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Penn-Trafford girls golf team eyes success in new classification

| Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, 12:07 a.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Penn-Trafford's Mia Barchetti tees off on the first hole of the WPIAL Championship at the Longue Vue Club in Verona on Tuesday, October 4, 2011. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch (Intended for GTR on 10-6-11)

A change in classification will make it more difficult, but the goal for Penn-Trafford's girls golf team is still a WPIAL title.

The Warriors finished as the WPIAL Division II runner-up in 2010 and '11, but this year's Penn-Trafford team moves up to the newly retitled Class AAA — the state's largest classification — where it aims to contend again with an experienced lineup.

Penn-Trafford returns four of the five players who competed in the 2011 WPIAL final after graduating only Gianna Pro, now a freshman on the Robert Morris golf team.

Senior Mia Barchetti, who finished 20th in last year's individual state finals, and fellow senior Haley Borkovich, who reached the PIAA Western Regional last year, will be Penn-Trafford's top two in the lineup. Juniors Royse Bachtel and Casey Doran also played in the 2011 team final for the Warriors.

Senior Morgan Rector enters the year as the team's fifth starter, and P-T also can turn to senior Megan Gruenwald, junior Rachel Huber and sophomore Elisabeth Papa, but if the Warriors are to match their success of recent seasons, players in the lead groups will need to continue to excel.

“We have five girls that were starters at one time or another last year,” coach Ed Herbst said. “You get stronger when you overcome adversity, and after the last two years, I think these kids are ready to take the next step.”

Making that step will be challenging in Section 3-AAA, where the Warriors must battle with the most recent two WPIAL Division I champions, Shady Side Academy and Fox Chapel, for one of two playoff spots. All three competed in last year's team finals, where Shady Side Academy won Division I with a 307 and runner-up Fox Chapel shot 363. Penn-Trafford, on the same course, shot 346 but lost to Central Valley for the Class AA team title,

“We're going to have more matches that we really need to be focused,” Herbst said. “We're not going to be able to take a day off and beat someone by 40 strokes.

“I think they've played enough this summer, they've worked hard and they're hungry for a championship.”

Individually, Barchetti and Borkovich should be among Class AAA's top players. Hempfield senior Janista Numpho-Franks and Shady Side Academy sophomore Lauren Waller are the other two Class AAA players who reached the Western Regional as underclassmen last year, while Shady Side senior Shannon Gramley missed out on the regional in a playoff.

In Class AA, Central Valley is the heavy favorite to repeat, especially with the departure of the other two finalists — Penn-Trafford and Kiski Area — to Class AAA. Central Valley returns Macky Fouse, Jocelyn Sudar, Marissa Sudar and Daniela Battisti, who all finished in the top 15 of Division II.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mgrubba@tribweb.com or 412-388-5830.

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