By Joe Pawlikowski
Special to the CS&T
When Jack Walsh Sr. arrived from work to the 18th green at Blue Bell Country Club Oct. 6, he received a quick smile from his son, Jack Jr. Little did he know his son, a junior at Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, was putting to win the inspanidual championship for the Catholic League.
“Another parent told me his score was even par. I said ‘What did you say?'”
Walsh Sr. was shocked by the news. His son took up the game only four years ago. But his work ethic and dedication helped him to improve very quickly.
“Going into the year I was hoping he would be an All-Catholic, which he did, but this accomplishment is just incredible. He works so hard on his game and it was a very proud moment for me.”
Walsh Jr. admitted he was surprised to win as well. His previous best score was a 77. Scoring an even 71 and improving by six strokes is an incredible accomplishment for Walsh Jr., who finished ahead of four second-place finishers.
Walsh’s teammate Paul Carbone, La Salle’s Adam Stesanowicz and Jack Ulan and St. Joe’s Prep’s John Leighton all scored a 5-over par 76, tying for second.
Walsh also helped Wood finish third as a team, behind La Salle and St. Joseph’s Prep, and took time to credit his teammates’ performance.
“We all had a good day. I don’t think anyone expected us to do this well because we are a young team,” he said.
Their performance earned them a spot in the District 12 tournament Oct. 13 in which Wood placed third as a team. Walsh, scoring a nine-over-par 81 placed seventh, just missing the cut to advance in regional inspanidual play.
Although Walsh’s golf season is over, he’s already onto his next sport, basketball. And there’s a new coach at Wood this year – his father.
Walsh Sr., a 1981 Wood grad, led the Vikings as their all-time leading basketball scorer.
After eight years as their assistant coach and a few years coaching his younger son’s CYO team, he was named the head varsity coach this past April. Walsh Jr., a shooting guard, will have the opportunity to play for his father.
“I played for him in elementary school and it feels a little strange to be playing for him again, but I am really looking forward to it,” he said.
Did he inherit his dad’s athletic skills? Maybe, says Walsh Sr.
“I can take some credit for his jump shot but certainly not his golf swing,” he said.
When Walsh Jr. was 7 years old, his dad would take him to Wood’s gym twice a week to work on his shot. “The gym would be empty and he would just keep feeding me the ball, and I just took jumper after jumper,” he said
Ask any of the great shooters in the NBA how they got to that point, and they will most likely say routine and repetition are the best methods.
Walsh Sr. knows his fatherly and coaching advice will remain the same, regardless of the sport his son plays.
“I always taught him to try his hardest and put forth your best effort and he always has.”
Monsignor Bonner’s Mike Hartsough won the District 12 inspanidual title at Island Green Golf Course Oct. 13 with a 6-over-par 78. St. Joseph’s Prep claimed the team title with 325 points. They represented District 12 in the PIAA regional team tournament Oct. 20.
Archbishop Ryan’s Vince Boyle earned second place with a 79, while St. Joe’s Prep’s Zach Melnick and Dan Novak, La Salle’s Mark Schnupp and Conwell-Egan’s Daulton George all scored 80s to qualify for the PIAA regional inspanidual tournament.
The tournament was underway at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood, Pa., at press time.
Joe Pawlikowski can be reached at email@example.com.