North Hills golfers continue to improve
Section play has not been kind to the North Hills boys golf team in recent years.
Coach Jamie DeWeese said he's found satisfaction in the level of improvement and dedication to the game his players have shown, especially this season.
“We have improved score-wise the last three seasons and I'd say average-wise, we've improved (our team total) by 10 strokes each of the past three seasons including this one,” DeWeese said, noting the Indians are carding a 215 score this season.
DeWeese said physical and mental maturation are two reasons why there has been a steady level of improvement over the last few seasons. He said the finality of a high school career is something his golfers are taking to heart.
“We have the individual section tournament coming up, and I think the seniors want to leave their mark on the way out,” he said. “There is also that motivation to get through the section and get to Oakmont (Country Club) where the individual championships are being held this season.”
Senior Jonny Stuckert is the Indians' top golfer and DeWeese said Stuckert is playing his best golf. Stuckert has carded scores of 1-under 35 at Lakeview, 41 in a tri-match versus North Allegheny and Pine-Richland at Shannopin Country Club and a 37 and 40 in matches against Northgate and Seneca Valley, respectively.
“Jonny puts so much pressure on himself to better himself every chance he gets,” DeWeese said. “I think he really does have the ability to make it to the WPIAL finals and surprise us by getting through to states.”
Also on the roster is Jonny's sophomore brother, Jacob Stucker. Jacob, DeWeese said, it still growing into his body physically and learning the game more each time on the course. Jacob has improved his round average by six strokes from last season.
Seniors Nick Smith and Andrew Paulauskas and juniors Tom Brown and Ryan Buzzard round out the Indians' rotation.
DeWeese said at this time of the season he is trying to prepare his golfers mentally for the task of competing individually in the coming weeks. He said he has put significant thought into his pairings and is hoping his players can focus on one hole at a time and not worry about the previous hole or the next tee box.
“I want to get them in a groove and focus on what they need to do as an individual golfer playing to your strengths and taking your medicine,” DeWeese said. “ I've preached all along, if you have a bad hole, do not try to get everything back.
“Everything you want to do is be steady as she goes. Play each hole as it is almost as a separate game.”
Brian Graham is a freelance writer.