Golf dynasties continue as all 4 champions defend WPIAL titles
By: Bill Beckner Jr.
Thursday, October 11, 2018 | 7:45 PM
Golf is all about the next shot, the next hole, the next round.
For some WPIAL golf teams it’s about the next championship — and the next one … and the next one after that.
It was the same old story Thursday at soggy Cedarbrook Golf Course in Rostraver as four teams added to their dominance and held strong their positions as District 7’s elite.
Sewickley Academy captured its WPIAL-record sixth consecutive team title in boys Class AA; Central Catholic made it a Class AAA three-peat; and the girls from North Allegheny (Class AAA) and Greensburg Central Catholic (AA) each cruised to their fourth straight titles.
North Allegheny and Central Catholic broke scoring records as their dynasties continued.
Led by senior and three-time WPIAL individual champion Caroline Wrigley, North Allegheny posted a blistering 10-over-par 294 to win by 38 shots over Upper St. Clair. Wrigley had one of the finest rounds by anybody in team finals history, carding a 6-under 65 on the Red course.
In an exhibition of her talent, she made eight birdies and could have got it to 10-under had she not missed a couple of short birdie putts.
“All my drives were really good so that set me up,” Wrigley said. “It’s a short course so I didn’t have anything over a 9-iron (into par 4s) all day. And I was hitting everything close.”
Wrigley, a Furman recruit, drove two of the par-4s. She is 10-under in the postseason.
North Allegheny coach Mike Hambrick said he knew his girls were capable of such a low number but seeing them actually post it brought a smile to his face.
“And it takes a lot to get my attention,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for this to happen, and it finally came together. We just needed Supergirl to come through and she did.”
WPIAL Class AAA individual champion Jimmy Meyers (71) and runner-up Neal Shipley (70), meantime, each shot sub-par rounds on the Gold course to pace Central Catholic to a course record-score of 372, breaking the program’s own mark from 2016.
“It’s senior year; it’s crazy to believe it’s been three in a row,” Meyers said. “We knew Fox Chapel would be tough competition because we played them all year.”
Said Shipley, the first player in the clubhouse for the Vikings: “We knew we’d have to go out and grind, go out and play our best. I wanted to go out and set the tone.”
Fox Chapel finished second, just six shots back. Aidan Oehrle shot 71 and Gregor Meyer 72 for the Foxes.
Upper St. Clair was the last boys team to win three straight Class AAA titles, from 1998-2001.
Landen Shirley was the only player from Sewickley Academy to break 80 as he posted a 76.
The Panthers, who shot 408, had tied Turtle Creek (1934-38) last year with five straight titles.
“We always talk about that depth,” Panthers coach Win Palmer said. “I love how we always have guys step up. It’s feels great to know we broke the record.”
Senior Abby Zambruno paced Greensburg Central Catholic with a 76 as the Centurions four-peated while giving rookie coach Gerry Police his first title.
“There are good teams here so you never know what can happen,” Zambruno said. “Everyone played well and did their part.”
Twins Meghan Zambruno (80) and Ella Zambruno (83) also helped the Centurions finish with a 326.
“It took a team effort, everyone playing well,” Police said. “It’s always nice to have the Zambruno girls; give their mother credit for giving birth to all of them.”
Sewickley Academy was second at 353 as Tatum McKelvey led the way with a 75.
Three other girls programs have won at least four straight titles: Blackhawk (1977-80), North Allegheny (1986-89), and Upper St. Clair (1994-2006).
The shot of the day came from a girl playing for a boys team. North Catholic junior Maddie Smithco, who last week won the WPIAL Class AA girls individual title, made a hole-in-one on the 115-yard second hole on the Gold course. She hit a 9-iron about three inches past the hole and spun it back for her first career ace.
“I hit the shot and knew it was on the green, but I turned away so I didn’t see it go in,” Smithco said. “I hit it just the way I wanted to.”
The four champions advance to the PIAA championships Oct. 24 at Heritage Hills Golf Club in York.
Elizabeth Forward edged North Catholic in a two-hole playoff for second place in boys Class AA.
Bill Beckner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at email@example.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.