Greensburg Central Catholic golfers cap season in team semifinals
Every stroke counts.
That's been the message from coach George Janik to his Greensburg Central Catholic golf team this season.
Every player counts as well, as Janik had just nine students come out for the team in 2013 — five boys and four girls — with no seniors on the roster.
“We had hoped to start a girls team this year,” Janik said. “But we didn't have the numbers to cover separate teams.”
The Centurions were paced by the efforts of junior Nick Finoli and freshman Olivia Zambruno this season, both of whom posted a scoring average of 39 for the year. Par at Mt. Odin, the team's home course, is 37.
Finoli, a three-year letterwinner and team co-captain, is a member of the grip-it-and-rip-it school of driving the ball.
“He likes to power the ball down the fairway and get it out there far,” Janik said of Finoli. “I'm working with him on the mental part of the game on the greens.”
Zambruno's strong play has been a “happy surprise” for Janik and the Centurions this season.
“She hits it down the middle, she's tight on the greens, and she keeps it out of trouble,” Janik said of Zambruno's skills on the course.
Zambruno was one of 18 girls — and the only freshman — to qualify for the PIAA Class AA West Region Championship scheduled earlier this week at Tom's Run Golf Course in Blairsville. A top 10 finish in the regional would earn her a berth in the PIAA championships next week. Results were unavailable prior to this edition's deadline.
Sophomore Louis Kettering, a team co-captain and two-year letterwinner, has been a key contributor this season as well, with a 42 scoring average.
Junior Sara Norton posted a 51 average on the year.
Rounding out the roster were juniors Brian Uhrin and Madison Kiragis, sophomore Mike Dupre and freshmen Adam Frank and Christiana Kandra.
As a team, Greensburg Central Catholic posted a 450 in the WPIAL Class AA team semifinals at Cherry Creek last week, good for a seventh-place finish. Burgettstown notched the low score of the semifinal with a team total of 391, while Kittanning (417) and Winchester-Thurston (434) also advanced to the WPIAL finals.
“In the team championships, that's what usually happens,” Janik said. “One team dominates and shoots under 400.”
Zambruno shot a team-best 82 in the WPIAL semifinals, played in an 18-hole format.
The Centurions posted a 220 average during the regular season, with their best effort being a 209 against Geibel. Zambruno notched a 38 that day, while Finoli and Kettering each posted a score of 40.
Janik, who is in his 41st season as coach, has racked up more than 640 career victories and five WPIAL championships. His teams have finished above .500 for 32 straight seasons.
With all of his key players coming back next season, Janik is excited to see his core group of young players continue to develop.
“We have a good nucleus coming back,” Janik said. “I'm looking forward to next season.”
Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.