Sewickley Academy golf teams ready to defend PIAA championships
By: Karen Kadilak
Friday, September 7, 2018 | 7:25 PM
The Sewickley Academy boys golf team (4-0 in Section 9-AA) has some rebuilding, but that has not slowed the reigning PIAA champion and five-time defending WPIAL champion.
Among its wins was a 199-201 decision against Quaker Valley, the WPIAL runner-up last season.
The Panthers lost three of their six players from the PIAA championship team, including Cole Luther and Will Nocito. Luther and Nocito placed second and fifth, respectively, in the WPIAL individual championship. Nocito, who is playing for Hamilton, came in 23rd in the state.
Junior J.F. Aber and seniors Landen Shirley and Matthew Klemash have moved up or into the lineup.
Klemash said he wants to be a leader and proved that against Quaker Valley, scoring a team-best 1-under-par 34.
Senior Austin Applegarth, sophomore Tim Fitzgerald, sophomore Navin Rana and senior Logan Fullerton are new.
“With so many seniors on our roster, they are a close-knit group, which will help us to develop and continue to have fun throughout the year,” Panthers coach Win Palmer said.
Aber wants the Panthers to enjoy themselves.
“With the success of last year, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking that we need to repeat it,” he said. “If we just have fun and get better, I’m sure we’ll have a lot of success.”
Shirley expects the Panthers to be competitive in every match.
Quaker Valley (2-1 in Section 9-AA) is an experienced squad, led by four-year starters Michael Tanabe and Charlie Henry.
Two other seniors, Evan Frund and Eddie Renner, competed in the WPIAL team championship last season. Junior Aidan Bulger, freshman Adam Tanabe, senior David Kraus and junior John Auth also play.
“We have a mature group of golfers who care about the team,” Quaker coach Greg Vecchi said.
Michael Tanabe said after coming close last season, the Quakers are motivated to earn the WPIAL title.
On the girls side, Sewickley Academy (3-0 in Section 2-AA) looks forward to repeating as PIAA champion with senior Tatum McKelvey leading the way.
McKelvey, the defending WPIAL individual champion and a Bucknell recruit, said it will be hard for the Panthers to top last season, when they claimed their first state crown.
“But with the amazing group of girls we have, we are capable of anything,” she said. “Personally, I have my eyes set on the WPIAL title and the state title after that.”
Panthers coach Nancy Means said McKelvey and senior Lexie Bosetti provide strong leadership, organizing captain practices outside of scheduled practices.
Juniors Zoe Luther, Haley Nocito and Kylie Smith are other players.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.