Wildcat Golfers Claim Championship, 'Century' of Excellence
That comment from Chet Schuman, Pennsylvania College of Technology golf coach, summed up his team's season, and its effort in the Penn State University Athletic Conference Open Tournament, which ended Tuesday.
After two days of action on the Penn State White Course, sophomore Shaun McQuay of Watsontown and senior Matt Haile of Sunbury finished tied for the lead at 147. McQuay then had a par on the first hole of a playoff to capture medalist honors over his teammate.
Teamwise, Penn College had a two-day total of 596, 41 strokes better than runner-up Penn State Mont Alto. In beating four other teams at the open, the Wildcats closed out their season with a 20-0 record and hiked their three-year unbeaten streak to 100-0.
"They peaked at the right time. You see the difference between us and second place we played our best golf of the year," Schuman said.
In addition to going unbeaten over the past three seasons, the Wildcats won Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association championships in 2003 and last year, and captured the Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference title last year, as well. Haile was the PCAA individual champ in 2003 and now-graduated Brandon Smith of Wellsboro was the CCAC titlist a year ago.
"It's like a Cinderella story. What's interesting is that we had previous golfers calling our kids on cellphones telling them not to lose, to keep the streak going. It's a storybook ending," said an obviously pleased Schuman, who is in his sixth year as coach. "I'm waiting for Walt Disney to contact us to do a movie on it."
Also among the top 10 individual finishers in the open were Wildcat sophomore Tony Stopper of Jersey Shore, fourth with a 152 total; sophomore Gilbert Balliet of Watsontown, fifth at 153; and freshman Len Nicholas of Abington, seventh at 155.
Others competing for Penn College were freshman Ryan Nornhold of Enola (162) and freshman Andrew Hurst of York (170).
"We lose Matt Haile next year, but we've already had two very promising golfers from (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) District 4 contact us about playing for us next year, so we should be strong again. But, we also pick up two new teams in the conference, DuBois and Harrisburg, so things will change," Schuman said.
Haile was with the team when the magnificent streak started and his coach calls him "one of the most professional young men I've ever been around.
"Matty comes from a golfing family. His grandfather, at 84 years of age, was on the course and walked it the entire two days along with Matt's mother and father. Matt's the rock. He just goes about his business," Schuman said.
"The parents of all of these young men should be very proud," he added.
Without question, their coach is.