Sewickley Academy punctuates golf season with top 3 finish at states

Sunday, October 30, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Sewickley Academy was a PIAA finalist in boys golf for the seventh time in nine years.

The Panthers took third place in Class 2A with a 322 team score, finishing behind Lake-Lehman (296) and Devon Prep (308).

West Shamokin (327) and Delone Catholic (333) rounded out the top five teams in 2A.

Four golfers competed for the WPIAL champion Panthers on Oct. 17-18 on the Blue Course at Penn State.

Senior Joey Mucci and sophomore Severin Harmon led SA with scores of 78 and 79.

“I thought we played pretty well considering it was freezing rain and snowing at the beginning,” Mucci said. “Like always, we got off to a slow start mainly because of nerves but settled in nicely. Third place is a great accomplishment for us considering the two (teams) in front of us put up super impressive scores and have tremendous golfers.

“However, it was a fun time in the cold for one last state tournament.”

Sophomore Karan Kad and senior Nick Straka were next for the Panthers with rounds of 82 and 83.

“I thought we played really well as a team, especially considering the harsh weather,” Harmon said. “It’s always an honor to play in a state championship, and our performance was a testament to how hard we worked this year.

“Individually, I felt like I played better each day as the week went on.”

Senior Leon Jiao also participated for Sewickley and shot a 95.

Mucci tied for 19th place with Quaker Valley freshman Jonah Schollaert in the PIAA 2A boys individual tournament.

A four-time state finalist, Mucci carded a 12-over 78-78-156 total in the two-day event.

Fort LeBoeuf senior Nathan Feltmeyer also had a 156 total to finish in a tie with the two local players.

“I was satisfied but not thrilled with my performance during individuals,” Mucci said. “I struck the balls super well but unfortunately had a mental block on the par 3s, which killed my scores.”

Schollaert was one of only four freshmen to qualify for the individual finals in 2A. Schollaert ended up with a 76-80-156.

“Jonah is tough,” QV coach Greg Vecchi said. “He is always pushing himself to the end. He carries himself a little older than he is. I wasn’t surprised that he finished top 20 as a freshman after how he golfed all season for us.

“The PIAA final is a tough thing to get to, let alone finish high.”

QV senior Jackson Bould tied for 36th with a 161 total. Harmon placed 38th with a 162 and sophomore Ethan Dai tied for 39th at 163.

“After finishing second last year on a tougher course, I know Jackson had high goals for this tourney,” Vecchi said. “He was just a little more inconsistent than he usually is. Jackson had a fantastic high school golf career.”

The 15-year-old Schollaert hasn’t competed in any other sport besides golf since the sixth grade. He was joined at the 2A state tournament by freshmen Alex Talmadge of West Shamokin, Collin Schreiber of Moravian Academy and Braeden Stringer of Berks Catholic. Talmadge finished 14th with a nine-over 153.

“I’ve played at Penn State a couple other times for tournaments. I had a great time (at the PIAA event),” Schollaert said, “and it was an awesome accomplishment to be up there as a freshman. I played well both days with irons and my driver, but I left a good bit out there in the short-game department, specifically with putting speed and three-putts.

“At the beginning of the season, it was my goal to get to states, and to have finished top 20 feels great. I am making a game plan for the offseason so that next season is even better.”

Dai has two years remaining in his high school career. He and Nolan Wagoner were the only sophomores on the Quaker Valley squad.

“Ethan had some non-Ethan-like mistakes out there,” Vecchi said, “and wished he had golfed better. He had a terrific season for us though. He is another tremendous young golfer.”

Four-time WPIAL champion Eva Bulger of QV tied for seventh at 16-over at the PIAA Class 2A girls finals at Penn State.

Bulger shot an 81-79-160 to tie with Hickory sophomore Luciana Masters (77-83-160) in the two-day tournament.

“Eva started off Day 1 very strong with six pars in a row,” Vecchi said, “but she faltered in the middle of that round. Outside of that, she was solid for the rest of day one and all of Day 2.

“There are some very strong female 2A golfers statewide. Eva belonged right up there with them. She had an incredible career at Quaker Valley and accomplished so much.”

The seventh-place finish was Bulger’s best PIAA showing of her career. She ended up 10th last year.

“I was prepared and gave it my all at State College,” Bulger said. “I played pretty well both days. I made a nine on the par-4 11th hole or might’ve been able to make a run at it on Tuesday. That’s the way it goes. If you play enough golf, it happens to everyone.”

Sewickley won PIAA team titles in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

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