VANDALIA — Butler Aviator athletes and marching band members have put in a tremendous amount of work this summer in preparation for the upcoming sports season. From lifting weights, conditioning, two-a-day practices, to team building – they have all spent many hours of practice in anticipation of fall competition.
However, there’s two Butler athletes that have gone about things in a little different way, and both have turned heads on a national level.
Golfer Austin Greaser and bowler Drew Sacks have been honing their skills by criss-crossing the United States to face elite competition in national and international tournaments. Both enter their senior year at Butler after seeing tremendous success as juniors – Sacks was the individual bowling state champion while Greaser placed fifth at the state golf tournament.
“It’s really neat to see the success of our kids out of school as well,” said Butler Athletic Director Jordan Shumaker. “It’s a testament to the work they out in year round. They are both truly elite talents and great representatives of our community.”
Both enter their final year as an Aviator needing to, at times, thread the so-called needle of balancing what the Ohio High School Athletic Association allows to remain eligible versus what the demands of being among the best at your sport nationally requires.
Greaser weighs options
Greaser has had an outstanding summer on the junior golf circuit which included winning the Justin Thomas Junior Championship in April and a 12th place finish last week in the 43rd Junior PGA Championship. He also committed to play golf at the University of North Carolina, one of the top college golf programs in the nation.
He said he hasn’t made a firm decision to play high school golf during his senior season, despite a desire to attempt to bring a state championship to Vandalia. He’s currently scheduled to play in the Junior PLAYER’s Championship Aug. 30 – Sept.2, but OHSAA rules prohibit any other events other than high school golf after September 16. That rules out invitational events that he could compete in against the top 70-100 golfers in the nation.
“It’s a really tough decision for me, but it would be cool to bring a championship back to Vandalia,” said Greaser. “Invitationals are really prestigious tournaments with the top 70 juniors there.”
Greaser likes his chances at the state golf tournament this fall, however. After qualifying last year for the first time, he felt not playing the course before was a hindrance on the first day where he shot a six-over par 78. He rebounded to shoot a 71 on the second day for a fifth place finish.
This year would be my senior year, and I had a great shot at it last year,” said Greaser. “I feel like going back this year is an advantage knowing the course this year. All I have to do is shoot 71 both days which wins the tournament.”
Sacks eyes bigger prize
After winning the individual state championship as a junior, Sacks says his goals are bigger in 2019.
“I would really like for Butler to win the team title,” said Sacks. “The last two years we’ve been very close. It would be cool to win an individual championship again, but winning the team title would be even better.”
Sacks will also look to make the U.S. National Team. He earned a spot at the Team USA Trials by placing seventh overall at the Junior Gold Championships in Dallas this summer. He will attempt to make Team USA this coming January in Las Vegas.
Sacks said the past three seasons have been especially rewarding because he’s been coached by his father, Steve, and his sister Jessica has seen success on the girls side. Jessica will bowl for Duquesne University this fall.
“It was really awesome, its what every father and son dream about,” Drew said. “To coach your kid to the state title is what every father dreams about.”
Drew also would like to see Butler to win the overall Greater Western Ohio Conference championship in the final year of the league’s existence in its current configuration.
“It would be cool to win a few tournaments this year and win some match plays,” he said. “It would be nice to win the last year of the GWOC that we are in it. We have never won it before.“
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.