Franklin Regional boys hope to defend golf title
Saturday, September 11, 2021 | 11:01 AM
When Franklin Regional won the 2020 WPIAL Class 3A golf title, it might have surprised some, but it didn’t shock coach Jeff Traphagen.
He felt it was something his program was building towards since the Palmer Jackson days. Jackson, a sophomore at Notre Dame, played for the Panthers from 2015-18.
“We were one of the top teams when Palmer played,” Traphagen said. “We were just stuck in a section that included Fox Chapel and Central Catholic. Last year, they took Fox Chapel out of the section, and we were able to show what kind of team we had.”
Franklin Regional qualified for the finals at Champion Lakes along with Central Catholic and Peters Township.
The Panthers went on to win the championship at Cedarbrook Gold Course by shooting a 409. Fox Chapel was second with a 412, followed by Peters Township (414), Shady Side Academy (417), Central Catholic (420) and Norwin (440).
Returning from that championship team are junior Nolan Shilling and seniors Zach Abdallah and Jeff Anderchak.
Traphagen must find players to fill the holes left by the graduation of Chuck Tragesser (Rhode Island), Michael Wareham (Gannon) and Luke Kimmich (Grove City).
Early on, Traphagen said he likes what he sees. He said there is no reason why his team can’t win another title.
Franklin Regional finished third in the Gary Garrison Memorial Invitational at Latrobe to Fox Chapel and Central Catholic. The Panthers are 3-1 overall, having dropped a section match to Central Catholic.
“We return three solid players,” Traphagen said. “We just need a few others to step up. It comes down to who plays well on the day of the championship.
“We have guys who are ready to seize their opportunity. I don’t think 2020 was a fluke.”
Seniors Ben Yurko and Troy Abdallah are expected to fill two of the positions while seniors Nick Neuschwander, John Bachner and Jordan Satterfield are battling for the sixth spot. Traphagen said that spot could rotate depending who is playing well.
“All the players have improved,” Traphagen said. “We have depth, and I have a young group that will step in next season. I think we can keep pace with some of the top teams in the WPIAL now.
“The key in big matches is minimizing poor holes or poor rounds. Everyone has bad holes.”
The Panthers compete in Section 4 with Central Catholic, Gateway, Plum, Penn Hills and Woodland Hills.
Franklin Regional defeated Penn Hills and Plum in a section match and Latrobe in a nonsection match. The Sewickley Academy Invitational at Allegheny Country Club on Aug. 31 was rained out after three holes.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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