Freeport golf team adjusting to facing Class 3A competition

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 | 10:36 AM

It doesn’t take much to think back to the days when the Freeport golf team was a member of Class 2A. It was only two years ago.

But those days are over. Because of the swell in enrollment, Freeport got bumped up to the WPIAL’s highest classification, Class 3A, last season, and the Yellowjackets are taking their swats.

“It’s deeper, and it’s a lot better,” said Freeport coach Joe Sprumont, who is in his 12th season as the Yellowjackets coach. “It’s like moving from the MAC to the SEC in football.”

Freeport (1-4) moved up to Section 8-3A and faces the likes of Hampton, rivals Highlands and Knoch, Kiski, Shady Side Academy and 2019 Class 3A state champion Fox Chapel. The Yellowjackets’ lone win of the season came over Highlands, 220-281. It has been rough sailing for the Yellowjackets, but the scenery has been pretty nice along the way.

“The section we’re in has to be one of the best sections in the state for courses,” Sprumont said. “When you’re getting to play the Pittsburgh Field Club (Shady Side Academy) and the Fox Chapel Golf Club (Fox Chapel) for free, you just have to enjoy it.”

Sophomore Jayden Diehl concurs with his coach.

“Right now my favorite (course) would probably be the Pittsburgh Field Club,” said Diehl. “I like how it’s open, and the greens are nice and fast.”

Diehl, a two-year starter, leads the Yellowjackets with a nine-hole average of 44 through the first five matches. He understands what his team is up against in each match, but he and his teammates keep a realistic perspective.

“The mindset is to try and hang on and honestly do our best,” Diehl said. “These schools are big. As long as we keep trying to do our best, get lower scores, we’ll be fine even if we don’t win that day.

“I think we can probably beat Kiski, Knoch and maybe Shady Side.”

Lower scores are not the problem, In fact, the Yellowjackets have put up some of its best scores in recent history.

“One thing I would say is that we had a lot of success in 2A and going back,” Sprumont said. “Our scores this year are the best scores we’ve had in three years. Since most of our players are underclassmen, it is certainly encouraging for the rest of the season and moving forward.”

The Freeport roster is stacked this year. Sprumont has 25 golfers and is able to field a junior varsity team. It’s all about experience from this pointd.

Freeport has a balance upperclassmen and underclassmen. Junior Nate Covey averages a 44 and trails Diehl by a few percentage points for tops on the team. Seniors Tanner Smith (45) and Ashton Cernicky (47) provide the leadership. Sophomore Lillie Snow averages a 45.

Sprumont encourages a competitive environment at practice. He has rotated his top six golfers according to performance. Sophomore Matt Ziembicki-Reedy (48) has been cracking the top six to start the season.

“We have a lot of returners, so they knew what to expect this time around,” Sprumont said. “They’re excited and looking at it as the glass is half full. They’re looking at the opportunities they have and playing against great players, playing great courses and they’re getting better, too.”

William Whalen is a freelance writer.


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