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Freeport boys finish fourth at WPIAL golf championship

| Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 8:50 p.m.
Tribune-Review
Freeport's Robbie Miller chips out of a bunker on the ninth green on the Gold Course at Cedarbrook Golf Course during the WPIAL Class AA boys team championship on October 11, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Freeport's Robbie Miller drives from the 10th tee on the Gold Course at Cedarbrook Golf Course during the WPIAL Class AA boys team championship on October 11, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

Freeport's first trip to the WPIAL boys team golf finals in 18 years didn't come with a victory, but it gave next year's team a goal.

“We want to come back here,” junior Cole Hepler said.

Freeport shot a 447 to tie Shenango for fourth place out of six teams at the WPIAL Class AA team championship Thursday at Cedarbrook Golf Course's Gold Course in Rostraver.

“It's an awesome accomplishment to get here,” Freeport coach Joe Sprumont said. “You have to try and look at it both ways. Like when a team makes the Super Bowl, you try and soak it all in. But at the same time, you're here to take care of business.”

Longtime WPIAL power Burgettstown shot 411 to win, giving it five titles. It will be the first WPIAL team to compete for a PIAA title in the lower classification this month. Junior Owen Miller led the Blue Devils with a 74.

Sewickley Academy was second at 415, and Neshannock shot 430.

“We could have done better than we did,” said Hepler, who led Freeport with an 85. “I think we kind of clenched up a little bit. Overall, it was a good time and a great experience.”

Senior Robbie Miller shot 86, and freshman Audrey Clawson had 88.

“I know at least I had a slow start,” Miller said. “I had some trouble on the first two holes and never really got going.

“This is a great accomplishment to make it this far. A lot of people compare us to the team I was on as a freshman. They went 17-1 but lost in the first round.”

Central Catholic won the boys Class AAA title, its first in team history. The team collected on a bet with their coach, Corey O'Connor, who jumped into a lake near the 16th tee to celebrate.

“I was thinking to myself as the day went on, I wonder if I have any extra clothes in my car just in case?” O'Connor said. “The water was a lot deeper than I thought.”

But not as deep as his Vikings, who were led by four rounds in the 70s. Senior Kris Wright, who joined his coach for a swim, matched medalist honors with Peters Township's Tommy Nettles with a 2-over-par 74. Senior Hogan Cuny added a 76, senior Collin Haag 77 and junior Brent Rodgers 79.

Central finished with 387 to edge Peters Township (395), which was seeking its 14th title and first since 2008. Latrobe took third at 406.

The long-hitting Rodgers won the Class AAA individual title last week at Fox Chapel Golf Club.

“It's awesome to win this,” said Rodgers, the youngest competitor to qualify for the ReMax World Long-Drive Championships, which are the same day as the PIAA individual championships. “We have wanted this for so long.”

Rodgers again showed he can cave in a club face. He hit his tee shot on No. 9 over the green. Why hit driver on a short, tight par 4?

“Because it's fun,” Rodgers said.

The Penn-Trafford girls cruised to their first Class AAA championship, as senior Haley Borkovich shot a tournament-low 79 on the Red Course.

The girls Class AA title went to Central Valley, which won by 78 shots.

All four champions advance to the PIAA finals Oct. 22-24 at Heritage Hills Resort in York.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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