By Brian Holtzapple
Lewisburg Area High School’s golf team is unique in the fact that the program could put separate boys and girls teams out on the links and be competitive match in, and match out.
After claiming the District 4 Class AA girls title in 2018, along with a seventh-place finish for the boys, the Green Dragons enter the 2019 campaign with a lot of potential, according to coach Joseph Faust.
“Our team will be young after the loss of five seniors from last year’s team who all saw varsity competition, however our returning golfers and rising freshmen have already shown great potential. I expect to turn in a better league and overall record than in 2018,” said Faust.
And the goal, for the boys at least, is to ultimately vie for a district crown.
“The team is prepared to work hard (towards a District 4 title),” said Faust. “In order for the team to be successful each athlete must be mentally prepared to do their own part. This team is already physically prepared — we are surrounded by very talented golfers who have the ability to post low scores — but they are young, so it is important for each golfer to remain task centered and focused on their own game, one shot at a time.
“They cannot lose sight of their personal goals and the team goal will certainly be within reach,” added Lewisburg’s coach.
Leading the boys’ team this season will be sophomore Sean Kelly, who advanced to the second round of districts before finishing 15th overall in last year’s district meet, along with senior Brett Herman.
“I’m looking forward to great things from the current top four golfers this year, returning varsity letterwinners Brett Herman and Sean Kelly; and newcomers Will Gronlund and Nick Mahoney,” said Faust.
“The returning players are a year older (although as a team we are still relatively young as I only have one senior) and a year more experienced. They are familiar with competition as many of them have competed in numerous tournaments in the offseason. This experience and on-course maturity are the key building blocks to accomplish their goals.”
But as far as his girls are concerned, Faust is good to go.
Lewisburg claimed the District 4 title with a 256-444 victory over Warrior Run.
All four golfers who made that possible — juniors Ryleigh Faust, Brynn Wagner, Sarah Mahoney and sophomore Ava Markunas — return for the Green Dragons this year.
Ryleigh Faust was the district runner-up to Bloomsburg’s Morgan Sohosky, 81-109, while Wagner took fourth (121), Markunas was sixth (126) and Mahoney was eighth (132).
“The returning four girls have all put in plenty of summer practice and many have invested in lessons from local golf professionals. Their recent qualifying scores have shown great improvement over last season’s results, and I’d expect any one or more to qualify in our top six golfers weekly,” said coach Faust. “It’s not unreasonable to think we could have two girls competing and scoring for the team in any given match.”
That ability could pay off big down the road for Lewisburg’s girls.
“Hopefully they could not only repeat as district champions, but if the ladies who may not qualify as one of our top six team representatives are given the opportunity by our league competitors (Mifflinburg, Midd West, Milton and Danville) to compete in all of our league matches and get some experience on courses away from Bucknell, I am hopeful that we could shoot the required score as a team to move on to regionals this year.”
Head coach Chad Anthony is looking for improvement from his Black Panthers this season, and the promise is definitely there.
“We are looking to continue the improvement of the golfers and the Milton golf program. There are some young golfers that show a lot of promise that joined the team this year,” said Anthony. “We have also added two other student-athletes that have previous golf experience and will be a great addition to the team. Our returning golfers have lowered their scores over the past year, so we are looking to hopefully be competitive this year.”
Senior Wyatt Engleman, plus juniors Carter Fedder and Camden Scoggins will lead the way, as will junior Jenaka Day for the girls.
“Fedder, Scoggins and Engelman have been with us the longest. Their leadership and attitude is key for them and for the new golfers. Day has been working on her game over the summer and should have a great year this year,” said Anthony.
“Our main goal as always is to improve our scores and ability as a golf team. Last year some kids improved their golf game 20-40 strokes by year’s end. With proper practice and hard work, we should have no problem completing this goal.”
New addition to the team — Anthony Neuer — could end up being a key cog for the Black Panthers — especially considering his prowess on the bowling lanes.
