DeRiso leading the way for unbeaten Oriskany boys golf team

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ORISKANY — Oriskany senior golfer Nick DeRiso has had at least a share of the team’s high score in seven out of eight matches this season. And the team has won every one of those matches.

DeRiso’s average is about 41 this year, an improvement over last year. He was a Center State Conference all-star last year. (He lost his sophomore season to COVID-19.)

He’s also on the Mohawk Valley Jugglers’ unified hockey team. He tallied eight goals and five assists for the team this past season.

Here are five questions he answered for the Daily Sentinel:

How did you first get into golf?

His father took him golfing when he was about age four, he said. When he was old enough to participate in school sports, he would have played baseball but the district didn’t have a junior varsity team at the time so he went out for the golf team. “I just liked it so much I stuck with it. All my friends play too so that’s good.”

What are your primary personal goal and team goal for the season?

“We definitely want to compete for Sectionals,” he said. Despite being undefeated last season and still unbeaten this year, he said the team will have to contend with a strong Waterville team.

Personally, “I want to be the best in the Division,” he said of the Center State West. He said he also wants to do well in the Section III individual tournament in the postseason. His goal is to shoot a 76, and he said he tries to be no more than two over par for any front nine or back nine.

What is an important part of your game that you’ve worked to improve in recent years?

Simple: “Driving. I’m on and off on that.” But he worked in the winter with a swing instructor in the simulator to improve his accuracy. “It was a weakness. It’s becoming a strength.”

What are your college plans academically and athletically?

He’s going to attend the University of South Florida where he’ll study finance.

He said he wants to try out for the club golf team and also hopes to play on the club hockey team and perhaps move up to the Division III team.

Is there an athlete you look up to? What is it about them you like?

There are two — Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Los Angeles Lakers small forward-shooting guard LeBron James.

“Both of them have been leaders on their teams since I was born,” DeRiso said. And they’ve both had championship-winning success in their respective pro leagues and in international competition. “I try to be a leader on my golf and hockey teams. Their work ethic inspires me.”

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