Fox Chapel, Sewickley Academy boys, Upper St. Clair, GCC girls take WPIAL team golf titles

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Thursday, October 10, 2019 | 7:29 PM


A couple of streaks ended and a couple more carried on Thursday at the WPIAL team golf championships.

New champions were crowned in boys and girls Class AAA, while it was the same old story in both Class AA tournaments played at sun-splashed Cedarbrook Golf Course in Rostraver.

In Class AAA, the Fox Chapel boys and Upper St. Clair girls unseated three- and four-time defending champions in Central Catholic and North Allegheny. In Class AA, the Sewickley Academy boys added to their WPIAL record with their seventh straight title, and the Greensburg Central Catholic girls won their fifth consecutive championship.

Fox Chapel, mired in near-misses in recent years, finally broke through to capture its first team title since 2006.

The Foxes, who now have five titles, finished second last year.

“It’s like 5,000 pounds has been lifted off our shoulders,” Fox Chapel coach Bryan Deal said. “When you have talent and experience like we have, you know you have a chance. There is nothing more valuable than maturity and to be able to grind it out.”

The Foxes got the round of the day from senior Amani D’Ambrosio — a 3-under-par 69 on the Gold Course — to post a 386 score and a 12-shot win over Upper St. Clair. Central Catholic came in fifth.

“How about Amani?” Deal said. “We call him A-Money.”

D’Ambrosio made five birdies in his round and made the turn in 2-under 34.

“No expectations today,” D’Ambrosio said. “I just came in and trusted my team and myself. We all trust each other. I am so happy for the team.”

Senior Matt Mattioli shot a 75 and senior Scott Bitar, the WPIAL individual champion, added a 76 for Fox Chapel.

Frank Fuhrer III helped the Foxes win individual and team titles in 1974 and ’76, and Adam Hofmann did the same in 2006.

Senior Sara Steve led Upper St. Clair with a 78. The Panthers won their league-record 17th title, their first since 2005, holding off North Allegheny by four shots (340-344) on the Red Course.

Senior teammates Mary Groninger and Sarah Eccher matched 85s for the Panthers.

“The girls have worked hard this season,” USC first-year coach Katy Loomis said. “It is always nice when you are able to take that hard work and apply it to the golf course on tournament day. This group of girls has put team first all season and getting this win meant a great deal.”

USC once captured 12 titles in a row, from 1994-2005.

North Allegheny senior Isabella Walter had one of the better rounds for the girls with a 74.

GCC knew it had its latest title in hand early in the day after sophomore twin sisters Ella and Meghan Zambruno carded rounds of 77 and 78. Ella shot 1-under 34 on the front side in the runaway victory.

“It doesn’t surprise me that the girls played so well,” GCC coach Gerry Police said. “I can’t ask for more from them. We had some girls who hadn’t played in an event like this ever before and they did what they had to do.”

Junior Angelika Dewicki added a 91 as the Centurions posted a 353 and won by 51 strokes over runner-up Central Valley.

“There was a little more pressure, but I think we concentrated more,” Dewicki said. “It was more sweet for more girls to contribute. We have improved throughout the season and held it together.”

Sewickley Academy now has nine titles. The Panthers had a tone-setter in WPIAL individual champion J.F. Aber, who posted the team’s first score with a 1-under 71.

Senior Tim Fitzgerald shot 80 as the Panthers finished with 406, well ahead of North Catholic (428).

Senior Maddie Smithco led North Catholic with a 77.

“Once JF came in with that 71, I think it kind of took some of the pressure off,” Sewickley Academy coach Win Palmer said. “I think we were protecting a little bit after that, but that’s OK. It was nice for a freshman (Joey Mucci) and sophomore (Will Duggan) to come through for us like that.”

Upper St. Clair has the boys record with 16 titles, while Penn Township won 13.

Derry shot 465 to finish fifth out of six teams in Class AA. It was the Trojans’ first finals appearance.

“It was very exciting to be here,” Derry senior Aidan Bushey said. “We had three freshmen starting for us sometimes. Our goal was to win the section and getting here is the cherry on top.”

The four champions advance to the PIAA championships on Oct. 23 at Heritage Hills Resort in York.

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

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