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Penn-Trafford girls golfers shine at sectional qualifiers

| Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Doug Gulasy | Penn-Trafford Star
Penn-Trafford senior Rachael Huber celebrates making a birdie putt on the ninth hole at Vandergrift Golf Club during the WPIAL Section 3-AAA qualifier on Sept. 18, 2013.

Penn-Trafford girls golf coach Ed Herbst thought his team had a chance to send all five of its golfers to the WPIAL Class AAA individual finals.

In the end, he settled for four, but it was a number he was happy with.

Seniors Royse Bachtel, Casey Doran and Rachael Huber and freshman Amanda Conner advanced to next week's individual finals after posting qualifying scores at the Section 3-AAA qualifier last week at Vandergrift Golf Club.

Junior Elisabeth Papa was the only Penn-Trafford golfer to miss out.

“When you get one or two in, it's great,” Herbst said. “To get four in is just really wonderful. (It was) just a good effort from all four girls. Elisabeth could have very well been in that group. She just had some bad holes.”

To qualify for the individual finals, golfers had to shoot an 87 or better at Vandergrift. Doran led the Warriors with a 79, followed by Bachtel (83), Huber (85) and Conner (85). Only three other golfers made it to the finals after competing at Vandergrift last week.

Papa missed out on qualifying for the finals, but it wasn't a bad week for her. She shot a hole-in-one in a match last week against Fox Chapel as the Warriors (15-1, 12-0) beat the Foxes, 152-229.

“Their coach told me he had been coaching for 18 years, and it was the first time he ever wrote a ‘1' down in a scorebook,” Herbst said. “We've been fortunate enough that this was our second because Jessica Gass had one (two years ago).”

Members of the Norwin and Franklin Regional golfers also competed in the Section 1 qualifier, but none advanced to the individual finals.

Ember Toth led the Norwin girls, shooting a 99. Other Norwin golfers to compete included Rachael DelBene and Kaitlyn Spehar, who each shot 105, and Morgan Johnson, who shot a 113.

Brenna Scott led the way for Franklin Regional after shooting a 91. Livia Molinaro shot a 93, and Jennifer Brand recorded a 117.

The four qualifying Penn-Trafford golfers will compete against 17 others from around the WPIAL at the individual finals on Monday at Hillcrest Country Club.

“I think they all have a chance,” Herbst said. “It gets tougher now. The problem is they haven't played that course yet. They're going to try to get there for a practice round, but it's tough when you've never seen a course before to know where to hit, to judge the speed of the green, things like that. Anything can happen once we get there, but they all have the ability to advance.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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