Burger King Outstanding Student Athlete: Penn's Ben Szklarek

WSBT 22 Photo

Shooting in the 60's in an invitational had eluded Ben Szklarek for several years

"I had three holes left and I was even talking to the guy I was playing with and I was like, 'you know today could be the day.' And I needed three birdies to finish out and shoot it and I did it!" said Szklarek.

The Penn senior saved his best performance for the Kaepplaer invitational.

"This tournament was pretty special because I actually broke my wrist last year and I had to miss my entire junior year," said Szklarek. "I got to play in this tournament. That's the only one. And my wrist was hurting me when I was playing in this last year, and I ended up going back in for X-rays after this tournament last year and they told me it was broken and I had to have surgery, so this year I haven't taken anything for granted. It's been really nice to be able to play and just not experiencing any pain and even better when you're playing well."

"With him not playing last year at all, in his mind, his goal was to go out and try to win every weekend invitational that he plays in. And so far, he's got two seconds and a first," said head golf coach Tony Polizzotto.

"I know my mental attitude is a lot different this year," said Szklarek. "Having to watch with that broken wrist all last year, it taught me to never take it for granted because it can be taken away at any time."

Szklarek has a 72.2 18 hole average and leads NIC conference in stroke average. And has placed top-5 in all five invitationals this spring

With all of this senior year success, along with leading his team to a top-10 ranking in the state, Szklarek was able to draw some attention from college scouts.

"I know it was tough for him last year because his hand was hurt and that junior year is the year that they are looking, so he's got a couple different options and he's really worked hard on his game. All four years he's really gotten better and better," said Polizzotto.

He will continue to golf at the next level.

Szklarek is committed to Holy Cross College.

"So this year, every time I go out on the course, even if it's not going the way I thought, I'm still happy and thankful to be playing the game. So, it's been really special this year."

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