Nick Joyce 1st state golf qualifier in school history

“The kids knew, the teachers knew. Everyone wanted to know how he was doing. That's all they talked about.”
Posted on 10/27/2021
Nick Joyce became the first golfer in school history to qualify for the PIAA Golf Championship.By Gary Weckselblatt

In what was a magical season for the Quakertown Community High School golf team, Nick Joyce became the first golfer in school history to qualify for the PIAA Golf Championship.

And as is often the case in the success of a Panther, the school community rallied behind one of their own. So when the 16-year-old sophomore competed in the state’s Class 3A boys competition at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, there was a scoreboard set up in the school where everyone could follow along.

“The kids knew (Nick was in the state championship), the teachers knew. Everyone wanted to know how he was doing,” said Rea Lemuell, a QCHS instructional aide. “That's all they talked about.”

Talking about the scoreboard, and the school community reacting to Nick’s success, Quakertown golf coach Steve Oltman said “It’s a real positive thing. It creates memories for a lifetime. Our students will always remember that day. They all gathered together for these experiences.”

Asked about the reaction of the school community, Nick said “That’s pretty awesome. Wish I would’ve performed better, especially since I was representing the school.”

He described his difficult day on the course as “a learning experience. It didn’t go as well as I would have liked. It will be a lot better in the future,” he said.

Coach Oltman agrees. He estimated there were approximately 1,000 spectators on the course, perhaps 50 to 100 at each hole. “It was impressive, but also a little unnerving,” he said.

Nick, who has been golfing since the age of 5 and has been under the tutelage of a personal coach for two years, said making states is proof that “hard work pays off. There are still a lot of places I can improve on, including pressure situations.”

As a sophomore, and considering his work ethic, improvement is certain to take place. His outstanding campaign placed him on the Suburban One League first team for the second consecutive year. And the Panthers were far from a one-man team. Sophomore Brady Gallagher was second team all-conference for the second season in a row and Tyler Wilkin, a junior, made honorable mention.

Coach Oltman believes the COVID-19 pandemic, with social distancing requirements and people getting outdoors again, played a role in the team’s success. Last year, for example, 13 students came out for the team. This year, there were 31 players, “The highest number of kids to ever try out,” he said. “There’s been a huge resurgence in golf across the area. And competition makes everyone stronger.”

With the huge student turnout, Coach Oltman said no one has been cut from the team. He’s set up a varsity and junior varsity of 20 to 24 golfers and the rest of the players are part of a developmental program, where they can receive instruction and range time. He commended Fox Hollow Golf Club as “the best host we could hope for.”

He said the golf team, like other teams at the school, focuses on representing the school and not on “I or me.”

“They’re not just doing it for themselves but for their teammates and the school,” Coach Oltman said. “That’s what’s most gratifying. You hear them talking, saying things like ‘Quakertown is represented now.’ It’s cool to see.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.
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