Although Davy Whippet and I won the Men’s Open division at the 2014 Indiana Quadruped, it didn’t come without some learning or some extra stress.
The way the Quadruped works is that all competitors start off the day with a seeding throw (without the dog) and based on how far you throw that one throw, you can ranked and placed into heats without your division. If you have the longest seeding throw, then you would be ranked #1 and would throw last in your heat (which is what you want). The way the heats work is that everyone gets 3 throws in the first round (in descending order based on the seeding throws) and the team with the shortest catch is eliminated (for a heat of 4). For more than 4 in a heat, the 3 longest catches move on to the second round (for example in a heat of 7, four teams would be dropped in the first round). In the second round, all teams get 3 throws again and the team with the shortest catch is eliminated. In the 3rd and final round of the heat, each team gets 3 throws but they alternate with the team with the longest catch so far choosing whether they go first or second. After 3 throws, the team with the longest catch goes onto the final while all of the others teams who were eliminated in the heat go to the Last Chance Heat.
Basically you don’t want to go to Last Chance. In the Last Chance heat, each team gets 3 throws and the team with the longest catch (or the two teams with the longest catch, depending on how many teams have already qualified for finals – for a total of 4 teams in the finals) will advance. The ideal way to make finals is to win your heat. Going through Last Chance is an extra 3 throws and extra pressure (but really if you’re eliminated in the first round of your heat and go into Last Chance, you will throw less throws than if you had won your heat). But talk to any competitor and they’ll tell you what they prefer.
Going into Indiana, I knew that Davy and I had to at least finish top 2 and make sure that Jeff didn’t win or else the 2014 series would be his. I also wanted to break our Quadruped World Record of 116.5 yards (set at the Colorado Quad in 2012) but given the lower altitude and past throws in Indiana, I wasn’t sure if that would be possible.
My friends Kirby and Gary (who are both great competitors and at one point have held the Quad World Record) throw Hero Air discs so I thought it might be worth learning how to throw them as I might be able to get more distance. However, had I gotten the discs beforehand and really practiced with them, I would have learned that they are more unpredictable for my throwing style since I put more spin on the disc than anyone else and they can’t handle the amount of spin I throw with. They are low speed stable compared to the Hero Xtra discs. I got the bright idea to warm up with them the morning of the Indiana Quadruped and throw them to Davy in the morning. Well, my first 5 throws he didn’t catch – all with the Hero Air discs. They were hyzering and fading out and I wasn’t throwing them consistently for Davy. I broke my cardinal rule that I teach everyone I run clinics for – stick with what you know at a competition – don’t try something new the day of that you haven’t spent a lot of time practicing, whether it’s a new throwing technique or a different disc. Luckily I was able to adjust, go back to the Hero Xtra and avoid disaster.
In the end, I exceeded my own expectations. Although we didn’t break our Quad record, we did really well. Our best catch was at 107.5 yards and Davy also had several big catches including one at 101.5 which won it for us. I’m very proud of Davy who caught when it counted! I was able to adjust after starting this morning throwing a disc which I never had before – the Hero Air. Lesson reinforced: never mess with your routine the day of. I also was fortunate enough to have my friend Marion watching live in person. Not only has she always been a supporter but she’s the reason I got into dog disc so it was great having her there! Lara, I’m glad you couldn’t watch the first heat but it all worked out. Thank you for helping me get here and giving up your bed warmer!