KEYSER - If you're lucky in life, you'll find your passion. If you're doubly lucky, your passion will not only bring you joy, but pay dividends for you in ways beyond the joy your passion brings. Keyser's Evan Matlick found one of his passions in life at the young age of 12.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - If you’re lucky in life, you’ll find your passion. If you’re doubly lucky, your passion will not only bring you joy, but pay dividends for you in ways beyond the joy your passion brings.  Keyser’s Evan Matlick found one of his passions in life at the young age of 12.  
On Thursday, in a signing ceremony held at Keyser High School, that passion paid dividends, as Matlick signed to play golf at Bluefield College in Virginia Surrounded by his parents Darin and Amber, principal Lois Spencer, athletic director Lori Wilson, Keyser golf coach Chris Szafran, and Bluefield College golf coach BJ Bauer, Matlick inked a deal that allows him to take his talents, and passion, to the next level.
“Previous to a beach trip to North Carolina, I had never touched a golf club.My father decided to take me to a Par 3 course on the island. Shooting what probably was four times what my scores are now and Dad telling me to swing as hard as I can. At 12, I fell in love with the game,” Evan Matlick recalled.
Matlick began learning and playing the game while in middle school, but the passion and work intensified as he entered high school and joined the Golden Tornado golf program. According to Matlick, “My freshman year, under the direction of Coach Steve Delaney, our inexperienced team came last in every single match, but coach worked with us continually helping us to improve. A class of four freshman that loved the game and wanted to win in the upcoming seasons.”
“This work set up solid seasons our sophomore and then junior year, helping us attain individual honors and team conference wins in our junior season. Then the senior season came, and the expectations were high,” Matlick explained.
That senior season would indeed be one for the record books for Matlick and his teammates. The Golden Tornado started winning in August, and they just kept winning. It wasn’t just that they were winning, but more so the fact that they were winning all of their matches.  
By the time the regular season had concluded, Keyser had run off 55 consecutive victories. While the team would fall short of qualifying for the state tournament after finishing fourth at regionals, nothing could take away the accomplishments of that remarkable and record-setting regular season.
According to Matlick, “Coach Chris Szafran was great in working with us daily and giving us realistic goals for us to achieve. A great group of players and friends worked together to get the awesome undefeated season. I was loving every minute of it, and enjoying one last ride with all my opposing school competitors.”
In his junior year, Matlick’s thoughts turned to the continuation of both his academic and athletic careers at the next level. According to Matlick, “When looking for options after high school I realized I wanted to further my education, what and where was still up in the air. Continuing my golfing career was also something I was wanting to do, so I began to contact local colleges and universities. As I began to search the southern parts of West Virginia I stumbled into Bluefield College in Virginia.
“I contacted the coach and he invited me down for a visit. Last spring I visited, played some golf, and discovered some majors. It was at that moment I felt the school, the team, and the coach was the best fit for me to pursue a business degree,” Matlick detailed.
Bluefield College golf coach BJ Bauer made the four and a half-hour trek to Keyser High School for Matlick’s signing. Bauer explained how the school’s interest in Matlick began, “We got lucky on him. He reached out to me and at first I really wasn’t sure.  Then he showed up, and the boys got length. He can hit the ball a mile.”
According to Bauer, “I remember the greens giving him a little bit of fits, the short game. But, that’s the part of the game that probably I’m the strongest on. When I heard that he was going to commit to Bluefield, I was very excited.”
Bauer went on to explain a little about Bluefield College and their golf program, “We play in the fall and the spring. In the fall, our first tournaments are in the last week of August, and our final tournament is in the last week of October. We play in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, with most of the teams being Southern, down towards Atlanta. Then in the spring, we start back up with a spring break trip in late February/early March, and we’re done by the fourth week of April.”
As Matlick finishes out his senior of year high school and prepares himself for the next level, both academically and athletically, he reflects on the tremendous role Keyser High School’s coaches and teachers have had in preparing him for this great adventure.
“Keyser High School has been a great place to learn. First of all, with my great coaches through high school, Coach Rohrbaugh (baseball), Coach Szafran (baseball and golf), Coach Delaney (golf) and Coach Malcolm (golf). Not to mention my wonderful teachers who helped build me up in academics and character. Classes offered at the Technical Center guided me in the direction that I’m taking for my career as well,” Matlick appreciatively stated.
While Matlick credits outstanding support from Keyser High School in helping him reach his goals, he’s quick to point out the support of others that has helped him along the way.
“Supporters along the way have given me the opportunity to not only succeed in golf but also in the game of life. Supporters who I’d like to mention are my father, mother, grandparents, coaches, the Polish Pines golf community, and KHS/MCTC faculty.”
Evan Matlick discovered at the young age of 12 his passion for golf.  Matlick’s outstanding character, the support of others, but most importantly his hard work in the classroom and on the golf course, have opened doors for him to succeed at the next level and in life in general.