Joe Fleming and Kaylyn Scourbys made a bit of history as the latest Christopher High athletes who are set to play in college. According to Christopher High golf coach Jeff Driggs, Scourbys is the first golfer from the school who will play at the four-year university level straight out of high school. Fleming is just the second Christopher football player to earn a scholarship to play at a four-year program straight out of high school (Jake Moen was the first).
Fleming will attend Southern Oregon University and Scourbys St. Olaf College College in Minnesota. Both had signing ceremonies at the school library last week on different days to celebrate their accomplishment. Fleming, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound linemen, had multiple offers and visited several colleges before deciding on Southern Oregon, a NAIA program that plays in the Frontier Conference.
“I’ve always wanted to play college football ever since I started playing NCAA football (video game on the Playstation),” he said. “Southern Oregon has a great coaching staff, they’re getting a brand new facility and weight room, a physical therapist and they’ve had a good record.”
Fleming said the Southern Oregon coaches would give him the option to play either offensive or defensive line, and right now he’s favoring defense. Fleming went to several football camps last summer and trained at XIOS Strength and Conditioning, resulting in an increase in all of his major lifts.
“I got bigger, faster and stronger,” he said. “And going to those camps helped me develop my game.”
Scourbys will be leaving Gilroy for Minnesota, but in a way it’s like her second home. She has family members in Minnesota, and made a visit there last summer. On the trip, Scourbys toured several colleges, and fell in love with St. Olaf. She eventually filled out a questionnaire and promptly received an email from women’s golf coach Katie Luckraft. The two kept in contact until Scourbys and her mom visited the campus again in November.
The day Scourbys was filling out the questionnaire, she also played a round of golf with her grandfather, Pinky Swenson. It also happened to be her birthday. Swenson has been one of the more influential figures in Scourbys’ life.
“He’s been an amazing supporter and huge inspiration toward my golf career,” Scourbys said. “He’s been playing golf since he was 9 years old, and he’s 91 today. He inspired me to play, so I tried it out freshman year.”
To showcase just how much Scourbys has improved, she said her average nine hole round went from the high 60s as a freshman to the low to mid 40s in her senior season. Scourbys also plays softball and has a 4.29 GPA. Driggs, who has coached the boys team at Christopher for the last seven years and recently completed his first season as the girls golf coach, said Scourbys was one of the main reasons why his transition to coaching the girls was a seamless one. It’s no wonder Driggs was effusive in his praise for Scourbys.
“Kaylyn as one of the team captains made my introduction to girls golf really smooth to say the least,” he said. “She has the drive and focus that not a whole lot of athletes reach. She succeeded because she worked hard and was able to grasp what we tried to get her to do on the golf course. It was the perfect storm, really. She had the fundamentals down, but our goal was to take her a step further on course management and how to approach each shot and analyze misses.”
As an example, Driggs pointed to the fact that Scourbys learned how to hit the side of the green that would be most conducive for her to get up and down for the ensuing putts.
“She started getting a grasp of how to manage a golf course that only the higher level players understand,” Driggs said.