Jeannette golfer Wolfe qualifies for WPIAL boys tourney
When Jeannette High School senior Jeroen Wolfe took to the links at Timber Ridge Golf Course in Mt. Pleasant last week, it was about more than a round a golf. It was a chance to make history.
Timber Ridge was the site of the WPIAL Section 2-AA section championship tournament — also the WPIAL qualifying tournament — and Wolfe had a big day. He shot an 89 to finish tied for fourth in the section, and in doing so, became the first Jeannette golfer in more than 12 years to qualify for the WPIAL championships. The WPIAL Class AA championship tournament was scheduled for Wednesday at Sewickley Heights Country Club, but results were not available at press time.
Jeannette head coach Paul Shifko was not surprised that Wolfe qualified.
“He missed it by one stroke last year,” said Shifko. “I knew he could do it. There were very difficult conditions on a long, challenging course. I told him, after the first couple holes, that if he doesn't have any ‘blow up' holes, he can do it.”
Wolfe displays an even temper on the course, the same demeanor he carries outside of golf, said Shifko.
“He was very excited about (qualifying), but he was real calm about it,” said the coach. “He takes things in stride.”
That excitement carries over to the rest of the golf team and the Jeannette community overall, said Shifko.
“Jeroen has been a great influence on our younger players all year as an example of how to conduct oneself both on and off the course,” he said. “I can speak for not only myself, but my whole team in congratulating Jeroen on this accomplishment, especially after narrowly missing last year. We are all proud of him.”
Seniors Riley Jordan, Kris Moffa and freshman Brendt Billeck also played well but did not advance.
Shifko said that Wolfe qualifying for the WPIAL tournament is huge not only for him, but for a Jeannette program working to get more competitive.
“It means a lot to the program,” said Shifko. “Now the other kids see that it can be done. They see what they have to do to reach that goal. The other kids all think it's awesome that he made it.”
Team-wise, Jeannette is still searching for its first win of the season, but the progress within the program is obvious. As Shifko mentioned, with Wolfe, Jordan, Moffa and Billeck playing well at the top of the lineup, the Jayhawks are getting more and more competitive.
“We have all new people at the bottom of the order, and they're just learning,” he said. “They're getting better, too, we're just not good enough top-to-bottom right now to compete with the other teams.”
Brian Knavish is a contributing writer.