Golfer Of The Year: Dallas Freshman Logan Paczewski
The victories. The medals. The outstanding shots and low scores.
Logan Paczewski walked away from his freshman golf season at Dallas High School with more accolades and memories than many players accumulate in an entire varsity career.
Head coach Jane Kilduff and Paczewski’s teammates had an up-close view for Paczewski’s historic season, which earned him respect on and off the course.
“I think one place that he was really strong in — and a lot of the kids were impressed with — was his team aspect,” Kilduff said. “He came in as a strong individual player. But his goal, really, was to keep the team solid and keep the team moving.”
Here’s a closer look — in chronological order — at the two-plus months that Paczewski spent atop the WVC golf scene.
Monday, Aug. 20: Paczewski opens his career at Fox Hill’s Tryba Preseason Tournament, where he shoots a 2-under-par 69. With himself and Dallas teammate Brett Ostroski tied for first place, Paczewski wins a one-hole playoff. Paczewski becomes the WVC’s first freshman to win the Tryba since Pittston Area great and current Web.com Tour member Brandon Matthews won in 2008. Also, the Mountaineers ran away with the team title, shooting a 289 that was 20 strokes better than second-place.
Thursday, Sept. 20: Paczewski shoots 2-under 33 in a 143-184 Dallas win against Pittston Area at Fox Hill, clinching a perfect 10-0 regular season for the Mountaineers.
Monday, Sept. 24: Paczewski wins the WVC’s Pre-District 2 Class 3A tournament in a landslide, shooting a 4-under 67 that was five strokes better than second place. Paczewski was one of eight Dallas players — along with Ostroski, Matt Dolan, Ethan Zawatski, Colin Bowanko, Kyle McAndrew, Freddie Lombardo and Madyson Pendolphi — who qualified for the district tournament.
Friday, Sept. 28: Paczewski earns medalist honors in Dallas’ 292-338 win for the WVC Class 3A team championship against Hazleton Area.
Monday, Oct. 1: Paczewski wins a silver medal at Elmhurst Country Club during the District 2 Individual Golf Championships. With a 2-under 70, Paczewski was one of only four Class 3A boys who advanced to regionals.
Monday, Oct. 8: Dallas edges Abington Heights, 298-302, for the District 2 Class 3A team title, the Mountaineers’ first district title. Paczewski was the medalist with a 3-under 68.
Wednesday, Oct. 10: Paczewski drains three straight birdies on hole Nos. 10-12, as he shoots even-par 72 and leads the District 2 champion Mountaineers to an easy 309-360 win against District 4 champion East Juniata in the District 2-4 Class 3A subregional title match at Elmhurst.
Oct. 22-24: Paczewski closes his season with the state tournament at Heritage Hills in York. Playing as an individual over the first two days, he shot a two-round total of 16-over 158, which placed him 19th in a field of 36 golfers. The following day, the Mountaineers shot 320 — Paczewski carded a 77 — and earned a sixth-place finish among the state’s Class 3A boys teams.
Paczewski’s play made a compelling case for him to be considered the WVC’s top golfer, as he was named The Citizens’ Voice Golfer of the Year.
The son of Eric and Jen Paczewski of Dallas, Logan Paczewski recently wrapped up his freshman season in an interview with staff writer Matt Bufano.
Q: Being a freshman, how do you feel you transitioned into your first year of playing high school golf?
A: I started playing on the Anthracite Junior Golf Tour when I was eight, and was bumped up to the high school division (15- to 18-year-olds) when I was 11. Playing against older kids for all those years prepared me for high school golf.
Q: The Tryba Preseason Tournament was where you really made your mark, winning a big tournament to start your varsity career. Take me inside your mindset prior to teeing off; did you think you were going to win it?
A: I mean, every golfer should think they’re going to go out and win every tournament. That’s a good mindset to have on it. But I was just going out there and trying to make as many birdies as I can, because I know they shortened the course up. I wanted to reach the par-5s in two, and flip wedges into the greens, and just wanted to make as many birdies as I can.
Q: How did you celebrate that win? Was it a big deal to you?
A: Not as much — because my teammate (Ostroski) was in a playoff with me. I couldn’t really celebrate that much because I didn’t want to make him feel bad.
Q: Speaking of Brett, coach Jane Kilduff said you and him were neck-and-neck all through the summer and then at the Tryba, as well. Did having some teammates — who could give you a run for your money — improve your competitive drive?
A: Ethan, Brett and I would always come out here and play a match and try to beat each other every single time we came out here. Every practice, we’d have matches; and then every time we’d play for fun, we’d play every day.
Q: Among those three players, you’re the youngest guy. What’s that dynamic like?
A: I really look up to them. They’re great role models for me.
Q: Coach Kilduff said Ethan was the big leader on this team, the senior who rallied everyone together. Next year, that leaves a hole in terms of leadership. Do you see Brett filling that role, or possibly even yourself?
A: Brett will be the next leader. He is a great player and it will be his fourth year on varsity. Everyone already sees him as a leader.
Q: How would you compare the happiness you felt, when you performed well individually versus with the Dallas team?
A: The team success is important to me because it’s always team success before individual. You want to win, obviously, and you want to make states both ways. But doing it with the team is more exciting because it’s a group effort and everyone celebrates together.
Q: What was your favorite shot you made this year?
A: Although I didn’t play that well at states, I hit a really good shot on the second day and holed one from 60 yards for eagle on the second hole. That was the only good thing that happened that week.
Q: How would you analyze your own game this year, in terms of how you played?
A: I scored very well all season. I took advantage of the wet conditions and played aggressively. I hit the ball well from tee to green and putted well.
Q: What’s the biggest takeaway you had from this first year of playing high school golf?
A: Never to give up. You’re always in it.
Q: Was there any round where you leaned on that thinking, and it paid off?
A: Actually, yeah. In team districts, I got off to a rough start. I was grinding out pars. I made two bogeys. But then I made a bunch of birdies to come back and I shot 3 under.
Q: What other sports will you play this year for Dallas?
Q: Should we be expecting a big season from you on the hardwood, too, like in golf?
A: No, not at all — I play other sports just for fun. Golf is my serious sport.
Q: Where did that passion and love for golf come from?
A: Lynn Kilduff bought me my first club when I was born. He taught my dad to play and my dad taught me.
Q: Is there any dream course you’d like to play?
A: I’d like to play at Augusta National.
Q: OK, so that’s the dream course; now how would you round out your ideal foursome with three other players?
A: Me, Ethan, Michael Thorbjornsen (U.S. Junior champion), Karl Vilips (high-level Stanford recruit).
Q: You’re only in ninth grade, so you’ve got a lot of golf ahead of you. But have you given much thought to where you want this game to take you?
A: I hope to get a scholarship and play Division I golf. If I do well in college, I would consider going pro.
Q: Is there any dream school you have in mind?
A: I really want to go to the University of North Carolina. I like their sports programs, their basketball programs, and my friend goes down there a lot and he wants to go there, too. It’s a really cool place.
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