Roster turnover can’t slow Pine-Richland golf

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Friday, September 6, 2019 | 8:04 PM


The Pine-Richland boys golf team is in the rare position of replacing seven seniors who graduated from its 2018 team.

Despite that turnover, the Rams’ surroundings are quite familiar as they are battling for the top spot in the Section 3-AAA standings with a 7-1 mark through the first leg of their WPIAL season.

From a top-to-bottom perspective, the Rams may be lacking in varsity experience. The team does, however, boast an experienced leader in Donnie Professori. The senior finished in second place at last season’s section individual qualifier and turned in a top 20 finish at the WPIAL Class AAA individual championships.

This season, the fourth-year varsity contributor has led his team with a 35.1 scoring average.

“It can be hard when you lose seven seniors but for us, it all kind of starts with Donnie Professori,” coach Jeff Seybert said. “We’re definitely a little young but we have some great senior leadership with Donnie, and with Luke Yackovich and Connor Krause.

“They’ve been leaders for us, and other guys with experience like Nick Piper have come in and helped the younger guys adjust to playing in varsity matches.”

Piper has been a notable performer as well.

The junior and third-place finisher in last season’s Section 3-AAA individual qualifier is shooting an average of 38.2 per round, good for second on the team.

Yackovich and Krause have also turned in consistently low scores for the Rams this season, and according to Seybert, have helped bring along talented youngsters such as freshman Toby Kitay, who has been playing at the varsity level all season so far.

Rounding out the lineup for the Rams are Mark Terchick and Sam Perry, who have each turned in low rounds to help their team this season.

While there are plenty of new golfers filling in the lineup for Pine-Richland, the results have held steady. And because of that, Seybert says he has no reason to expect anything less than a 2019 season that will be competitive to the very end.

“I think we can compete with any of the teams in the WPIAL this year. I think we could finish top six again, like we did last year,” Seybert said. “We just have to maintain our focus. Even though we already lost a section match, we can end up in first in our section.

“Everyone plays on the same course. We just have to be the better team. Even with our youth, we’re gaining crucial experience that I think can help get us through.”

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