Daily News spotlight athletes: East Allegheny's Josh Strawins, Thomas Jefferson's Allie Gennaula
School: East Allegheny
Claim to fame: Strawins won the Section 7-AA boys golf tournament at Westwood Golf Club last week with a 12-over-par 83. The senior continued his impressive play Monday by finishing tied for ninth at the WPIAL Class AA championship at Youghiogheny Country Club, after shooting an 8-over-par 80. Strawins has qualified for the PIAA Western Regional qualifier Oct. 15 at Tom's Run Golf Course in Blairsville.
How did it feel to win the section tournament?
Well, I qualified last year in the section and made it to the next round at New Castle Country Club. I ended up getting disqualified at minus-2. I was winning by three shots, but I got disqualified for using a range finder that I thought was legal. When I went to use it the kid I was playing with said he wasn't sure if it was legal so I turned it into the official. When I was on the 12th hole they disqualified me. The same range finder I had is legal this year. That kind of makes me mad but I learned from it.
How long have you been playing golf?
I've played since I was 4. I hit golf balls in my back yard. My dad used to play all the time and my grandfather loves the game. It's in my family. He cut down a club and put a grip on it so I could swing.
What's the best round you've ever shot?
My best nine-hole score was a 34 at New Castle. My best 18-hole score was a 71.
What are your plans for college?
I'd like to go to Pitt. I'd like to be a doctor. I've also looked at St. Vincent and Allegheny. I haven't decided about playing golf though. I want to go to medical school, and I really have to focus as an undergrad to get in. I'm still trying to decide whether or not I can devote enough time to both golf and studying.
If you could play any course in the world, where would you play?
I'd play at Augusta National because it's the most prestigious golf course in the world by far.
Against what golfer?
I think I would have to play Tiger Woods, even though he's controversial. I grew up watching him win. He's the biggest competitor in the world.
Who do you look up to most?
My parents. They adopted me from Russia when I was five months old. They came over to Rostov right after the Cold War ended. My Russian passport says Soviet Union. If they hadn't adopted me when they did, I would have gotten sick from the water, and in a few more months I probably would have died and wouldn't have had the chance to come here. I'm very lucky.
School: Thomas Jefferson
Claim to fame: Gennaula shot a 13-over-par 85 at Lindenwood Golf Club to finish in fourth place at the Section 2-AAA individual girls golf tournament last week. She qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA tournament, set for Oct. 1 at 3 Lakes Golf Course in Saltsburg.
When did you start golfing?
I started playing when I was 8 years old. My dad and grandfather belong to South Hills Country Club, so I always played with them.
What would you say was your best moment in high school golf?
I would say winning the Big Eight Conference championship last year. I shot pretty well, and we shot well as a team. There have been a lot of big moments, but that was the best.
Did you have any individual or team goals going into the season?
We wanted to win the section, and I wanted to qualify for WPIALs and the states. We still have a few more rounds to go for states ,but we have a good team and we've had a good season. We're on the right path so we'll see how it goes.
Do you have a favorite golfer?
I would say Tiger Woods for what he does on the golf course. He's very good and strong willed.
Do you have any college plans?
I've been looking into going to a school with a professional golf management program. I've applied to Florida Gulf Coast University, NC State, Eastern Kentucky, Coastal Carolina and Methodist University. They all have PGM programs. I've talked to coaches at schools around here, as well. I'd like to go where the weather is nice and play.
What's your favorite movie?
“The Greatest Game Ever Played.” It's inspirational, and it's about my favorite sport (golf).
— Robert Stinner