VIENNA -Tyler Cardenas has faced this dilemma before.
If everything goes according to plan at this week's state tennis tournament, the senior from Parkersburg Catholic will have a difficult decision to make on Saturday.
Does he pursue a possible state title, or opt for his golf clubs and compete in the West Virginia Golf Association's Junior Match Play Championship at Parkersburg Country Club?
Photo illustration by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg Catholic’s Tyler Cardenas will be attempting to compete in a state meet in two different events this week. The senior not only advanced to the Class AA/A state tennis meet in Charleston, but also qualified for Saturday’s WVGA Junior Match Play Championship at Parkersburg Country Club.
"It's going to be interesting - I hope to work it out somehow," Cardenas said. "Hopefully, I can win as many matches as I can and make it to the finals. If that happens then I will make a call and tell (the WVGA) I can't make it and let an alternate take my spot."
Last year, the fork in the road came down to a prom date on the same day as the Junior Match Play qualifier at Bel Meadow Golf Club in Clarksburg. After shooting a round of 82, Cardenas tied for the last qualifying spot, but withdrew from the playoff.
"I couldn't be late for prom," Cardenas explained. "My date was glad to have me back on time."
Actually, this week might seem less taxing than what Cardenas experienced several days ago beginning with the Class AA-A regional tennis meet last Thursday and Friday at West Liberty University when he played a total of five matches - including four in one day while advancing in both singles and doubles.
"When we started our matches on Thursday, the temperature on the courts was 100 degrees," Cardenas said.
His doubles partner happened to be none other than his younger brother, Luke.
"I figure if I abandon my brother and decide to golf instead, I'll never hear the end of it- so I am going to try and get him a state championship," Tyler Cardenas said.
Along with his father, Ignacio, who also serves as the Parkersburg Catholic tennis coach, the family stayed overnight in the Wheeling area on Saturday. The next day, Tyler traveled to Hurricane and shot a 4-over-par 76 at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club to make the cut by two strokes.
"Everything went surprisingly well and better than I anticipated," Cardenas said. "I got off the tee and hit my irons. I missed a few putts here and there, but I made a big birdie on the 16th hole that put me at 3-over and I felt comfortable.
"To qualify for something this big and get the chance to play on my home course on Saturday, I am extremely excited."
The clock read 8:30 p.m. on Sunday when golfers finally began to disperse Sleepy Hollow Golf Club, and it was only fitting that Cardenas was exhausted.
Currently in the recovery mode, Cardenas gears up for another eventful week, beginning with the state tennis tournament which runs Thursday through Saturday.
"I will just play one point at a time and try to stay calm because I realize I have a long way to go," he said. "I look forward to this week. It's going to be fun."