Hempfield golfer attacking greens, chemo
TribLIVE Sports Videos
By the end of his senior golf season, Hempfield's Javon Trout said he hopes he'll be holding a big trophy.
The 18-year-old has been refining his golf palate this summer, playing courses across Western Pennsylvania as a part of the Tri-State PGA Kings Junior Golf Series. Trout played in nine events this summer, winning two and tying for first in a third to force a playoff. He won the club championship at the course he frequents most, Hannastown Golf Club, making him the youngest player to do so.
“I think playing difficult courses and getting to know different courses and different greens is going to help me win this year,” said Trout, who finished eighth at the WPIAL Class AAA championship last October and fourth at the PIAA Western Regional to earn a spot in the state tournament, where he placed 18th.
Trout was 3 years old when picked up a golf club in the basement of his grandparents's home.
“I guess I tried to start swinging my pap's clubs, and he was like, ‘Oh, I think I need to get him started,' ” said Trout, whose Hempfield team and others around the WPIAL will begin regular-season match play Thursday.
He started playing golf competitively at age 5, and also picked up a knack for bowling at Hillview Lanes and Main Bowling Center in Greensburg. After plenty of close calls, he bowled his first perfect game at Main in 2010, making him the youngest to accomplish the feat at that alley. His abilities in both sports are “God's gifts,” he said, and crafts he said he always will work to improve.
Trout has continued to compete and grow, even in the face of tremendous adversity.
Trout was 2 years old when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, for which he has received treatment over the years. He said his current round of chemotherapy, which began around Halloween, will run until Christmas, well beyond the conclusion of his final golf season at Hempfield.
But he hasn't let that stop him. In March, Trout won Pennsylvania's high school bowling individual state title while experiencing double vision, a side effect from his chemotherapy.
“My whole family, we're very strong-willed people, and they've helped me get through everything,” Trout said. “They're always there to keep me strong and keep me fighting like a champ.”
The golf course recently has become a place where Trout said he doesn't have to fight. He considers the grass “a whole different world” to think about the game he loves, to let his mind go blank and to focus on getting the ball in the cup.
In addition to playing a more mentally focused, relaxed brand of golf, Trout has been working on his short game. It's an area in which Hempfield golf coach Brian Spang said the senior has made big strides.
“His putting is what he's been focused on for the last two or three years, and he's been able to adapt faster than most,” Spang said. “He's had the ability to and the knowledge to adapt to the different courses he's played, and I think it might be his strength.”
Having finally found a putter he's comfortable with, Trout said he's ready for his senior season and, most importantly, he's having fun.
He said he has received interest from Washington & Jefferson as well as PSAC schools like IUP and Cal (Pa.). Wherever he goes, Trout said he wants to study engineering, probably mechanical.
In a college environment where golf is more universal, bowling might soon become more of a hobby, but he won't give it up. He tends not to do that.
“I just never want to give up. Even now that I'm on chemo, I don't want to stop being a kid. That's never going to stop me,” Trout said. “You just have to live every day to its full potential. If you get a bump in the road, just run it over.”
Trout's chief competition this season could be Central Catholic's Nick Cuny and Allderdice's Sasha Lobel, who also return for their senior seasons after finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, at the WPIAL Class AAA championships last year.
In Class AA, Cody Dobbin of Burgettstown looks to best a third-place finish in the WPIAL from a year ago.
On the girls' side, Canon McMillan's Lauren Waller hopes for a repeat performance from her first-place PIAA finish in 2013, while Seton-LaSalle's Joey Walz returns for her senior season after taking second place at the PIAA Class AA finals last year.
Andrew Erickson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Fitting in will be Kang’s biggest hurdle
- Power play shines in Penguins’ home victory over Blue Jackets
- Penguins notebook: Pouliot dazzles in victory over Blue Jackets
- Sales, income taxes increases expected in Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget
- Shale drilling boom a bust for some Western Pennsylvania towns
- Pirates starting pitcher Worley is in right place, right time with team
- Duquesne University football player died by suicide
- LaBar: Is Brock Lesnar leaving WWE again?
- Pitt’s NCAA Tournament hopes take a hit with loss to Wake Forest
- Women encouraged to become engineers
- Icy roads causing multiple accidents Sunday evening