Pine-Richland's Freyvogel, CWNC's Smithco claim PIAA girls golf titles
YORK — It was a great day for WPIAL girls at the PIAA golf championships Tuesday.
Pine-Richland junior Lauren Freyvogel and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic sophomore Madie Smithco captured PIAA titles at Heritage Hills Golf Resort.
Freyvogel captured the Class AAA title with a two-shot victory over Downingtown East junior Liddie McCook. Freyvogel finished with a 3-over-par 147.
Smithco won the Class AA title after defeating Rockwood freshman Vileska Gelpi on the second playoff hole. Both finished at 8-over.
Freyvogel, who committed to Virginia in May, began the day in second place. But she took control of the match on the front nine and played steady throughout.
The junior said she knew what she had to do after playing in the final foursome the previous two years.
“I learned a lot from being in that position,” Freyvogel said. “It's awesome to be a state champion. I knew I could finish strong if I hit a lot of fairways and hit the greens.
“I focused on hitting the ball in the fairway and getting on the green and two-putting.”
North Allegheny junior Caroline Wrigley finished third in Class AAA.
Smithco used a strong finish, with birdies on Nos. 16 and 18, to force a playoff. She was able to avoid a three-putt on both playoff holes to secure the win.
“I was two back after 15, and I knew I had to turn it on,” said Smithco, who became the fifth straight WPIAL player to win the PIAA Class AA title. “I finished birdie, par, birdie, and it worked out.
“I was shaking really badly on the tee on the first playoff hole. I got super lucky on my second shot; it stayed out of the water. This means everything to me; it was my goal after finishing second last year.”
Central Valley junior Kiaria Porter finished fourth, Greensburg Central Catholic junior Abby Zambruno and Sewickley Academy junior Tatum McKelvey tied for fifth and Brownsville freshman Lindsay Sethman was seventh.
Zambruno said she was pleased to battle back into the top 5. Now she hopes to help her teammates win a state title Wednesday.
WPIAL boys were shut out from titles, but four players — two in each division — tied for second.
In Class AAA, Franklin Regional junior Palmer Jackson and Peters Township senior Hunter Bruce finished at 2-over par to finish behind Holy Ghost Prep junior Liam Hart, who won at 1-over.
Jackson, Bruce and Central Catholic's Jimmy Meyers all had a chance to force a playoff on the final hole, but came up short.
“It's so tough to get here and you're leading with three holes to go and don't win, it's tough” Jackson said. “I worked all summer and fall. I thought about winning this a lot and had a chance. I gave it my all.”
In Class AA, Tulpehocken senior Chase Miller used a strong first round to hold off Bentworth senior Christian Sadler and McGuffey senior Hunter Donahue for a three-shot win.