Athlete of the Week: Stonewall’s Dotson makes visions come true at regionals

Nick Dotson

QUICKSBURG – Stonewall Jackson golfer Nick Dotson likes to visualize himself making a shot or a putt before actually taking it.

“I like to visualize the putt going in, maybe give a little fist pump – that feeling of joy when you make it, just think about that,” Dotson said. “Your worries kind of go away and you can’t wait to make it. So you’re ready to putt it. I think it helps you to carry out what you’re trying to do.”

Last week the visons in Doston’s head came to fruition quite a bit as he placed fifth in the Region 1A East tournament.

The junior said he could have played better, but he was happy with his 83 at the London Downs Golf Course in Altavista.

“Last week I was just able to remain tough and keep that competitive spirit in me to grind out the best that I could,” Dotson said. “I’m glad I did now looking back, because that really proved to be worth it with the score I got, placing fifth. That was a great feeling, accomplishment.”

Dotson, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Oct. 3-9, said it helped that he played on the same course the week before in the Conference 44 tournament.

The junior finished third in the conference tournament. He said playing the same course back-to-back weeks was an advantage for the team, as the Generals placed second. They finished just one shot behind Altavista, and qualified for the Group 1A state tournament.

“I think it really helped us as a team,” Dotson said. “We were mentally prepared. We knew we had it in us to do well on that course.”

Dotson has been on Stonewall’s team since his freshman year, but he said this year he has finally started becoming more consistent.

Stonewall Jackson coach Steve Burkholder said Dotson’s very technically sound.

“I would say Nick is very technical. He breaks down his shot, works really hard with his shot in the off season and it paid off all year,” Burkholder said. “He’s just one of those guys that’s really self aware of what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. Knowing a lot about your shot goes a long way. When he mishits a ball, he can immediately pick out why he mishit it.”

Dotson, who also plays basketball and baseball at Stonewall Jackson, said he worked a lot on his golf game in the offseason. He said he took a few lessons, but mostly he just worked on his game on his own.

Doston said he works on all parts of his game. He said that he feels like chipping and putting are two of his biggest strengths.

“I think most of the time being good just takes consistency,” Dotson said. “Usually if I just kind of hit all my clubs well, things go well.”

Another thing that’s helped Dotson in all of his sports has been his composure and being able to handle pressure situations.

“I feel just relaxing is important, part of that is having fun and enjoying it,” Dotson said. “Not worrying, really just kind of going out and having the confidence to play well knowing that you can hit the shot you’re about to hit.”

Dotson said that he was motivated to get to the state tournament this season after seeing teammate Yash Desai get there last year individually.

Dotson shot a 99 in the first round and an 89 in the second round of this week’s Group 1A state tournament at Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisonburg. The Generals finished third as a team. He said he knows he could do better than his two-day total of 188, and it will motivate him even more this offseason.

“For sure coming here was my motivation all year this summer,” Dotson said. “I think now that I’ve made it here the ability to perform well here, maybe bring home a medal or something, would be definitely nice. It will keep me out there working on my game until I think I got it down.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com