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UNF Golfer Dominates the Sport

Nick Gabrelcik swinging golf clubNick Gabrelcik loves to play for a crowd. The UNF golf standout says the attention provides extra motivation to prove himself and put on a show. To date, he has collected an impressive list of achievements including ASUN Freshman of the Year (2021) and ASUN Player of the Year (2021, 2022), and he’s earned ASUN Golfer of the Week honors seven times.
As evidenced by the crowd of supporters following him around at The Hayt tournament in March, where his team won its first title at the event since 2017, Gabrelcik has become one of golf’s brightest young stars. He is a confident player whose talent continues to garner both local and national attention. Among his many accolades, he’s a two-time individual champion at both The Hayt and Sea Best Invitational golf tournaments.
Having recently secured an individual title and a team championship at The Hayt, which UNF has hosted for 30 years, it’s evident Gabrelcik and his teammates enjoyed the home course advantage while playing at the Sawgrass Country Club.
“The Sawgrass Country Club is probably my favorite course. It suits my game really well,” said Gabrelcik. Since The Hayt is named for John T. Hayt, a longtime supporter of UNF Athletics, both Gabrelcik and Scott Schroeder, head coach of UNF men’s golf, consider it a special honor to win the tournament at home and celebrate the victory with their fans.
Gabrelcik possesses the kind of competitive spirit his coach wants in the UNF golf program. “I want players that have a chip on their shoulder,” Schroeder said. “I want guys who are willing to take some criticism to help make them better, and I want them to want to work hard.”
The men’s golf team currently boasts three sophomores, including Gabrelcik, who are showing great promise to lead the team in seasons to come. Not one to revel in recent individual or team success, Gabrelcik has his sights on one goal that eluded the team last season.
He is optimistic UNF men’s golf will make its seventh NCAA championship appearance. “Hopefully we can get to the national championship this year,” he said. “I see light at the end of the tunnel for this year where we can potentially make a solid run at it.”
Nick Gabrelcik standing on golf courseA native of Trinity, Florida, Gabrelcik started playing golf at the age of eight under the tutelage of his older brother Donnie. By his recollection, he wasn’t very good in the beginning, but he eventually found success competing against his brother and other older competitors. He credits those early days, his time on the Florida Junior Tour and his play in various amateur events for preparing him for the success he’s experiencing at the collegiate level.
“At the end of my junior golf career, I transitioned into playing more amateur events to gain experience playing against collegiate players,” said Gabrelcik. It was this experience that made him believe he could replicate that success in his college career.
Gabrelcik says he chose to attend UNF based on his relationships with several of the players who were already in the golf program. After visiting the campus and meeting coach Schroeder, whom he credits for being a great motivator, he felt right at home. Considering all the success he’s had on the golf course, it appears UNF was the perfect choice.
As a freshman in the 2020-21 season, he ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation per Golfstat, an NCAA-approved website that administers team and individual rankings. This distinguished honor would be the first time a UNF golfer reached the top spot in the rankings. He would go on to finish the season ranked second in the nation according to several ranking sources.
Now in his sophomore season, Gabrelcik is continuing to add to his decorated golf career as one of 12 NCAA men’s golfers chosen to represent the U.S. in the 2022 Arnold Palmer Cup at Golf Club de Geneve in Vandoeuvres, Switzerland, from July 1-3. He is the third North Florida men's golfer to be selected to the team in program history. In April, UNF men’s golf won the ASUN Championship, and Gabrelcik also won an individual title after being named the ASUN Golfer of the Year for a second consecutive season.
Much like his golf heroes Luke Donald and Tiger Woods, Gabrelcik hopes he can one day ascend to the top of the pro ranks. While he has certainly experienced success at the collegiate level, coach Schroeder believes his best is yet to come.