Weston golfer Katz receives SAMMY award
Updated 1:43 am, Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Dylann Katz works hard on the links and replenishes herself with milk.
A senior co-captain of the Weston girls golf team before graduating last Wednesday, she earned First Team All-SWC recognition for her performance on the fairways. Katz received an even bigger honor when she received the Student Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year award at Disney World from the National Milk Mustache "got milk?®" Campaign and USA Today.
The campaign selected 25 winners by region out of 40,000 applicants and saw superstar athletes Milk Mustache judges Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, current Knicks guard Chauncey Billups, professional tennis player Andy Roddick, speed skater Apolo Ohno and skier Lindsey Vonn.
"I had an amazing weekend in Disney," Katz said. "USA Today and MilkPEP treated us like stars. Meeting Dara Torres and Hines Ward was awesome but getting to meet the other SAMMY winners was even better...really incredible athletes and people. Receiving the SAMMY Award from the hands of two incredible athletes was inspiring. I am very honored."
It was the 14th annual SAMMY award and the honorees are selected based on excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. The honorees are also required to have milk in their diet and promote exercise and competitiveness in sports.
"I think it's really cool and a unique thing they can do to promote healthy living," Katz said.
The award-winners received a $7,500 scholarship towards their college tuitions, which also spurred Katz to take the "got milk?®" plunge upon receiving the suggestion to apply from her guidance counselor.
"It's crazy I got the award because there were so many applicants," Katz said. "It was a great experience. The other winners are incredible kids and I'm excited. It was my best award ever."
All of the SAMMY award winners participated in a special Milk Mustache ad in USA Today last Friday, which was something Katz relished.
"Dylann exemplifies all qualities of a SAMMY Scholar," `got milk?®' representative Kelly Magnus said. "Her enthusiasm to out do her opponents on the course and energy to lead the team to this success is undeniable. Dylann makes the perfect "got milk?®" representative because she knows how to keep her body healthy and she refuels her tough workouts with chocolate milk."
Katz fulfilled her athletic part of the "got milk®" equation by averaging a 49.9 through nine holes and earning First Team All-SWC honors. Although she was recognized for her success, she remains modest over her honors.
"I struggled at the beginning of the season but improved as the year wound down," Katz said. "It was a fun season and I'm happy with how it turned out."
She was also the team MVP for two straight years.
"Everyone looked up to me to carry the team by scoring and it was an honor to get it when we all improved," Katz said. "I couldn't have done it without my teammates."
Growing up, Katz always loved to golf and she first picked up clubs at age 6. Unlike most top golfers, she never belonged to a country club nor did she take countless lessons. She took five to six lessons this year and it was mostly to tweak her putting. In the end, the lessons made a difference as her putting improved, which led to lower scores. Although she played for a long time, she didn't play golf seriously until freshman year.
Having the proper temperament contributed to her success on the links. With golf being the type of sport with a large element of luck, it's easy for its participants to get frustrated. But not Katz, who always demonstrated a calm demeanor, which contributed to her success.
"You have good days and bad days and it's an up and down game," Katz said. "If I had a bad round, I brushed it off. I just had fun with it."
Growing up, Katz tried basketball, volleyball, tennis and softball and played soccer up until sophomore year. She was a varsity fullback but gave it up to focus on her studies and golf.
Katz fulfilled the leadership component of her SAMMY by serving the golf team as captain for two years. She led by example through her work ethic and verbally by being available to her teammates.
"Communication is important when they look up to you and I try to answer any questions they have," Katz said.
Academically, Katz takes mostly AP courses.
"I manage my time better during the season and I'm more focused," she said. "Schoolwork comes first and my coach was good about it."
This fall, she will attend Cornell University's business school and major in economics and management. There's no women's golf team at Cornell but Katz would try out if a team got started and she plans on playing at the club level.
"I don't think I'll ever give up golf and I'll play it recreationally," Katz said. "It's a lifelong sport."