Hampton golf team hopes to fulfill potential

Thursday, August 8, 2019 | 11:43 PM

The Hampton golf team brings back most of its talent from last season.

Now, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.

The team, which hosts tryouts Monday, again will look to contend for a section title, and its main competition again should be Shady Side Academy. The teams have earned at least a share of the section title each of the past six seasons.

“The section looks to be about the same strength-wise,” coach Bruce Steckel said. “Shady Side, we always battle it out. I’m not sure what Mars and the other teams have, but there’s always good competition.”

There won’t be much competition between Hampton’s top two players. With Cal Cummins the only major player who graduated, WPIAL qualifier Matthew Rozumburka will try to improve on his sophomore campaign. While he qualified last year as an alternate, he is looking to be an official contender this fall.

“This year, he should have improved and looks to be the strongest of the guys I have back,” Steckel said. “I think he’s got some major potential. (Franklin Regional’s) Palmer Jackson is gone. Some of those guys at Fox Chapel and Central (Catholic). This is his ‘go’ year. He’s got to get up and get going.”

That won’t be a problem for the team’s presumed No. 2, sophomore Jake Twerdok, who is coming off a solid freshman year. Twerdok is particularly excited about this year’s WPIAL championships being at Fox Chapel Country Club, where he’s a member.

“He’s real pumped up and ready to go,” Steckel said. “I told him he’s got to get through a sectional and qualifier before the finals, but he has a good chance of doing it.”

Seniors Brendan Erka and Harry Hamlin return, as well as junior Arianna Erka, who competed in the WPIAL girls championship last season. The last spot is the major question mark.

“The sixth guy is key. That’s the one, if someone has a bad day, you have to count on that guy to come in and help you out. I’m not sure who that’s going to be, but I’d rather have a pick ’em of one instead of four.”

“They have the potential to be very good, but they need to put it together. We’ll see how it is. I think we’ll be extremely competitive.”

The team unofficially teed off last Monday with the “open gym” at Pittsburgh North Golf Club. It’s a learning experience for kids who might be interested in competitive golf, which can be much different than a Saturday with friends on the links.

“We kind of walk them through it,” Steckel said. “It’s an educational thing and helps the younger kids out. It’s about having an indoctrination. That’s what that’s good for.”


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