2021 WPIAL golf season primer

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Thursday, August 19, 2021 | 3:47 PM


High school golf season at a glance

Boys

Class 3A

• Defending champion: Franklin Regional won its first WPIAL title and sent two players to the PIAA tournament, also a program first. The Panthers are not exactly facing a rebuild: They return seniors Zach Abdallah and Jeff Anderchak, both high-30s scorers last season, and keep an eye on junior Nolan Shilling.

• Contenders: While there doesn’t appear to be a clear favorite, the usual contenders are primed for a title run. Fox Chapel has three players back who reached the WPIAL individual finals in Owen Delaney, Eli Yofan and Zach Paper. … Central Catholic features junior Rocco Salvitti, a strong contender for a WPIAL title, and senior Carter Pitcairn, who caddied for U.S. Amateur runner-up Austin Greaser last week at Oakmont.

• Players to watch: Blake Bertolo, Jr., Mars; Tyler Mocello, Sr., Belle Vernon; Carter Pitcairn, Sr., Central Catholic; Rocco Salvitti, Jr., Central Catholic; Noah Shilling, Jr., Franklin Regional; Nick Turowski, So., Penn-Trafford; Wes Warden, Sr., Shady Side Academy; Eli Yofan, Sr., Fox Chapel.

• Important dates: Section tournaments Sept. 20-21; Individual semifinals, Sept. 27-28; Individual championship, Oct. 5, Nemacolin C.C.; Team semifinals, Oct. 11-12; Team finals, Oct. 14, Cedarbrook G.C.; PIAA championships, Oct. 18-19, 25, Heritage Hills Resort, York.

Class 2A

• Defending champion: Sewickley Academy is looking to play nine. The Panthers won their eighth straight team title last fall to add to their WPIAL record and are the team to beat again. Junior Joey Mucci returns, along with seniors Jack Gordon and Will Dugan. The Panthers also were runners-up at the PIAA finals.

• Contenders: The 2020 WPIAL runner-up, Quaker Valley had six players make the individual finals, including returning seniors Adam Tanabe and Kyle Rice, and junior Jackson Bould. The Quakers edged Sewickley last season in section play, 200-201. … Carmichaels finished third last season and brings back sophomore Liam Lohr.

• Players to watch: Kai Carlson, So., Northgate; Jack Gordon, Sr., Sewickley Academy; Luke Gronbeck, So., Eden Christian; Josh Lytle, Junior, South Side; Logan Monzak, Jr., Elizabeth Forward; Joey Mucci, Jr., Sewickley Academy; Kyle Rice, Sr., Quaker Valley; Adam Tanabe, Sr., Quaker Valley.

• Important dates: Section tournaments Sept. 20-21; Individual championship, Sept. 30, Allegheny C.C.; Team semifinals, Oct. 11-12; Team finals, Oct. 14, Cedarbrook G.C.; PIAA championships, Oct. 18-19, 25, Heritage Hills Resort, York.

Girls

Class 3A

• Defending champion: Peters Township took the WPIAL title last year by 12 shots over South Fayette. The Indians return four key players in senior Delaney Kern and junior Allison Poon.

• Contenders: South Fayette brings its entire lineup back and just might be the favorite. Senior Caroline McConnell, the runner-up at the individual finals, was medalist at the WPIAL team finals with a 72. Junior Marissa Malosh shot 78. … Fox Chapel has four senior starters returning, including Erin Drahnak and Nina Busch. … Don’t count out Seneca Valley, which started two juniors, a sophomore and two freshmen in the team finals a year ago. … Senior Lindsey Powanda of Mt. Lebanon is the defending individual champion after carding an 80 at Oakmont Country Club.

• Players to watch: Nina Busch, Sr., Fox Chapel; Delaney Kern, Sr., Peters Township; Caroline McConnell, Sr., South Fayette; Lindsey Powanda, Sr., Mt. Lebanon; Lihini Ranaweera, So., Seneca Valley; Paige Scott, Sr., Butler; Caroline Tragesser, Sr., Franklin Regional

• Important dates: Section tournaments, Sept. 22; Individual championship, Oct. 7, Hannastown Golf Club; Team semifinals, Oct. 4; Team finals, Oct. 25, Cedarbrook G.C.; PIAA championships, Oct. 19-20, 25, Heritage Hills Resort, York.

Class 2A

• Defending champion: In search of its seventh straight WPIAL championship, Greensburg Central Catholic is loaded again. Four starters are back, including senior twins Ella and Meghan Zambruno. The Centurions have finished first or second in the PIAA every year since 2015. They won state gold in 2018 and ‘19. Also watch sophomore Izzy Aitner.

• Contenders: While GCC could be laps ahead of the next-best teams, Geibel could be in the mix with junior Claire Konieczny and four starters returning. The Gators finished second last season, 99 shots behind GCC. … Central Valley’s entire lineup is back. The Warriors were third at the WPIAL finals. Eva Bulger of Quaker Valley has won back-to-back individual titles.

• Players to watch: Eva Bulger, Jr., Quaker Valley; Faith Chapman, Sr., McGuffey; Claire Konieczny, Jr., Geibel; Ella Zambruno, Sr., Greensburg Central Catholic; Meghan Zambruno, Sr., Greensburg Central Catholic.

Important dates: Section tournaments, Oct. 22; Individual championship, Oct. 7, Hannastown Golf Club; Team semifinals, Oct. 4; Team finals, Oct. 25 at Cedarbrook G.C.; PIAA championships, Oct. 19-20, 25, Heritage Hills Resort, York.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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