NA girls, Sewickley Academy boys, girls claim PIAA golf titles
YORK — It was another dominant year for WPIAL golfers at the PIAA team championships Wednesday at Heritage Hills Golf Resort.
The North Allegheny girls (Class AAA) and the Sewickley Academy boys and girls (AA) claimed state titles.
It was the second title for the Sewickley Academy boys and North Allegheny girls, who each also won in 2015.
The Sewickley girls, led by junior Tatum McKelvey's 5-under par 67, finished with 244. GCC was second with a 252.
The big difference was the play of McKelvey. After shooting an 87 during the second round of the individual tournament Tuesday, she shot a 67 Wednesday to lead her team. She was backed Zoe Luther's 86 and Bria Milo's 91.
“I'm glad we won,” McKelvey said. “The course was still tough, and the greens were fast. I just played a lot looser. I knew I had to step up big for my teammates.”
J.F Aber, the son of Allegheny Country Club head professional and former GCC player John Aber, led the Sewickley boys. The sophomore was the medalist in Class AA with a 3-over-par 74.
Backing him were Peter Curran at 78, Cole Luther 79 and Will Nocito 80. Sewickley Academy finished with a 311. Scranton Prep was second with a 322.
“We were able to pull this together,” Aber said. “I knew I had to pick it up. After finishing second last year, I knew we had to work harder, and we did.”
The victory surprised Sewickley Academy coach Win Palmer.
“I told people this would be a rebuilding year,” Palmer said. “This group all worked hard and played as a team.”
North Allegheny's girls had three of the top four finishers and breezed to a 240-258 victory against Mount St. Joseph's.
Carolina Wrigley led the way with a 3-under-par 69. Christina Lewis finished third overall with an 81, and Esha Vaidya was tied for fourth with an 84.
Hanna Conroy of Fox Chapel finished second with a 76. Fox Chapel ended up fourth.
“This was a great win,” North Allegheny coach Mike Hambrick said. “But it's going to get better. The future is bright.”
Four of the five top golfers are underclassmen, including the top three scorers.
“I didn't play as well in the individual tournament,” Wrigley said of her third-place finish. “I knew I'd play better (Wednesday) because I was getting used to the course. I also helped out my teammates with decisions.”
And while those champions were able to celebrate, a PIAA rule change over the summer cost the Greensburg Central Catholic girls team its first title. GCC finished second for the third consecutive season.
If they didn't change the scoring, GCC would have defeated Sewickley Academy 276-282. The WPIAL counts the top four scores in its team tournament.
To help promote girls' golf across the state, the PIAA changed the scoring. Instead of counting the top four scores for a five-player team, the PIAA changed the scoring to counting only the top three finishers.
And for the second consecutive season, GCC, the three-time WPIAL champion, fell to the WPIAL runner-up. Central Valley edged GCC in 2016.
“I'm a little disappointed,” GCC coach George Janik said. “It's tough getting here. It's disappointing because we would have won in the old scoring.
“All I asked the players to do was shoot their average, and pretty much they did. I'm proud of their effort.”
Abby Zambruno led GCC with an 80. Hanna Norton had an 85, and Kaylene Chavez an 87.
Returning Class AAA boys champion Central Catholic (305) finished third behind Unionville (292) and Central York (296).