FREEPORT — Indiana played well enough on a tough day to golf and advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA team championships.
The Indiana High School boys’ team shot a 414, behind first-place Peters Township and second-place Fox Chapel and ahead of Hampton, to finish in third place out of nine teams at Tuesday’s WPIAL semifinal at River Forest Country Club and the final spot to move on to Thursday’s WPIAL finals.
Matt Holuta shot a 3-over-par 74 to tie for medalist honors and lead Indiana.
“We definitely did not play well, but I’m happy we’re moving on,” Indiana coach Dave Myers said.
“I’m seeing the kids playing on the back nine and the scores are getting higher and I’m thinking, I don’t know if we’re going to get through this, but sure enough, we found a way to get it done. Luckily for Indiana, the scores were high and we’re moving on.”
Kevin Jack shot an 83, followed by Kyle Grube (84), John Louis Gatti (85), Wade Semsick (88) and Sam Stever (88).
“The golf course is tricky,” Myers said of River Forest. “It’s not a long course, but when they got out today it was a little chilly. There was a half-hour fog delay and there was no range. … It’s tough getting warmed up. Basically, you hit a few putts and you’re on the tee. The fog delay threw everyone off a little bit more. After the front nine I’m realizing we’re right in this, because none of the scores on any team are that good. Matt had easily the best round of anybody.”
The WPIAL team championships are at Cedarbrook Golf Course in Belle Vernon.
Thursday will mark Indiana’s first time back at the event since it shot an excellent 387, only to be outdone by four strokes in a sizzling round by Upper St. Clair in 2011. Indiana was a senior-laden team on its last shot at a WPIAL team title that year, with Holuta, then a sophomore, one of just two returning starters. Now Holuta is a senior leader — Semsick is the other — with four other starters that have eligibility beyond this season.
“I think all the boys are very excited to get there,” Myers said. “We’re going there now with four underclassmen, so maybe these guys look at it as, let’s get back here again next year. I kind of look at it as, if we play to our potential with the six guys I’m taking, we can win it, but I’m also hoping that with the four guys I have coming back for next year, they say let’s get back here again.”