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May 11, 2005

Some say life is all about balance. South Carolina golfer West Streib might have mastered that art.

The Atlanta, Ga., native seems to have achieved a triangle of success – playing collegiate golf for a top-25 team, performing in the classroom and finding time to give back to the community – in addition to finding some time to be a regular college student. Streib completed requirements in four years and graduated on May 6 with two degrees, in International Business and finance, and a minor in Spanish.

Quite an accomplishment, considering South Carolina’s International Business School in ranked first in the nation, a big selling point in Streib’s decision to attend USC. He relishes the opportunities he’s had to travel to places like Spain and Switzerland to study.

Streib, who is an avid Gamecock football and basketball fan, is a two-time member of the Southeastern Conference Good Works Team, which recognizes superior efforts by student-athletes who give back to their communities, and earned the SEC Men’s Golf Scholar Athlete of the Year Award on May 2.

How has he managed to keep on top of it all?

“I was kind of brought up that way,” Streib said. “I’ve always been busy with golf, school and community service. I think I get a lot more done when I’m on a deadline. I went to a high school that was extra demanding (academically). It had a competitive high school golf team and encouraged community involvement. I think it prepared me well and it was a factor in what I’ve accomplished.”

Streib joined the Gamecock program in 2001 after graduating from Marist High School in Atlanta. He spent a year as a redshirt before joining the lineup in each of the last three years. He has a knack for bringing his “A” game when in counts. Streib’s best round of golf in each of those three seasons came at the SEC Championship. He finished 18th in 2005.

“My approach has changed along the way. I’ve had a change in attitude. I think I’ve grown up,” Streib says of his development. “I wasn’t mature enough and tried too hard. I’ve tried to really enjoy the opportunity I have. I appreciate how fortunate I am to play college golf. There are a lot of other things I could be doing that don’t hold a candle to being a collegiate golfer. I enjoy the company and the chance to compete.”

Off the course, Streib counts his most rewarding experience as his involvement in a program called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), which is sponsored through the Internal Revenue Service.

“A high school friend of mine who goes to Furman told me about VITA,” he said. “I liked the sound of it and went through training in Greenville, S.C., to do basic tax returns.”

During the last couple of years during tax season, Streib has spent three or four hours on Friday mornings helping prepare tax returns for the elderly, veterans and low-income families.

“It was very rewarding,” Streib said. “A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck, and doing their returns for free allowed them to save money.”

Streib’s college golf career is winding down, but he’s hoping to compete two more times for USC. Carolina will make its 10th straight trip under head coach Puggy Blackmon to NCAA Regionals next week. The team will play in the West Regional as the No. 8 seed, May 19-21, at Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif. Streib likes the Gamecocks’ chances to move on to the NCAA Championship, contested, June 1-4, at Caves Valley Golf Course in Owings Mills, Md.

“I’m extremely confident in our team’s chance to play well and advance to the NCAA Championships,” he said. “We’re a strong team with balance. We seem to be peaking at the right time in practice and qualifying. I’m optimistic at our chances for success. We’ve shown that we can play with and beat the best teams in the country.”

What’s next for Streib following the conclusion of golf season?

“I’m ready to move into the next phase of my life,” he said. “I’m going to play amateur golf this summer and then look into turning pro after that.”

Even if professional golf doesn’t work out, Streib’s future looks bright all the same.