Ivy Leaf - Spring 2007
Dziabo leads Lion golf, basketball teams
Strapping on a golf bag in the fall before lacing up his sneakers in the winter, junior Quintin Dziabo is making his mark on Penn State Altoona athletics. Balancing golf, basketball, academics, and a part-time job, the Cresson, Pennsylvania native has matured into a role model and bona fide leader on both the fairway and the hardwood.
"Quintin played number one for us all year and got the best out of himself and his teammates," states Lion Golf Coach Tom Koehle. "His ability to handle adversity on the golf course has improved his score drastically. He is extremely competitive and very intense; this year, he really channeled those emotions to work to his advantage."
Indeed, his competitive drive and unmatched intensity led to a recordsetting 2006 season which saw Dziabo lead the Lion golf squad to its second Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championship and first ever automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. For his individual effort, he was selected as the AMCC Player of the Year, an honor that did not come without a challenge.
"I remember the first tournament this season at Frostburg State when I finished seventh," recalls Dziabo, who was introduced to golf at the age of ten by his father. "I knew that winning Player of the Year was a possibility and that I needed to perform better to have a shot at receiving the honor. Now that I've won it, it's just an awesome feeling."
Koehle says the combination of talent and hard work, coupled with his performance in 2006, made selecting him Player of the Year a "no-brainer."
"Quintin is among the longest hitters not just in our conference, but in the area," notes Koehle. "He won three tournaments this season, including the AMCC Championship, when no other golfer in the conference won more than one."
A Criminal Justice major at Penn State Altoona, Dziabo anxiously awaits spring when the Lion golf squad reassembles to head to Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament in mid-May. But thoughts of spring were put aside as basketball season began. The Altoona Mirror Player of the Year in 2002, Dziabo is revered for his tenacious defense and aggressive rebounding. Head Men's Basketball Coach Alan Seretti recognizes just how challenging it is for Dziabo to balance his responsibilities.
"Quintin has not only participated in two sports while juggling his academic demands and working, but he has excelled in each area. He understands that the preparation for class, for golf, and for basketball is as important if not more important than just showing up and competing hard on test day or game day. He deserves any accolades that come his way."
Dziabo started nearly half the games as a freshman and, last year as a sophomore, got the starting nod in twenty of the team's twenty-five contests. He nearly averaged a double-double last season, tallying nine points and eight rebounds per game. His goals this year included helping the team make the AMCC playoffs, which became a reality as the team competed against Pitt-Bradford in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite falling in the first round, Dziabo and teammate senior guard Tyler Franklin were named AMCC men's basketball allstars. For Dziabo, this was his first postseason basketball honor. The squad itself finished with the most wins in a season since Penn State Altoona became affiliated with the NCAA.
As a senior next year, Dziabo most certainly will have a target on his back in both golf and basketball. And while the physical demands for the two sports are much different, he says that both basketball and golf require the same mental approach.
"I do a lot of work over the summer to improve my game in golf and basketball," notes Dziabo. "And while training for each sport is different, the mental approach is exactly the same for me. They both require a lot of focus and maximum effort. Mentally, I tell myself that I'm going to win every time out; if you keep that mindset, there isn't much that can slow you down."