Norwin boys golf relying on new players in 2014
The Norwin boys golf team is hoping new faces can help the squad reach higher places.
The Knights began the season earlier this week looking to build off a 2013 season that saw them finish with a .500 record and miss out on the WPIAL team playoffs. Two starters return from that team, leaving Norwin with four holes to fill in the starting lineup.
“We have a lot of young players,” senior Seth Repicky said. “There's a lot of sophomores and freshmen. This year, I don't expect much. But in the coming years, I think the team's going to be pretty good.”
Repicky and Kory Sandleitner are Norwin's two remaining starters from last season. They, along with the graduated Kevin Zabelsky, advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA individual finals after qualifying at the individual sectional tournament.
“They're solid players,” coach Neil Rushnock said of Repicky and Sandleitner. “I have no problem with them. We'll have to see how some of the other guys do.”
With four spots to fill in the lineup, Rushnock said he expected plenty of competition among golfers hoping to make it into the lineup.
A few players made an impression on Rushnock during the team's tryouts last week, as Tanner Carr sank a hole-in-one and Matt O'Neil and Eric Sico also played well.
“Some of the kids played very well during tryouts, so I'm excited to see how they do during matches,” Rushnock said. “Golf is one of those sports where one day you can have a great day, and the very next day you can have a bad day. We'll just have to see what happens, see if they step up.”
As the two returning starters, Repicky and Sandleitner are taking a leadership role with some of the younger players in the lineup.
“We have a lot of new players, but they can get better throughout the season,” Sandleitner said.
In addition to finishing 6-6 in section competition, Norwin won the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament for the second time in three seasons in 2013. Repicky said he had similar goals for this season.
“Last season, to me, was really successful,” Repicky said. “I don't think we need to make it to playoffs for it to be a successful season because it's a hard section. Winning counties was pretty cool. I enjoyed that.”
Norwin will compete in Section 1-AAA with Greensburg Salem, Hempfield, Indiana, Latrobe, Penn-Trafford and Yough. The Knights opened the season with a match against Latrobe on Tuesday and Indiana on Wednesday, with both ending past the deadline for this week's edition. They will host Hempfield on Monday at Irwin Country Club.
“I'd like to see them compete in every match,” Rushnock said. “By that, I mean not get blown out and have a chance at winning every match, which is basically what it was last year. We were .500 for the season, but we were still in almost every match. That's what I'm looking for for them, just to hang in there and see how they can do.”