Penn-Trafford girls golf looks to rebound after rare playoff miss

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Sunday, August 22, 2021 | 10:01 AM


It was an unusual season for the Penn-Trafford girls’ golf season in 2020.

Not only did the Warriors, like all high school athletic teams, endure the challenges of the coronavirus, the team failed to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs for only the second time in the last 16 seasons.

“I would think these girls have a chip on their shoulder after missing out last year,” Penn-Trafford coach Ed Herbst said as he begins his 17th season. “Our goal every year is to win the section title.”

Since Herbst has been the coach, the Warriors have won 11 section titles, won two WPIAL Class AAA titles (2012 and 2013) and placed second in the state twice.

Penn-Trafford held tryouts at Manor Valley Golf Course on Aug. 19. This is the second season the Warriors will call Manor Valley home.

“We didn’t have a home course advantage like we did when we played at Irwin Country Club,” Herbst said. “Hopefully, that will change when we learn the course better.”

Herbst must replace three graduates — Lauren Barber, Kendall Vertes and Jada Czesnkowski — from last year’s team. Barber is now playing golf at Seton Hill.

The top returning starters are seniors Emily Spudy and Alexis Dindak and sophomore Antolena Damico. There were others who were in and out of the starting lineup, including Erin Driscoll, Saylor Kaminsky and Amanda Bobish.

Others pushing for playing time include Taylor Shearer, Makayla Casario, Riley Cuda and Tali Brobst.

“What I like most about the girls is they come to practice with a good attitude, a good work ethic, and they want to get better,” Herbst said. “We have eight to 10 girls pushing for playing time.”

Because Penn-Trafford is used to the competition within, Herbst said the experience will help.

Damico averaged 42 strokes per nine holes in 2020, with Dindak and Spudy at 45, and Driscoll, Shearer, Casario and Bobish between 46 and 48.

Herbst said he hopes those averages will drop a few shots during the season.

“They’re learning from their mistakes,” Herbst said. “You hope that their experience will help them. One thing we’re stressing at practice is becoming better putters. You can cut off five to six strokes a round.”

Herbst expects Franklin Regional and Indiana to be strong again even though they graduated several golfers.

“We were in the section race until the end,” Herbst said, saying he likes his team’s chance of regaining the section title. “If we would have beaten Franklin Regional in the final match of the season, we would have tied for first.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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