Everything came together for Crystal Lake South's John Lishchynsky at the perfect time.
The senior made an incredible run through the Class 2A postseason, capturing medalist honors at regionals with a 1-under-par 71 and sectionals with a career-best 3-under 69. He tied for 15th at state with a of 75-77-152, as the Gators took seventh in the team standings.
Led by Lishchynsky, the Gators won regional and sectional titles. The sectional championship was South's first since 1998.
Lishchynsky was the top golfer in the Fox Valley Conference, finishing with the most points in the end-of-season standings, which combines duals and FVC Tournament finishes. Lishchynsky was runner-up at the FVC Tournament, two shots behind teammate Will Stewart, as South won back-to-back conference titles.
For his accomplishments, Lishchynsky was selected Northwest Herald Boys Golfer of the Year by the sports staff with input from area coaches. Lishchynsky is the first South golfer to win the award since Nick Robles in 2010 and 2011.
Lishchynsky recently spoke with sports writer Alex Kantecki about his favorite memories from senior year, the best Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, the time he was attacked by wasps and more.
Do you have any nicknames?
Lishchynsky: Nothing appropriate. They all just call me John.
How did you get your start in golf?
Lishchynsky: My dad got me my first set of clubs when I was 10. He golfed before I was born. He was shooting around par. That's what he says. But I got in the way, I guess.
Have you ever made a hole-in-one?
Lishchynsky: Sadly, no. I’ve had many within inches of the hole, but they never seem to drop.
What sports moment was so huge you’ll always remember where you were when it happened?
Lishchynsky: Winning [medalist honors at] regionals and sectionals with both rounds under par. That was definitely one of my biggest moments. I don't know what was going on. Everything was just clicking for me.
If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would they be?
Lishchynsky: Arnold Palmer, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tiger Woods.
What is your favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger movie?
What will you remember most about your senior season?
Lishchynsky: How we just got out there and got it done. We’ve been very strong the past two years. Before I even started playing high school golf, me and my dad were looking for the best team before moving to Crystal Lake. I managed to find the best team and the best friends, too.
What is the best piece of coaching advice you’ve ever received?
Lishchynsky: My coach [Jim Buenzli at the Golf Academy at Terra Cotta] pretty much tells me to go out there and play carefree. Don’t care so much, and you won't have anything to be mad about.
Who is your favorite golfer?
Lishchynsky: Ricky Fowler. He’s the only golfer I have a signature from. I handed him my hat and said hello.
Who is your favorite professional sports team?
Lishchynsky: Chicago Blackhawks. I don’t watch sports often, but I like watching hockey.
Which teammate makes you laugh the most?
Lishchynsky: [Senior] Ethan Wiggs. He just says some of the dumbest stuff, and it’s just hilarious. The whole team gets a laugh out of it.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Lishchynsky: Chewing with your mouth open.
What would be your walk-up song if you played baseball?
Lishchynsky: That’s a tough one. I’m going to say “Walk,” by Pantera.
Do you have a most memorable shot?
Lishchynsky: My shot at sectionals [on the 18th at Whisper Creek in Huntley] in front of the whole crowd, where I stuck it to 10 feet from the pin, but missed the putt. That was a fun one.
What scares you?
What is your favorite movie?
Lishchynsky: Adam Sandler’s “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.” I don’t know if many people have heard of it. It’s really stupid, but that’s what makes it funny.
What is your most prized possession?
Lishchynsky: My Illinois Junior Golf Association Player of the Year trophy that I won in 2017.
What sport that you don’t play would you be good at?
Lishchynsky: My friends pick on me for this all the time. I’d say nothing. Maybe if I was a pitcher for baseball, I don't know. I always played with my friends, but nothing competitive like golf. I was never great at anything.
Where would you most like to go on vacation?
Lishchynsky: Ireland. That’s where golf originated, and I’d like to play courses out there.
What golf course is at the top of your bucket list?
Lishchynsky: Pebble Beach. It’s one of the most beautiful golf courses I’ve ever seen in pictures. It’s definitely harder, too, and I want a challenge.
Do you have superstitions or rituals before you play?
Lishchynsky: I don't actually. I know a lot of others do. [South junior] Will Stewart has a couple. If he starts a round with a ball in his pocket and he’s playing well, he can’t take the ball out of his pocket, even if he only has two.
Who’s your hero?
Lishchynsky: My dad. He’s the one that has been able to get me on some path in life. And he’s been able to provide me with everything I need.
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you in competition?
Lishchynsky: When I shot a 12, hitting the same exact shot out of bounds three times in a row. On that same hole, I got up near the green in the bunker, and it was filled with wasps. I had to call over all of the coaches to get a ruling on it. They were laughing at me for being so scared.
What will you remember most about your high school career?
Lishchynsky: My teammates and the experience they gave me. This was more of a family than anything. They all pushed me to be my best, and no one ever gave up. It was just a strong group of guys.