Palmerton cops District 11 team title
Palmerton captured the District 11 Class 2A golf team championship Monday at Steel Club in Hellertown. The Blue Bombers, posing with their championship trophy, include, from left, Derek Rea, Josh Suto, Connor Reinhard, Logan Kresge and Tyler Hager. For a video and photo gallery got to www.tnonline.com/NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Pleasant Valley’s Mary Scully eyes up a putt during Monday’s District 11 golf championships. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Weatherly’s Ashton Gerhard chips a shot onto the green. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Marian’s Emilie Reaman follows one of her drives. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Lehighton’s Jack Lorenz watches one of his shots. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
HELLERTOWN – Palmerton was happy to be in the mix a year ago.
A runner-up finish in the Class 2A team standings at the District 11 Golf Championships and a talented roster had the program primed for bigger and better things this season.
And the Bombers have delivered.
After an undefeated regular season and second-place result at the Colonial League tournament, Palmerton broke through on Monday, winning the District 11 Class 2A team title, ending a five-year run by Moravian Academy.
“I’m thrilled for the kids,” said Bombers’ coach Mike Brennan. “The kids did all this themselves. I’m really happy for the program. I think we made our first district appearance in 10 years last year; to win it, and dethrone Moravian … is tremendous.
“I’m just really proud of them, I’m really happy for what they accomplished.”
Palmerton edged Moravian 349-352 for the championship. The result was similar to the two matches during the regular season, which the Bombers won 430-432 and 411-421.
It was also redemption after losing the league crown to the Lions, 413-427, two weeks ago.
“We kind of focused on winning your group,” said Brennan. “We were close with Moravian all year. I told them that if they all win their group, we win. It doesn’t matter what happens in between.”
The Bombers took care of business with Logan Kresge firing an 83 for third place and Tyler Hager carding an 84 for fourth. Both advance to next week’s PIAA Eastern Regional Tournament.
Connor Reinhard and Derek Rea factored into the team score, as both shot a 91. Josh Suto rounded out the Palmerton contingent with a 96.
Pleasant Valley’s Mary Scully also qualified for the regional tournament with a second-place finish in the girls’ Class 3A tournament, shooting a 90.
“I was hitting my drives really well,” Scully said. “That really helped. I just wanted to go out and play. It’s the farthest I’ve gotten in the three years I’ve played.”
Schuylkill Haven’s Albe Evans won the 2A boys’ title in a playoff with Notre Dame Green Pond’s Ben Ortwein after the pair finished regulation with an 82.
Parkland’s Trevor Grimm won the 3A boys’ crown with a 73.
Allentown Central Catholic’s Emily Wright took the 2A girls’ title with an 87, while Michelle Cox of Emmaus captured the 3A championship with a 73.
Kresge carried the momentum of a solid result in the district-qualifying tournament a week ago – where he also carded an 83 – into Monday’s round at Steel Club in Hellertown.
“For me, personally, I thought I underachieved at leagues,” said Kresge, who finished tied for 16th. “I thought we all did, too. Last week at district qualifying, I kind of got my mojo back, shooting an 83 there. And then to shoot an 83 today was huge for me.
“I really just tried to keep the ball in play, and keep it out of trouble.”
Hager continued his strong freshman campaign, one that included a runner-up finish at leagues.
“I think we both knew we had to shoot low,” said Hager. “If we could both shoot in the low-to-mid 80s, and have the rest of the team shoot below 90 or just right around 90, I think we both knew we would get it done.”
It was a satisfying result – and response – after the league tournament.
“I think that this is kind of what we were expecting after our last match, going 16-0,” said Kresge. “I think we were all expecting to win a championship at some point, either at leagues or districts. It really just caps it all off.”
Brennan carried cautious optimism into this season after last year’s district tournament, where Kresge led the charge with an eighth-place finish. Seeing the Bombers cash in was the ultimate payoff.
“I’m thrilled for Logan and Tyler making regionals individually, as well,” he said. I’m really thrilled for Logan as a senior, being the captain, to shoot an 83 that basically puts us over the top today, it was awesome.”
Scully adapted well to her surroundings to move on.
“I didn’t put much pressure on myself; I just wanted to go out and play,” Scully said. “This is a private course, and it’s one of the only times I’m going to be able to play here.
