HANOVER TWP. — Several times during his high school career, Shane Angle has been in the position to win a tournament, but settled for a runner-up or top-5 finish.
On Monday at the Wyoming Valley Conference Pre-district Tournament, the Crestwood junior finally got over that hurdle and claimed the title in the Class 3A event for his first win in a high school tournament.
What drove him to the victory was a string of five consecutive birdies on holes No. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 at Wyoming Valley Country Club en route to a score of par 71. He was 2-over through seven holes before going on his big run.
“I just couldn’t miss for a good bit,” Angle said about his five birdies. “Every shot I had, even if I missed it I was like ‘OK I’m going to get par here’ and got a birdie. There wasn’t any shot that I felt I really couldn’t hit.”
While Angle – now a three-time district qualifier – won his first title, Lake-Lehman’s Adam Motovidlak became a two-time champ. The senior earned his second straight Class 2A boys championship winning on the third playoff hole against MMI Prep’s George Palermo. Pittston Area’s Allie Craig picked up a win in the girls portion of the 3A tournament to grab her first win in the tournament. Jessica McClellan from MMI won the 2A girls event.
The winners are included in a total of 40 golfers who advanced to next week’s District 2 Tournament at Elmhurst Country Club next Tuesday.
For Motovidlak, it was his third straight season competing in a playoff. The previous two times came in qualifying spots at districts for regionals. He was on the wrong end of those two, but finally got a victory on Monday.
“Being in the first two playoffs to go to regionals was a little more demanding because it was for the last spot,” Motovidlak said. “Even though (Monday) was for a first-place spot, it still felt the same with everyone watching. It was still a good experience.”
Angle finished six shots better than runner-up Ryan Keyes from Coughlin, who was the returning tournament champion and has been rolling this season. Keyes tied for second with Wyoming Valley West’s Rob Lane, while Angle’s teammate Jeremy Harper and Dallas’ Kyle McAndrew tied for fourth with a 78.
“I love playing with (Keyes). I think you play as good as your opponent,” Angle said. “He played well. He had a few shots here and there that might have cost him, but all in all, just watching him motivates you.”
Motovidlak and Palermo each carded 78 to force the playoff. They played the par-3 No. 13 hole three times before the championship was decided. They both parred the first two times. Then on the third try, Motovidlak won with a par when Palermo’s drive landed in the bunker and he couldn’t recover.
“To win two (WVC titles) in a row is a pretty big accomplishment for me,” Motovidlak said.
A playoff was also held in Class 3A for the last two district qualifying berths. Wyoming Area teammates Nik Athman and Cole Coolbaugh advanced to districts by parring the first playoff hole and knocking out Crestwood’s Mike Golden and Hazleton Area’s Matt Boretski. All four shot a round of 85 to advance to the extra hole.
Dallas, which claimed the 3A WVC team title last week, qualified the most participants for districts with four. Joining McAndrew are Mason Gattuso, Colin Bowanko and Ethan Zawatski.
In 2A, WVC team champion Wyoming Seminary advanced six golfers to districts. Dan Rogers, who finished third with 80 and Noah Munley’s fourth-place score of 82 lead the way. They are joined by Jeremy Callahan, Bobby Wilson, Glen Godlewski and Liam Gilroy.