2021 WPIAL team golf championships preview

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 | 3:21 PM

WPIAL team golf championships

10 a.m. Thursday, Cedarbrook Golf Course, Rostraver (Gold Course, boys; Red Course, girls)

Boys breakdown

Class 3A

Teams: Central Catholic, Fox Chapel, Mars, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township, Seneca Valley.

Players to watch: Blake Bertolo, Jr., Mars; Aidan Burchianti, Jr., Central Catholic; Zach Dyke, Sr., Mt. Lebanon; Kyle McClintock, Sr., Peters Township; Nolan Nicklas, Sr., Seneca Valley; Carter Pitcairn, Sr., Central Catholic; Rocco Salvitti, Jr., Central Catholic; Eli Yofan, Sr., Fox Chapel.

Notable: This appears to be an open field but with several of the usual contenders. Fox Chapel, the 2019 champion and the runner-up in 2020, returns another solid lineup with Yofan, Owen Delaney, Davey Fuhrer, Andrew Begg, Max Johnson and Zach Paper. … Salvitti powers Central Catholic, which won titles in 2012, ‘16, ‘17, and ‘18, and will play in the finals for the 15th straight time. The Vikings shot 365 in the semifinals at Beaver Valley Golf Club. … Pitcairn is another solid player. He caddied for U.S. Amateur runner-up Austin Greaser in August at Oakmont Country Club. … Six-time champion Peters Township has advanced to the team finals for the 15th straight year. The Indians’ last title came in 2015. … Seneca Valley, which posted 389 in the semis to finish behind Central, has never won a WPIAL title in golf. … Mt. Lebanon has not won a golf title since 1989. … Mars has not been to the finals since 2012.

Class 2A

Teams: Carmichaels, Derry, North Catholic, Quaker Valley, Sewickley Academy, Waynesburg.

Players to watch: Ashton Beighley, Jr., Derry; Jackson Bould, Jr., Quaker Valley; Ethan Dai, Fr., Quaker Valley; Will Duggan, Sr., Sewickley Academy; Ethan Ellis, Jr., North Catholic; Hunter Jurica, Jr., Derry; Liam Lohr, So., Carmichaels; Joey Mucci, Jr., Sewickley Academy; Adam Tanabe, Sr., Quaker Valley.

Notable: With three 70s rounds, Derry put together a head-turning semifinal by firing a 396 at Meadowink Golf Course to take first place by 20 strokes and reach the finals for the third straight year. That semifinal featured eight-time defending champion Sewickley Academy, which finished third (418) to advance. Is this the year the Panthers’ WPIAL-record streak ends? … Duggan and Mucci bring championship experience to the lineup. … Quaker Valley won the other semifinal at Indian Run Golf Club with a score of 385. Dai shot 72 for low individual score. The Quakers have made the championship round three straight times. … North Catholic has a young team but has the potential to contend for its first title. … Waynesburg has not played in the finals since 2007.

Girls breakdown

Class 3A

Teams: Butler, Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Moon, North Allegheny, Peters Township, Seneca Valley, South Fayette.

Players to watch: Nina Busch, Sr., Fox Chapel; Raina Jones, Sr., Hempfield; Marissa Malosh, Jr., South Fayette; Caroline McConnell, Sr., South Fayette; Allison Poon, Sr., Peters Township; Katie Rose Rankin, Jr., North Allegheny; Lihini Ranweera, So., Seneca Valley; Paige Scott, Sr., Butler; Caroline Tragesser, Sr., Franklin Regional.

Notable: Peters Township will be chasing a repeat after winning its first title a year ago. Poon and senior Delaney Kern bring big tournament know-how to the finals. … South Fayette’s program is just two years young, but the Lions are in position to make a title run behind WPIAL individual champion, junior Marissa Malosh, and senior Caroline McConnell. The Lions finished second last year. … Moon returns after a bronze finish in 2020 and is seeking its first title in girls golf. … Fox Chapel won the whole thing in 2010. … North Allegheny has 10 WPIAL titles, including four straight from 2015-18. … Butler and Seneca Valley also are looking for their first championship. Ranweera is a good pace-setter for the Raiders. … Tragesser and freshman Anna Qin make a formidable pair for Franklin Regional. … Hempfield made the finals in its first season as a program, led by Jones, a regular visitor to the WPIAL postseason. Katie Miller Gee, the former Hempfield standout and three-time PIAA champion, coaches the Spartans. … The girls finals return to Cedarbrook after the tournaments were played last year at Connoquenessing Country Club in Ellwood City to decrease the number of people gathered at Cedarbrook during covid-19 surges.

Class 2A

Teams: Central Valley, Elizabeth Forward, Greensburg Central Catholic, Mt. Pleasant.

Players to watch: Izzy Aigner, So., GCC; Mya Mrkonja, Jr., Central Valley; Kennady Norton, Jr., Central Valley; Ella Zambruno, Sr., GCC; Meghan Zambruno, Sr., GCC.

Notable: Greensburg Central Catholic is the standard-bearer for championships in AA golf as the Centurions aim for a seventh straight title. These finals will end the WPIAL careers of decorated twin sisters Meghan and Ella Zambruno. The Centurions won by 99 shots last season over runner-up Geibel, and they beat Central Valley by 100 with their score of 320. .. Central Valley won titles in 2012 and ‘13 and has the talent to push GCC led by Mrkonja and Norton. … Returning fifth-place finisher Elizabeth Forward returns three starters from last year’s finals. … Mt. Pleasant was the runner-up in 2014.

What’s next: The four champions advance to the PIAA championships Oct. 25 at Heritage Hills Resort, York

Brackets, rules, spectator information here.

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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