Monday, May 21, 2007

More on the FSU golfers

I "heart" Duane! Thanks for making this trip for the golfers extra special with all of your coverage of the team for the newspaper! You rock!!!

Falcons enjoy unique bond Four FSU golfers natives of the state

Back in 1958 an outstanding group of local golfers joined forces on Fairmont State’s men’s golf team and became the first squad in school history to earn a berth to the nation­al finals.

Homer Delovich, John Trach, John Brzuzy, Frank Pizatella and Raymond Prozzillo made up the Falcons’ fivesome which earned a berth in the 1958 NAIA Finals in Beaumont, Texas. Lamar Tech out of Texas won the champi­onship that season for the third year in a row and did it by virtue of a 57-stroke margin of victory over run­ner- up Central State (Oklahoma).

Now nearly 50 years later another outstanding group of young golfers, four of whom hail from the state of West Virginia, are going back to the nationals finals to represent Fairmont State as a team. The 2007 Falcons open play in the four-day, 72-hole NCAA Division II National Golf
Championships at The Meadows in Allendale, Mich., Tuesday. It’s FSU’s first-ever appearance as a team in golf at an NCAA National Championship.

“One of the special things about this is after we won the Super Regional to earn the right to play for the national championship we had a little celebration party and we got in a circle and each person had something to say about each individual as a person on our team and what it meant to be on this team,” said senior captain Jon Bunside. “To me that was very special and it was a moment I’m always going to remember. I think it also gave all of us an extra boost of confidence going into this tournament.

“When you accomplish something great as a team it means that for years to come you can share that accom­plishment and those memo­ries with your teammates and your family. It creates a special bond.” A special bond is indeed what the Falcons have this sea­son and it’s been a factor in the team’s success.

Burnside is from Fairmont and is a graduate of Fairmont Senior High School. Sophomore Zack Rudy is another Fairmont resident, who also graduated from Fairmont Senior. Junior Justin Caroli hails from Bridgeport and played his high school golf for Bridgeport High School, while senior Tyler Franklin is from Ripley where he was a prep standout for the Vikings.

The lone non-West Virginia member of the starting five is not even an American. Junior Will Gautreau, who was co­-medalist at the recent East Regional Championships, is from Niagara, Ontario Canada. However, Gautreau’s membership on FSU’s golf team is no accident. As a result of the long-running annual Marco’s Can-Am Golf Tournaments, which take place each year once in Fairmont and once in Canada, Gautreau was discovered by FSU head coach Reid Amos.

The Falcons’ other four starters constantly razz Gautreau about being from Canada, but he takes it all in stride and reminds them how lucky they are to have him on the team.

“We have a great group of guys on this team,” said Falcon coach Reid Amos with a laugh. “They’re a unique group which torments and teases each other to no end off the course, but on the course they’re all business and all 100 percent behind each other. I believe they would literally bleed for one another out there because that’s how much they care about this team. Honestly, that factor right there has been one of the big keys to our success.”

Another, according to Burnside, is the support the Falcons get from a variety of sources.

“We all feel that a big factor in our success is that we have a tremendous amount of support from our coaching staff, our families, our friends, the media and just people in general,” he said. “We can practice on our own, play on our own or prac­tice and play together, but when someone tells you ‘Good job’ or ‘Congratulations, we’re proud of you and behind you all of the way,’ it makes a dif­ference. Those simple words really mean a lot to all of us. It’s those things and those times that push you to spend an extra 30 minutes working on your putting or an extra 30 minutes on the range. You want to get better because you know people are behind you and proud of you.

“Personally that support, I know, has played a big role in my success and I’m pretty cer­tain everyone else on our team feels the same way.”

FSU played its first practice round at The Meadows Sunday. The squad will play another practice round today.

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