Central Catholic celebrates WPIAL boys golf championship in water hazard

| Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 12:46 a.m.

Corey O'Connor kept his promise.

At the completion of play Thursday, after his team had the WPIAL Class AAA boys golf championship wrapped up, the Central Catholic coach walked out to the lake beside the 16th tee, looked at his players and jumped in.

The team collected on their bet, which had their coach taking the plunge if the Vikings won.

“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 with a laugh. “The water was a lot deeper than I thought.”

But not as deep as his Vikings, who captured their first title, led by four rounds in the 70s at Cedarbrook Golf Course's Gold course in Rostraver. 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 a score of 387 to edge Peters Township (395), which was seeking its 14th title and first since 2008.

Latrobe took third at 406.

“This was our seventh year in a row here, and we always talked about doing something crazy if we won,” Wright said. “The idea (to jump in the lake) was sort of a team collaboration.

“This was one of my best rounds considering the pressure that came with it.”

O'Connor was confident this could be the team to break through.

“I had someone ask me if I found any of the balls our teams in the past hit in there,” O'Connor said of the lake.

“We have been third here three times (since 2006). This was a really solid effort.”

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 happen to be the same day as the PIAA individual championships. “We have wanted this for so long.”

Rodgers once again showed he can cave in a club face. He hit his tee shot on the par-4 ninth hole over the green.

So, why hit driver on a short and tight 350-yard par 4?

“Because it's fun,” Rodgers said.

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

Sewickley Academy was second at 415.

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

Junior Royse Bachtel added an 83 for the Warriors, who shot 338. North Allegheny was second at 356, and Peters Township took third (358).

“I can't even explain the feeling right now,” Borkovich said. “We have been chasing this for three years.

“We did it as a team. Everyone contributed in some way.”

The girls' Class AA title went to Central Valley, which won by 78 strokes. Junior Macky Fouse shot 80, and freshman Madison McDaniel added an 83.

All four WPIAL champions advance to the state finals Oct. 22-24 at Heritage Hills 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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