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Harriton golfer Nick Wert is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week

The Harriton senior captain has been a key factor in the Rams’ fine start this year, and shot two-under-par 33 at Springfield earlier this month. Last fall, he placed eighth at the Central League Tournament, earning second team all-league honors and qualifying for individual Districts, and was a key player in the Rams qualifying for team Districts. Harriton golf coach Brian Dobak said, “Where Nick really shines is in his great leadership ability – he’s exactly what you’re looking for when you’re assembling any team together. He rallies people together. He’s respectful of opposing players and coaches, as well as his teammates. He builds up others around him and helps them improve. He understands the importance of integrity. Nick is an example of exactly what I want my underclassman and future golfers to understand – the process of improvement that is possible with hard work, and the importance of leadership not just in sports but in life and business.”

Q: Tell us about your round at Springfield earlier this month in which you shot 33.

A: Just everything was clicking for me. I hit eight greens in regulation, but my putting was really the highlight. On the seventh hole, a par 3, I drained a 45 foot putt for birdie. That’s when I knew that the round was going to be special.

Q: Last year, you shot 77 at the Central League Tournament, finishing eighth. Can you tell us a little about your round that day? What was working particularly well for you?

A: There’s a theme here – my putting was outstanding. Having 27 putts in an 18 hole round was incredible for me and I really focused on hitting fairways to give myself the best opportunity to score well.

Q: Coach Dobak mentioned that you improved tremendously between your sophomore and junior years, due to your work with your PGA Professional, Scott Nye at Merion Golf Club. What was the most important thing(s) that Scott taught you that caused your rapid improvement?

A: Mostly just to keep my head in the game even after a disappointing hole. The best thing you can do is put it behind you. After a double bogey or worse, you need to focus not necessarily on bouncing back with a birdie right away, but making sure that you make par to get your momentum back. That lesson itself is really what drives my attitude on the course and also as a teammate spreading that same message to my team.

Q: What is your favorite hole at Merion Golf Club, and why?

A: I’m very fortunate to be able to play at Merion where there are no truly bad holes. If I had to choose, it would be the 17th hole on the East course. A 220 yard shot over the quarry onto a ridiculously sloped green and danger all around makes the hole not only a worthy challenge, but a lot of fun to play as well.

Q: What is your favorite golf course other than Merion and why?

A: My favorite course other than Merion would have to be Winged Foot. The atmosphere and challenge of the course is breathtaking and the clubhouse is basically a castle. Playing there was surreal and I’ll never forget the experience.

Q: Coach Dobak lauds your leadership abilities. How do you feel you can best exert leadership as captain of the Harriton golf team?

A: Being the captain of a golf team is very different from being a captain of a football or hockey team. Mostly I have to calm people down when they play instead of pump them up further, because a golfer cannot be worked up over the ball. Being a calming presence around the team and also knowing that my teammates trust me and I trust them leads to a great team dynamic.

Q: What is your favorite club and why (can you give specs)? What is your favorite golf ball and why? What size grips do you feel most comfortable with?

A: I adore my Ping i25 3-iron. It’s my most consistent club off the tee and I feel comfortable hitting it 100 percent of the time. Couple that with a Callaway Chrome Soft ball and I feel like I can attack any hole with ease. I generally use wrap grips with an extra wrap on my clubs to get a comfortable tacky feeling to steady my hands on the club.

Q: What part of your game do you consider strongest? What aspect of your game are you working on the most currently?

A: Even though I’m super comfortable with my 3-iron, it only goes 230 yards which I can’t use all the time. My driver is by far my most inconsistent club, but it’s also very long, which is crucial for long par 5s. Along with my driver, getting the ball in birdie range from under 120 yards is definitely another focus of mine. If I have a good day with those two, I’m on fire.

Q: Who is your favorite golfer and why? Is there a golfer whose game you try to pattern yours after?

A: I have two favorite golfers: Phil Mickelson and Angel Cabrera. Phil because I play like him—not usually in the right place, but he can make up for it with a stellar short game; Angel Cabrera because of his relaxed attitude on the course—he loves to have fun with his playing competitors, and so do I.

Q: What, to you, has been the highlight of your golf career to date outside of Harriton?

A: Honestly, my favorite part about playing golf is the friendships you make from playing this game. I grew up playing with my mom and dad and I love playing with them more than anything, so playing with my parents would be my favorite memories.

Q: Do you participate in any other sports or extracurricular activities at Harriton? What sparked your interest in these activities?

A: I play on both a club and school ice hockey team, which I have done since first grade. Generally I’m on the ice six times a week, even in late summer, which can interfere with the golf schedule.  I am captain of the speech team, and I am also the captain of the paddle tennis team at Harriton.  The speech team really prepares me to go forward in the world as I will need public-speaking skills in any job that I plan to take and really the team we have makes the club fun. The paddle tennis team is the same thing, the people are fantastic and the sport is super enjoyable and that makes the entire experience incredible.

Q: You want to play golf for a college program. What college(s) are among your current favorites? What do you think you might like to major in at college? Is there a career field that particularly interests you at the present time?

A: I’m mostly looking at schools such as Denison, Williams, Amherst and Kenyon. I want to double major in Business and Psychology, but I don’t know what I want to do after that – a senior can only have his life so much together….

Fun facts – Nick Wert

Favorite book: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman.

Favorite author: Neil Gaiman.

Favorite TV show: Game of Thrones.

Favorite movie: Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Favorite athlete: Steve Yzerman.

Favorite pre-match pump-up song: I Can’t Stop-Flux Pavillion.

Favorite teams: Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers.

Favorite place to visit: Nantucket Island.

Favorite pre-game meal: Bagel with cream cheese and turkey.

Favorite color: Green.

Person I most admire: “Steve Yzerman, his leadership on the Detroit Red Wings back-to-back Stanley Cup victories and his composure as a leader gives me a model not only as a captain but as a person as well.”

Birth date: Nov. 25, 1998 in Bryn Mawr.

Family members: Parents John and Sherry, brothers Mike (age 30) and Chris (26).

(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)

 

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