Matheny brings liveliness to Cornwall Classic

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 23, 2013 

The Frisbee used in Disk Golf was heavy at first touch for Micah Matheny.

Of all the things he noticed three years ago when he first picked up the sport, it was that.

"Those Frisbees are a lot harder to throw than ultimate Frisbees," Matheny said in a phone interview. "They take a lot more force to get from point A to point B."

Over time, the heft of the Frisbee lessened while his love for the sport grew. Now, the 22-year-old Bellingham Technical College student finds himself the director of the upcoming 17th Annual Cornwall Classic Disk Golf tournament.

The 17th Annual Cornwall Classic begins with an 8 a.m. check-in time, Saturday, Sept. 28, at Cornwall Park. The tournament begins at 9:15 a.m., and registration is capped at 100 participants. There are six divisions - Open, Masters (40 years and older), Grand Masters (50 and older), Advanced, Amateur and Women - with fee's ranging from $25 to $45.

"The majority of it is for fun," he said. "There is a seriousness about it, though, because you are playing for cash, and everybody wants to win some money."

While this is his third go around as the tournament director, taking on the responsibility of such an event is never easy, he said.

"I've learned from my mistakes in the past," he said. "Every year, there is something I can do better, whether it be organization of the whole event, or getting more sponsors. There are certain things you find need tweaking throughout the years."

Matheny's progression through the sport has been progressive. He was only 19 when he first took over as the director of the Cornwall Classic, and as it turned out to be, it was also his very first Disk Golf tournament.

"It was nerve racking," he said.

Had his roommates not played the sport, and lived near Cornwall Park for that matter, Matheny might not have ever stumbled upon the unusual sport and its quirky appeal.

"In high school, we would go and play every afternoon after school," said Matheny, a graduate of Bellingham High School. "I just started enjoying it more and more. ... It is kind of addicting after a while."

Intrigue more so than love at first sight might best characterize Matheny's opinion of Disk Golf after his few times tossing the Frisbee. But his fondness quickly grew to love after he sunk his first hole-in-one three weeks after being introduced to the sport.

"I was ecstatic because I finally got that amazing shot," he said. "Any time someone gets a hole-in-one, the part lights up, and everybody in the group starts yelling."

As the sport continues to grow, Matheny would like to see more courses available for the large group of faithful Disk Golfers in Bellingham. Cornwall is the only park available for those interested in playing it, but even for those passionate about it, Cornwall simply isn't big enough to house their skills or competitive aspirations, Matheny said.

"Cornwall is a great place to learn, but it is not a challenging course," he said. "To get another course is tough because the sport is young. ... It's hard to get anything going that (Bellingham Parks and Recreation) doesn't see a need for."

He's optimistic something will be able to get worked out so that Disk Golfers alike can have places to exercise their love for the sport.

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