SHENANGO VALLEY —
The gods of golf giveth; the gods of golf taketh away!
That was never more evident than at the annual Herald-Tam O’Shanter Junior Golf Championships Friday where penatlies and luck played major roles in the outcome.
Billy Colbert of Hermitage became a rare 3-time champion but it didn’t come easily or without controversy.
The Hickory High junior, who has a shot at a fourth crown next year, edged Kennedy Catholic sophomore Jacob Wilson in a one-hole playoff after both golfers finished the two-day event with 157 totals.
Wilson led after day one by two strokes, posting a 77 to 79 over Colbert, a son of Steven and Missy Colbert. And the lead got even bigger after the first hole on Friday.
Colbert played the wrong ball on his second shot on the Par 4 No. 1, resulting in a two-stroke penalty.
The golf gods smiled on Wilson.
It was a battle the rest of the way, with Colbert making a slight comeback, but Wilson holding a slim lead heading into No. 17. Wilson drove into a bunker by the green, then flubbed his shot out of the sand.
In frustration, he swung his club backwards hard and hit the sand. Result: a two-stroke penalty.
The golf gods smiled on Colbert.
After both players holed out on No. 18, the penalty rulings were made and strokes assessed, resulting in a two-day total of 157 for both golfers and sending them both out on No. 1 for a sudden-death playoff.
Both players pulled drives on the short Par-4 into the woods on the left. And the golf gods smiled!
Colbert’s ball cleared through to an opening, although not a very good lie in high grass, but Wilson’s ball landed under a root. Wilson tried to hit it out, but the ball rolled into the crook of a tree.
And the golf gods laughed.
Wilson did make an almost miraculous bogey 5 on the hole, but Colbert got down in par for the victory.
“Luck plays a role,” said John Kerins, director of golf at Tam O’Shanter, about the ball under the root. “It usually evens out, but not in a one-hole playoff ... It’s been a long time since we had a playoff. I can’t even remember the last one.
“It was a great tournament. Everyone thought Billy would run away with it for his third title, but Jacob played great. He made that one mistake on No. 17 in the sand. The rules of golf are there to help you but you have to know them. Both players learned something today.”
As Colbert walked off the playoff green he had to admit, “It feels good. It was a real challenge and that makes it fun for me.”
Can he become only the second player ever to win four tiltles, joining Mike Klaric III at that lofty height?
“I hope so, but I’ve got to play well,” said Colbert, adding with a chuckle, “and try not to get any penalties.
Meanwhile Wilson, a son of Bob and Fran Wilson of Sharon, lamented not only the sand penalty (”I didn’t even know I did it”) but also said, “ I missed some short putts and tht made a difference. But I have two more years so I’ll be back.”
And after the excitement of 2013, you can bet the gods of golf will be watching as well!
Notes: Colbert joined David Chuba (1981, ’83, ’84) and Bobby Thomas (1961-63) as the only three-time winners since the event began in 1949. ... Klaric’s four victories came in 2002-03 and 2006-07. ... Two girls, Alena Lancia and Abby Hearns, both accounted themselves well in the tournament. “It’s nice to see more girls playing,” said Kerins.
x-Billy Colbert 79-78—157
Jacob Wilson 77-80—157
Lonnie Schell 84-81—165
Ryan Dogan 92-94—186
Andrew Pursel 98-90—188
Louis Wareham 100-92—192
Greg Galbo 98-97—195
Jospeh Faber 84-110—195
Matt Wallace 97-101—198
Alena Lancia 97-103—200
Cameron Colbert 100-102—202
Chris Hartnagel 102-104—206
Travis Roberts 100-107—207
Abby Hearns 100-109—209
Ted Haaz 99-WD
x-won in playoff
SHENANGO VALLEY —
The gods of golf giveth; the gods of golf taketh away!
Breese defends heavyweight title at PIAA Championships
HERSHEY, Pa. — Move over Rod Wright!
Lakeview senior heavyweight star Sam Breese had a goal coming into the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships this weekend at Hershey Giant Center — besides winning a second state crown, that is.
WM knocks off Neshannock in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — The notion of Trey Staunch sneaking up on opposing teams is laughable. At 6-foot-3 and approximately 225 pounds, the stout Staunch is not sneaking up on anyone.
However after posting a game-high 31-point, 18-rebound performance in West Middlesex High basketball team’s 76-66 PIAA Class AA playoffs opening-round win over Neshannock Saturday night, Staunch said opponents may have been overlooking the Big Reds.
Hickory girls 26-0, oust Johnstown
SLIPPERY ROCK — At Morrow Field House Saturday evening, the Hickory Lady Hornets kept the perfect season alive with a 63-37 state playoff first round win over the Greater Johnstown Trojans from District 6.
“It feels great to get the win (Saturday),” said veterans Hickory coach Jeanette Whitehead. “We’ve been at this place over the last few years and we’ve been sent home in the first round so it was a huge win for us. I’m very proud of our team effort."
