Franklin Regional girls golf program reaching new heights

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Saturday, September 26, 2020 | 11:01 AM


It’s been a memorable season for the Franklin Regional girls golf team.

And the way things are going, after winning their first section title since 2003, they have the WPIAL Class AAA finals in their sights.

After stringing together consecutive victories over Penn-Trafford, Indiana and Connellsville in the third week of September, Franklin Regional clinched the Section 3 crown before its season finale against Gateway.

It’s the fifth time that Franklin Regional has won a section title. It won three consecutive titles under Penny Anderson in 1975-77 and one title under Jim Armstrong in 2003. This is Kane Daignault’s first title in his 13 years as coach.

Franklin Regional also won the WPIAL team title in 1976.

“I usually let other girls play against some teams,” Daignault said. “But this group wanted to make sure they won the section title this year. It’s something they’ve been striving for all season.”

After an early season loss at Indiana, Franklin Regional put together 10 consecutive victories.

The Panthers reversed a three-point loss at Indiana Country Club by rolling to a 177-205 victory.

Sophomore Gwen Shilling paced the way with a 41. Junior Caroline Tragesser and senior Lila Shilling each carded 45s and senior Brooke Horvath had a 46. Reilley Woehler was the fifth starter and she shot a 50. Another senior that has been in the starting lineup is Michelle Gau.

“This is probably my best team,” Daignault said. “We have a lot of seniors and a lot of experience on the team. The key to the success of the team is having a good No. 1 player (in Tragesser).

“You count in them to get you a lead and Caroline does that for us. After that, we have really good players who could play No. 1 for other teams. That helps a lot. When you get a five-stroke or 10-stroke lead after a couple players, it’s tough to come back from that.”

The Shilling sisters and Horvath give the Panthers a solid unit that averages in the 170s.

The team is capable of shooting lower scores if the girls have hot putters.

“I’m excited to see how we do outside the section,” Daignault said. “We really haven’t matched ourselves up with teams outside of the section. There are some really good teams within the section.

“I’m excited with the position they’ve put themselves into. We haven’t experienced winning the section ever during my career.”

Franklin Regional has clinched a WPIAL playoff spot three consecutive years and five out of the past seven years.

At the top of the lineup, Daignault said what makes Tragesser so good is her course management.

“First of all, she can hit the ball,” Daignault said. “She has distance to her game, but her mentality and game management, that sets her apart from the others. She has the creativity on the course.”

Tragesser and Horvath advanced to the WPIAL individual championship after qualifying at the Section 3-AAA tournament at Murrysville Golf Club.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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