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Upper St. Clair golf team poised to make another WPIAL title run

| Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, 11:17 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Upper St. Clair senior Thomas Steve plays during the WPIAL Class AAA boys individual championship Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, at Diamond Run Golf Club in Sewickley.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley's Jade Kost hits a ball during practice Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, at Quaker Valley High School in Leetsdale.

When the Upper St. Clair boys golf team failed to reach the WPIAL Class AAA finals in 2012, coach Todd Flynn immediately had a team meeting.

Sure, there was disappointment from a team that as sophomores were the WPIAL champion and PIAA runners-up from 2011, but Flynn got the team move forward.

“Everyone had a bad round and we didn't play to our potential,” Flynn said. “The sun came up the next day. It was definitely a learning experience.”

Now the Panthers are back in the semifinals and are ready to make a run at another title.

Upper St. Clair plays in the WPIAL semifinals Tuesday at Ponderosa Golf Course near Hookstown. The Panthers are one of the favorites in Class AAA, along with returning champion Central Catholic, undefeated Fox Chapel, Section 7 rival Peters Township, North Allegheny, Indiana and Latrobe.

“We used that disappointment as motivation this season,” Flynn said. “This is a group of five seniors who are focused. Our first goal was to win the section, which we did. The next goal is to reach the WPIAL finals (Oct. 10 at Cedarbrook Golf Course in Rostraver) and win it. The goal after that is go after the state title.”

Upper St. Clair's seniors are Thomas Steve, Grant Engel, Corey Wilding, Nelson Zacur and Patrick McDonnell. Flynn will decide between freshman Louie Olsakovsky or junior Zach Barrone to be the sixth player.

Latrobe coach Scott Reaugh said it's difficult to win a WPIAL title. His Wildcats were WPIAL and PIAA champions in 2009.

“You have to have six guys playing really well,” Reaugh said. “Cedarbrook Gold Course is very difficult and is also very long.

“There are some really good teams and you have to score below 400. The WPIAL is one of the toughest districts in the state.”

Latrobe, Indiana, Peters Township, Franklin Regional, Kiski Area, Fox Chapel, Hampton, Plum and Shady Side Academy are the teams that will play at River Forest in Freeport on Tuesday, while Upper St. Clair, North Allegheny, Blackhawk, Central Catholic, Laurel Highlands, Montour, Mt. Lebanon, Thomas Jefferson and Uniontown are at Ponderosa.

The WPIAL moved Monday's Class AA semifinal at Cherry Creek Golf Course in Hempfield to Tuesday because of the forecast of heavy rain. Castle Hills in New Castle is the other Class AA site.

The teams at Cherry Creek are Burgettstown, Charleroi, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jefferson-Morgan, Kittanning, Mt. Pleasant, Quaker Valley, Serra, South Park and Winchester Thurston; while at Castle Hills are Deer Lakes, Freedom, Freeport, Keystone Oaks, Laurel, New Brighton, Seton-La Salle, Sewickley Academy, Shenango and South Side Beaver.

The top three teams at each site advance to the final on Thursday. The girls finals in both classifications already are set for the same day.

Burgettstown was the Class AA boys champion in 2011, while the Penn-Trafford girls were the Class AAA champion and Central Valley the Class AA winner.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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