Westmoreland high school athletes of the week: Allison Tepper and Hunter Jurica

Saturday, September 3, 2022 | 3:55 PM

Allison Tepper

School: Mt. Pleasant

Sport: Golf

Year: Junior

Claim to fame: Tepper has been the top scorer this season for the undefeated Lady Vikings, who recently turned some heads with a 187-190 win over Greensburg Central Catholic at Norvelt Golf Club.

Tepper was the medalist in the nine-hole match with a season-best 40, three shots below her 43 average.

“Alli has been my No. 1 or No. 2 golfer for the past three years,” Mt. Pleasant coach Ken Ivory said. “She has really taken control of the No. 1 spot this year. She’s been our medalist in all but one match, and she’s dropped her scoring average in each of the past three years.”

Ivory said Tepper has been just as much of a teacher as a top player for Mt. Pleasant (7-0).

“Obviously she’s a good golfer, but she has also been an integral part in the development of some of our younger players by helping them with their swings and helping to coordinate some optional get-togethers when I’m unavailable.”

Tepper also shot a 42 against Elizabeth Forward.

How exciting was the win over GCC?

It was so exciting for all of us. We were so anxious waiting for our last girl to come in. We already had all the scores added in our heads.

Does this win signify that Mt. Pleasant is a serious WPIAL title contender, a threat to GCC’s dynasty of seven straight titles?

I don’t know if we are serious WPIAL title contenders yet, but beating GCC gives us the confidence that we can play with anybody.

Did you expect to be undefeated at this point in the season?

Yes I knew we had a chance, and it wasn’t going to be easy. I had a feeling it was going to come down to a tough match against GCC.

What is the strength of your game?

Definitely my putting.

Coach Ken Ivory is the director of golf operations at Pleasant Valley Golf Club. Has he given you any good golf advice?

Yes, he gives us good, good advice every time we step on the course. He doubles as our team’s coach and therapist.

What do you think of the island 17th hole at Pleasant Valley?

I personally love the island green at Pleasant Valley. I think it is a fun and challenging way to end a round.

Who is your favorite pro golfer?

Jordan Spieth.

What brand of golf ball do you play?

Titleist Pro V1.

What is your favorite club in your bag and why?

My 9-wood. It has gotten me out of some pretty tough situations, and I can always count on it to get me to the green.

What do you think of the new LIV Tour?

Personally I don’t agree with the golfers that are giving up on the PGA just for some money up front. It’s sad to see players forget what got them to where they are today.

Do you play any other sports?

I run track and I love to ski.

You volunteer in a junior program?

Every summer I volunteer at the Junior Golf program at Pleasant Valley Golf Club. I love getting to work with the kids in the same program that I was a part of when I was younger. It’s so rewarding to see the smiles on their faces when they hit a good shot.

You worked with an LPGA pro?

Last summer I had the opportunity to work with Rita Slavetskas. We met at a resort in West Virginia for a weekend where we worked on all aspects of my game. She was the toughest coach I’ve ever worked with, and she taught me the most important thing I’ll ever learn in golf: “Stay in the present.”

Will last year’s third-place team finish at the WPIAL championships help the team this season?

Definitely, last year was a little taste of what we needed to do. It was hard playing bad and watching third-place get put on the board, but it only motivated us more.

What is your favorite golf movie?

“The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

Hunter Jurica

School: Derry

Sport: Golf

Class: Senior

Claim to fame: Jurica won the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association boys championship Sept. 2 by shooting a 2-under-par 70.

Jurica finished his round with seven birdies at the Latrobe Elks Golf Club, which is his home course during the high school golf season. He said this was his biggest win of his career.

Jurica is one of the top golfers on the Derry team.

His coach, Tracey Smeltzer, said she’s never coached a player like Jurica.

“Hunter is the hardest worker I’ve coached,” Smeltzer said. “He’s a true leader. Even if he doesn’t play well, he’s rooting for his teammates to win. He wants his teammates to be successful.”

Jurica recently won the club championship at Ligonier Country Club.

What did it mean to win the WCCA title?

I’m very excited to win the county tournament. During the summer I entered a lot of tournaments, and I was struggling to win. It’s also my biggest win of my career. I had never won a championship until I won at Ligonier Country Club. Now I’m feeling the groove.

What was the key to your win?

I putted really well. I felt comfortable with any putt within 10 feet. Playing at Ligonier Country Club and their tough greens prepared me for the Elks tricky greens. Knowing the greens here is definitely a plus.

What are your goals for the season?

To make it to the PIAA championship. My biggest goal is to win the state championship.

What is your college future?

I haven’t decided just yet. I have a good idea where I want to go, but I’m not committing yet. I have a few offers.

What golf course would you love to play that you haven’t?

That would be Oakmont Country Club, and, pretty conveniently, if I play well enough in the section qualifier I’ll get that opportunity because the WPIAL Class 2A championship is there.

What is the strength of your game?

I’d say putting helped me win the WCCA title but, overall, my short game. It gives me a chance to make a lot of putts.

If you could pick a partner to participate with, who would it be?

It would be either Tiger Woods or Jordan Spieth. Tiger is the greatest golfer of all time and Jordan because he and I like to talk to our balls a lot. We like to scream at our balls when they are not headed in the right direction.

Who is your favorite golfer?

Jordan Spieth

Brand of golf ball you play?

Taylor Made TP5

What is your favorite club in your bag?

It is my putter. I love the chance at making a putt.

What do you think of the new LIV Tour?

I don’t agree with it. I don’t like where the money is coming from. That’s one of the biggest problems with it. But golf needed a change, and maybe this is a change, but I don’t like how they’re doing the change.

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