Zikas of Concordia (NE) Recipient of David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award presented by the AJGA
Nolan Zikas, a senior at Concordia (NE), has been named recipient of the David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award presented by the AJGA.
While a freshman in high school and 15 years old, and after enduring months of leg pain, Zikas was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, the most common form of bone cancer. Treatment kept Zikas homebound, as his immune system could not handle the germs found in public places. Over the next nine months he received 18 rounds of chemotherapy and six surgeries. The most major surgery involved removing the tumor, replacing his right femur bone with a titanium rod and knee replacement. After the surgery he was unable to bear weight on his right leg for three months. Despite that challenge, Zikas attended golf practice to support his teammates. Focusing on golf, and even hopping up to the tee box on his left leg to swing a club, proved the outlet to stay positive during a challenging time.
The difficult moments would continue as over the next several years the cancer spread to Zikas lungs. However, he saw the new right leg as an opportunity. He had to relearn how to walk, rebuild and reuse certain muscles, learn to balance, and how to swing a club again. Through hard work he went on to become a three-time qualifier to the state championship, claiming medalist honors twice.
During his freshman year at Concordia Zikas won a Great Plains Athletic Conference qualifier event. Two days later he learned that a tumor in his lungs had spread. An additional surgery was required. Although doctors told him no1 golf for a month after surgery, Zikas would still go to the basement to practice his putting.
Now in his senior season at Concordia, Zikas is cancer free for three years. He has been told “you have cancer” five separate times and undergone 11 surgeries. He has participated in two different clinical trials at the Mayo Clinic. Throughout difficult times Zikas stayed focused on the positive aspects of family, love of golf, and God. Being on the golf course was his sanctuary during his battle with cancer. Zikas believes that if he was unfortunate enough to have cancer at least he was fortunate enough to have a type that allowed him to physically play golf.
Zikas will leave Concordia as perhaps its most decorated golfer. He’s on pace to break the program’s record for career scoring average and is a three-time all-conference selection through his junior season. He also excelled in the classroom, earning Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar recognition.
“Winning the David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award has provided me with so many opportunities and I can’t thank everyone enough for these opportunities,” said Zikas. “I also need to thank everyone involved in my life (friends, coaches, family, and God) for the continued support and will to keep fighting the great fight and still pursue my goals and dreams in life! This award is not only for me but for everyone involved in my life. Thank you again for the wonderful opportunities and considering me as the award winner.”
About the AJGA:
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 7,000 members from 50 states and 60 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade and adidas are the AJGA’s National Sponsors, supporting the AJGA for more than 25 years. TaylorMade has served as the Official Ball of the AJGA since 2016. adidas has been the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA since 2017. Rolex, in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 900 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Anna Nordqvist, Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson.