By: Joe Langley
Senior Andrew Halmrast is one of the original members of the first UMW golf team. Despite struggling in college with the death of loved ones and other set-backs, he has remained positive, continues to love his sport and strives to be a leader for his team.
Halmrast, who has been playing golf since his freshman year of high school, also played on his high school’s baseball team, which won the state championship in 2016. Throughout high school he was a two-sport athlete who excelled both on and off the field. In the spring of 2016, he committed to UMW for golf.
Halmrast’s drive sets him apart. He cites his father as his biggest inspiration, who coached him in every sport he played until he got to high school. His father attended his every game.
“When it comes to my dad, he was my first and best friend. My first mentor, my overall inspiration and role model, when it comes to the life I want to live,” said Halmrast. Halmrast went on to say that his father knew when to push him to keep his head up, but also knew when to instill lessons of discipline.
Halmrast grew up playing baseball, until his best friend, Bryce, taught him how to play golf.
His father and Bryce were the first people Halmrast told about committing to UMW. This decision was a key moment for Halmrast, as all of his days practicing with his former high school teammate had finally paid off.
When Halmrast went to UMW for orientation, he had no idea how much his life would change. The first night of orientation, Halmrast’s friend passed away. He was only twenty years old. To this day, Bryce’s death looms over Halmrast. “I think about him everyday and every round of golf that I get to play,” said Halmrast.
This was not the end of the sorrow Halmrast would have to face at UMW. At the beginning of his junior year, Halmrast received a life-changing phone call. “I was at one of my best friends Eddie’s house, and I was getting these random calls from restricted numbers,” said Halmrast. “It was making me kind of paranoid, and I eventually answered. There was a soft spoken woman on the other end. She told me that Dean Rucker needed to see me immediately, however she couldn’t specifically tell me why.”
“My heart was in my stomach as I walked into Marye House,” said Halmrast. “When I walked in, I saw my brother, my aunt, my uncle, and my sister-in-law. I knew something was wrong by the look on their faces.” Halmrast’s aunt broke the silence and told him that his dad had died that day.
“I can honestly say that I would not have come back to the school if it wasn’t for Dean Rucker’s talk with me afterwards,” said Halmrast.
Halmrast, motivated by Rucker, powered through the semester and through his next two years at UMW. Because of a switch in majors, Halmrast also has to wait an additional year to graduate.
Fortunately, he will still be able to play golf during this time as he was granted an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA, due to the season cancellation caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. For someone who has struggled through so much, Halmrast looks optimistically towards his final year at UMW.
“There are worse things that can happen, which I know all too much about,” said Halmrast. Halmrast looks at the set back as simply having one extra stepping stone on his path to success. He feels that his success will not be determined by him finishing school on time, but merely by finishing school.
“I get another year of college life, and another year of golf. I just want to make it count,” said Halmrast.
Halmrast’s goals for the upcoming season are simple. Being the most experienced member of the team, he hopes to be a solid leader and bring a positive aura to his teammates. He is determined to have his leadership benefit the team in focusing on academics, promoting community involvement, and boosting their social media presence.
Halmrast’s story of perseverance and optimism is something he hopes can help not only his teammates and friends, but also any other person who is struggling to push through life.