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.
Strokes of brilliance: Phillip Choi and Carlie Yadloczky top the leaderboard
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