Young Pine-Richland girls golfers improving under new coach

Friday, September 7, 2018 | 7:25 PM

Peter Hawk understands he’s walking into a unique situation as the first-year coach of the Pine-Richland girls golf team.

In fact, the former Edinboro tennis player who is a regionally ranked by USGA, says he applied for the Rams’ job specifically because the team’s circumstances were so unique.

“Someone told me that Pine-Richland had an open position for the girls golf team. They had two good players coming back for their senior years and then they had a lot of young players coming up,” Hawk said.

“That’s when I applied because I thought that it would be really unfair to have two accomplished seniors come back and either not have a team, or not have a knowledgeable coach. I have a lot of coaching background, I have a master’s in sports psychology from Pitt; I just knew it was a calling that I should apply and help out.”

The two senior golfers that Hawk referred to — Lauren Freyvogel and Aiyana Chopra — have accomplished a lot in their first three seasons at Pine-Richland (3-1).

Freyvogel, a Penn State commit, is the defending PIAA Class AAA champion after shooting a 3-over-par 147 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in the 2017 title match.

The team’s No. 2 golfer, Chopra, has been on the rise since finishing first in her age group in the Drive, Chip and Putt championships subregional event at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort back in 2016.

However, besides those two, the team has a great deal of inexperience.

Emmerson Dickson has been golfing out of the third spot in the Pine-Richland lineup. Behind Dickson, it’s been a mix of Sedona Rocher, Carlin Carion and Carson Heil rounding out the lineup.

According to Hawk, though, the gang of freshmen and sophomores golfing behind Freyvogel and Chopra are trending in the right direction.

“It’s just a matter of trying to get these kids to understand that they have to try to improve quickly and focus on each shot. And when they have a bad shot, don’t let it multiply into a really bad blowup hole. That happens sometimes, but they are improving and understanding,” Hawk said.

“Some of these girls started out their season shooting in the 60’s. Now, they have their game down in the middle-to-low 50’s. That’s a great improvement.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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