HEBRON ESTATES - It is not often that a high school athlete has his choice of sports to compete in at the college level.
It is even more unusual for an athlete to get financial aid to compete in two sports at a college. It is even more rare for that athlete to play two sports that compete in the same time blocks on the calendar.
North Bullitt senior Matt Bloom fulfilled that role on Wednesday when he sat down to sign the paperwork to compete starting in the fall in both golf and soccer at St. Catharine College in Springfield, Ky.
In the library at the school, Bloom finished the paperwork in front of St. Catharine golf coach Joan Rizer. It will be golf that Bloom will focus on first before he helps out the soccer team as his schedule allows.
“Golf will be the main one, but both coaches have agreed to work around my golf schedule,” Bloom said after making it all official.
Bloom has been around the athletic program at North Bullitt for a remarkable seven years. However, he didn’t start being an Eagle either in golf or soccer. He first was a member of the North Bullitt tennis team as a sixth-grader, reaching the regional tournament in doubles that year and for the next four years.
But one day a friend invited Bloom to play a round of golf. As the senior remembers it now, he wasn’t very good that day. That set off a spark that roared into a passion for the game on the links. He would later get a job in the clubhouse at Seneca Golf Course and later drop tennis in favor of the two fall sports.
That worked out well for St. Catharine. Bloom worked at the golf course with a pair of assistant golf pros who had played at the school back when it was a junior college. Rizer was the coach then and her former players put the coach and Bloom into contact.
Bloom started playing golf for the Eagles as a freshman and began to compete in matches a year later. This past season, he and junior Brandon Goeing shared the top spot on the team, leading the Eagles to a 19-1 record that was the best in school history.
The final tally shows Bloom playing tennis for five seasons at North Bullitt as well as four years of golf and three of soccer.
It just took Bloom a little time to settle into golf.
“I wasn’t very good,” the 17-year old son of Steve and Sherri Bloom said as he recalled those early rounds of golf. “I wanted to get better and I got some lessons. Then I met Kevin Greenwell (the head pro at Seneca Golf Course) and he offered me a job. So, I was able to get practice time and lessons and I ended up liking it.
“Last year I really started to like it and I won some tournaments over the summer in the Mussleman-Dunn Tours,” the senior recalled. “I finished third in the points that summer.”
On the summer circuit, Bloom has a personal best of a 71 which he fired in a tournament that he won at the Shawnee Golf Course. He had a 78 for North Bullitt in a tournament during the school year and he twice had 35s in local matches at Heritage Hill Golf Course where the Eagles play their home matches.
Bloom has a sister, Courtney, who is a freshman at North Bullitt. The family has always resided in the county with Matt attending Maryville Elementary and Zoneton Middle School before enrolling at North Bullitt.
Before settling on St. Catharine, Bloom also looked at Murray State and Eastern Kentucky University. He probably would not have played golf at EKU, but the school does have a Golf Course Management program.
“I just wanted to play,” Bloom said of the final decision.
Rizer, who has won five Kentucky Women’s Amateur titles, started the golf program at St. Catharine in 1998. She coaches both the men’s and the women’s programs.
Golf at the NAIA school is played in both the fall and spring. The seasons are in September and October as well as in March and April. One of the major spring events is held in Florida.