BELLE VERNON – At WPIAL championships, trophies go to the top two teams. Third-place finishers walk away with nothing but regret at the present and incentive for the future.

Such was the case for the Peters Township boys golf program.

For the second straight season, the Indians took third during the district championships Oct. 14 at Cedarbrook Golf Course.

Fox Chapel edged Central Catholic, 376-377, to claim the Class 3A title while the Indians placed third with a 390 score. Mt. Lebanon tied Seneca Valley for fourth with 402 totals followed by Mars with a 404.

“You are never happy when you don’t win,” said PT head coach David Kuhn. “The players are not happy to be third and neither are we (the coaches). That is a good thing moving forward because they will be motivated to come back better. These guys love to compete. They are what our program has been built upon for 22 years now.”

Under Kuhn, the Indians have competed in 18 team championships in 19 years, 15 of them in a row. Also for the 15th time, the Indians have never finished lowered than third place.

Austin Malley was on par with the best. A junior, he shot an even-par 72. His score equalled that of Central Catholic’s Rocco Salvitti, a Canonsburg resident, and was one shot behind medalist Eli Yofan of Fox Chapel. A senior, Yofan fired a one-under 71.

“Austin stepped up,” said Kuhn. “He’s a great athlete and tremendous hockey player that is new to golf. He is one of only two returning starters from last year’s club.”

Kyle McClintock was the lone senior in the PT lineup. He birdied the final two holes to shoot 79.

Freshmen Ryan Watterson and Colton Lusk also finished in the 70s with 77 and 78, respectively. Junior Nick Wentzel and freshman Nick Haught carded 84 and 86.

“To take third when you come in with three freshman in your lineup going against senior-dominant, older teams that are really talented and good says a lot,” Kuhn said.

Callan Wilcox fired the low score for Mt. Lebanon. A junior, he carded a 76.

The remaining roster featured seniors.

Josh Shellenberger and Hollis Whalen shots 81s while Jackson Shellenberger and Zach Dyke fired 82. Niko Renton finished with an 84.

“We played decent but you have to be at your best to beat these top teams,” said Lebo coach Al D’Alo.

For the Blue Devils, it was their first finals appearance since 2017. They reached the championship round by finishing third in the semifinals held at the par-72, 6310-yard course at Beaver Valley Golf Club.

With a 401 behind Central and Seneca Valley, Lebo eliminated the other contenders: Upper St. Clair (409), Shady Side Academy (412), Belle Vernon (417), Moon (423), Blackhawk (436), Bethel Park (445), and West Allegheny (445).

“This was one of our better seasons,” said D’Alo. “I could not be prouder for our guys. They’ve set the bar higher than it’s been in a long time and that’s good for the program.

“My seniors will be missed. It was a pleasure to be around them. Every one of them had a great season and great rounds of golf.”

Girls

After winning their first WPIAL championship in 2020, the Peters Township girls looked forward to duplicating that performance.

Fox Chapel, however, had other plans. With a senior-heavy lineup, the Foxes unseated the Indians, 327-332. North Allegheny (339), Franklin Regional (353) and South Fayette (356) rounded out the top 5.

“It’s a letdown,” admitted PT coach Mike Lacey. “We thought we had a really good chance and that we would could repeat as champions. We wanted to win but finishing second out of how many teams in Western Pennsylvania is an accomplishment. We are still quite happy.”

Senior Allison Poon led the Indians with a 75. She was runner-up to Paige Scott from Butler for medalist honors. Scott shot an even par 72.

Delaney Kern (80) was PT’s only other senior in a lineup that featured freshmen Brooke Vowcheck and Sophia Severns as well as sophomore Amelia Severns.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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