BRATTLEBORO -- The New England Deaf Disc Golf Junior Championship took place on May 31 at Austine School, which is home to Brattleboro's only nine-hole disc golf course. Deaf youths from all over New England participated.
Austine School for the Deaf, American School for the Deaf, The Learning Center for the Deaf, and Willie Ross School for the Deaf were all invited to compete for individual divisions and school team championship titles.
Twenty-one deaf children took part in the event on the beautiful spring day. Among them was a girl who was trying the sport for the first time.
"I want to come back here next year to do it again. I really enjoy it very much!" she said.
The individual division winners were: Junior Varsity Girls -- Nyree Alsaint of Austine, Junior Varsity Boys -- Jordan Alicea of Willie Ross, Varsity Girls -- Chelsea Garrett of Austine, and Varsity Boys -- Chris Ramaza of Austine. Team Austine repeated as team champion.
Also known as frisbee golf, this sport has individuals throw a flying disc at a target. The object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc.
The tournament was hosted by Patrick Harris, an 18-year disc golf veteran that is also a disc golf course designer, who wanted to thank three wonderful volunteers for helping him out: Shayan Keramati, Mark MacDonald, and William Isch.
Harris wanted this annual tournament to be for deaf youths who can be exposed to the least impacted outdoor sport, whereas they would be able to get out of their homes to do some physical activities that involve walking, hiking, and thinking of strategic ways to throw their discs toward disc golf target baskets.
"My goal is to have the kids take in the knowledge of disc golf, continue the interest into their adulthoods and pass it on to the next generations," said Harris.
Harris wanted to expand the Austine course to 18 holes in order to allow the school to host various tournaments, but he will need a lot of financial support and volunteers to make it happen.
"I hope to have a nice full course by next year so that the public can enjoy even more," stated Harris.
The Austine disc golf course remains on-campus even after Austine School for the Deaf closed its doors. The course is open to the public all year around from dawn to dusk. Harris asks participants to be kind to the environment by not polluting the course.
Harris can be reached at DeafDiscGolfer@gmail.com for disc golf lessons or to arrange tournaments and leagues or to receive advice regarding creating disc golf courses.