Allentown PA will never be the same!

With a total of seven teams, the PA Disc Golf Championships & OCTAD climaxed on Sunday afternoon/evening with the Freestyle competition. We were fortunate to gather jammers from all-around the country and Canada to treat the crowd of disc enthusiasts that had gathered for the Allentown Sportsfest (of which we were a part).

Since we were somewhat behind, getting through 16 DDC teams in a round-robin format, we had the seven freestyle teams do a four minute jam each, using four judges to rank difficulty, execution, and presentation. The judges were Joe Lynn, Tom Painter, Curt Davis, and John Cohn.

The event went like this…

Rob D’Allesandro and Ed Sinkler sucked it up for four minutes, with Ed pulling off a couple nail delays under his leg. They were mainly in the Freestyle portion to gather more overall points in the tournament, since we were awarding more points to the freestylers than the speedflow’ers. They did get things off to a nice start however.

Next, Amber Hoffman and John Duesler (me) teamed up to jam. Amber is a past Junior Champion, so her execution was impressive, pulling off a bunch of between the leg catches of her completed nail delays. JD was doing some delays, tips (with knuckles, elbows, and toes), and brushwork, but couldn’t set up for at least one body roll, which he’s legendary for on the beach of Sea Isle City, NJ (FYI…he’s the only one freestyling on that beach!) He did pull off one tip and body spin to delay move, that was the most difficult thing he’d done in competition. They jammed to Elvis Costello.

Bob Hoffman (the eventual Overall winner) joined forces with Pete McLaughlin (Allentown local) and Shannon Winn (out of the mothballs) to perform for about two minutes. Bob was definitely cashing in some overall points; Pete was doing some delays, but Shannon was flashing back to years gone by with tumbles, between the legs delays and some really great stuff. As fate would have it, however, Shannon jammed his knee into the grass about two minutes into the routine. This effectively ended their chance. (btw…he did eventually walk out of awards ceremony on his own power, so I believe he’s doing ok!)

Then the real jammin’ began!

Dan Berman and Tim Cohn combined (again…they also played DDC together) to put on a true freestyle exhibition. Dan was his usually steady self, showing grace, coordination, and sound fundamentals. Tim surprised the heck out of me, as he showed vast improvement over his NE performance just two months prior. He went behind his legs with delays, between his legs, and even pulled off some behind the back windmill catches to end his segments (please pardon my lack of “jammin'” terminology). They worked well together, and good luck to Tim at the WFDF Champ’s this weekend!

From then on, it was world-class stuff all the way…

It was All-in-the-family, as Richhi Ross, Nikki and Deanna Ross took center grass to Jethro Tull’s Aqualung. They amazed the crowd, working three discs between them in a triangle. Using behind the back transfers, brushes, between the legs passing, and just a great medley of fundamental freestyle moves, they warmed up their routine. Then Deanna and Richhi fed Nikki their discs and let her go to work. Clearly, the z-machine has been doing some overtime at the Ross house, as Nikki executed a difficult routine with great maturity. I hope Deanna and Nikki stay interested for a long time, because the sky is the limit for these girls. They concluded their four minutes by huddling together and pulling off 2/3 behind the back, over the head catches (oops Richhi 🙂 (what’s that catch called anyway?)

Anne Graves (she mentioned the jammin’ women would consider her a lucky duck for hooking up with…) and Scott Sailor then found themselves in front of the crowd with a high energy, instrumental trance tune. They started out with about 30 seconds of speedflow, but then busted out with one of the most rhythmic, beautiful routines that non-partners could muster. Anne showed us her seasoned skills and Scott combined his famous flexibility throughout the four minutes. Especially cool was the transfer Scott pulled off by lifting his right leg to his head, and tossing the disc through the bodily hoop he constructed. So nice! They also were able to do a double body roll, as Scott went from left arm to right arm, feeding Anne’s left arm and completing the roll. Again…so nice!

In fairness to Anne, she had to wait quite a while to do her 4 minutes, so I know she felt like she could have done better. Don’t fret though…she was still awesome.

To complete our field Gary Auerbach came out of retirement (thanks friend!) to hook up with Toddy Brodeur. They started spoofin’ the crowd with a neat beginning to the Cars “Just What I Needed.” They worked two discs for about a minute, synchronizing counters with great catch-and-delays (not bad for about 5 minutes preparation). Then the fireworks started, as they put one of the discs to the side. Gary showed off his formal dance training with beautiful body spins, and Todd was flexing his agility with some masterful double leg unders (?) Gary was pulling off some body rolls with his back!, but Toddy really got things heated up pulling off about six consecutive front body rolls. Toddy missed his signature between the legs tumbling catch about three times, before their 30 seconds was called. Gary and Toddy ended their routine they way they began, with two discs, feeding each other overhand counters and delays until they finally met each other in the middle of the grass sitting down with their discs! Great stuff.

Of all the feedback I’m getting from the OCTAD crowd in Allentown, Freestyle is being mentioned the most. Some are even telling me, “All I want to do is be able to spin that thing on my finger!” So the Freestyle seed has definitely been planted in our Eastern PA frisbee community.
Special thanks go to Paul Kenney, Tom Leitner, and Shannon Winn for the guidance in running my first Freestyle event!

John Duesler


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