MERRILLVILLE | Golfing in windy conditions wouldn't be ideal for even the most skilled of players at any level.
However, Andrean senior Phil Paras was able to put the blustery conditions behind him April 16, firing an even-par 36 at Innsbrook Country Club in a dual meet with Hobart. That score was far and away the best Paras has ever recorded in a competitive, nine-hole round.
"I was just hitting every green, my short game was pretty good," he said. "I made a couple birdies. Everything was just flowing pretty well that day. It felt pretty good, because I knew I was capable of doing that. I've been on the brink every time, so I finally posted a pretty good round. It was a pretty big shocker that I shot that well."
Paras hasn't had a lot of time to hone his golf skills. He only started hitting the links in eighth grade and barely made Andrean's team his freshman year.
"I've improved so much," Paras said. "I wasn't even going to make the team my freshman year, but the coach decided to keep me. I worked really hard over the past few years to get where I am now."
Though Paras still has room for improvement, Andrean coach Dennis Pokropinski has never seen Paras golf as well as he has until this season.
"He hit's the ball pretty long off the tee," Pokropinski said. "The last few matches he's done well and come up with big shots. He's been able to rise to the occasion in terms of motivation. If he doesn't have a good hole he can still come back and make things happen, which is a good attribute to have."
Including Paras, all five starters are back this season, making Andrean a possible team to watch out for. Garrett Wisniewski and Nick Schneider are the other two seniors, making the 59ers a good mix of both experience and youth this season and able to compete with most teams.
"Team chemistry is pretty good," Paras said. "All of us just try to help each other, keep going and stay positive the whole time."
Paras is looking ahead to the postseason, where the 59ers will have the added challenge in competing in the tough Valparaiso Sectional.
"It's definitely going to be a lot tougher because of Valpo," he said.
"It's going to be tough, but I think we'll be all right."