Wildcat Golfers Capture Fifth Straight Conference Championship
Pennsylvania College of Technology golfers have captured a conference championship for an unprecedented fifth straight season.
Competing Monday and Tuesday in the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship at the Penn State Blue Course, the Wildcats put together rounds of 305 and 314 (scores of the low four players determine team score each day) to hold off Penn State New Kensington by 12 strokes. In topping a seven-team field, Penn College also extended its five-season win string to 148-0.
"We had very good rounds, but New Kensington stepped up and played us toe to toe," Wildcats coach Chet Schuman said. "I'm happy for the kids. They're the ones who did it. They have the talent and they played as a team.
"Going into the championships, we thought that our competition was going to come from New Kensington and they knew their competition was us," Schuman continued, adding, "This is the closest margin of victory we've had in four or five years. It was close."
Behind PS New Kensington (631) were Penn State Abington (665), Penn State Mt. Alto (668), Penn State Fayette (669), Penn State Wilkes-Barre (690) and Penn State Lehigh (743).
Something that Schuman found interesting about this year's championship is that over the two-day event scores from all six of his golfers who competed were used, which speaks to the team's balance. Also, five of the six finished among the top 10.
"They stepped up. Every day somebody stepped up," the coach, in his eighth season, observed.
Leading the way individually for the Wildcats were senior Shaun McQuay of Watsontown,junior Ryan Nornhold of Enola and freshman Doug Wagner of Huntington Mills, who tied for second after shooting 154; three strokes behind John Hook of Penn State New Kensington.
They were followed by freshman Eric Schall of Jersey Shore, sixth overall with a 163 total; sophomore Matt Winder of Montgomery, eighth with a 164, and freshman Dean Bell of Schwenksville with a 172. Although Bell did not place in the top ten, his first round was instrumental in helping the Wildcats open an eight-stroke team lead going into Tuesday's finale.
Schuman noted that there will be some big shoes to fill if the team's success is to continue next fallas McQuay, Winder and Nornhold all are scheduled to graduate in May. McQuay was the individual conference champ in 2005 and Winder the co-champ last year.
"Shaun, being here four years and being the go-to guy, is a phenomenal golfer and a great person off the golf course. Matt was steady and consistent, and Ryan was a gentleman among men; a great golfer who capped it off with his best back-to-back rounds (77s)," Schuman said.
"The college is proud of these young men. They represent the institution well," Schuman said.
Looking ahead to next year without McQuay, Winder and Nornhold, he added, "We're already looking (for replacements). When people see that we have a good golf program, hopefully they will continue to consider us for postsecondary education."
Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college's Athletics Web site.