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Local golfers continue pipeline to YSU

Boardman’s Sam, McDonald’s Porter, commit to Youngstown St.

Submitted photo Boardman’s Ryan Sam signs his national letter of intent to play golf at Youngstown State.

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown State men’s golf program has become a hotbed for local golfers.

Dean Austalosh (Campbell), Cole Christman (Boardman), Ken Keller (Cardinal Mooney), Bryan Kordupel (Boardman), Cade Kreps (Boardman), Conner Stevens (Brookfield), Brian Terlesky (Boardman) are all local standouts who chose continue their golf careers by staying in the area and competing for Youngstown State.

The facilities, the access to local courses and the camaraderie of the team area all things that have contributed to local golfers staying home and the Penguins can add two more to the list as McDonald’s Michael Porter and Boardman’s Ryan Sam both committed to the Penguins this fall.

Both Sam and Porter have been high-level golfers in the area in recent years.

Porter shined on the Greatest Golfer of the Valley junior circuit this summer and was a standout on the high school this fall and Sam made a run in the state tournament in his final high school season, finishing tied for 28th after shooting rounds of 77 and 80 at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course on Oct. 22 and 23.

Porter missed out on the state tournament this season but he is a three-time First-Team All-Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference selection and was the MVAC Player of the Year this season. He’s also a two-time First-Team All-Northeast Ohio honoree.

“Being able to stay home and play for the local YSU team, with a lot of the guys that I know, is something that I’m really happy about,” Sam said.

The local connection came into play for both Sam and Porter during their recruiting process. Sam, a senior at Boardman, communicated with guys who he’s played with before and talked about their recruiting process, along with what it was like to play at YSU for head coach Tony Joy.

Porter did somewhat of the same but it didn’t take much convincing to get him to Youngstown.

“I’ve always wanted to play for YSU growing up so the decision was really easy,” Porter said. “Once they gave me an offer, I accepted it pretty quickly because that’s where I wanted to play growing up and it’s where I want to play now. I’ve always wanted to stay local and when I was growing up and playing in a lot of youth tournaments I saw a lot of guys go that route and they’ve been pretty successful going there. They have a good program.”

Throughout the summer both Sam and Porter played on the Greatest Golfer of the Valley circuit, and even battled for the junior title on the final day of the tournament — Porter pulled away in the end — but with all of that time spent together on the course this summer, their future was bound to come up in conversation.

“I was definitely curious as to where he was going to go,” Sam said. “I’d say, with respect to some other guys, we are some of the best in the area, so I was definitely curious to see where he was looking at because teaming up with him in college was something that I was definitely looking forward to talking about. I’m looking forward to having him as my teammate.

“It’s really cool and I’m a big fan of Mike. We played all summer back and forth, he’d win one, and then I’d win one, and we’d just go back and forth all summer. We’ve definitely helped each other improve with the competitiveness and now I hope that we get to do that for four more years.”

With all of the local talent on the team, players from the Mahoning Valley are really hoping to put their stamp on the program, and while they might be two of the youngest on the team, with high hopes of contributing to the program’s success, Porter is sure that his and Sam’s goals will line up with the rest of the local standouts and that blazed the path for them.

“I think we both have goals and I think the guys that are even a little older than us, I think everyone has goals of taking the program to the next level,” Porter said. “We really wanna do some great things. So it’s just up to us to keep working hard and hopefully something comes out of it.”

In October this year, the Penguins placed in the top 5 of three different tournaments, including second-place finishes at both the Dayton Flyer Invitational and the Bucknell Invitational.

gmacafee@tribtoday.com

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