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From playing golf to flying fighter jets, J.P. Cecconi just prefers the air

John Overby
Sun Sports Writer

J.P. Cecconi just loves to hit the ball.

The senior WC golfer first picked up this passion for striking—and his first golf club—when he was only nine years old. It was then he went to a golf summer league, mostly to tag along with his two older siblings. After that experience, though, he “just kept on coming back.”

Cecconi was fascinated every time he watched the ball fly off the tee and seemingly disappear into the sky. The farther it went, the better. That just meant he could watch it all the longer.

And that feeling only grew stronger as he got older, which in turn has helped him improve his game.

“J.P.’s very smart, very dedicated,” head coach for the boys’ golf team, Bobby Bartholomai, said. “He’s really improved since I started coaching him four years ago because of how much he plays in the summer. He really loves the game, loves playing it.”

He especially likes using his wedges around the green, that way he can “try different flight paths” when he knocks it into the air.

It doesn’t matter whether he’s near or far from the hole. As long as the metal of the golf club connects with the hard, resin cover of the tiny, white golf ball, Cecconi is hooked.

“I just like watching the ball go up and see how close I can get to the pin,” Cecconi said.

Perhaps his love of the air also contributed to his plans of going to the Navy and joining the ROTC after high school. It is there that, “if everything goes according to plan,” he will be flying fighter jets.

After his time in the Navy, he plans on majoring in aerospace engineering at either Vanderbilt University or the Naval Academy, where the military will pay for his college.

“It’s something that would be exciting, something fun to do,” Cecconi said. “I just don’t think I could sit at a desk all day or write newspapers, I would just get too bored with it.”

In addition to his love of the air, Cecconi also credits his laid-back personality in significantly helping his golf game.

“If I have a bad hole, it’s not going to affect me that much,” Cecconi said. “It’s just another round of golf. It’s not the end of the world.”

These two strengths have helped Cecconi be part of two teams that reached the All-A state finals: one during his sophomore year and one this past Saturday.

His appearance in the 2011 All-A state finals was possible thanks to his most memorable moment on the golf team: a one-hole playoff against Bethlehem that was easily captured by WC.

“Winning that playoff was a great experience for the entire team,” Cecconi said.

The 2011 state finals only helped build on what the team learned in the playoff against Bethlehem and helped his mindset immensely going into this year’s finals.

“Competing on that level really just helps with your nerves,” Cecconi said. “You get so used to it after a while that it doesn’t seem very special. It’s just another day of playing golf.”
With his time on the WC golf team inching closer and closer to the end, there is one aspect he’s going to miss more than the rest: the free golf.

“Golf’s an expensive sport,” Cecconi said, “so the cheaper it is, the more you can get out there and play and enjoy it. I’ll probably miss that the most.”

But, on the bright side, at least he’ll be up in the air.