Gateway golf teams enjoying successful seasons
Friday, September 13, 2019 | 6:52 PM
Abigail Secrist is a four-year starter on the Gateway girls golf team.
For Gators coach Andrew Estok, it’s been an enjoyable time.
“This is my fourth year being the girls coach, and it has been awesome,” Estok said, “with my booster parents supporting me each year, and especially with the girls. Whether they were with me for all four years or just this one, they have made a difference in my coaching.
“I am hopeful I will find new players next year to continue to build the program. With only one returning player that will be difficult, but I’m sure Gateway, with all of the athletes that they produce, we can create a solid team.”
Secrist, the team captain, anchors the Gators’ starting lineup, along with Annie Garness, Emma McFarland, Kaylee Schaefer and Alison Zeigler. McFarland is a four-year letterwinner.
“We have a very inexperienced team, with the exception of myself and fellow seniors Emma McFarland and Annie Garness,” Secrist said. “I didn’t get to play in any summer tournaments, so I had a bit of a slow start out of the gate.
“I have only been medalist once this year but hope to improve my scores in the upcoming matches. My drives have been much improved this season.”
Secrist was planning a road trip to Connellsville earlier this week.
“I am looking forward to competing in the WPIAL section qualifier on Sept. 17 at Pleasant Valley Golf Club,” Secrist said, “along with Annie Garness.”
Estok was hoping the Gators would wrap up the season behind a staunch showing by the team’s upperclassmen.
“My expectations are for my seniors to finish stronger then any season before,” Estok said. “They have grown so much over the past years, and it has been wonderful to see — not only on the golf course but in life itself.”
Sophomore Paula Metro also has joined the girls lineup this season.
Gateway’s boys team, like the girls, opened last week with two wins. The Gators are led by four juniors and a senior.
The starting lineup consists of juniors Jake Valentine, Cody Beckwith, Jacob Berghoff and Jonah Steele and senior Jake Beehner.
“I was hoping a few new guys could come in and fill in the void for the loss of five seniors,” coach Paul Doonan said. “I was hoping that some of the returning players would start to shoot in the high 30s.
“It’s a rebuilding year. I expect some of our younger players to take big strides for next year.”
The Gators fielded a senior-laden lineup last season and posted a winning record.
“Our expectation this year was to have a winning record,” Valentine said. “Last year, we finished with a 8-6 record, which was a very good year for us.”
Valentine and Beckwith had recorded team-leading nine-hole averages of 43 and 45, respectively.
“My iron game has been so pure, and my season so far has been very good,” Valentine said. “Golf has been a great experience this year. I’m just having a great time with the team even though the season has been rough and disappointing at times.”
Gateway plays its home matches at Murrysville Golf Club.