“Neuer has great potential to have a very good season this year during his first year on the team,” said coach Anthony. “Neuer is a great team player and motivater that he brings to the table, plus he can hit the ball pretty well.
“Engleman keeps everyone on their toes and loose. Fedder and Scoggins bring their experience as third-year starters to the table and have been helping take the younger golfers under their wings. Their games have really improved since last year. We have a few promising young freshmen in Isaiah Day, Abigail Suk and Cade Wirnsberger, as well.”
And if his players stay the course, Coach Anthony can see a lot of good things coming from his team this year.
“As a team we have to stay calm and composed. And we must play within our abilities and make smart choices on the golf course,” said Milton’s coach. “I see the potential in these athletes and know what they are capable of, they just need to believe it themselves.
“We had some definite glimpses of promise last year, and we’re definitely moving in the right direction.”
After claiming just three wins in all of 2018, Coach Dan Foss is looking for his Wildcats to triple that amount this season.
“We have a very young team. I am looking for my team to improve and lower its scoring average from last year. A ten-win season is my goal for this team,” said Foss.
Senior McClenason Wagner returns to lead Mifflinburg, as well as juniors Kaylin Foss, Hunter Dressler and Braden Deitrich.
“I have two players very capable of going to districts and more on the verge of making significant improvements with their golf game,” said Foss, who didn’t go into specifics on who those players are.
“I am not going to single anyone out at this point but will wait to see who qualifies for districts. We play as a team and are very unified. Singling one person out at this point will fracture that.”
However, coach Foss says his team is very energetic, but inexperienced in regards to its main strength and weakness, but he does see his players challenging Danville and Lewisburg, who he says are the top two teams in the HAC-II.
“Danville has the best team in the league followed by Lewisburg. Finishing third would be huge for Mifflinburg given our youth and inexperience,” said the Wildcats’ coach.
For coach Brad Peace, his hopes for his team this season is to do well.
“I want them to do well, and to do their best,” he said. I like that the kids enjoy the game and they are competitive.”
As far as goals for the team, Peace just wants his golfers to improve throughout the season — and for as many of them as possible to reach the postseason.
“I know that (senior) Elliott (Kelcher) really desires to make it to districts and move on past that,” said Peace. “For the girls, their goal is to get better each week.”
The girls team, led by senior Sienna Tompkins, finished second to Lewisburg at the District 4 Class 2A meet. Tompkins was fifth overall with a 122, while fellow seniors Alyssa Williams was ninth (155) and Lauren Watson was 10th (167).
“For them to do well this season they have to score well, which sounds so simple, but they need to score well,” said Peace. “This team will face adversity this season, but they need to push through it and not give up — even when they aren’t playing well.”
Ultimately, Peace would like to see an improvement to his team’s 4-12 record from a year ago, but he isn’t concentrating on that at the moment.
“It would be great to increase our win total, but it’s not something that we focus on — which really helps in golf,” said Peace.
Though he expects his girls to reach districts once again.
“I think they can make districts and I hope they will do better. Last year was their first experience being in districts, so it was a lot to take in. But I think they are ready this year,” said Peace.
“They are all great kids, and my goal for them is to play their best round possible when it matters most — whether they continue on (in the postseason) or not.”
Lewisburg Green Dragons
Coach: Joseph Faust, 2nd season.
Last year’s records: 14-7 (13-7 HAC-II). Girls won District 4 Class AA championship; boys finished 7th.
Key losses: Dustin Terry and Peter Marrara.
Returning starters: Boys — Brett Herman, sr.; Sean Kelly, so. Girls — Ryleigh Faust, jr.; Sarah Mahoney, jr.; Brynn Wagner, jr.; Ava Markunas, so.
Remaining roster: Boys — Ryan Donnelly, jr.; Gabe Ferrar, so.; Zach Gose, so.; Will Gronlund, so.; David Hall, so.; Gavin Keiser, so.; Alex Koontz, so.; Matt Spaulding, so.; Collin Starr, so.; Mitchell VanBuskirk, so.; Connor Wood; Nick Mahoney, fr.; Dominic Puccio, fr.; Hayden Runyon, fr.; Zach Rutz, fr. Girls — Katie Madden, so.; Sophia Martin, fr.
