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George's golf career comes to abrupt end

April 18, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

The Holtville High School golf team took a major hit Friday when team leader Preston George was injured in a motorcycle accident.

George, a four-year varsity golfer, was riding his motorcycle on a track to be used for Saturday's Fud 200 near Plaster City when the accident occurred. He hit a jump and landed on the front tire of his motorcycle, which caused him to fly over the handlebars. He broke his collar bone and injured a rib.

While the actual accident caused him plenty of pain, George said the sudden realization he would not play golf again this season was what hurt the most.

"The first thing I thought of was no more golf," he said. "It was kind of stupid of me. I took a big risk and I know I let my team down."

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The loss of George will certainly hurt the Viking squad. He is the team's lone senior and was averaging a score of 77 over 18 holes this season. He was selected as MVP of the team and the Desert Mountain League for both his sophomore and junior years. Last season he finished first at the CIF qualifier meet and he has earned medalist honors in nine of Holtville's 11 matches this season. He has been an integral part of three of the Vikings' four straight league titles.

To say George will be hard to replace is certainly an understatement.

"He was getting better and better," said Viking coach John Reschert. "He was our No. 1 player and this will drop us 15-20 strokes. We do have a big squad. We have kids who can step up. Now we have to see if they're able to."

For George to have been riding a motorcycle was not unusual. He says he has been riding since the sixth grade. However, he had no intention of racing last weekend.

"I was just seeing what the track was like," he said. "I was not going to race because once golf starts, that's it."

Ironically George played his final match the day before the wreck, earning medalist honors against Calipatria.

"I wasn't thinking it was my last match," he said. "I didn't even know I was going to ride until Friday. If I would have known something was going to happen, then I wouldn't have gone riding. Golf's more important than motorcycle riding."

George will be on the shelf for about six weeks, after which his doctor told him he should be fine. While his high school golf career has come to an abrupt end, he hopes to play in college next year.

"I'd like to go to college and try and make the golf team," he said. "But it's hard being from the Valley. You don't get many scholarships. But I know I'm capable of making the team."

George will cheer on his teammates from the sidelines and hope they fare well without him.

"They're capable of doing it without me," he said. "I just want to tell them to play smart and keep their heads in it. They can definitely be successful."

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