Fox Chapel boys, girls sweep Class 3A titles at WPIAL team golf competition

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Thursday, October 14, 2021 | 6:48 PM


Cedarbrook has two 18-hole golf courses: the Red and the Gold.

There was a lot of red chasing gold at Thursday’s WPIAL team finals as Fox Chapel pulled off a championship double.

The Foxes boys and girls won Class 3A titles for the first finals sweep in the league’s largest classification since Upper St. Clair in 2005.

The other big headline Thursday in Rostraver: One dynastic run of championships ended while another continued.

The North Catholic boys won the Class 2A title to dethrone eight-time defending champion Sewickley Academy, and Greensburg Central Catholic won its seventh straight 2A girls title.

The Fox Chapel boys had five players shoot in the 70s, including senior Eli Yofan with a 1-under-par 71 (37-34) to edge Central Catholic by one stroke, 376-377, on the Gold Course.

Junior Rocco Salvitti shot 72 to lead Central, including a 33 on the outward nine. Sophomore Christian Harhai added a 73, senior Carter Pitcairn 74 and junior Connor Walker 75.

The Foxes now have six titles, including two in the last three years. Central and Fox Chapel have combined for five of the last six WPIAL titles.

“We call it a process,” Foxes boys coach Bryan Deal said. “We have five seniors, and we know what they can do. It was brutal the last hour and 20 minutes (waiting) because it was so close. If we posted an 80, I thought we were going to lose.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our 4, 5 and 6 guys.”

Deal expected Yofan to set the pace.

“Eli leads by example,” Deal said. “He’s a fierce competitor and the top dog in our lineup.”

Sophomore Davey Fuhrer shot 74, senior Zach Paper 76, senior Max Johnson 77 and senior Owen Delaney 78 for the Foxes.

“I knew my role was to keep us in it,” said Yofan, a multi-sport standout who is relatively new to golf. “I wanted to stay within a couple of shots of (Central Catholic’s) Rocco Salvitti. If I did that, I knew I’d be fine. We had a bunch of guys step up today.”

Peters Township (390) was third out of six teams.

The Fox Chapel girls, paced by senior Nina Busch (77), won their first title since 2010, their second overall, with a 327 — five better than defending champion Peters Township, on Cedarbrook Red.

It was the lowest winning score in 3A since North Allegheny’s blistering 294 in 2018.

North Allegheny finished third in the nine-team field at 339.

“I told the girls two years ago that this team has four excellent players and could (eventually) have a shot to win it all,” Foxes coach Tim Lang said. “We fell short last year because of a lack of experience. We didn’t get back here just to get here. The girls played their hearts out.”

Senior Erin Drahnak shot 79 for the Foxes. Butler senior Paige Scott was low scorer in 3A with a 72. She made the turn in 1-under.

North Catholic, which wasn’t on a lot of radars coming in, got a pair of 78s from junior Ethan Ellis and sophomore Justin Kontul to post 405 for a four-shot win over Quaker Valley and its first title.

Trojans coach Billy Burke wasn’t aware that the Trojans hadn’t hoisted the district trophy. That the first time meant knocking off the gold standard, Sewickley Academy, was a bonus but not the focus.

The Trojans are the first school not named Sewickley Academy to win 2A since 2012.

“It’s unbelievable,” Burke said. “Our kids are so happy right now. … The athletes from Sewickley Academy are such great people. It’s less about who you beat and more about the fact the boys won.”

Sewickley Academy coach Win Palmer said the significance of the eight-peat became clear when the Panthers watched another team celebrate.

Sewickley Academy finished tied for third with Derry (428), which won the semifinal tournament earlier in the week with a 396.

“We have some kids who really worked hard,” Palmer said. “But it was an uphill battle. It was a struggle to get here. North Catholic and Quaker Valley are clearly better teams.”

Derry junior Hunter Jurica was the 2A medalist with a 74.

Senior Meghan Zambruno shot a 2A-low 72 to lead GCC, which didn’t win by 99 like it did last year but registered a 332 to top second-place Central Valley by 49.

“Golf is about what happens that day on the course,” GCC coach Gerry Police said. “Our girls have worked all summer, playing tournaments to get ready to play.”

Police said the team did not talk about its title streak, which is now four shy of Upper St. Clair’s WPIAL record of 11 straight wins.

“It’s still special to us,” said Zambruno, who shot 34 on the front nine. “We know we have to go out and have a good day. We can’t just show up.”

Senior Ella Zambruno had an 83, and sophomore Izzy Aigner an 85 for GCC.

Sewickley Academy was the last 2A school to win boys and girls titles in the same year (2014).

The four WPIAL champions advance to the PIAA championships Oct. 25 at Heritage Hills Resort in 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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