5 from Alle-Kiski Valley to tee it up at WPIAL finals
Tuesday, September 24, 2019 | 7:11 PM
At last year’s WPIAL Class AA boys individual golf championship at Sewickley’s Allegheny Country Club, Marcus Pinchok finished among a group one shot away from advancing to the PIAA Western Regional.
The Burrell senior is back at the WPIAL finals, set for Thursday at Allegheny, and this time, he hopes to raise his level and secure the qualifying mark that eluded him a year ago.
“I expect him to play well Thursday and be able to move on the western final,” Burrell coach Joe Virone said. “He’s hitting the ball really well, and his putting is working for him. He and a number of others have a lot of experience on that course.”
Pinchok is one of five Alle-Kiski Valley golfers putting the final touches on preparations for the WPIAL finals, at Allegheny C.C. for the fifth year in a row.
He and Leechburg junior Cole Villa are among 13 returnees from last year’s event. They will join Elizabeth Forward senior Mike Swart in a group that will tee off at 9:26 a.m.
Pinchok tied seven others last year with an 18-hole round of 81. Villa tied for 30th with an 85.
Making their WPIAL finals debuts are Riverview seniors Jack Harden and Daniel Donatucci and Deer Lakes senior Will Meyer.
Donatucci has one of the earliest starts. He is in the second group and will tee off at 8:38 a.m. Meyer follows at 9:02, and Harden begins his round at 9:10.
Harden and Donatucci are the first Riverview golfers to compete at the WPIAL individual championship since Justin Miller did so as a senior at the Division II finals at Youghiogheny Country Club in 2010.
Miller finished 10th in his final WPIAL event and went on to compete at states.
In addition to their individual opportunities, Harden and Donatucci helped their Raiders teammates finish off a perfect 12-0 Section 1-AA season with a victory Tuesday over St. Joseph at Green Oaks Country Club. Riverview wrapped up a section title for the first time since 1978.
Meyer brings Deer Lakes back to the WPIAL finals after a two-year hiatus. Connor Chirdon tied for 21st as a Lancers senior in 2016.
Each of the 32 golfers in the field arrived at the finals based on scores achieved at section qualifiers Sept. 16-17.
Meyer placed first with a 79 at the Section 3-AA qualifier at Pheasant Ridge Golf Club. Villa and Pinchok tied for first with 75s, Harden was third with a 76, and Donatucci took fourth with a 79 at the Section 1 qualifier at Buffalo Golf Course.
“It’s always nice to see a group of local kids make it to this point,” Virone said. “Hopefully, they all can make it on to the next level and further on to York.”
Five of the top six finishers from last year’s WPIAL finals are back, including three-time defending champion Skyler Fox from Sewickley Academy.
Fox was one of three freshmen to compete at WPIALs in 2016, and two freshmen – Quaker Valley’s Jackson Bould and Sewickley Academy’s Joey Mucci – are in Thursday’s field after none were there last year or in 2017.
Fox is paired with 2018 third-place finisher, Quaker Valley senior Aidan Bulger, and fourth-place finisher, Chartiers-Houston senior Jack Hritsko.
While a WPIAL title is the top prize, the group of 32 also will be gunning to be one of the top 16 to move on to the PIAA Western Regional, set for Oct. 14 at Tom’s Run Golf Course in Blairsville.
The top 22 from the regional then will advance to the PIAA tournament Oct. 21-23.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .