The area’s boys and girls golfers have had all summer to hone their skills around the greens.
Now it is time to see if that work can pay off.
Some have been quite busy.
Garrett Bastardi of St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy has been playing in a number of amateur tournaments around the region, hoping to make a return to the state championships.
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State College’s Karli Nolan also has been racking up wins around the state in quite a few tournaments.
The State College boys team also has hopes to tee off in York in late October.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy (4-4) has its entire team back for this season, led by Bastardi.
Bastardi tied for 25th at the PIAA Class AA Championships last fall, finishing at 22-over 164 over the two rounds. He opened with a 6-over 77 and was tied for seventh on Day 1.
John Paul Romero and Nick Shearer also had strong seasons and just missed making district play, and Gabe Sandoval and Alex McGraw round out the returning five for the Wolves.
“This year is our best chance to qualify and challenge for a team championship as well,” coach John Muto said.
State College locked up another District 6 Class AAA team title last fall, and only two golfers graduated from that team.
This year’s Little Lion roster is loaded with depth, with nine returning letterwinners.
Ben Gelenberg is the two-time defending District 6 champion and the team will be looking to defend its district crown.
The team also captured a pair of tournament title last season, and two golfers tied for first individually in tournaments.
“From a competitive standpoint, we are excited to see what the squad can accomplish this season,” coach Keith Bless said. “Although we lost a few key team members to graduation, our strongest competitive players remain and are excited to compete. I am particularly excited to see how Erik Isola, Matt Robert, John Poissant and Mark Henry are going to contribute, as I expect all of them to make more competitive starts than they did last year. I am also excited to see sophomore Christian Friberg become an even stronger competitor, as last year he did quite well despite having little or no experience on many of the courses.”
Bellefonte (4-5) took third in the Mountain League tournament last season and saw just one team member graduate.
This season, the Red Raiders do not have any seniors, with five juniors returning for the fall.
“I am very excited to see this team start to realize some of its potential this year,” coach Kevin Harman said. “We have several key members ready to show significant improvement from what was already a solid team.”
Philipsburg-Osceola (4-6) also have a young team with experience. The Mounties have just one senior this fall.
The Mounties return “a few excellent individuals,” according to coach Tracy Vipond, and he expects sophomores Carter Fischer and Payton Guelich to be among the area’s top golfers. The team also brings back sophomore Jared Anderson.
“(We) need inexperienced golfers to contribute for the success of the team,” Vipond said. “We should be very competitive within our league.”
Penns Valley (1-8) also are seeking improvement with most of its team returning.
The Rams return four boys from last year’s team, and all of them are still underclassmen. Among them is junior Layne Zettle, who was a sectional qualifier last fall.
Also joining the team is Olivia Miller, who will be competing against the boys with no Penns Valley girls’ team this fall.
“Both new and returning players came to preseason well prepared,” coach Steve Fleagle said. “I am excited about the energy and commitment the team has for this season.”
Bellefonte’s girls are looking to defend their Mountain League team title, and hoping to get one step higher on the District 6 podium after finishing second last fall.
Senior Ashley Morris and juniors Emily Sinclair, Kady Stodter and Paige Urban return to the tees.
The Lady Red Raiders also have a new coach this season, and saw just one golfer graduate from a season ago.
Jayme Zimmerman takes over the program. She is a former standout golfer for the Lady Red Raiders.
“This is my first season as a coach with the Lady Raiders,” Zimmerman said. “We have a strong group of girls who really love the game. I’m excited to see what we accomplish as a team this year.”
Philipsburg-Osceola placed third in the Mountain League, but lost three key seniors and Abby Showers, who will miss the season following shoulder surgery. The Lady Mounties do return their top individual Haylee Hayward, a multiple sport standout. Hayward was the team’s lone participant in the District 6 Championships last fall.
“She’s athletic and she’s tough,” coach Larry Kolbe said of Hayward. “I’m looking for good things from her.”
He said he’s seen improvement from the rest of the squad. “Even though we return four lettermen, we’re still inexperienced and have a ways to go,” Kolbe said. “They’ve worked very hard and are capable of doing very well. All of them could should around 50 (for nine holes).”
State College captured the District 6 title last season and finished second to Erie McDowell in the regionals. Nolan took the individual crown and went onto individual regional play. Ashley Stewart and Emma Schaper played in the top five for the Lady Little Lions. All three of those players have been very active on the Northeast Junior Tour over the summer.
“I’ve got three pretty solid players and I’m looking to get two or three more,” State College coach Ken Miller said. “Some girls are going to have to step up, but we have a chance to be a pretty good team.”