Quaker Valley golf hopes to maintain status
A math teacher, Matt Welch has been pleased with the arithmetic progression the Quaker Valley golf team has made.
"This is my fifth year as coach," he said. "We won two matches the first year, then eight, then 12, and then 14.
"We wanted to go up. Now we want to maintain where we are."
OK, it's not a true arithmetic progression, but the Quakers have risen impressively, to the point where they have a high-quality, consistent program.
They finished 14-2 last year, losing twice to Sewickley Academy in their Division II (now Class AA) section. The Quakers advanced to the WPIAL finals, tying for fifth.
Welch admits that his squad is young, having lost four starters who were seniors in 2011: Austin Grieger, Von Wiltman, Jack Secko and Doug Revak. Grieger tied for 17th in the WPIAL boys' individual tournament.
The top of the lineup, however, is a blend of experience and youth. The No. 1 player is sophomore Alex Tanabe, who was a starter his entire freshman season, usually at No. 6. He was active in the Kings Restaurants Tri-State PGA Junior Golf Tour this summer and is driven to qualify for the WPIAL individual championships.
Senior John Duzicky and junior Zach Mancuso have each earned two letters.
"Those three have a ton of experience," Welch said. "They have to set us up to be competitive and hopefully make the playoffs again."
The other three starters, the coach said, should come from the foursome of T.J. Kuny and Garrett Powell, who are seniors, and juniors Scott Weston and Ben Utterback.
Welch said that 19 tried out and he cut no one.
Quaker Valley opened the Section 9-AA season Monday at Beaver and will play its first home match at 4 p.m. Thursdayat Sewickley Heights Golf Club against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
The Quakers' section brethren has changed some, which pleases Welch. No more trips to Armstrong County.
Sewickley Academy and Vincentian still are grouped with them, along with Beaver, Rochester, Cornell and OLSH.
"Sewickley Academy will be good again," Welch said. "They may be the top team in the WPIAL.
"But I think we'll be competitive."