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Boys Golf notes: Four-sport athlete Andrew Rugg leads Willowbrook to strong start on the links

Hockey goalie also plays baseball, runs track, sports 4.65 GPA

Willowbrook senior Andrew Rugg is a very busy person.

That’s stating it mildly.

Besides excelling in the classroom with a 4.65 grade-point-average, Rugg is a rare four-sport athlete. He starts the high school calendar season off dabbling in golf, then directs his attention to his favorite sport, hockey.

After spending several months attempting to stop pucks from hitting the net from his goalie position, Rugg transitions to a two-sport spring where he roams centerfield in baseball and hits the track to run the 800 and 1,600 meters in track and field for the Warriors.

Rest, for Rugg, is often very rare.

“I’m definitely very busy, especially with all the school work mixed in there,” Rugg said. 

Right now, Rugg is spending his time on the links for the Warriors. He’s one of the central factors for the Warriors winning their first two dual meets, shooting a 36 against Morton at Sugar Creek. 

Rugg said he started playing golf when he was six years old, but rarely has the opportunity to practice his craft in the offseason because all of his other sports.

“I try and play when I can, but normally I can’t play too much in the summer with baseball and all the other sports,” he said. “When golf season comes around, I put it into gear for three months and go all in.”

Right now, Rugg is definitely “all-in” for his golf season, according to his coach Gary Walker.

“Andrew is doing great this year,” Walker said. “He’s very coachable and very athletic. He’s just a very good athlete, can hit the ball a mile and his swing speed is really fast. He’s improved his swing throughout the years.”

Rugg, who applied for the Naval Academy, calls golf "a good escape from the world” compared to his other sports. He likes the individual aspects of golf, but hockey will always be his No. 1 sport.

Rugg said he does draw some odd stares when he mentions he plays goalie to other golfers.

“I’ve been skating since I was three years old,” he said. “I always loved it. I’m tall and pride myself on being a fast and athletic goalie, not that muscular bound kid. I’m able to cover a lot of ground quickly.”

Rugg said his main goal in golf is to lead the Warriors to the West Suburban Gold Conference title this season. 

“We won sophomore conference two years ago, and I placed second,” he said. “It would be great to win conference again.”

R-B update

Six matches into this season, Riverside-Brookfield is having one of its best showings in several seasons. At 2-4 in dual matches, the Bulldogs might not have a sparkling record but there have been several positive signs in their building-block season.

“We’ve had four players shoot 40 or better so far this season,” Riverside-Brookfield coach Jim Festle said. “This is by far the strongest team that I’ve coached in five years.”

Festle pointed out the strong starts by his captains — seniors James Berger and Jackson Fields and junior Jack Jones — as the key reason. He added that juniors Stephen Berger, Dan Schwankerlik and Matt Decosola are also playing well.

“All of our top players have great swings and are playing close to their potential,” he said. “As a team, when their short games get better, our scores will definitely be lower.”

Extra notes

Glenbard West won its first three West Suburban Conference golf matches by relying on strong performances from several individuals, including junior Caden Pierce and freshman Grant Roscich. Both golfers shot a 36 to share meet medalist honors against Downers Grove North on Sept. 10. Two days later, Glenbard West’s John Wild shot a 74 to achieve meet medalist in a four-team meet on Sept. 12. Overall, the Hilltoppers won the quad with a score of 309, edging out Lyons (312), Hinsdale Central (314) and York (326).

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