Penn-Trafford girls put on another repeat performance
After winning its second consecutive WPIAL Class AAA championship earlier this month, the Penn-Trafford girls golf team had one more repeat performance in store.
The Warriors finished second at the PIAA Class AAA team championship last week in York, taking home the title of state runners-up for the second straight year.
The second-place finish capped off a season where Penn-Trafford also won its fifth straight section title — including the fourth in a row with an unblemished record — as well as the WPIAL championship.
“I'm just so proud of the way that they worked and week in and week out just got better and more confident and just refused to be defeated,” coach Ed Herbst said. “They didn't want to lose what they earned last year.”
Herbst called it “a remarkable season,” given that Penn-Trafford replaced three of its five starters from last season. The group of seniors Royse Bachtel, Casey Doran and Rachael Huber, junior Elisabeth Papa and freshman Amanda Conner started every match for the team this season.
“There's very few kids even in the whole state of Pennsylvania that have won back-to-back WPIAL championships or league championships and then (were) able to get to the states two years in a row and then finish second two years in a row,” Herbst said.
With a cumulative score of 370 at last week's state championships, Penn-Trafford beat every team but Mount Saint Joseph (326). The Warriors edged third-place Central Dauphin by one stroke.
Herbst said while he didn't get a chance to see his players during their rounds, they were confident beforehand — even amid some “very, very difficult” conditions at Heritage Hills Golf Resort and Conference Center in York.
“The rough was about four inches high, the greens were rolling extremely fast and the pin placements were just crazy,” Herbst said. “I think they set it up to make it difficult for the boys, and the girls just happened to be victims of the setup. But we hung in there.”
The players did luck out because of a minimal amount of wind and rain, Herbst added.
While Penn-Trafford managed to repeat last year's performance while replacing three starters, they'll have to duplicate that effort next year. The Warriors lose Bachtel, Doran and Huber from their starting lineup. Bachtel and Doran are four-year starters.
“I've known these kids for a long time,” Herbst said. “Just to see them grow into the people they have — they're tremendous kids. They're excellent golfers, (but) they are tremendous, remarkable kids. I can't even put into words how much I appreciate being a part of their lives over the last few years. For them to win this this year and get the recognition they deserve as seniors, I'm just so happy for them.”
Penn-Trafford will return two strong starters in Conner and Papa, along with some younger players ready to grab a spot in the lineup.
“I have some young kids that are coming along very quickly … and I have three juniors (Morgan Cermak, Maddie Vitelli and Abby Bechtell) that have a lot of ability,” Herbst said. “They have the ability to be starters next year, and I hope they take advantage of that.”