Despite departures, Kittanning golf thrives
By Matt Grubba
Published: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 1:21 a.m.
Kittanning's boys golf team has no seniors and graduated the state's 20th-place finisher from last year, and yet this year's Wildcats might be a better team.
The Wildcats entered this week with a 5-1 overall record and a 4-0 mark to lead Section 1-AA on the strength of across-the-board improvement by its players in the everyday lineup.
Five juniors — four of whom are returning starters — make up the core of the Kittanning lineup, and all five have dropped their per-round average by three strokes or more from their scores from last year.
“Everybody is improved. These guys have spent time over the summer playing in junior tournaments, and I've encouraged them because any time they can play competitively, it's going to help them,” Kittanning coach Bud Stanley said.
Of the top five in the lineup, No. 1 player Cole Davis leads with a 38.1 average, which is a four-shot drop from his average in 2012.
Noah Kunst's 39.5 also is a four-shot drop, while Christian Miller's average of 41.5 represents a total that is five shots better than last year.
Noah Spang averages 40.8, and Nathan Falchetti averages 45.8 this year — both three-shot improvements — and the sixth spot in the lineup has been shared this season by sophomore Nick Long (44.7), junior Jeremy Yackmack (46.0) and sophomore Coby Toy (48.0).
The drop in scores is a good sign for a team that missed last year's WPIAL Class AA team final by finishing 10 shots behind Winchester Thurston for the final qualifying spot, but even better for the team's scoring is the balance between all six players in the lineup.
“We like to keep five scores under 45 in every match,” Davis said. “Normally, if a guy has a bad day, there's always someone right there to fill in for him with a low score.”
“We've been consistent doing that (five scores under 45), and we've already had two team scores under 200 this year,” Stanley said. “We haven't really had an instance yet where we all have a bad day at the same time.”
The drop in scores also shapes up well heading into the individual sectional tournament coming up on Monday.
Kunst was the only one of Kittanning's current players to reach the WPIAL tournament last year, along with graduated senior Jordan Klodowski.
With an 18-hole target score usually set in the low 80s at sectionals, chances are good the Wildcats could have three or more players advance this year.
“Right now, I think we have a good chance to take at least three or four to the next (individual) round,” Davis said.
But the Wildcats' biggest goals are team-oriented. With six more section matches to play, those are the first priority.
After reaching that goal, the Wildcats hope the additional work the players have put in over summer pays off in the form of a spot in the WPIAL team final.
“Our first goal is to go undefeated in the section, and then hopefully move on in the playoffs,” Davis said.
“We have a dedicated team that practices almost every day except for match days. Over summer, we played 27, 36 holes a day. We basically live out here (at the golf course).”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- Saturday essay: Resurrection
- Second-period short-handed goal gives Blue Jackets momentum
- Shaler track star Schwartz in class of her own
- Tax law proves its worth by bringing in lost revenue
- Real estate notes: Work on expansion to Pediatric Specialty Hospital to begin
- Penguins’ Gibbons scores twice but leaves with apparent injury
- Mail for IRS delivered to Squirrel Hill home
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success