Westmoreland high school notebook: Derry golfers off to fast start with narrow wins

Saturday, August 20, 2022 | 4:03 PM

It’s still early in an early starting high school golf season, but Derry is in mid-season form.

The Trojans have shown a knack for winning close matches.

On consecutive days last week, Derry won sudden-death playoffs over a pair of Section 2-2A opponents.

The Trojans went to extras with Greensburg Central Catholic after the teams tied at 203-203 — the teams split the section title last year — and then pulled even with Ligonier Valley, 208-208, before winning each time on the first playoff hole.

“It’s been pretty interesting to say the least,” Derry senior Hunter Jurica said.

Jurica and teammate Ashton Beighley have been a tough one-two punch on the scorecard.

In the team’s first three matches, Jurica is 2-under par (36, 36, 35).

Antonio Hauser also has shot in the 30s for the Trojans (3-0).

“When we play so well and still have to go into a playoff it shows how tough our section is,” Jurica said. “We have to play great golf to give our team a chance at winning so it adds a lot more pressure.”

Jurica brought up a good point about the earlier start to the WPIAL season — a result of the PIAA finals being played Oct. 17-19 and fear of not being able to get all section matches in with the individual postseason right on top of them.

He said summer tournament players did not get a usual break in between that competition and the high school season.

“I think this week we have never been so exhausted mentally from high school golf,” he said. “When we were in those playoffs, we had to use the adrenaline to our advantage.”

New coach at Jeannette

The Jeannette golf team started late because it didn’t have a coach until a week into tryouts.

Conor Cortazzo was set to coach the Jayhawks, but he resigned in mid-July.

After some scrambling, Jeannette athletic director Adrian Batts found his new coach. James Hayden took over the team on Monday.

Hayden is the father of former Jeannette athletic director Ryan Hayden, who is going to serve as an assistant to his dad.

Soccer watch list

It is becoming a tradition, just like the committee had hoped.

The Moe Rosensteel Player of the Year Award, given to the best all-around girls soccer player in the WPIAL each year since 2019, is now in its third year and a new winner will be crowned this fall.

The award epitomizes the best qualities of the late Katelyn “Moe” Rosensteel, who played at Ringgold and was popular in area cup circles before her death in 2019.

The foundation, led by her father, Ed Rosensteel, a former Greensburg Central Catholic assistant coach, has carried on her legacy through the award and a scholarship in her name.

Past winners include Ellie Coffield of Mars (2019), Sarah Schupansky of North Allegheny (2020) and Kelsey Salopek of Steel Valley (2021).

A watch list, compiled by a panel of foundation officials, coaches and media members, came out last week and it includes several local players.

Nominations will be narrowed to three finalists and then, the player of the year.

Area nominees include: Ella Bulava of Latrobe, Olivia Cernuto of Southmoreland, Sofia DeCerb of Latrobe, Sara Felder of Greensburg Central Catholic, Maddy Petruzzi of Latrobe, McKenzie Pritts of Yough, Farrah Reader of Belle Vernon and Regan Reilly of Latrobe.

Record round

Ligonier Valley junior golfer Amanda Woods tied a school record with a 40 during Thursday’s 177-210 loss to Mt. Pleasant at Norvelt Golf Club.

Woods had three pars and a birdie to equal the record set by Madison Pierce in 2019.

Football Friday

Football season returns Friday with Week Zero games across the WPIAL.

Here is a look at the schedule for local teams. All of these games kick off at 7 p.m.

Hempfield at Greensburg Salem, Burrell at Jeannette, Derry at Latrobe, Greensburg Central Catholic at Mt. Pleasant, Springdale at Ligonier Valley, Monessen at Washington, Penn-Trafford at Canon-McMillan, South Allegheny at Yough, Southmoreland at McGuffey and Upper St. Clair at Norwin.

PSAC offer for Phillips

Hempfield senior quarterback Jake Phillips picked up his first scholarship offer from the NCAA Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Mercyhurst reached out to Phillips, a 6-foot-2, 195-pounder who passed for 1,145 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

Phillips, who also plays lacrosse and basketball, also has football offers from Lake Erie (Division II) and Saint Vincent (Division III).

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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