IN THE SPOTLIGHT
John Kryscio’s poker face on a golf course makes an ace poker player’s poker face at a card table look downright … animated.
Forget about taking a gander at Kryscio right after a round of golf and attempting to figure out how the Loyola Academy senior had performed.
It would be an exercise in futility.
It would drive you crazy.
“We laugh because you can never tell if he’s happy or sad or somewhere in between about what he did on a golf course,” Ramblers first-year assistant golf coach Mark Nugent says. “Such a good kid, and his disposition for the game of golf is just … perfect.
Kryscio — a top-six varsity Rambler since the start of his freshman year — once approached LA head coach Tim Kane with his scorecard in hand at an invitational.
Kryscio’s visage was as blank as the sheets of paper in a brand-new notebook.
“He handed the scorecard to me and said, ‘Here ya go, Coach,’ ” Kane recalls. “He wasn’t excited at all. I looked at the scorecard. He had shot a 69. I looked up at him, and he said, ‘I hit it alright today.’
“Understated,” the coach adds. “John is very understated.”
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Kryscio, a Glenview resident, competed at the Class 3A state tournament in each of his first three seasons, twice as a team member and once as an individual qualifier. He tied for 19th place with a 157 (82-75) in 2015; he helped the Ramblers place fifth last fall and ninth in ’14.
Kryscio’s two-day state effort of 79-84 in his freshman year ranked second among Ramblers.
At the Buffalo Grove Invitational on Sept. 2, Kryscio earned medalist honors with a three-under 69, a little more than a week after carding a two-under 34 in a nine-hole dual with North Shore Country Day at the Merit Club in Libertyville.
His 74 tied teammate Ben Scherman for ninth place at the Chicago Catholic League Championship, held at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club (No. 3) in Lemont on Sept. 27. LA brothers Chip Savarie and Ryan Savarie tied for third place with 71s, as Kane’s crew (290) finished runner-up to champion Fenwick (288).
“John has really matured as a player and as a young man,” Kane says, adding Kryscio’s reliable, lengthy iron play is usually the factor behind those low scores. “He’s become a good leader, too. He sets a good example with his work ethic and his steadiness.”
Kryscio gripped a golf club (a plastic one) for the first time at the age of 5 and played in his first golf tournament (with considerably heavier clubs) two years later.
“I loved golf the second I tried it,” Kryscio says. “I had pretty good eye-hand coordination; maybe that had something to do with loving it right away. My first tournament, I remember being scared, really scared. I didn’t know what to expect, and I went for everything.”
How many golfers can say they toured a golf course in only 67 strokes as a 12-year-old?
Not many is the guess here.
But John Kryscio can, having accomplished the feat in Bloomington.
“Had it going; was in a zone,” he says matter-of-factly.
Bad holes and bad rounds don’t bother Kryscio today.
But that wasn’t always the case.
“I had a little temper,” Kryscio admits. “Going into my junior year, I started to realize playing with a calm demeanor was the way to go and very helpful. I’ve been playing that way ever since.”
Kryscio told Kane he wouldn’t play basketball his freshman year. But he changed his mind and went out for the freshman team. The stretch 5 (center) ended up with team MVP honors.
“His sophomore year,” Kane says, “he told me he wouldn’t go out for the sophomore basketball team. Guess what? He went out for the sophomore basketball team.”
And emerged with team MVP honors again.
“I have no problem when my players play another sport during the school year,” Kane says. “Ask a lot of coaches, in any sport, about that, and they’ll agree with me. It’s always a good thing when an athlete competes in another sport.”
The huge University of Kentucky men’s basketball fan — Kryscio’s parents, Doug and Michelle, attended the school in Lexington — told people he wouldn’t attend tryouts for varsity hoops last winter, and this time he stuck with that plan.
Kryscio made another big decision at the end of his junior year and shared it with his parents at the dinner table:
“I told them I wasn’t interested in playing golf in college,” says Kryscio, who is looking at Indiana University, the University of Kentucky, Dayton, Miami of Ohio, Marquette and SMU. “My intent is to go to college and major in something business-related. The sport of golf … I had fun with it, enjoyed playing it at tournaments and for my school, and it changed me completely. I’ll always be able to look back on the experiences I had with it and realize it benefitted me.”
Notable: Loyola Academy was scheduled to host a Class 3A regional at Glencoe Golf Club on Oct. 3, with the qualifying teams and individuals advancing to the New Trier Sectional at the Winnetka Golf Club on Oct. 9. … Loyola Academy’s sophomore boys golf team captured the Chicago Catholic League Championship last month with a score of 299. LA’s Patrick Adler shot a medalist round of 69. … LA’s varsity (298) finished runner-up to Lake Forest Blue (one of two teams fielded by host Lake Forest High School) at an invite staged at the par-72 Lake Bluff Golf Club on Sept. 23. Michael O’Sullivan and Ben Scherman each shot a 73 (5 shots behind medalist Jackson Bussell of Stevenson) for the Ramblers, and Chip Savarie chipped in with a 75.