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Devils' Trocchio finally reaches region peak

Norcross golfer Ryan Trocchio helped lead the Blue Devils to the Region 7-AAAAA title and was part of the state's Class AAAAA third-place team.

Norcross golfer Ryan Trocchio helped lead the Blue Devils to the Region 7-AAAAA title and was part of the state's Class AAAAA third-place team.

NORCROSS -- Near misses only count against you in golf.

Lip-out a putt, add a stroke. Bounce off the fairway, the next shot just got tougher. Overshoot a green, the beach is in the future.

For three years, Ryan Trocchio came up just short.

One shot kept his Norcross team out of the state tournament his sophomore year. His junior year, a bad day ended hopes of a region title and a trip to state. And standing in his way every year was Peachtree Ridge. The perennial region front-runners stole every trophy, every tournament, all of the attention.

But on a rainy day in April, the near misses ended.

Trocchio entered his final year at Norcross knowing he led another good team. The top two golfers from past Peachtree Ridge teams were now playing in college, opening the door a bit wider.

"Coming into this year, we knew we had six strong players," Trocchio said. "We knew we had a really good chance to beat up on them this year and we took advantage of it."

Trocchio didn't get a chance to face the Lions until the Region 7-AAAAA tournament -- a rainout canceled a mid-season match. But through more rain, the Daily Post's Player of the Year fired a 71 for an individual region crown and a six-stroke team title.

"We knew that was the team that was going to have any shot of beating us at region," Trocchio said of Peachtree Ridge. "We knew they were the best team."

No longer.

A week later, again with rain falling, Trocchio and Norcross finished ahead of Peachtree Ridge at the state tournament, taking a third-place finish. It ended an unprecedented run for the Blue Devils. Until this year, golf was not represented in Norcross' trophy case. The team won every regular-season match, won its first region title and played in its first state tournament.

It was a team led by Trocchio, undaunted over four years.

Trocchio, a Georgia College and State University signee, didn't take golf seriously until his freshman year at Norcross. He played occasionally growing up, but not with the fervor he does now. He played baseball through junior high, but the summer leagues and travel teams took their toll on the second baseman.

"I had played so much baseball that I was kind of burnt out," Trocchio said.

So he turned to golf. There were no teammates to rely on when he was on the course.

A baseball player may be on his island at the plate or in the field, but it's a team sport first. Golf is about the player against the course.

"(I liked) just being out there with my friends and knowing my score relied on me," Trocchio said. "I could win if I played well. Golf was just more fun."

Trocchio never stopped improving over his years at Norcross and the culmination of a career with a trophy only motivates him more. He doesn't know where his golf career will go, but he will keep playing.

"We'll see how it goes in college," he said. "Hopefully, Georgia College will push me to take my game to the next level."

But until August, Trocchio will play in as many tournaments he can enjoy the spoils of his senior year wins, especially the last one. He has seen Norcross golf improve and with another Trocchio coming through the ranks, he thinks it will only improve.

"He is going to be better," Trocchio said of his younger brother, Clay. "Hopefully, they continue the tradition and kicking Peachtree Ridge's butt."