Watching Joey and Anton Krecic golf, you would never know the Columbia Station residents were brothers.
Anton studiously analyzes his next shot, studying the possibilities before addressing the ball while Joey prefers to just step up and let it fly.
The results, however, have been equally impressive as the brothers have helped lead the St. Edward Eagles to the Division I state tournament for the second year in a row. The Eagles are hoping to improve on last year’s ninth-place finish when they tee off Friday morning on The Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course.
Joey, a senior, is averaging 75.2 strokes per 18-hole round. He saved his best performance for the sectional tournament where he shot a 2-under-par 70 on the Legacy Course at Sweetbriar.
Anton, a junior, averages 77.1 strokes, 2.7 birdies 31.6 putts per round.
“Joey and Anton are both so calm and under control on the golf course it’s just amazing,” St. Edward coach Bill Menz said. “They have confidence in their golf games and they’re both very workman-like. You can’t tell if Joey is 5 over or 5 under, he’s always so calm. Anton is little more emotional because he’s such a perfectionist.”
Both Krecic’s are three-year letterwinners. They entered the school together, Anton as a freshman and Joey as a sophomore after being home schooled as a freshman.
“I’m a pretty aggressive player but you have to realize high school golf is a team sport first,” said Joey, who will continue his golfing career at Cleveland State University. “You have to play a different way and you can’t take the chances you otherwise might.”
Both brothers began golfing at a young age. In fact, Anton said he’s had a golf club in his hands for as long as he can remember.
Knowing this will be the last time playing high school golf with his brother will make the state tournament experience even more meaningful, Anton said.
“It would be great to win it all this year,” Anton said. “This is my brother’s senior year and this is one of the best teams we’ve had in a long time. It would be great to win as a family. When I say family I don’t just mean Joey and I. Everybody on this team is like a family. Over the past couple seasons we’ve all grown close like brothers.”
Now that the Eagles know what to expect once they get to Columbus – fast greens, big galleries and the pressure of a state title on the line – they hope to go into the final day of the two-day event with a chance to win it all.
“Last year we were paired up with Dublin Jerome and they were defending state champs, and playing with a big crowd following us made our guys a little hesitant,” Menz said. “In 2007, when we were paired up with Cincinnati St. Xavier, they brought seven buses of students as a cheering section. That’s like 350 kids. Those are the kinds of things we have to be prepared for.”
Menz said the team got a confidence boost when it played a practice round on the Scarlet Course over Labor Day weekend and most of the players shot in the mid- to upper-70s.
“This year the intensity is different for us,” Joey said. “Last year we were all wide-eyed when we went down there. This year we’re going ready to win.”
Although the state finals will conclude on the same day as the annual Holy War football showdown between St. Edward and St. Ignatius, Joey said the golf team’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“The whole attitude at school is different this year,” he said. “Last year it didn’t seem like anyone on campus knew what the golf team was doing. This year everyone is taking notice, talking about it and encouraging us.”
Some of that attention may come from the fact the Eagles were 14 strokes better than their archrivals St. Ignatius last week while winning the school’s first district championship. Joey’s 73 was St. Edward’s second best score of the day, one stroke behind Avon Lake resident Wil Bethune’s 72.
Last year, Joey shot 83-80 at state, while Anton shot a pair of 84s.
“The biggest thing on Friday is to be mentally prepared,” Anton said. “I’m going to start mentally getting ready the day before … getting focused, getting my mind ready for the tournament. I’ve played in some pressure situations before in summer tournaments. I look forward to pressure. I embrace it. As soon as we finished the state tournament last year I was thinking a year ahead and now it’s here.”
Menz thinks the Krecic’s work ethic will help the entire team when they get to Columbus.
“Last year at the state tournament we got embarrassed a little bit,” Menz said. “Joey and Anton are not only hard workers, they also have the desire to be really, really good. They don’t like to be embarrassed and that carries over to everyone on the team. We’ll be better prepared this year.”