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Friday, September 13, 2019 | 6:52 PM


The highschool golfing common season has made the flip, and there are two acquainted names atop the Phase 9-AA leaderboard: Sewickley Academy and Quaker Valley.

The Panthers stay each bit this system that has received the previous six WPIAL titles with an unbeaten 7-Zero segment document via Sept. 11, and the 6-1 Quakers dangle their crosstown rival answerable for their handiest segment loss, which places each methods on target as soon as once more to say the segment’s two staff playoff berths.

Sewickley Academy, which completed 1/3 within the state match a yr in the past, has saved itself sharp via going through most sensible pageant early and regularly. An early season loss to Elegance AAA Seneca Valley and a runner-up end in the back of Fox Chapel, every other Elegance AAA college, in their very own Sewickley Invitational had been a part of a hectic August agenda designed to have the Panthers match able.

“We began out with two weeks of 4 suits each and every,” Panthers trainer Win Palmer stated. “The youngsters cherished it. We had an in a single day at Bedford Springs to begin out. … They cherished it, and it was once excellent from an educational viewpoint. I feel golfers would a lot slightly play suits than observe, and if in case you have devoted golfers like we do, they’re going to get their paintings in on their very own time.”

Senior JF Aber, a four-year starter who was once one of the most leaders within the Panthers’ 2017 state championship staff, returns because the Panthers’ most sensible participant. Palmer praised Aber’s focal point at the path and management in a staff atmosphere, and Aber must be one of the most most sensible contenders to united states Riverside’s three-time WPIAL particular person champion, Skyler Fox.

Making this yr’s Panthers distinctive, then again, is the Academy finishing its women golfing staff a yr after a state runner-up end. That introduced the college’s feminine gamers to the men staff, led via senior Zoe Luther, who has joined Aber atop the lineup and in a management position.

The Panthers have high quality all the way through their lineup with junior Tim Fitzgerald, who was once a competent lineup fixture on final yr’s WPIAL identify staff; junior Navin Rana, who final yr reached the Western Regional as a person; and freshman Joey Mucci, who has handiest strengthened the staff’s intensity with secure play.

Sophomore Will Duggan, junior Thomas Sykes and senior Haley Nocito all have driven to spherical out the Panthers lineup this season and assist stay up the staff’s successful tactics.

“I feel they’re acutely aware of the custom and wish to stay us in that custom. A large number of them play golfing with the alumni in the summertime, and I feel that pushes them and helps to keep them going,” Palmer stated. “We’ve confronted some other demanding situations with merging two groups into one, however now they wish to stay up.”

To not be left in the back of, the Quakers are pushing to stay their very own postseason custom going and targetting a place within the six-team WPIAL ultimate after lacking out via simply seven strokes a season in the past.

Just like the Panthers, QV has driven itself with a scrimmage in opposition to every other of Elegance AAA’s most sensible methods, Peters Township. Trainer Greg Vecchi sees attainable to contend in his crew however nonetheless seeks consistency, particularly on the backside of his lineup.

“It’s been somewhat bit up and down. That backside of the lineup helps to keep rotating, and it’s now not at all times on account of other people leaping up. Every so often individuals are sliding again,” Vecchi stated. “I do know we’ve got the prospective, however at the moment, it’s been one step ahead, one step again. However I do know they are able to take that step ahead and keep there. It’s extra of a thoughts factor than anything.”

The Quakers have a potent most sensible of the lineup with senior Aidan Bulger and sophomore Adam Tanabe. Bulger was once the third-place finisher in final yr’s WPIAL particular person championships — two spots forward of the Academy’s Aber — and Tanabe has emerged as a staff chief, following within the footsteps of his brothers, together with 2014 WPIAL champion Chris Tanabe.

“The way in which Adam carries himself, I will’t imagine he’s only a sophomore,” Vecchi stated. “Aidan, he’s quiet. He’s the nicest child. Every so often I feel he performs somewhat an excessive amount of, however I will at all times depend on him for a excellent ranking.”

Junior Kyle Rice, who overlooked final season with a wrist harm, has been a nice addition to the lineup for the Quakers, as has freshman Eva Bulger. Freshman Jackson Bould and juniors Luke Melisko, Marcus Lubert and Johnny Primary are a number of the gamers who’ve driven for beginning spots, giving Vecchi masses to take a look at in the second one part of the season.

Sewickley Academy received the primary assembly between the groups, 200-219, at Sewickley Heights on Sept. 5, and Vecchi isn’t serious about knocking off the Panthers. As an alternative, he needs to peer his personal golfers develop into extra secure, so they are able to submit the most efficient conceivable appearing within the postseason.

“SA, their guys are smartly underneath 40 so much, they usually’re at all times the hardest staff. Our guys are assured we will be able to compete with them, however they know Sewickley must slip somewhat for us to have a shot at beating them,” Vecchi stated. “But it surely’s been amusing for those guys, and I am hoping we will be able to play smartly sufficient to get into that (WPIAL) most sensible six.”

Tags: Quaker Valley, Sewickley Academy

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