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CCAC golfers reflect on time at local school

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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CCAC North Campus golfers placed second at the regional golf championship are, from left, Dan Blahnik, Eric Poplowski, coach Chuck Bell, Ben Kennedy and Paul Ajak III.

The Region 20 Golf Championships took place earlier this month, and as usual, the Community College of Allegheny County North Campus squad put on a good showing.

Teams from Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland squared off at Pittsburgh North (from the black tee), where CCAC took second behind Allegheny College of Maryland.

Although coach Chuck Bell had aspirations of winning, he was pleased with the play of his golfers.

“It was a good showing on our part,” Bell said.

Eric Poplowski had a two-day score of 154, and teammate Ben Kennedy of Sewickley took seventh by winning a playoff round. Aspinwall's Paul Ajak took 10th by winning a playoff.

Bell's players are 17-1 in playoff situations, but he said one of those wins came as a result of two CCAC players facing off against each other.

Poplowski dazzled once again and earned the regional medal from the NJCAA.

“It was a good two days, and I am proud of the guys,” Bell said. “I was hoping to win, because we had the opportunity, but we could have performed a little better.

Bell and his squad then shifted focus to the Goosepond Colony Course in Scottsboro Alabama for a 72-hole tournament May 21 to 24.

Bell and his players made the most of the trip, but the tournament was bittersweet as he bid farewell to a good team.

“We did OK,” Bell said. “It was good for our kids to get a taste of the D-II Nationals.”

Poplowski was nominated to the Golf Coaches Association of America as well as being named a Ping All Region player and Ping All American honorable mention.

“It just shows that hard work pays off,” Poplowski said. “You only get out what you put in. I get a lot of support from my parents, and it's really all a blessing.”

Poplowski and Kennedy have earned scholarships to play golf and study at Point Park, and Ajak will attend mortuary school.

Poplowski accepted a full scholarship and Kennedy a partial. Both plan to study business.

“I have two years of eligibility left, which is four seasons,” Poplowski said. “I just want to mention the great faculty at CCAC and Chuck and all the hard work he puts in. He is very knowledgeable and puts in the time. I think that gets overlooked.”

Kennedy shared his teammate's thoughts, saying Bell is the best coach he has ever had.

“It will be nice to play for two more years,” Kennedy said. “We went into Nationals as individual players, but Chuck kept us together and wanted us to all play well.”

Kennedy said he never really thought of playing college golf, but Ajak convinced him to give it a go, and the rest is history.

“Point Park is a good deal, and I will get a good education,” Kennedy said.

“We have all been together for two years, and I am happy for all of them,” Bell said. “I will miss them all. They all have improved and are very talented players. I hope they got as much out of CCAC as we got out of them.”

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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