Sewickley Academy, Central Catholic boys, NA, GCC girls repeat as WPIAL golf champions
By: Bill Beckner Jr.
Thursday, October 12, 2017 | 7:36 PM
Dynasties have happened in WPIAL golf before.
There's the Upper St. Clair girls, the standard-bearers, who won 12 consecutive titles from 1994-2005. The Panthers have 16 titles overall.
The Penn Township boys team won 12 titles in 18 years, from 1939-57.
And the Turtle Creek boys of the 1930s won five consecutive district championships.
It might be time to make room for a few more.
Three teams joined the conversation Thursday during the WPIAL team championships.
It was a day of repeat champions as the boys played the Gold Course and the girls the Red Course at Cedarbrook in Rostraver.
The Sewickley Academy boys tied Turtle Creek's record with a fifth straight Class AA title, while the North Allegheny girls (Class AAA) and Greensburg Central Catholic girls (AA) made it a WPIAL three-peat, and the Central Catholic boys won back-to-back titles in Class AAA.
Sewickley Academy posted five scores in the 80s, including an 80 by WPIAL individual runner-up Cole Luther, and 81s by Will Nocito, Peter Curran and J.F. Aber. The team's 406 score was seven better than Quaker Valley and 11 ahead of McGuffey, and clinched its eighth overall title.
“Balance is what it's all about,” Panthers coach Win Palmer said. “It's not about the birdies, it's about making that bogey instead of a double bogey or worse. It's like basketball with us being a second-half team. We're better on the second nine.”
North Allegheny coach Mike Hambrick thought his team could run away with the Class AAA title and the Tigers did. They shot 315 to win by 42 strokes over Fox Chapel (366). Upper St. Clair was third at 366 and Penn-Trafford fourth at 368.
Caroline Wrigley, the two-time defending WPIAL individual champion, had the round of the day with a 2-over-par 73, and teammate Christina Lewis shot 76.
North Allegheny went from zero titles a few years ago, to three in a row.
“We thought we had a chance to have everybody in the 70s,” Hambrick said. “It's great to have that anchor but we have some other girls who have played well. Last year we were unstoppable but didn't have that chemistry. That kept it from being a beautiful season. This year is better that way. And watch out for next year; we could be 10-15 shots better.”
Central Catholic's boys posted a score of 386 to edge Peters Township (391). It wasn't the record-breaking 378 the Vikings shot last year, but it was enough to seal another win.
Senior Hunter Bruce, a Penn State recruit, led Peters with a 73 and junior Parker Johnson shot 75. Pine-Richland was third at 396, led by junior Rico Sciulli's 74.
Junior Neal Shipley led “That 70s Show” for the Vikings with a 1-over 73. Junior Jimmy Meyers followed with a 77, junior Tyler Blake 78 and sophomore Palmer Cuny and junior Shane Kelley matched 79s.
“We knew we needed our up-front guys to be in the low 70s,” Vikings coach Cory O'Connor said. “With Jimmy, we knew we could rely on him being under-par or even. We knew we had those anchors.”
Fox Chapel, which finished sixth, played minus three starters who were injured in a vehicle accident Wednesday, three of whom remain in Children's Hospital with serious injuries.
Foxes' No. 1 player Gregor Meyer, who was in the accident, was at Cedarbrook but did not play.
Shady Side Academy freshman Adam Lauer carded a 73, but the Indians ended up at 402.
Junior Abby Zambruno shot 77 to lead Greensburg Central Catholic to a third straight title. It was the eighth overall title for coach George Janik, who won five with the GCC boys program.
“We knew coming in it would be close and that we'd have to play our best,” Zambruno said. “We knew every shot would be important and you could not take anything for granted.”
The title was the first for Zambruno sans her sister, Olivia, who helped GCC win two in a row before moving on to Penn State.
“Not having Olivia here to shoot that low number, we knew it might be closer,” Abby Zambruno said. “We knew we'd have to step up. We were still able to come out on top.”
Some of the other top rounds of the day belonged to Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic's Tre Bartony (72) and Maddie Smithco (73), McGuffey's David Chapman (75), Mars' Natalie Welch (75), WPIAL individual champ Skyler Fox (76) from Riverside, Central Valley's Kiaria Porter (76) and South Park senior Tyler Brinker (76).
The four team champs move on to the PIAA championships Oct. 25 at Heritage Hills Resort in York.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .