Circle Christian's Phillip Choi and Lake Howell's Carlie Yadloczky came into this season with the same goal -- a state championship -- but they were in completely different situations.
Choi, the defending 1A individual champ, was the protector, doing his best to defend his individual state crown and the team's state championship.
Meanwhile, Yadloczky was coming off a 2007 season where she tied for sixth individually and her team finished third. She wanted those state titles more than anything. Yadloczky was the hunter.
Both seniors got what they wanted. Both stood on the state podium with their teammates as state champions, and Choi finished with the low individual score for the second consecutive year.
That's why Choi and Yadloczky have been chosen the Central Florida golfers of the year. Here are four things that defined their seasons:
Choi and Yadloczky weren't just on winning teams. They were on dominant, demoralizing teams.
A lot of area coaches are calling Circle Christian the best boys golf team Central Florida ever has seen. When the Centurions were on their game, everyone else was playing for second. Choi, Michael Hebert, Andrew Colvin and Matt Kocolowski finished the season under or near par, and all four will go to Division I teams next year.
Thanks to transfer Brandi Rodriguez -- last year's Orange County player of the year at Winter Park -- Lake Howell was nearly untouchable in girls competition. Add Cabriel Duren and Jordyn Hage to the combination of Rodriguez and Yadloczky, and you had a quartet that only could beat themselves.
Choi and Yadloczky were on the best teams in the state, playing alongside some of the best players.
Their practices were sometimes more competitive than the actual competition.
"It always made me work harder, because I wanted to play better than my teammates," Yadloczky said. "My goal was to play better than them. It makes us all better, because we're competing, and our scores are going down."
Choi would ask his coach, Scott Richardson, what his teammates were shooting during a tournament. At the Qdoba Tournament of Champions at Davenport in September, Richardson told Choi that Hebert was two shots ahead of him.
"I'm going to get him," Choi responded.
A blistering cold front came through on the day of the state tournament, so Choi and Yadloczky were battling the wind and the cold. It didn't matter.
"The best players still play well when the weather turns south," Richardson said. "It was windy and cold, and last year there was rain mixed in."
Scores were up all around, but these two stayed steady. No 1A competitor came within two strokes of Choi's 141, and Yadloczky's 150 -- tied for third in 2A -- was the anchor Lake Howell needed to secure its third state championship in four years.
When Yadloczky was a freshman, she earned the chance to play with Annika Sorenstam. One day, Yadloczky would like to play on the LPGA Tour.
"My dad always says it's a lot better than working in an office," Yadloczky joked.
She's going to Auburn next year and hopes to go to the Futures Tour or straight to the LPGA after college.
The same goes for Choi, who will play at Florida next season. The competition for playing time will be tough for Choi, as UF is usually one of the nation's best teams. Well-known PGA players Mark Calcavecchia and Chris DiMarco attended Florida, and Choi hopes to join them someday.
"That's definitely my top goal," Choi said.
ALL-CENTRAL FLORIDA TEAMFirst team
Andrew Colvin, Circle Christian, Sr.
Michael Hebert, Circle Christian, Sr.
D.J. Janolo, Bishop Moore, Sr.
Hojin Kang, Lake Mary, Jr.
Brandon Flynn, South Lake, Sr.
Jason Del Rosso, Bishop Moore, Sr.
Matt Kocolowski, Circle Christian, Sr.
David Marx, Olympia, Sr.
Kiefer Smith, West Orange, Jr.
Frank Berzanskis, Harmony, Sr.
GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Brandon Flynn, South Lake, Sr. -- registered a 69 to capture 2A, District 8 individual title.
OTHER NOTABLE: Josh Buoni, South Lake, Soph.
GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Phillip Choi, Circle Christian, Sr. -- posted low score at the state tournament for the second year in a row.
OTHER NOTABLES: Davis Hall, Olympia, Soph.; Zach Moore, Ocoee, Jr.; Tony Phipps, Edgewater, Soph.; Wade Chen, Freedom, Fr.
GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Frank Berzanskis, Harmony, Sr. -- shot a 150 at states to tie for fifth.
OTHER NOTABLES: Tyler Thorne, Osceola, Sr.; Dalton Elowsky, Osceola, Sr.; Ryan Pearson, Celebration, Soph.
GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Hojin Kang, Lake Mary, Jr. -- finished as the runner-up as an individual at 2A state meet.
OTHER NOTABLES: Robert Land, Lake Brantley, Sr.; Alec Berry, Lake Brantley, Sr.; Jeff Taylor, Lyman, Jr.
GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Taylor Stevenson, Port Orange Spruce Creek, Sr. -- led the Hawks to the 2A, District 5 championship.
OTHER NOTABLES: Sami Guindi, Seabreeze, Sr.; Lee Bowman, New Smyrna
Beach, Sr.; Michael Kennedy, Daytona Beach Father Lopez, Sr.
NOTE: Other notables only include players not mentioned in all-Central Florida honors.<GIRLSFirst team
Nicole Agnello, Lake Mary, Sr.
Jordyn Hage, Lake Howell, Sr.
Nicole Quinn, First Academy, Sr.
Brandi Rodriguez, Lake Howell, Jr.
Jessica Schall, Lake Mary, Sr.
Cabriel Duren, Lake Howell, Sr.
Mary Beth Ramsay, Lake Highland, Sr.
Mia Campbell, Edgewater, Soph.
Samantha Marks, Lake Highland, Fr.
Melody Williams, Lake Mary, Sr.
GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Jessica Riddle, Leesburg, Sr. -- a strong senior campaign for Lake County's most consistent golfer.
OTHER NOTABLES: Chelsea Croteau, Groveland South Lake, Soph.; Jordan Anderson, East Ridge, Soph.
GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Nicole Quinn, First Academy, Sr. -- posted best score of any Central Florida girl at states.
OTHER NOTABLES: Micah Dowling, Edgewater, Sr.; Sequoya Killebrew, Timber Creek, Sr.; Mia Semaan, Olympia, Soph.
GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Ali Benetti, Celebration, Sr. -- constantly battled it out with her younger sister for Storm's top score.
OTHER NOTABLES: Ana Ballantine, Osceola, Jr.; Natalie Benetti, Celebration, Fr.
GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Carlie Yadloczky, Lake Howell, Sr. -- led Lake Howell to third state title in four years.
OTHER NOTABLES: Dana Magdor, Lake Howell, Soph.; Molly Peel, Lake Brantley, Soph.; Lindsay Edwards, Winter Springs, Sr.
GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Connie Pitenis, Spruce Creek, Sr. -- was the leader of a solid Hawks team.
OTHER NOTABLES: Kally Aylwin, New Smyrna Beach, Fr.; Karen Hutton, DeLand, Soph.
NOTE: Other notables only include players not mentioned in all-Central Florida honors.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun