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Gateway sophomore qualifies for states

| Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 8:15 a.m.

For the second time in as many seasons, Gateway sophomore golfer Johnna Beehner has qualified for the PIAA girls golf championships.

She punched her ticket to the state finals with a fifth-place finish at the PIAA Western Regional Class AAA girls tournament Wednesday at Tom's Run Golf Course at Chestnut Ridge in Blairsville.

All 10 of the golfers in the AAA field faced wet course conditions as a constant rain fell throughout the day.

“I knew some shots might not be good,” Beehner said.

“If I made a bad shot, I knew I just had to move on to the next one.”

Beehner finished with a 12-over-par score of 84. Canon-McMillan junior Lauren Waller placed first with a 76, followed by Peters Township freshman Mia Kness (78).

The tournament featured seven golfers from the WPIAL, as well as the champions from Districts 10, 9 and 6.

The top six finishers all were from the WPIAL, and those six were the ones who advanced to states.

“I wanted to shoot better, but under the weather circumstances, an 84 is good,” Beehner said.

Beehner knows all about what rain can do to a championship tournament, as persistent rain showers affected play at last year's PIAA tournament.

She is happy to be going back to states and wants to improve on last year's 14th-place finish and 36-hole score of 25-over.

“It's a good feeling to know I will have a chance to go back and do better,” Beehner said.

The state tournament is back at Heritage Hills Golf Club in York. The competitors will play an 18-hole round on Monday and do the same on Tuesday.

“I think it is an advantage knowing the course,” said Beehner, who will play a practice round at Heritage Hills on Sunday.

Gateway head coach Dennis Persin is excited to see Beehner get another crack at states.

“At regionals, it's about survive and advance,” he said.

“Going to states is what we were looking for, and she made it. It's a clean slate at states, and nothing from regionals carries over. I know she can do well.”

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mlove@tribweb.com.

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