Westmoreland high school notebook: Jurica, Derry set for WPIAL team golf semifinals

Sunday, October 9, 2022 | 4:20 PM

Call it a point of validation.

Derry senior golfer Hunter Jurica won the WPIAL Class 2A individual championship last week at Oakmont Country Club, following his opening 74 at Hannastown Golf Club with a 78 at Oakmont for an 11-over-par 152.

Derry has risen to become a WPIAL contender in team golf over the last six years, and Jurica’s win puts a stamp on the Trojans’ reputation.

“Coming in as freshmen, we kept on building,” Jurica said. “Now we’re almost like the team to beat, and it’s awesome. It’s cool to see Derry on the map. It’s good for the program.”

Derry didn’t win a section title between 1974 and 2017 but has four consecutive and is among the contenders at the WPIAL 2A team semifinal tournament Tuesday at The Links at Spring Church near Apollo. The top three teams out of 10 advance to the WPIAL finals Thursday at Cedarbrook Golf Course in Rostraver.

“Now Hunter is looking forward to see what he can do with his teammates,” Derry coach Tracey Smeltzer said.

Jurica also will compete in the PIAA championship Oct. 17-18 at Penn State.

“States is next,” he said. “That is the next goal. I can’t wait.”

Team golf

Penn-Trafford’s boys will compete in the Class 3A semifinal Tuesday at Duck Hollow Golf Course in Uniontown. The top three of nine teams advance to Cedarbrook.

Ten teams will tee it up Monday at Pleasant Valley Golf Club in Connellsville in another 2A semifinal.

Teams in that field are Belle Vernon, Carmichaels, Fort Cherry, Greensburg Central Catholic, Hopewell, McGuffey, Sewickley Academy, South Park, Uniontown, and Waynesburg.

Again, the top three advance.

On the girls side, Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford advanced to the eight-team WPIAL 3A finals Thursday at Cedarbrook. Greensburg Central Catholic and Mt. Pleasant are two of the four teams in a small 2A field.

Parade of champions

Jurica joins a long list of boys golf champions from Westmoreland County. Other past winners include Nick Turowski of Penn-Trafford (2021), Bo Lustig of Belle Vernon (2010), Ben Gjebre of Latrobe (’09), Tim Moynihan of Franklin Regional (’02), Nate Speer of Burrell (1998), Brian Tutich of Greensburg Central Catholic (’93), Kevin Reisenweaver of Latrobe (’86), Seth Pevarnik of Greensburg Central Catholic (’85), Paul Balest of Greensburg Salem (’83), Bob Bradley of Hempfield (’79), Ray Nelson of Ligonier (’77), Scott Yard of Greensburg (’63), Latrobe’s Arnold Palmer (’46, ’47) — yes, him — and Tom Denny of Greensburg Salem (’45).

Dlugos gaining attention

Greensburg Central Catholic senior Liz Dlugos will be one of the top college throwing prospects in the WPIAL come track and field season.

A shot put and discus thrower, Dlugos received a pair of scholarship offers last week to compete at the Division I level, from Bucknell and Holy Cross.

She finished fourth in the WPIAL Class 2A shot put last spring and followed that with a sixth-place finish at the PIAA championships.

Palm pilot

Yough hired Dan Palm to coach its baseball team. Palm was an assistant under Craig Spisak, who resigned after six seasons as coach.

Palm has been a coach before, at Belle Vernon and Albert Gallatin.

Good sports

Ligonier Valley and Penn-Trafford were two of five schools to win WPIAL Sportsmanship Awards for the 2021-22 sports year.

The award, which has been around since 1996, recognizes schools that best represent good sportsmanship, fair play and school spirit, among other attributes that make up the league’s “Sportsmanship: The Only Missing Piece is You” initiative.

Each recipient will receive a banner to hang in its gymnasium. They will be honored Nov. 16 during the WPIAL Sportsmanship Summit at Heinz History Center and Sports Museum.

The other winners were Beaver, Hampton and St. Joseph.

GS hoops tournament

The third annual Greensburg Salem Lady Lion Shootout will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Hempfield Recreation Center.

There will be 18 high school teams in the field, including Greensburg Salem, Penn-Trafford, Hempfield, Greensburg Central Catholic and Yough.

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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