“The course is shorter (par-72, 5,460 yards), but still difficult. Hitting my drives well and keeping it in the fairways really helped that.”
The junior credited more time playing in the offseason for helping her progress.
“I’ve been practicing more in the winter and into the summer before the season starts,” she said. “That’s just really helped me with hitting the ball and improving my game.”
Northwestern’s Gabrielle Smalley medaled and placed fifth in Class 2A, shooting a 103. Though she didn’t advance to regionals, the senior was still happy with her result.
“I keep telling everybody my goal for this season was to get here, so today was just another opportunity to play,” said Smalley. “And I’m content with myself. As a senior, I was just trying to go out and have a good time.”
It’s an approach Smalley hopes the underclassmen take with them into next season.
“I hope that they continue to have fun,” she said. “There are five seniors graduating, so I hope they keep getting other kids to play, because it’s not a big group.”
BUILDING BLOCK … Though his season ended at districts, Lehighton sophomore Jack Lorenz hopes to carry the momentum of a breakout campaign — which included a runner-up finish at the Schuylkill League Tournament — into next year. “We improved a lot this year,” said Lorenz. “We have a pretty good mix. I think we’re really going to improve over the summer and get better, and hopefully make districts next year as a team.”
BACK AGAIN … Palmerton’s next match will be Thursday, 10 a.m. at Steel Club in a subregional with Districts 12 and 1, with the winning team going to states.
UP NEXT … The Eastern Regional Tournament will be held Monday, Oct. 14 at Golden Oaks in Fleetwood and is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
2019 District 11 Golf Championships
Boys: Par 72 - 6,492 Yards
Girls: Par 72 - 5,460 Yards
Boys Class 2A
1. Albe Evans (Schuylkill Haven) 82*, 2. Ben Ortwein (NDGP) 82*, 3. Logan Kresge (Palmerton) 83*, 4. Tyler Hager (Palmerton) 84*.
10. Ashton Gerhard (Weatherly) 94, 11. Ben Ramirez (Weatherly) 97.
Boys Class 3A
1. Trevor Grimm (Parkland) 72*, 2. Matt Zerfass (Emmaus) 73*, 3. Matt Vital (Liberty) 74*, 4. Jimmy Barker (Liberty) 75*, 5. Connor Gherghel (Blue Mountain) 76, 6. Nate Wheeler (Northampton) 76*.
T24. Luke Hallman (Northwestern) 88, 30. Jack Lorenz (Lehighton) 92.
Girls Class 2A
1. Emily Wright (Allentown Central Catholic) 87*, 2. Grace Sanborn (Moravian) 94*.
5. Gabby Smalley (Northwestern) 103, 6. Megan Schoener (Tamaqua) 103, 7. Emilie Reaman (Marian) 106.
1. Michelle Cox (Emmaus) 73*, 2. Mary Scully (Pleasant Valley) 90*, 3. Emma Shelby (Saucon Valley) 90*.
Class 2A team scores
1. Palmerton 349*
Logan Kresge 83, Tyler Hager 84, Connor Reinhard 91, Derek Rea 91, Josh Suto 96.
2. Moravian Academy 352
Evan Eichenlaub 85, Sebby Holbrook 86, Tom Smith 88, Joe Smith 93, Armaan Pandher 96.
3. Pine Grove 421
Karson Felty 90, Dustin Dubbs 101, Griffin Nagle 113, Donovan Copeland 117, Grant Culbert 126.
4. Schuylkill Haven 496
Albe Evans 82, Damyen Miller 92, Jack Higgins 101, Ty Welsh 105, Jarett Felty 116.
Class 3A team scores
1. Emmaus 304*
Michelle Cox 73, Matt Zerfass 73, john Keba 77, Aiden LeBlanc 81, Colin Wong 89.
2. Liberty 315
Matt Vital 74, Jimmy Barker 75, Joey Altemose 78, Ryan Evans 88, Michael Vital 90.
3. Blue Mountain 357
Connor Gherghel 76, Derrick Yuengling 86, Ryan Jarboe 92, Cole Maksimik 103, Preston Sincavage WD
4. Nazareth 423
Chase Skrapits 80, TJ Bohl 83, Ethan Honsel 83, Owen Fahs 85, Bryson Hicklin 92.