Coach: Dan Foss, 2nd season.
Assistant coach: Ben Deitrich.
Last year’s overall record: 3-17.
Key loss: Jorden Klingler.
Returning starters: McClenason Wagner, sr.; Kaylin Foss, jr.; Hunter Dressler, jr.; Braden Deitrich, jr.; Jarrett Foster, so.; Ben Hornig, so.; Nick Osborne, so.; Kolby Roush, so.; Adam Snayberger, so.; Jeremy Paige, so.
Remaining roster: Ryder Unger, fr.
Milton Black Panthers
Coach: Chad Anthony, 4th season.
Assistant coach: Todd Fedder.
Last year’s overall record: 4-14.
Returning starters: Wyatt Engleman, sr.; Carter Fedder, jr.; Camden Scoggins, jr.; Jenaka Day, jr.; Andrew Rohrer, so.
Remaining roster: Anthony Neuer, sr.; Tyler Flederbach, jr.; Helena Watson, jr.; Isaiah Day, fr.; Abigail Suk, fr.; Cade Wirnsberger, fr.
Warrior Run Defenders
Coach: Brad Peace, 8th season.
Last year’s record: 4-12.
Returning starters: Elliott Kelchner, sr.; Sienna Tompkins, sr.; Hayden Woland, sr.; Alyssa Williams, sr.; Braden Bomberger, sr.; Lauren Watson, sr.
Remaining roster: Trace Peace, sr.; Kaelyn Watson, so.; Mason Sheesley, fr.
Warrior Run golf competes at season-opening invite
By The Standard-Journal
TOWANDA — The Warrior Run High School golf team opened the 2019 season by competing at the Jerry Smith Memorial First Friday Invitational at Towanda Country Club.
Warrior Run finished seventh out of the nine teams present with a six-round score of 402.
“I was happy with the scores, although I wasn’t happy that we got only one win and six losses, but the kids did their best and you have to be content with that,” said Warrior Run coach Brad Peace. “If they had given up, I wouldn’t have been happy, but to see them do their best is great. I’ll take it.”
Central Mountain claimed the team title with a 356, while Tunkhannock was second (360), Coudersport was third (379) and fellow Heartland Athletic Conference member Montoursville was fourth (380).
Leading the Defenders on the day was Elliott Kelchner, who fired a 20-over-par 91. He was followed by Hayden Woland (102), Sienna Tompkins (103), Alyssa Williams (106), Trace Peace (112) and Braden Bomberger (112).
“It was good that Kelchner started off rough and finished with a decent round. It’s a challenging course,” said Peace. “I’m happy to see Sieanna shoot around 103 — it was a good round — and Williams shot a 106, which was a good round fo her.
“It was nice to have our girls scoring — that’s fun,” added Peace.
Top medalist honors went to Central Mountain’s Jason Floruss with his 9-over 80. Towanda’s Tyler Hawley was next with an 81. Peyton Mussina paced Montoursville with an 84.
“It was a great day weather-wise. It was a close, balanced competition, and some decent scores for early in the season,” said Towanda coach Tim Farley.
Jerry Smith Memorial
at Towanda Country Club
Team standings: 1. Central Mountain, 356; 2. Tunkhannock, 360; 3. Coudersport, 379; 4. Montoursville, 380; 5. Benton/Northwest/Millville 387; 6. Towanda, 388; 7. Warrior Run, 402; 8. Sugar Valley Charter, 481; 9. Sullivan County, NS.
Warrior Run results: Elliott Kelchner, 91; Hayden Woland, 102; Sienna Tompkins, 103; Alyssa Williams, 106; Trace Peace, 112; Braden Bomberger, 112. Exhibition: Mason Sheesley, 57; Kaelyn Watson, 62.