PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — St. Joseph High School in Hammonton, New Jersey has been winning and uplifting, all while being driven by their team captain battling cancer.
Fresh off qualifying for the state playoffs for the first time in school history, the young Wildcats have overcome a lot since doctors diagnosed senior Nico Marts with Hodgkin Lymphoma last year.
“I was worried but I knew I was going to overcome it and get back to normal life,” Marts said.
Golf Coach Samuel Curcio is nothing less than encouraged by how Marts and his fellow teammates responded to adversity.
“Last year was very tough for me as he went through his treatments and things like that,” Curcio said. “The team and the school community responded in a great way.”
The Wildcats rallied around their captain and sure enough he was back on the course this year leading them to a 14-2 record.
“It feels great because I’m the captain of the golf team and I got past this illness,” Marts said. “And to make it to state playoffs is a big achievement for the team.”
But Marts is not the only golfer with an inspiring tale of persevering through physical ailments.
Nick Swift, a junior, suffers from cerebral palsy.
“After 17 years it just becomes a part of every day life,” Swift said. “But I guess you know some days (it’s a) good feeling to hit a golf ball as hard as you can.”
Both Swift and Marts provide a fiery speak for their peers, with their relentless drive as they hit the course in hopes of not missing a beat.
“They’re inspirational,” Dillon Kramer, a junior on the team, said. “They’re just regular guys to us; they’re our friends.”
Who knew life lessons could be learned on a golf course?
“You hit a shot into the sand and you’re bummed out,” Swift explained. “But then your next shot can land two feet from the hole. So you can go from that low to the high. But sometimes that’s the journey–it’s just seeing that you go from that low to the high. It makes it all worth it.”