Westmoreland high school notebook: FR golfer Tragesser picks Rhode Island

Sunday, November 29, 2020 | 6:11 PM

Chuck Tragesser always knew he wanted to play golf collegiately. But he was unsure of where or what level.

He just knew he had the game to compete at a higher level and waited for an opportunity to come along.

The Franklin Regional senior had a breakout year, one that began in the summer and stretched deep into the fall high school season.

Schools were watching, but one, in particular, followed his tee-to-green progress from the beginning.

Tragesser recently signed to play at Division I Rhode Island of the Atlantic 10.

“They were watching me all summer but didn’t reach out until August,” Tragesser said. “Probably a month later I verbally committed and just signed officially. The campus is great, and it’s less than 20 minutes from the coast with many beaches.”

The long-hitting Tragesser avoided a lot of beaches on the golf course — sand traps and hazards — and put together a strong summer on the junior circuit before surging to a second-place finish at the PIAA Class AAA individual championship in York.

He also helped lead Franklin Regional to its first WPIAL team championship.

Tragesser wasn’t dominant, but he always bounced back from an off-kilter hole or round with something better. With his length and knack for working the ball in different directions, he put the ball in spots from where he could best score.

He worked in tandem with senior teammate Michael Wareham to form a top-two combo that opponents envied and labored to match.

“He has worked hard, and in a season that was not his most consistent, he showed he belongs in the conversation with the best players in the state,” Franklin Regional golf coach Jeff Traphagen said of Tragesser. “With his length and ability to make some of the plays he does on the ball, when everything is working, his ability to give himself birdie opportunities can produce some low scores when the putter gets hot.”

Several other D-I programs showed interest in Tragesser, including Lafayette, Hartford, Villanova and Findlay.

“Coach (Gregg) Burke gave me a great first impression of their program (at Rhode Island),” Tragesser said. “Not only is he focused on developing my golf game but also my grades and me as a person. The team is a family up there, and being eight hours away from home, I was looking for something like that. The team only carries around eight guys unlike some programs that carry 10 to 12. I liked that aspect of it as well.”

Rhode Island appealed to Tragesser, who was better informed about the nuances of reaching the next level after watching former teammate Palmer Jackson navigate the recruiting process before he landed at Notre Dame.

“I always knew I wanted play in college. It became a reality when I started posting some under-par rounds this summer,” Tragesser said. “Once that happened, some D-I colleges started giving me attention. Obviously, Palmer is at a different level, but he definitely gave me a little taste of what college golf would be like. Especially hearing about his experience over the past two years at Notre Dame.”


Penn-Trafford senior Brad Ford is seeing an uptick in his football recruiting.

The 6-foot, 180-pound running back/receiver/defensive back was offered a preferred walk-on deal from Penn State.

He added a Division II offer from Edinboro.

Ford helped Penn-Trafford reach the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals. He had 13 receptions for 246 yards and scored six touchdowns. He added 22 tackles on defense.

Belle Vernon lineman Anthony Evans (6-3, 270) added an offer from Fairmont State.

Jeannette senior Christian Blasco, a center and defensive tackle, will continue playing football at Saint Vincent.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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