Patience paid off for the Peters Township girls golf team. For the Indians are WPIAL champions for the first time in program history.
Peters Township defeated a nine-team field at the Connequenessing Country Club in Ellwood City to capture the Class AAA title with a 341 score. South Fayette edged Moon, 353-356, for runner-up honors.
“Finally, we did it,” said Kevin Lawrence, who has been with the program for seven years, the past four as head coach. “There have been a lot of runners-up and third-places.”
In Lawrence’s first season at the helm, Peters Township did not have a winning record. Two years ago, the Indians missed out of the playoffs by two strokes. Last year, they were bronze medalists behind champion Upper St. Clair and North Allegheny.
“This was a culminating moment,” Lawrence said of the championship. “We were so happy we did it.”
Maturity and consistency powered the Indians to victory.
Junior Delaney Kern led the way with a 77 followed by a 78 from senior Ella McRoberts. Junior Allison Poon carded an 85 and freshman Amelia Severns submitted a 101.
Senior Maddie Weaver and sophomore Anne Chang also contributed.
“Today, as during all of the season, we were a very tough, mature and consistent team. If one player struggled, the others did well. We didn’t blow up. Our experience has taught us to keep it to one hole and get back on track,” Kawrence said.
Lawrence noted that McRoberts exemplified that. She shot a 44 on the front nine but came back with a 34 on the back nine.
Kern was 34 in and 38 out. Poon recovered from a 44 with a 41 on the final nine holes.
“Come crunch time, Delaney is best. Ella knows if she doesn’t do well, she can get it together and be in the hunt and Allison was just solid,” Lawrence said.
“All of our girls have an understanding of how to play a team set-up and rely on each other and do their part.”
Lawrence also noted the team has good chemistry. The girls are all friends and they get along, he said.
“There is good competition among them but like on the bus ride to the match, they were all going over what to shoot on what holes. That’s one reason we did so well. They all lean on each other.”
Peters Township relied on a regular season to foretell the future. The Indians captured the section title. They capped a 10-2 regular season with a victory, 171-189, against South Fayette at Valleybrook Country Club.
In the match played Oct. 1, Kern (37), McRoberts (41), Poon (41) and Weaver (51) led the way but Caroline McConnell earned medalist honors with a 35.
“It was telling,” Lawrence said of the outcome. “We knew us, South Fayette and Fox Chapel would do well at WPIALs but we were also surprised by how well Moon played. South Fayette has some good golfers. Our section is so tight, even Mt. Lebanon was shooting great scores and USC didn’t make it. It was weird not having them here (at the championships).”
With the win, Peters Township advanced to the PIAA championships to be held Oct. 26 at Heritage Hills Country Club in York.
“Our goal is to put up a great score and be competitive,” Lawrence said. “Our approach all year has been to do what we can do and let others try and beat our score.”
The WPIAL Class AAA girls’ individual golf championships will be played Oct. 8 at Oakmont Country Club.
While Peters Township has qualified Ella McRoberts, Delaney Kern and Allison Poon, Caroline McConnell of South Fayette is the player to beat. She tees off at 10 a.m. with Uniontown’s Adena Rugola. They had the lowest qualifying scores of 75 and 74 respectively.
“Caroline is playing really well,” Kevin Lawrence said. He noted her “easy” 35 at Valleybrook Country Club when the Indians beat the Lions, 171-189, in the regular season finale.
“Oakmont though is a great neutralizer. You can hit a great shot that turns into a triple bogey. There are a lot of great girls out there. It will come down to who can handle the fast greens.”