First Posted: 8/6/2013
Wyoming Area will be welcoming back almost the entire lineup while Pittston Area will be creating a new one when high school golf practice opens Monday.
The Warriors graduated their top player, PIAA East Regional qualifier Zack Mulhern, but because they rotated seven players through the six-player lineup, they return a full team of veterans.
The Patriots went with mostly seniors a year ago and return just three players with any varsity match experience.
Wyoming Area is led by the return of senior Courtney Melvin, who reached the PIAA East Regional girls tournament after finishing third among District 2 Class AA girls. Madeline Wharton finished sixth as a freshman in last year’s district tournament.
Melvin and Wharton both played well this summer on the Anthracite Golf Association Junior Tour where Wharton posted a win at Scranton Municipal and Melvin finished third in the season-ending Tournament of Champions
“Courtney and Madeline played in just about every AGA event and they played in the tournament of champions,” Wyoming Area coach Gordon Williams said.
Senior Colin Herron, junior Michael Kolessar, and sophomores Williams Peck and Gavin Kross also return for Wyoming Area, a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3 member that went 8-4 last year.
“They were all in our top seven,” Williams said. “We worked them in and out of the lineup.”
Wyoming Area tied for second in Division 3 with Wyoming Seminary behind unbeaten Holy Redeemer.
Williams regards Holy Redeemer as the clear division favorite again this season.
Pittston Area coach Len Benfante emphasized that Monday will start the “combination of practice and tryouts.”
The Patriots tied for first in Division 1 of the WVC with Coughlin last year, going 6-4. They finished third in the three-team medal playoff for the WVC Class AAA title and a spot in the district championship.
Juniors Braulio Garcia, David Zydko and Tyler McGarry are the only varsity players back.
“Those are the only three that have any actual match experience and that’s very limited,” Benfante said. “I’m going to be counting on those three guys to lead whatever type of team we have.”
Benfante regards Coughlin as the favorite in the division, which also includes Dallas and Tunkhannock.
Both the Warriors and Patriots play their home matches at Fox Hill Country Club. They each play two matches against all the division opponents and one each against other WVC schools of the same classification.
Wyoming Area opens league competition Thursday at Holy Redeemer. Pittston Area is at Tunkhannock Monday, Aug. 19 in its opener.
Both teams will play in the Tryba Tournament for WVC teams August 26 at Fox Hill. The WVC’s qualifier for the District 2 tournament is also at Fox Hill, Sept. 23.