Panthers on the prowl as Franklin Regional, Sewickley Academy win WPIAL boys golf team titles
Thursday, October 15, 2020 | 5:46 PM
The Franklin Regional boys golfers had a feeling 2020 might be their year.
Turns out the Panthers’ intuition was on the money.
Led by senior Michael Wareham, who shot a 6-over-par 78, Franklin Regional captured its first WPIAL Class AAA boys team golf championship Thursday at Cedarbrook Golf Course.
Chuck Tragesser, Nolan Shilling and Zach Abdallah shot 82, and Luke Kimmich and Jesse Anderchak shot 85. One of the 85s was thrown out, and the Panthers edged out defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Fox Chapel by three strokes with a team total of 409.
“This is such a great group of kids. They’ve worked hard, and a lot of these guys have been on the varsity team since they were freshmen,” Franklin Regional coach Jeff Traphagen said. “They just put in the effort, and they work hard. They really deserve it.”
For the past four years, Franklin Regional was in a section with perennial golf powerhouses Central Catholic and Fox Chapel, who have won the WPIAL title the past four years. Central Catholic won in 2016, ’17 and ’18. The Foxes finally broke through last season.
Fox Chapel was placed in a different section this season, and the Panthers took advantage of their opportunity.
They came out of Section 4-AAA with Central Catholic and shot the second-lowest score at their semifinal event Monday at Champion Lakes.
On a day when the wind was blowing and the greens were faster than expected, Franklin Regional’s savvy showed. The Panthers checked the greens in the short game, stayed patient in difficult situations, and as Traphagen, their statistics teacher, noted, they turned in the lowest standard deviation — the difference between the lowest scorer and highest scorer — of the day.
“These guys are so close and so tight, and I never know whose score I’m going to have to throw out and the last two times it’s been a tie,” Traphagen said. “So for us to have to throw out an 85, especially on a day where you only see like five (scores in the) 70s up there, I think that’s awesome because these guys deserve it.”
While Franklin Regional won the first team title in school history, Sewickley Academy won its eighth straight WPIAL Class AA crown.
The Panthers bested Quaker Valley, a team that had beaten them twice this season, by 18 strokes with a total of 418.
Senior captains Tim Fitzgerald and Navin Rana shot 81 and 82, respectively, for Sewickley Academy, but it was sophomore Joey Mucci who led the way. Golfing out of the No. 3 spot, Mucci fired a 76, which tied Central Catholic’s Rocco Salvitti for the low score of the day.
Sewickley Academy will look to defend its PIAA Class AA title Oct. 26 at Heritage Hills. Franklin Regional will be looking to take the next step.
“I told my guys, ‘Teams aren’t going to lay down out there, so we are going to have to go out there and find a way to get it done,’ ” Traphagen said.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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