve and teammate Shania Farris, 26, of Wiley Ford, W.Va., would have forged a tie and forced a playoff. That was fantasy. In reality, Ethan von Hagel, 20, of Cumberland, and Tim Farris, 26, of Wiley Ford, earned a one-stroke victory by finishing with an eight under par 67. Farris and von Hagel collected nine birdies en route to the win.

Shania Farris and Shreve, meanwhile,  tallied eight birdies and finished with a 68. With Ethan Shreve, 18, of Cumberland, carrying the bulk of the workload for him and partner Luke Spradlin-Vogelsang, 9, of Frostburg, the pair finished in third place with a 71. Shreve was hot on the front nine — his Firebird helped his team to five birdies on the first seven baskets — but cooled a bit over the back 12 from the long tees.

Click the image for the Allegany County Disc Golf Club’s March calendar of events.

Frostburg residents Noah Spradlin, 23, and Noah Davis, 9, finished fourth with a 74. The pair managed six birdies thanks to a solid combination of Spradlin’s driving and Davis putting. More than once, though, the pair used the younger player’s drives as both Davis and Spradlin-Vogelsang, as Youth Division players, were able to play all 24 holes from the short tees. That approach helped to level the playing field and also allowed the younger players two chances at the CTP contest on short No. 2.

Kevin Spradlin, 44, of Frostburg, played Cali style (without using mulligans) and finished well off the winning pace with a seven over par 82. The mark was 19 strokes shy of his personal best set Nov. 27, 2022, on the same 24-hole “Tournament” layout at Mile Lane.

It was a three-way race for first at the midway point, as the top three teams all finished the first 12 holes with a five under par 31. Team Spradlin-Davis was in fourth with a 37 while the solo Spradlin was fifth with a 39.

Teams were selected a bit differently this time. Based on overall points, division leaders were given their choice of teammate with one condition: They could not choose the player who is their partner for the Allegany County Doubles Championship on March 4. As the Advanced Division leader was not present, Tim Farris picked first and he chose von Hagel, setting the stage for the rest of the field to attempt “super teams.” Shania Farris followed suit and picked Shreve, who was the 2021-22 Fall/Winter Doubles League MVP over 18 weeks.  Spradlin-Vogelsang picked next and chose the younger Shreve, clearly the better of the remaining players.

That’s a wrap!

In nearly every measurable category, the 2022 Fall Doubles League and the 2023 Winter Doubles League exceeded both expectations compared to the combined 2021-22 Fall/Winter Doubles League. This is the first season of doubles league competition for the Allegany County Disc Golf Club, as the club was founded in May 2022; last year, the combined Fall/Winter Doubles League operated under a different umbrella.

What went up? Well, just about everything. This season — a combination of Fall Doubles League from October through December 2022, and Winter Doubles League, which ran from Jan. 1 to Feb. 26 — averaged 10.78 players per week over a total 18 weeks of play. Last year? 7.5. Last year there were 23 different players. This year? 31. Last year those 23 players completed 133 rounds of disc golf. This year? 193.

Even the low point for this season compared favorably to last year’s — a low of four people in 2021-22, and a low of eight (double!) in 2022-23. The high? 17 players in Week 3 of Fall Doubles League (and 16 in Week 7 of Winter Doubles League), compared to 11 in Week 12 of the 2021-22 season (Jan. 2, 2022).

This season, the Allegany County Disc Golf Club was able to recognize multiple division winners in both Fall (Advanced, Rec and Youth) and Winter (Women, Advanced, Rec and Youth) compared to a single, all-encompassing division last season (so, seven people instead of one).

Does this mean the doubles league concept has been perfected? Of course not.

As there were changes from 2021-22 to 2022-23, there will likely be changes next year, too. How many changes, and how different will it feel? That remains to be seen. The discussion after the round on Sunday afternoon was a good start to getting the club to a sustainable point — one in which more voices are heard, and more people take an active role in the club. This is important as the club seeks to pursue nonprofit status. The club needs people who are willing to take their time and be a part of these types of conversations.

On Sunday afternoon, at least one player made a solid argument to reinstate a weekly cash payout next season. There are also arguments against it. Another player suggested there should be a better way to ensure a level playing field for all teams. The club has tinkered with the idea of a handicap system; it might be time to implement that for the 2023-24 season. However, that seems quite easy to do when a “combined score” format is chosen, but not necessarily for best shot, alternate shot, etc. Stay tuned – or, better yet, join the conversation!

Whatever happens, the goal will be for the club to continue to offer affordable, accessible disc golf opportunities for those who might want to play in a friendly, inclusive environment. The club continues to seek individuals interested in serving on the club’s board of directors. See Kevin Spradlin for details.

Week 9 notes

* The ace pot of $153 will carryover into the Doubles Championship tournament on Saturday, March 4. If more than one ace is hit, it will be shared equally.

* Separate from the ace pot, the club collected $631 in optional weekly fees from players that will go towards the club’s share of the cost of designing and building the Hoffman Park Ace Place Disc Golf Course in Frostburg. None of the $631 funded near-weekly CTP prizes, nor is it funding any portion of the upcoming tournament.

* Ethan Shreve won CTP at short No. 2 with a park job. He earned a $5 gift certificate to the Mile Lane Disc Golf retail store.

Week 9 Winter Doubles League results.

A comparison of the 2022 Fall Doubles League and 2023 Winter Doubles League, and the 2021-22 combined Fall/Winter Doubles League. Each period covered 18 weeks of competition.

Winter Doubles League division standings after Week 9 (of 9).

Against the Paul farm down Mile Lane, Ethan Shreve drives from long No. 2 to the elevated basket.

Luke Spradlin-Vogelsang was carried to a third-place finish by his partner, but the youngster held his own on a few putts.

Lefty Ethan Shreve approaches the blue basket on long No. 12 gently around the tree for an easy putt.


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