Boys golf team succeeds in difficult section

Jack Salego

The boys golf team at Shaler Area is a gift that keeps on giving. Last year, now-junior Joey Miller won the section championship. This year, he placed 13th in the WPIAL. He helped the team make the playoffs for the first time in over 20 years.

Coach Mr. Chris Catanese, assisted by Mr. Brad Stone, led the varsity boys to a 10-3 season. The boys joined a new WPIAL 3A section this year, and they fit right in.

“I had some expectations coming into the season that we could compete for a playoff spot but was not completely sure because we were placed into a new section this season,” Mr. Catanese said. “The new section contained Fox Chapel who won the State Championship two years ago and lost in a playoff last year, along with North Catholic who won the WPIAL last year in a lower division.  We also needed to compete with Shady Side Academy and Hampton, so the prospects of finishing in the top two looked extremely difficult.”

They didn’t make it look difficult. They started the season with 216-197 and 274-202 wins against Pine Richland and Highlands Area respectively.

The Titans fell to Fox Chapel, with sophomore Jacob Crissman most notably ending the day with a 36.

Their most notable win came when the boys traveled to Pheasant Ridge Golf Club to defeat North Catholic. Junior Jake Kunc recalled this as the most exhilarating game of the season, posting a 42 that day.

Mr. Catanese also cited this as the most exciting match of the season.

“Beating undefeated North Catholic at their home course this year was a big moment for our team. This win put us in position to make the team playoffs and a chance to win the section,” Mr. Catanese said.

Miller ended the season in 13th in the WPIAL, Crissman ended the season in 17th place, and Kunc finished 27th.

Everyone knows that the future is bright for this team, with all three of these boys returning for the next year.

“Winning the section will be our number one team goal next year, and making the WPIAL Team Finals is close behind,” Mr. Catanese said.