ELI NELLIS: High school teams tee off
It’s high school golf season once again, and as usual, the Indiana High School boys’ team has a lot of talent and high expectations.
The Indians are off to a 2-0 start, having beaten Penn-Trafford and Greensburg Salem last week. They’re aiming to get back to the WPIAL team playoffs after a narrow miss last season, having finished third in WPIAL Division 1 Section 1, one match behind similarly powerful Latrobe and Hempfield teams.
“Our first goal is to make playoffs, our second goal is to win the section, and then we’ll see how things go from there,” coach Dave Myers said. “There are a lot of tough teams in the WPIAL, but when our team is playing their best, we’re as good as anybody in WPIALs. I just hope we get the chance to prove that come team playoff time.”
Indiana is led by seniors Matt Holuta and Danny Clark and freshman C.J. Hughes.
The Indians have their usual complement of players who had success over the summer at local courses. In addition, Holuta qualified for and played in the USGA Junior Amateur Championship, and Hughes represented the U.S. in junior events in Scotland and Canada.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to have kids over the last six years that have played in junior tournaments, either locally or throughout the state of Pennsylvania or, in Matt and C.J.’s case, nationally,” Myers said. “They can bring back the things that they’ve learned in their travels and share those with the rest of the team. That’s a valuable tool.”
Holuta, Clark, Hughes and Wade Semsick have started in both matches so far and figure to be regulars in the top six. Beyond that, Kevin Jack, John Louis Gatti and Sam Stever have figured in matches, and a few others should do so as the season goes on. They’ll be challenged in a key match Wednesday at Hempfield.
“Luckily for us, we have the depth that we might be able to still perform well even if we’re missing one or two of our top six players,” Myers said. “At this point I can’t tell you for sure who our solid top six are. They’re all pretty close. Matt and Danny are definitely going to be in there almost every time they’re available.”
Meanwhile, the Indiana girls’ team is back with seven players after going 8-8 — its best record yet — last year.
“It’s a small group, but a good group,” second-year coach Elmer Bland said.
The Indians lost five seniors but return key players senior Alexa Strong and sophomore Logan Everett, both of whom are contenders for WPIAL individual playoff tournament spots.
Homer-Center’s boys’ team is in its third season, coming off a 13-0 campaign in which the Wildcats won the Heritage Conference championship and sent a player to the state tournament for the first time.
Also in the Heritage, Blairsville, Ligonier Valley, Saltsburg, Northern Cambria and United field teams, while other local competitors are Derry, Punxsutawney and West Shamokin.
• Thomas Steve, of Upper St. Clair High School, the grandson of Tom Steve, of Indiana, has made a verbal commitment to play golf for the University of Notre Dame next fall.
AT INDIANA COUNTRY CLUB: Brandon Boyer and Gia Grettler led the players in the junior club championship, winning the nine-hole divisions in the boys’ and girls’ groups, respectively, on Friday, Aug. 16.
Walker Raykes took second in the boys’, division, and Chase Cunningham came in third. Marie Marcoline followed Grettler in the girls’ division, and Maddie Todd was third.
Trevor Todd won the boys’ six-hole group, ahead of Jack Fischer and Zak Wood.
Chase Force won the three-hole division, followed by Gabe Nettleton and Ryan Bell.
In the girls’ six-hole division, Hope Cook took the title. Jennifer Todd came in second, and Quinn Martineau third.
Chloe Williams won the three-hole group, ahead of Lizzie Carion and Zoe Drahnak.
AT MEADOW LANE: Jeremy Flynn and Bob Volk will play for the championship in the Coney Island-Meadow Lane Match-Play Tournament.
Flynn defeated George Berringer, 1-up, in the semifinals, and Volk topped Ray Blystone, 2 and 1, in the other match.
Bernadette Sgro-Hodak defeated Joanne Payson, 1-up, and advances to face Kathy Whitesel. The winner of that match will face Paula Witherow out of the winners’ bracket.
• Kathy Glassford, Ann Poliziani, Flora Isenberg and Theresa Wise were the winners in the Ladies’ 18-Hole League’s Nassau event Wednesday.
Glassford scored the low net on the front nine, and Poliziani did so on the back. Isenberg and Wise tied for the low net over all 18 holes.
Isenberg and Kathy Whitesel won the special event, tying for the most 5s.
Glassford won prizes for chipping in for birdie on No. 7.
• The Super Senior Championship will be held Thursday, Sept. 12.
• The course is offering a year-end membership special: $199 to play until the close of the season.
AT INDIAN SPRINGS: Jan Cikowski and Jennie Morandi won the play of the day, Honesty, in the Tuesday Morning Ladies League.
Loretta Lowman made two birdies, and Patty Pangonis added another.
LAST COLUMN: Except for scholastic play, the season is winding down, and this is the last Sunday golf column of the season. To report any news, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Gazette Sports Department at email@example.com, or call us at (724) 465-5555, ext. 266.