Two starters back for Gateway boys golf squad
The Gateway varsity boys golf team met with some tough luck in several matches last season.
The Gators lost four section matches by three strokes or less and a fifth match by six strokes en route to a 2-10 section record.
"It was pretty frustrating losing those matches by only a couple of strokes," said junior Bobby Guiliani, a returning starter from last year.
"It was also motivation to come back the next day and try to get a win."
Guiliani joins fellow junior Stephen Reber as the two varsity starters back for the 2012 season, and the duo hopes to help the squad challenge for a top spot in Section 4-AAA.
"(Bobby and Stephen) showed their leadership by playing very well in the tryouts," Gateway head coach Jason Tyska said.
"They've improved from last year. Some of their friends from school got an interest through them and played with them throughout the summer. So I have some new faces who aren't freshmen. We've been looking at them and seeing how they fit in to the team."
Rebar knows the work over the summer will help them in match- es this season.
"Over the summer, Bobby and I played a lot together. It gave us that motivation. We wanted to play some rounds and build our confidence. Hopefully, it will help us to finish out some matches.
"We lost three seniors, but we have some good underclassmen that can help the team out."
Guiliani golfed in all 14 varsity matches for the Gators last year, and he finished second on the team in scoring average for nine holes at 43.9.
Reber shot one of four individual sub-40 scores last season. He carded a 39 in a tough 199-215 loss to Fox Chapel when the teams played at Churchill Valley Country Club.
Two days of tryouts last week at Murrysville Golf Club gave Tyska some idea of the shape his team would take this season, but, he said, there still were some things to iron out.
"There were a couple of surprises," Tyska said.
He said freshman Ryan Skladany impressed during the tryouts.
"Ryan has some size and strength," Tyska said. "There's some potential there. He certainly needs some fine-tuning in his short game, but there certainly is some nice canvas to build upon. I think he can be a contributor this year."
Tyska said because the team has tryouts at Murrysville and plays its home matches at Chur- chill Valley, the distinct differences in the courses might present some early transition challenges for some of the golfers.
"When we get out to Churchill, some of the players will play better there than they did at Murrysville, and vice versa," he said. "I will be constantly re-evaluating who will be the starting six."
There was a change made to Section 4, as one of the two WPIAL playoff teams from the section - Pittsburgh Central Catholic - was moved out of the section, and Kiski Area was brought in.
"I know that Central Catholic would've been one of the favorites to win the section, but I don't know how good Kiski is," Tyska said.
"I'm not sure why things were realigned, but it is what it is."
The WPIAL this year also opted to move to AAA and AA classifications for its 118 teams.
"I understand that in many sports there is a dramatic difference in AAA and AA," Tyska said. "I really don't see that much disparity in the quality of boys golf from AAA to AA. You have the smaller teams, and only two or three good players can make or break your team. I'm sure the WPIAL had their reasons."
As with other sports, the smaller schools for golf have the option of competing up a classification.
Shady Side Academy, who would be placed in AA, has voluntarily chosen to compete in a Class AAA section and compete for a AAA team championship.
Gateway was scheduled to open its season Tuesday afternoon with a section matchup against Penn Hills. The Gators also were set to host Woodland Hills on Wednesday. Both matches were to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.
Gateway is slated to play Fox Chapel on Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Field Club.
The Gators step away from section play Friday with a 3:30 p.m. match against North Hills at Churchill Valley.