To Kapaun Mount Carmel senior A.J. Gebert, there is much more to golf than approach shots and lag putts.
For him, golf brings out what he loves the most: relationships.
Gebert is proud to be able to recall every person in his life who inspired him in the sport he so dearly loves.
Whether it was some of the high school kids giving tips on the practice green when he was in elementary school or members of his family who encouraged him, Gebert cherishes those relationships.
"To me, the most important things in life are immeasurable," Gebert said. "Accomplishments with golf or any other stuff is just something you put on paper. Good people to have with you when you are down or being there to share the good times are what I hold the dearest."
There is one relationship that Gebert holds in higher regard — playing for former Kapaun golf coach Ed Kriwiel, who died three years ago.
As a freshman, Gebert was part of a Kapaun team that finished third in Class 5A in what proved to be Kriwiel's last season. The Crusaders are one of the favorites in Monday's 5A tournament at Winfield Country Club.
"We strived to do something special for coach and for me personally, I didn't play up to my standard," Gebert said. "He put a lot of himself into Kapaun golf and it would be nice to put another state championship on the wall to honor his memory."
With four City League titles, three regional titles and an individual City League title, Gebert has accomplished as much or more than many of the other Kapaun greats. All except a team championship.
Kapaun has been arguably the most impressive team in the state this spring, averaging 289.6 strokes as a four-man team in league events.
Gebert, who averaged 70.8 strokes in City League events, not only wants to win the state championship to have the satisfaction of being Class 5A's best, but to have the satisfaction of winning it and doing it in the way he does best — building relationships with teammates.
"Winning state would mean the world to us," Gebert said. "We've had the talent for four years and it hasn't quite materialized. We've put in a lot work this year.... I have a good feeling about Monday."