Fox Chapel’s Eli Yofan named 2021-22 Trib HSSN Boys Athlete of the Year

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Monday, July 4, 2022 | 12:23 a.m


When Eli Yofan was partying on the 18th green of Cedarbrook Golf Course last fall, a thought that had nothing to do with golf came to his mind. He had just hit a 1-under par round and guided Fox Chapel to a WPIAL team title, but his thoughts were already on winter.

“All I thought was, now we really have to win basketball,” he said.

Four months later, Yofan hosted the Fox Chapel again, this time at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center. The multisport star averaged 19.3 points and 5.9 rebounds and helped the Foxes claim one of the more surprising WPIAL championship wins in recent years.

As a senior, Yofan wanted to win that title for himself, but also for a school that hadn’t seen a basketball champion in 45 years.

“After winning the WPIAL golf title, I didn’t think going four years without a WPIAL basketball title was right for me,” he said.

That was the final chapter in a high school career in which Yofan excelled in every sport he tried. Basketball was his main sport and the one he will play in college in Miami (Ohio). But whether he was swinging a racquet, scoring a goal, or making a kill, he always succeeded.

Consider that Yofan was named an All-Section as a sophomore in football. As a junior, he received all WPIAL awards as a volleyball player. And as a senior, he proved to be one of the best golfers in the state.

Yofan’s success in multiple sports — he won WPIAL titles in both basketball and golf this year — earned him the TribLive HSSN Boys Athlete of the Year for the 2021-22 school year.

In the fall, Yofan was the lowscorer (1-under) as the Fox Chapel golf team won the WPIAL Class 3A title in one shot against Central Catholic. The Foxes finished second in the state tournament after tying state college and losing in a playoff.

In the individual competition, Yofan took second place at the WPIAL golf championship and fourth place at the state tournament.

During the winter, he focused on basketball, where the Foxes won 27-2, won the WPIAL Class 6A title and made the state semifinals.

They went 21-1 in the regular season, losing just 30 points to WPIAL favorites North Hills in mid-December. These two teams were seeded first and second in the WPIAL playoffs, and the Foxes seemed like heavy underdogs when they met again in the WPIAL Finals. However, Fox Chapel stunned the previously undefeated Indians, winning 43-36.

The Foxes reached the state semifinals and finished the season 27-2.

“Throughout my high school career, everyone kind of overlooked us,” Yofan said. “People were like, ‘Oh, Fox Chapel doesn’t stand a chance,’ especially this year with North Hills. Everyone thought North Hills went through 6A. It was pretty exciting to prove people wrong and win a title with the kids I’ve been playing with since third grade.

“It was very special.”

Yofan took some time to answer the questions and answers about the Boy Athlete of the Year:

What is your favorite moment from your senior year?

Just before the final buzzer rang at the Petersen Events Center and I knew it was over. We all started getting ready to celebrate. It was just an incredible feeling.

Looking back, how did you win that game?

We knew all year that we would face them in the WPIAL finals. We kind of knew what we had to do. We had to limit Royce (Parham) a bit and be a bit more physical.

Is it safe to say you weren’t surprised you won?

I wouldn’t say we were surprised. We did exactly what we wanted.

Besides basketball, golf, soccer and volleyball, what other sports have you tried?

I did track in middle school. One day I had a reunion and a volleyball game at Dorseyville Middle School. I would change my clothes and run back and forth so I could come to my running events and also play my volleyball game.

I was really, really big at baseball until middle school. My older sister played volleyball and my mom also played volleyball in high school. They said, “Try volleyball.” At that point, baseball was my third sport after soccer and basketball. I said okay, and I ended up really liking volleyball.

Is there a sport you are not good at?

I don’t think I’d be a great lacrosse or hockey player, but I haven’t tried them. I’m not a good swimmer.

can you skate

I can skate a little. But when I skate, I think about how awesome it is to handle a racquet and a puck. I think I’d be like Happy Gilmore.

How many years have you been playing golf?

The first time I played competitive golf was my junior match junior year. I’m a member of Longvue Country Club, so I was into golf when I was young, but I never took it seriously. I played a ton going into my junior year when Covid hit because that was the only thing open – golf courses. That kind of triggered the change. That and I want to focus on basketball and not hurt myself playing soccer.

What’s your favorite course?

Oakmont. I’m pretty fortunate that I have a lot of friends who are members there. I’m also a caddy there and caddies are allowed to play on Mondays.

What’s your favorite hole?

I like 12 very much. The long, long par 5. I birded it.

Did you caddie for a hole-in-one?

no I have never seen one. I jumped to 15th place in the individual states this year. I couldn’t see it because it was super, super sunny, but everyone gasped. I said, “What just happened?” When I got onto the green, an assistant coach told me.

What made you decide to go to Miami (Ohio)?

Both my parents went to Miami and I’ve always loved school. It has about 16,000 undergraduate students, so it’s not really small, but it’s not huge either. They have a great business school and it just worked.

What advice would you give yourself as a freshman?

Don’t take anything for granted. My first three years went by pretty quickly. You come to the start of your senior year and you say, “One more year,” but it goes by.

If you could have dinner with an athlete, who would it be?

Michael Jordan

What was the last streaming show you watched and was it worth it?

ozark I recommend it. I liked the first three seasons better, but the fourth was still good. At this point you have to end it somehow.

Where would you go on your dream vacation?

I loved Hawaii. I was there once and loved it.

One food you can never get enough of is…?

steak

What’s your favorite desert?

I like cheesecake. Ice. Cake. I like all deserts, I won’t lie.

If your Fox Chapel teammates had a talent show, who would win?

Russell (Fenton) could probably name each president, and almost in turn. Russell is a smart kid.

What would your talent be?

I played cello for four years.

Could you take it out today and play a song?

If you give me an hour to get ready I think I could play a song. But maybe not very well.

Chris Harlan is a contributor to the Tribune Review. You can contact Chris via email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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