Freeport boys golf off to strong start against local rivals

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Tuesday, September 6, 2022 | 11:11 AM


After taking some knocks the past two seasons in Class 3A, the Freeport golf team is back in Class 2A and putting Section 1 on notice.

“We bumped up into Class 3A in the last two-year cycle playing against the likes of Fox Chapel and Kiski,” Freeport coach Joe Sprumont said. “Our kids got some good experience playing some of the best teams in the state, and against that type of robust competition, wins were hard to come by.”

Not this season. Freeport (6-0, 5-0) is rolling. The Yellowjackets have picked up early section wins over Riverview, Deer Lakes, Valley and nonsection rival Penn Hills and a scrimmage versus Armstrong. One of Freeport’s most impressive wins came in a one-stroke victory over section rival Knoch, 211-212, where the team had a season low score.

“It’s been an encouraging start,” Sprumont said. “Our kids have put a lot of time in during the offseason. They put the work in to put themselves into a good position at the start of the season.”

Playing some of the WPIAL’s top teams the past two seasons provided valuable experience, but the Yellowjackets also have built depth. Sprumont said he has 10 players competing for six starting spots.

“The makeup of the team is that there’s a lot of returners with experience,” Sprumont said. “In the last couple of years, a lot of kids have gotten a lot of varsity experience. It’s paying dividends this year.”

Freeport lost four graduates from last season’s team, but the Yellowjackets are returning their top three averages from last season. Competition from within is what is sparking Freeport’s early success.

“It’s friendly competition but good competition, of course, because they’re bringing out the best of each other,” Sprumont said. “It’s a bit of a challenge putting together the lineup every day, but it’s a good problem to have.”

Leading off in the No. 1 spot is senior Nate Covey. He’s averaging 41.75 strokes per nine holes, shot a 39 vs. Penn Hills and shot the lowest scores over the first four matches.

Upstart sophomore Cam Zigo has locked in the No. 2 position and has averaged 42.75.

“He’s a pretty confident and outgoing kid,” Sprumont said. “He’s a very athletic kid and plays baseball, too. He definitely has confidence, and it’s a well-earned confidence.”

No. 3 in the order is another sophomore, Stephen Evans. Evans’ season average is 43. Sprumont said Evans “immersed” himself in golf this past summer.

One stroke behind Evans is junior Matt Ziembicki-Reedy, the longest hitter on the team.

“He’s a strong kid,” Sprumont said. “He’s an aggressive player and has a grip-it-and-rip-it style of game.”

Junior Hannah Shepherd has settled in the No. 5 spot. Shepherd (44.5) saw some varsity action last season. Sprumont said Shepherd has committed to golf so much, she went and got a job at a golf course.

Seniors Eli Abbott and Aiden Liston, along with juniors Holden Palisin, Lillie Snow and Jayden Diehl are competing for the No. 6 spot in the order.

“They’ve got experience playing matches in the past, junior tournaments and played a lot with each other,” Sprumont said. “Whoever is in that spot will be well prepared and versed to be in the lineup.”

Sprumont said the team is happy to be back in Section 1-2A, playing local rivals and having shorter travel times.

“Our players have put the work in and have checked all the boxes in terms of preparation,” Sprumont said. “It’s going to be a tough section. We’ll see. It will be interesting.”

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

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