KC girls roll past California in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball team was in the ’hood Saturday afternoon.
Led by senior Taylor Hood, the Lady Golden Eagles eased past California, 53-34, in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
Lakeview's Breese to defend PIAA title
HERSHEY, Pa. — If you are Major League Baseball player, a .333 batting average is great. But in wrestling at the state tournament — not so much!
Out of the dozen wrestlers that Mercer County sent to Hershey for the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships, only four (.333) will reach the medal stand today — led by Lakeview senior Sam Breese who shoots for a second straight gold medal.
Farrell edges Montour, 60-57, in PIAA opener
Montour High boys’ basketball coach Adam Kaufman lamented another season-ending setback. However there are several hundred coaches across the Commonwealth who envy his program’s recent success and would trade places with him in a heartbeat.
But during Friday night’s PIAA Class AAA playoff opener, Kaufman & Co. could not overcome those streaky Steelers ... those survivin’ Steelers.
“ ... Hey, survive and move on,” summarized Steelers’ skipper Roland Shannonhouse following Farrell’s 60-57 win at Sharon High.
GCC ousts Mercer in 1st round of PIAAs
The Mercer Lady Mustangs were outscored 16-4 in the final quarter of the first round of the state playoffs by the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions, ending their season Friday night 56-31 at Sharon High School.
Senior Lexie Arkwright had a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double performance for the Lady M’s. She also snagged three steals. Adelyn Cook and Haylie Glass each added 4 points for Mercer.
5 area matmen to quarterfinals in Hershey
HERSHEY — Mercer County matmen had mixed results on the opening day of action in the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.
Only 5 of the county’s dozen entries — led by defending state champ Sam Breese of Lakeview (285) — won their preliminary matches to move into the tournament quarterfinals which begin at 9 a.m. today. However the other 7 lost their first matches, although 3 are still alive in the consolations heading into this morning’s action.
Coach Chad Mild's Big Reds are road warriors
West Middlesex High boys basketball team did not play its first home game until after the first of the year, but competing at New Castle, Farrell and Youngstown’s Covelli Centre has served it well.
Witness West Middlesex’s 55-54 win over Fairview in last weekend’s District 10 Class AA championship game — at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House.
Boys PIAA basketball preview boxes
Who: Farrell (22-3) vs. Montour (16-8).
What: Opening round.
When: 7:30 p.m. today.
Where: Sharon High’s Tiger Gymnasium.
Hickory, Mercer, KC girls PIAA playoff boxes
Who: Hickory (25-0) vs. Greater Johnstown (11-14).
What: PIAA Playoffs, 1st round.
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Slippery Rock University.
Shannonhouse's Steelers set for statewide stage
With the approaching spring, a young man’s fancy turns to ... what else? The PIAA playoffs. And when Shenango Valley scholastic basketball aficionados think of the postseason they think of Farrell.
Recently at E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the banners above were blowing in the breeze — ’52 ... ’54 ... ’56 ... ’59 ... ’60 ... ’69 ... ’72 — swaying as sprinting players created a vacuum of air rising from the floor. Melodramatic maybe, but there’s a feeling at Farrell that harkens back to the heyday when playoff success was a rite of passage.
Breese eyes repeat at state mat tourney
There is no doubt that winning a state championship in wrestling is a difficult thing to do. Winning two is even tougher.
“There’s a target on your chest,” pointed out Lakeview High coach Tom Tingley in preseason this year, referring to his star wrestler Sam Breese who won a state heavyweight crown as a junior last year.
Obviously that target hasn’t bothered the Sailors big man who is a perfect 32-0 this season as he attempts to become only the 12th Mercer County matman to win multiple titles.
WRESTLING NOTEBOOK: It's a young group of county matmen headed to state
THERE’S definitely a youth movement in Mercer County wrestling as demonstrated by the group of 11 matmen who are advancing to the PIAA State Class AA Championships on Thursday.
Eight of the locals are underclassmen. The only seniors are Lakeview’s Sam Breese (285), Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer (145) and Jamestown’s Mohamed Messai (182).
Breese and Stoyer are the only returning state place-winners. Breese, who has verbally committed to Kent State University to wrestle next season, won the heavyweight class and is seeking a second gold medal. Stoyer placed 7th at 145 and wants to climb much higher on the medals stand.
Kennedy boys forfeit win, are out of playoffs
The PIAA basketball playoffs do not begin until Friday, but Mercer County already lost a team.
Kennedy Catholic High disclosed Monday the discovery of an academically-ineligible player, who competed in last Friday’s District 10 Class A consolation contest.
Kennedy Catholic edged Eisenhower in double-OT, 66-62, earning a berth in the statewide tournament. The Golden Eagles were to meet District 9 champion Ridgway Friday at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium in the opening round; instead, Eisenhower will represent D-10 as its 3rd-place team.
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