Upper St. Clair suffered its first defeat of the golf season Oct. 10.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the defeat came during the WPIAL Class AAA boys team championships.
The Panthers finished runner-up to Fox Chapel during the 18-hole match played at Cedarbrook Golf Club in Belle Vernon. Behind a three-under-par 69 from Amana D’ambrosia, the Foxes won the title with a 386 score. The Panthers finished 12 strokes off the pace with a 398.
“Without question, when you lose one match all season, and it’s a championship, then it’s a good season,” said USC head coach Todd Flynn.
“We just didn’t play very well and that’s what’s tough.”
PIAA Western Regional qualifiers Nathan Piatt and Scott Jordan played well enough to lead the Panthers with 76 and 75 scores, respectively. Jack Urban followed with a 78. Alex Jones submitted an 82 and Chand Vadalia carded an 87. Keith Kerber’s high score of 88 was eliminated.
“These kids never quit,” said Flynn, who noted Urban almost birdied the last hole. “That tells you that these guys weren’t rolling over.”
USC fought throughout the season, defeating rival Peters Township twice and rolling to a section title. The Panthers also compiled an unbeaten exhibition schedule.
“These kids fought and worked hard all year,” Flynn said. “Nobody believed we could even come in second, so I am very, very proud of them. As young men, there are none finer. I love them all.”
Meanwhile, Peters Township coach David Kuhn would have loved for his players to also have performed better. However, with four underclassmen in their starting line-up, the Indians’ inexperience showed.
Juniors Christian Schreiber and Andrew Poon carded the low scores of 81. Junior Ellian Ascencio and senior Nick Luniewski followed with 84s. Logan Shaw, another junior, submitted an 89.
Senior Mason Takacs also competed for the Indians.
The Indians finished in sixth place with a 419 score. After Fox Chapel and USC, Shady Side Academy took third with a 400 total. Seneca Valley (412) and Central Catholic (415) followed in fourth and fifth.
“We didn’t play well,” Kuhn said. “We’ve just got to get better. That’s the bottom line. It’s not our standard.”
PT is no stranger to qualifying for the championships, having reached the finals 16 of the past 17 years.
Kuhn said “we have won our share,” noting the Indians have been a top 3 team at least a dozen times over the past nearly 20 years.
“It wasn’t in the cards for us today,” he said.
“The good news is we still made it here. We got a high level of expectation like we always have. Everything we have done in the past speaks for itself but that’s over. We will reevaluate in the off-season and adjust how we do things and come back hopefully better.”
In their semifinal at Indian Run Golf Club, the Panthers finished first, ahead of Shady Side Academy and Central Catholic with a 390 team score.
Scott Jordan and Urban shared medalist honors overall as both shot the lowest score of 74. Nathan Piatt followed with a 75 while Alan Jones and Keith Kerber submitted an 80 and 85. Chang Vadalia also participated in the match.
In the semifinal held at the Links at Spring Church in Apollo, PT finished third behind Fox Chapel and Seneca Valley with a team total of 399.
In the match played at the Links at Spring Church, Poon paced the Indians with a 77. Ascencio and Christian Schreiber both finished with 79s while Nick Luniewski and Mason Takacs followed with 80 and 84 scores, respectively. Will Burkhardt also participated in the match.