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Sewickley Academy, Quaker Valley golfers dominate Section 9 qualifier

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

The Quaker Valley and Sewickley Academy golf teams proved to be the cream of the crop of Section 9-AA at the section qualifier last week.

The Panthers had three finishers qualify for the WPIAL Class AA championship, and the Quakers had two. The Section 9-AA event was held at the Black Hawk Golf Course in Beaver County. The course had a par of 72 with a target score of 79.

Leading the way for Sewickley Academy was Keenan Hickton. The senior finished with a score of 74 — two strokes lower than the other qualifiers — to qualify for his third straight WPIAL tournament.

He will be joined by fellow Panthers senior Sam Duerr, who shot a 77.

“It was the first time (Duerr) was playing in (a qualifier),” Sewickley Academy coach Win Palmer said. “I wasn't sure how he would handle it. But he did really well with a 39-38.”

Junior Anthony Muscato was the third Sewickley Academy qualifier, as he finished with a 78. Muscato reached the WPIAL tournament as a freshman but came up short last year.

“It is good that he was able to bounce back,” Palmer said. “He is playing at a much higher level than he was as a freshman. We are hoping he can do something.”

Quaker Valley, meanwhile, had two golfers make the WPIAL finals. Alex Tanabe finished the section qualifier with a 76.

“We fully expected Alex to qualify,” Quaker Valley coach Matt Welch said. “He missed last year by one shot. But he put the time in to get back to WPIALs.

“His short game has improved tremendously.”

Alex's young brother Chris also qualified for the WPIAL finals as a freshman. Only three freshman will play at the Class AA championships — Laurel's Evan Long and Carmichaels' Liam Shea also will compete.

“Chris was a pleasant surprise,” Welch said. “I am not saying he couldn't do it, but I knew he would have to play well. In my six years as coach, I haven't had a freshman do it.

“This should benefit him the rest of his career. The experience at the WPIAL championship might be more important than his score.”

The WPIAL Class AA championship was held Wednesday at Sewickley Heights Golf Club. Results were unavailable prior to this edition's deadline.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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