Shaler golf team in midst of historic season
Sunday, September 24, 2023 | 11:01 AM
Everyone on the Shaler boys golf team found a different path to the varsity roster. Titans junior Jacob Crissman’s interest in golf came out of idle boredom.
“During covid, I had appendicitis,” Crissman said. “I would just chip and putt in my backyard.”
Crismman has become one of the Shaler’s more consistent golfers on a historic Titans’ boys golf team. Shaler coach Chris Catanese said after finishing the regular season 14-1, including 9-1 in section, the Titans claimed the first section title in school history.
Whether the Titans would hold the title outright or share with Fox Chapel was to be determined by the Foxes’ regular season finale on Sept. 20.
“I don’t know if I saw this coming,” Catanese said. “When we looked at the wall of the gym, there was no banner saying Shaler golf had won anything.”
Shaler has already qualified for the team playoffs for the second straight year at Cedarbrook Golf Course on Oct. 12. What surprised Catanese was that Shaler got six golfers through during sectional qualifying for WPIALs.
“If you would have told me we had gotten all six guys through, I would have been shocked,” Catanese said. “Good players can have a bad day during qualifying at golf tournaments.”
Jake Kunc finished with the best round for Shaler at sectionals, posting a 2-over par 73 at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course. Crissman (75), Joey Miller (75), Jake Skerlong (75), Cody Weber (79) and Jake Hefler (82) also qualified.
“They’ve taken it to a new level,” Catanese said. “They go out there and play all the time together. They play off each other. They are competitive.”
Miller said the team enjoys competing with each other. Miller, a member at Wildwood, will play with several other teammates who are members at Shannopin.
“We play together all the time,” Miller said. “We always compete with matches and pair up and play the other two in games.”
When Shaler made the team playoffs last season, it was the first time in over 20 years the Titans had qualified. Miller, who was the two-time defending section champion coming into this season, was eager to earn another shot at WPIALs.
Miller, who has talked to coaches at Robert Morris and Saint Francis, felt he had a tough summer with his putting.
“I was looking forward to a three-peat, but I came up short,” Miller said. “I was trying to get out there and shoot under the number.”
For Crissman, he enjoyed watching Hefler, a senior, make a putt on the 18th green to punch his ticket to WPIALs.
He didn’t want his teammate to suffer the same fate he did as a freshman.
“I missed the cut by two strokes,” Crissman said. “I had a drive to not do that my sophomore and junior year. I kept working hard and made the cut. I made it pretty comfortably my sophomore year.”
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