Young Plum golf team looking to future success
The Plum boys golf team was young this season, as only one senior was on the roster and in the lineup.
The Mustangs players experienced growing pains at times this season as they worked on improving, but head coach Keith Nonnenberg said he saw his team gain experience that should help them in the next coup- le of seasons.
Plum finished 5-7 in Section 4-AAA. The team ended its section slate with a tough 204-216 loss to rival Gateway at Churchill Valley Country Club.
It was the third team round the Mustangs scored below 220 this season.
Their best round came in a 201-252 victory over Penn Hills at Willowbrook Country Club on Sept. 26, and they also tallied a 213 in a six-stroke loss against Franklin Regional, also at home.
Sophomore Justin Sovak had the low round in the loss to Gateway with a 39.
He and fellow sophomore Andrew Reynolds, who carded a 43 against the Gators, were the leaders in average this season.
Freshman Samantha Shumaker came on strong in her first season on the varsity team, and she also shot a 43 against Gateway.
Shumaker switched gears a couple of weeks ago and mixed it up with the girls golfers in Section 3-AAA, arguably the most challenging WPIAL girls golf section, and qualified for the WPIAL championship tournament.
Despite Shumaker not faring as well as she had hoped at WPIALs, Nonnenberg said, he's encouraged by her start this season, knows she gained a lot of experience at WPIALs and looks forward to her returning to the WPIAL tournament in the future.
Tanner Yocca, the lone senior, also turned in a 43 against Plum, as he wrapped up his varsity career.
While Yocca's talents will be missed next year, Nonnenberg said, the talent returning has the potential to make some noise in the section.
Junior J.P. Predmore and sophomore Richard Rossi golfed in the varsity match with Gateway, and both are expected to be a big part of the team next season.
Sophomore Roger Gestner, a transfer from Florida, was able to get a feel for the different courses.
Like Shumaker, Reynolds competed at a WPIAL individual championship tournament for the first time, as the top golfers met at Fox Chapel Golf Club in O'Hara Township on Oct. 3 to see who would capture gold and who would move on to the PIAA Western Regional.
Nonnenberg said that like Shumaker, Reynolds was able to gain valuable experience at the WPIAL AAA finals, despite finishing tied for 29th with a round of 82.
The top 14 moved on to the regional tournament, and the winner, Pittsburgh Central Catholic junior Brent Rodgers, shot a 70.
Reynolds punched his ticket to the finals with successful qualifying rounds at the sectional qualifier at Meadowink Golf Course in Murrysville on Sept. 19 and at a semifinal qualifier at the Links at Spring Church in Apollo on Sept. 25.
Reynolds was the first Plum boys golfer to compete at the WPIAL individual finals since 2009 graduate Adam Stawski won the WPIAL title in 2008 with a 2-under-par score of 70 at Diamond Round Golf Club in Sewickley.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.