Sewickley Academy girls golfers finish 2nd at WPIALs for 2nd straight year
For the Sewickley Academy girls golf team, a second-place finish at the WPIAL Class AA girls golf championship was a mission accomplished.
“It was the goal we set at the beginning of the year,” Panthers coach Nancy Means said. “We knew the No. 1 team usually shoots around par and we probably wouldn't do that. We are a young program and to finish second two years in a row is a really good thing.”
The Panthers shot a 392. Central Valley won the championship with a score of 310. Derry was third with a 416 and Mt. Pleasant was fourth with a 421.
Junior Tanvi Rana — who finished 14th at the WPIAL Class AA individual championship — led Sewickley Academy with an 85. Junior Rachel Becker finished with a 99, sophomore Jane Blaugrund finished with a 107, freshman Natalie Wei shot a 106 and sophomore Kelsey Milo finished with a 110.
The team's No. 2 player, Brianne Thomas, missed the WPIAL championship due to a concussion.
The Panthers were no strangers to Cedarbrook Golf Course. In addition to several golfers playing on last season's runner-up team, Sewickley Academy kicked off its season Aug. 19 at the Chairman's Cup, which is held at the Rostraver Township course.
“We played the white tees (last week), and at the Chairman's Cup we used the red tees, so it was a bit longer,” Means said. “It is a tough course. A lot of bunkers and some water make your second shot difficult.”
While the course did prove to be challenging, the players said the toughest thing to overcome may have been playing alone with a group of golfers from other teams.
“The most difficult thing was not having your teammates,” Becker said. “If you have a bad hole, the other team's girls are nice but it isn't like someone from your team who can help us by telling us what is wrong.”
The strong finish was a fitting end to the season. The team went 8-3 in match play with two of the losses to WPIAL champion Central Valley.
From the time the team gathered at Stonewall Resort and took lessons from a professional until their silver-medal performance, Means was pleased with their development.
“I can just tell by looking at our scores,” Means said. “Everyone improved greatly. Having one more year with the girls going to golf school should only makes us better.”
The growth just hasn't been with how the girls play but also their mentality when they get on the course.”
“The expectations have changed a lot,” Rana said. “I remember freshmen year I would be happy with a 60. I think I would cry if I shot that now.”
While the team achieved its second-place finish it had hoped for this season, next year the Panthers are raising their expectations and hoping to challenge for a WPIAL title.
“We have so much room to improve,” Blaugrund said. “We are all dedicated and we know the expectations will be higher. We are all going to work hard so we are better next season.”