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WOLNIEWICZ AT HOME ON ANY COURSE

e started hitting balls when he was about 8 years old, and when he was 11, he got to play on the golf course.

During the summer, West Seneca native Jeff Wolniewicz would get dropped off at Cazenovia Golf Course around 9 a.m. with a season pass. He would play all day and often stay at the course until 7 or 8 at night.

Perhaps that explains why Binghamton University coach Nick Lasky found him such an intriguing recruit.

"The spring I was recruiting him and I saw him play and I was amazed," Lasky said. "He looked so at home on the golf course. He Unusable column measure looked on the golf course like you Unusable column measure or I would look in our living Unusable column measure room. He looked like he belonged Unusable column measure there."

Unusable column measure Seems like he belongs at BingUnusable column measure hamton, too, an America East Unusable column measure program which has gone to the Unusable column measure NCAA tournament the past two Unusable column measure years.

Unusable column measure Wolniewicz, only a sophomore for Unusable column measure the Bearcats, put together an imUnusable column measure pressive fall season. With top 10 Unusable column measure finishes in all six tournaments he Unusable column measure entered, along with a win at the Unusable column measure Yale MacDonald Cup, the West Seneca native has a 73.1 average, ranking tops in District I.

"It's not something I think about a lot (the top ranking), but it's definitely a goal," Wolniewicz said.

He credits a great summer, when he was tops in the Buffalo District Golf Association points standings, as helping his game this fall. While he continues to take lessons over the summer, the best parts of his game aren't technical, but mental -- consistency and better course management.

"My misses are a lot better," Wolniewicz said. "I've grown up a lot and I know I don't need to try to hit every shot perfect. Golf is a game of misses. . . . Also my course management is a lot better. You have to look at the course and I realize now that on some of the holes, par is a good score."

Wolniewicz's consistency and poise impresses Lasky.

"He has the ability to forget what he did on the previous hole," Lasky said. "It doesn't matter if he birdied, bogeyed, eagled or made par. He goes on and plays the next hole. He's also great at handling the pressure of being in our No. 1 spot. It just doesn't seem to faze him."

While Wolniewicz is trailblazing for the Bearcats, teammate Kevin Crawford is right behind him. The junior co-captain from Lockport has a 74.5 average and four top-10 finishes this season.

Meanwhile, Blasdell native Matt Thomas, a junior at Miami (Ohio), won his first tournament earlier this month. His total of 8-under-par 205 tied for first place at the Missouri Bluffs Challenge.

Politically correct

The Buffalo State men's soccer team earned the No. 6 seed in the State University of New York Athletic Conference playoff bracket and will travel to third-seeded New Paltz on Nov. 2 for a 1 p.m. quarterfinal game. The team has to leave the day before, which would make it impossible for the players to get to the polls on Election Day to vote.

So, at the request of his players, coach Rudy Pompert was able to make arrangements for his players to vote early, taking his team to the Erie County Board of Elections today to cast their votes.

"We were concerned that we were not going to have a chance to get out and vote," said junior forward Richard Namulala. "It is definitely important to us that we get to play our part in the election."

The Bengals are making their first postseason appearance since 1998 and face New Paltz for the right to go to the SUNYAC Final Four in Oneonta on Nov. 5-6. Buffalo State won at New Paltz, 2-1, on Sept. 18 in the only other meeting between the two teams this season.

email: amoritz@buffnews.com

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