State of Youngstown

Local golfers lead YSU men’s team

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo Justin Hallapy, a Hubbard High School graduate, follows through with an iron on the driving range as teammate Justin Stark looks on. Hallapy is one of five local golfers on the Youngstown State University men's golf roster.

YOUNGSTOWN — Tony Joy remembers when Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel was the Penguins football coach and athletic director.

Tressel’s recruiting was about the “State of Youngstown,” an imaginary 100-mile circle distancing itself out from the YSU campus to target prospective players.

Joy, the YSU men’s golf coach, remembers when Tressel shared his thoughts on this team.

“He said, ‘Tony, if you can’t find someone in northeast Ohio who deserves a good education and golf scholarship, we may be in the wrong business,’ “ Joy said.

There are five players from the Mahoning Valley on the YSU roster — senior Justin Hallapy (Hubbard), juniors Dominic Carano (Canfield), Jason McQuown (Poland) and Evan Standohar (Girard), along with freshman Ken Keller (Cardinal Mooney).

Hallapy is the team’s No. 1 golfer and worked up from redshirt status. He, like many other golfers, have that one shot or round that keeps them coming back to the game filled with ups and downs.

“It kind of gives you goosebumps. You keep going with it,” Hallapy said.

Standohar started from humble beginnings as a walk-on. He’s proved himself and Joy gave him a partial scholarship.

“I’m always grateful to him for that,” Standohar said.

But the Girard graduate always knew something more than high school golf was in his future. His cousin, Jimmy, who plays baseball at Mercyhurst University, and his brother, Mark, pushed each other for greatness. After 6 a.m. practices, the three would go out later in the evening and play well into the dark.

“Having a brother and a cousin to push each other definitely made us better and made me realize I can go to the next level,” Evan said.

Carano said this team has great camaraderie.

“They keep you relaxed on the course, but it’s always competitive,” he said. “It’s really nice to have a group of guys you’re constantly trying to beat. At the end of the day, we’re all friends.”

McQuown said this cohesiveness will help when the team heads into spring play.

“We’re more of a team atmosphere. It should be good in the spring,” he said.

As for those younger golfers watching these local YSU athletes, Keller has some advice.

“Stay dedicated, work on your game and be patient. Results will come to you,” he said.

In the coming years, Joy plans to add some of the area’s best to YSU’s roster. NCAA rules prevents Joy to divulge who he is recruiting.

“The next couple of years look good,” he said.