Mateusz Gradecki, a senior on the golf team from Oborniki Slaskie, Poland, has finished his final fall semester with two big finishes and a lot from the past to be proud of.
As a sophomore, Gradecki tied for fifth at the Southern Conference Championship. It was his best collegiate finish to date, and this led ETSU to an overall tournament win.
As a junior, he tied for fifth again in the SoCon Tournament, and coming up in the spring, Gradecki will play a final Championship where he hopes to finish even better.
Most recently, in the 2016-17 season, he has had two stand-out finishes. The first coming in mid-October where Gradecki tied for second at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate with a total score of 205. The next big finish game in early November, where he tied for second at the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational in Hawaii.
In Gradecki’s freshman and junior seasons, some of his best performances came in Hawaii.
Part of coming to the United States meant adjusting to a new lifestyle and way of life. As a freshman, it was difficult at first, but as a senior now, Gradecki is comfortable enough to simply enjoy being here.
“We get to see different cultures, different places and that’s the best part about it,” said Gradecki, talking about the travel that’s required for tournaments in the U.S.
There is a lot of responsibility and personal expectations that come with being a senior, and ultimately it comes down to always putting out the best effort.
“I’m the only senior so I’m kind of taking the role as the leader of the team,” Gradecki said.
As a leader, Gradecki has been working in the summer as well, appearing in two consecutive British Amateur Championships.
“Back home we play individually, so that’s is real different,” Gradecki said. “Because here we still play individually but we are also playing for a team.”
There is more emphasis on playing for a bigger purpose like the team at ETSU, something Gradecki has come to enjoy and respect in his time here.
In team finishes this season, the Bucs have only missed out of the top-10 twice. Their best finish this fall came at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate where they finished fifth overall, with Gradecki’s second place finish individually playing a huge role.
“My expectations are always pretty high,” Gradecki said. “I’m trying to do my best every time.”