Fox Chapel girls golf ready to take step forward

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Saturday, October 3, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Fox Chapel girls golf coach Tim Lang has no problem with communication. He actually thrives with it.

But, when the first-year coach went to send out an inspiring message to his team before they capped off their regular season, he couldn’t find the words.

“Every week throughout the times that I’ve coached I relied a lot on communication, whether it was just talking with the players or sending out motivational stuff,” Lang said. “But (Sept. 28) it was the end-of-a-season-type thing because our two matches coming up are nonsection. When I sent it out, I was actually thinking, ‘What am I going to send them this week’ and they know me, I can talk. But what I did send them was ‘Believe it or not, I’m a loss for words this week.’”

Lang called himself “lucky” for the situation he was given with the Fox Chapel girls golf program. Just a year ago, the Foxes placed fourth at the WPIAL Class AAA girls team championships, 16 strokes behind first-place finisher Upper St. Clair.

They had two players reach the WPIAL Class AA individual championship at Diamond Run Country Club and one placed second after losing in a playoff. So, when Lang took over the program this season, he inherited the whole bunch, and the Foxes have continued their winning ways ever since, which left their coach without words.

“I really couldn’t have gotten luckier with such an amazing group of young ladies,” Lang said.

The Foxes went undefeated in their section this season and captured their second straight section title for the first time since 1976-77.

While winning the section two years straight was a great accomplishment, Lang knew with the talent he had coming back from last year, he had to hold his girls to an even higher standard. So, he thought he’d hold them to the highest standard he could.

“My expectations are to win the PIAA championship because I think you short yourself if you don’t have high expectations for yourself,” Lang said. “A lot of teams have one, two, three players that are very good to average. But when you have four players, in a four out of five team event, you have to set the bar high. I think they have all the confidence, and we set a goal and they are trying to strive to make it.”

Throughout this season, the Foxes have aimed to live up to those expectations. Nina Busch, who finished as the runner-up at last year’s WPIAL Class AA individual championship after losing to North Allegheny’s Isabella Walter in a playoff, is back with fellow junior Erin Drahnak, as well as Grace Rygelski and newcomer Baylin Bitar.

While Busch, Drahnak and Rygelski gave Lang confidence =he would have a solid team this year, Bitar raised that level of confidence even more. Bitar is the younger sister of 2019 WPIAL Class AAA individual boys champion Scott Bitar and decided to pick up golf after playing tennis.

“She decided that her family played golf so she was going to play as well and she just fit into the top four from Day 1,” Lang said.

But with their top four in place and their goals chosen, Lang delivered a message to his team and put it on their hats. He wanted to let them know it was their time to do something special.

“That was the only thing I put on their hats; it says ‘it’s time,’” Lang said. “These girls have been playing together since their freshman year and probably past that, but my opening to them was like five different things about that and I told them it was time to take control of your game, give it your all, it’s time for greatness and it’s time to reach our goal.”

Busch and Drahnak will compete at the WPIAL Class AAA individual tournament Oct. 8 at Oakmont Country Club. The team was scheduled to compete in the WPIAL Class AAA championship Oct. 5 at Connoquenessing Country Club.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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