Share This Page

Experienced lineup returns for Plum boys golf team

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:03 p.m.
Michael Love | Plum Advance Leader
J.P. Predmore is one of several Plum golfers returning with varsity experience for the 2013 season.
Gary Bills | For The Plum Advance Leader
Samantha Shumaker is the lone female on the Plum boys golf team.

The Plum varsity boys golf team almost reached the .500 mark in section play last year.

The team was 5-6 heading into its final section match with rival Gateway, but the Gators upended the Mustangs in a match at Churchill Valley Country Club.

With almost everyone back from last year's squad, new Mustangs head coach Ron Richards is optimistic this team can make waves both individually and as a team.

“Everything's gone well,” Richards said. “It's been a nice transition. The players have responded nicely.”

Richards assessed the team on the first day of tryouts on Aug. 12, and a 12-player roster was finalized after three days of golf at Willowbrook Golf Club.

“The kids got to play a lot of golf last week, and we got to see what they can do out there,” Richards said. “The third day was for positioning.”

The finalized lineup had to make a quick transition, as Plum was slated to kick off its season Tuesday with a match against Fox Chapel at the Pittsburgh Field Club and a match against Franklin Regional on Wednesday at Oakmont Country Club.

Both matches were to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.

Plum returns to action Friday at 3:15 p.m. against Kiski Area at Vandergrift Golf Club.

Richards said most of the team members played golf over the summer, from tournament action to lessons at Willowbrook Golf Club.

“A lot of them take golf seriously and want to get better. That makes it exciting for me to see that passion,” Richards said.

Richards noted some good competition in the tryouts and that some of the positions from the middle of the lineup on down could change throughout the season.

“I didn't have past seasons to compare it to, but some of the top kids stepped up and separated themselves,” Richards said.

Junior Andrew Reynolds competed at the WPIAL Class AAA championship tournament last season after advancing past the section qualifier and WPIAL semifinals.

“Talking to (former head coach) Keith (Nonnenberg), Andrew has put an emphasis on getting longer with his drives,” Richards said.

“He has a high standard for himself and his game. He fits the mold of a competitive kid. If he continues to progress, he has a strong future in golf.”

Junior Justin Sovak also is expected to be one of the top golfers this season after a strong sophomore campaign. Sovak and Reynolds finished as the top two on team last year in terms of average for nine-hole matches.

“He hits the ball really well,” Richards said. “I got to play a few holes with him, and he hits the ball solid. You can tell he's put some time into it. We have high expectations for him. He has that experience in the lineup.”

Sophomore Samantha Shumaker was the only female to try out for the team again this year, and Richards said he likes her determination.

“She loves the game and has a lot of confidence when she plays,” Richards said.

“She played in summer tournaments, and she is a good example to the younger kids of what it takes to get better.”

Shumaker got a chance to break away from the boys last year, and she qualified for the WPIAL individual championship tournament.

Richards said he also is counting on senior Ryan Kuhn, who returns to the team after not playing the past two seasons.

Also expected to contribute this season are returning players in senior J.P. Predmore; juniors Tyler Arnold, Richard Rossi and Tim McMullen; and sophomore Alex Pease.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.