James Gilmore, Madison Edgewood; Drew Sagrillo, Milwaukee Marquette

Milwaukee Marquette's Drew Sagrillo, right, shown here with his 2018 WIAA Division 1 state team championship trophy next to friend James Gilmore of 2018 WIAA Division 2 state champion Madison Edgewood, has signed his National Letter of Intent to play golf at Dominican University of California.

In many ways, Drew Sagrillo sees Dominican University in San Rafael, California, as his gateway to the world.

The Milwaukee Marquette senior recently signed his National Letter of Intent to attend the NCAA Division II school north of San Francisco and play golf for the Penguins. But his decision to go there went far beyond the golf course.

Sagrillo was drawn to California in his college search because his father, Jon, went to Long Beach State and his brother, Chris, went to UCLA. Drew reached out to five schools — Division I Long Beach State and the University of San Diego, Division II Dominican and Sonoma State and Division III Redlands — and quickly realized that Dominican was the best fit for him, his education and his game.

"I was told by both of the DI schools that if I wanted a spot on the team, I would have to beat out the rest of the recruits who were all coming from the West Coast," Sagrillo, who played No. 2 on Milwaukee Marquette's WIAA Division 1 state championship team this year and No. 5 on the team that took second to Hartland Arrowhead in 2017. "Needless to say, those recruits are on another level and finding a spot at a solid DI California school is highly competitive. ... I fell in love with the feel of Dominican as soon as I stepped on campus and so did my parents.

"The school is in such a prime location for business being close to San Francisco and the weather is perfect. The campus itself ... is flat-out jaw-dropping."

The academic opportunities on the Dominican campus were also jaw-dropping to Sagrillo.

A future business major, Sagrillo was impressed by the school's 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio in the classroom and the "4+1" business management program that will allow him to earn an MBA in five years. Dominican is located 90 minutes by car from California's famed Sillicon Valley, which sits just off the southern edge of San Francisco Bay across from San Rafael, which borders the bay on the north. 

"The business program is phenomenal the president of the Dominican graduated from Oxford (University in England), so students are able to participate in a study-abroad program at Oxford and Coach Nelson said that several players in the past took advantage of it. I plan on doing the same."

The Penguins men's golf program, meanwhile, finished third out of 10 teams at the PacWest Conference men's golf tournament last spring, reaching the NCAA Division II West/South Central Regional for the third time in four years. However, Dominican coach Gary Nelson will graduate four of the seven golfers off his roster this May.

Sagrillo, who was ranked No. 8 in the 2017 Wisconsin.Golf Class of 2019 rankings that will be updated Friday, has assumed a growing leadership role on a Marquette team with some of the state's top golfers in the state. The Hilltoppers will return senior Jack Blair, who has committed to Brown University; and junior Jack Lutze, who is ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2020.

In Sagrillo, the Penguins will be getting a golfer who upped the degree of difficulty in his summer schedule during 2018. After finishing tied for fourth with a pair of 72s at the WPGA Junior Championship at Dretzka Park and Brown Deer Park golf courses in Milwaukee, he has bounced between the American Junior Golf Association, Illinois-based Mid-America Junior Golf Tour and, most recently, the GolfWeek Junior Tour and the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour, where he won the recent Scottsdale Junior Open with a 71-69 card.

"I see myself contributing from the start and being more of a leader," Sagrillo said. "The expectation is to remain as one of the top DII teams in the nation and take it one step at a time. First, (the goal) is to get to Regionals and execute, then hopefully advance to Nationals. I plan on working hard everyday and taking advantage of the weather."

rob@killarneygolfmedia.com

Rob started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison & has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in Sept. 2015 & helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in Jan. 2016.