The Mercyhurst men’s and women’s golf teams traveled to Hershey, PA, to compete in the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships Oct 18 through 20. Held at the Hershey Country Club, both teams faced eight other teams in the 54 hole, three-day tournament.
The Mercyhurst women’s golf team found great success in the tournament, coming in second place overall with a total combined team score of 986 (322, 325, 339 each day). In comparison, Gannon University came in first place with 962 (324, 317, 321) and the Clarion University finished last with a total score of 1,210 (407, 401, 402). West Chester University of Pennsylvania placed third behind the Lakers, with a score of 1011 (337, 331, 343). Junior Claire Orr said, “Our team played great even though we came up short, we put ourselves in a position to win which is all you can really ask for at the end of the day.”
“It [the PSAC championship] was a very special tournament for my teammates as three out of five of them are seniors. I know that we were not satisfied with second as a team, but we all worked really hard throughout the season, and it definitely paid off,” freshman Kymberly Henry said. With 44 competitors with individual scores, Henry placed second overall with a total of 238 strokes (78, 78, 82), shooting 25-over par.
“The PSAC championship was a wonderful experience to be a part of. Considering that I am only a freshman, I think that I played my best according to the very poor conditions,” Henry said. Seniors Abigail Vietmeirer (tied for fifth, 242) and Bridget Merten (tied for tenth, 251) also made the top 10. Senior Michaela Thomas tied for 14th (255), and Orr brought the scores home, with a tie for 16th place (259). “Personally, I didn’t play my best, but it’s a team sport and my teammates had my back out there and did a great job this week,” Orr said. “Kym played outstanding as a freshman to go out and get a second place finish, and overall this tournament gives us a lot of confidence headed into the spring.”
Announced on Sunday at the championships, Orr was named the PSAC Women’s Golf Champion Scholar. She joins only two other Lakers to win this award and the first to win since 2013. Modeled after the NCAA’s Elite 90 award, it honors the student-athlete with the top grade point average who competes at the site of each of the PSAC’s 23 team championship finals. A graphic design major, Orr has taken 66 credits and boasts a 4.0 GPA.
“As far as the scholar athlete award goes, it’s an honor to be recognized for my work in the classroom and was unexpected. I’m truly honored to join the list of people who have won the award,” said Orr. On the men’s side, the Lakers landed in sixth place with a final combined team score of 942 (316, 314, 312). Despite their relative scoring consistency, the Lakers were beat out by teams that jumped in the standings following the first day of competition.“Hershey Country Club reveals your strengths and weaknesses as a golfer. If we want to achieve our goals as a team, we need to keep improving our weaknesses and believing that we are as good as any other team in the PSAC conference,” said sophomore Ryan Peters.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania took first with a total score of 905 (311, 294, 300), and the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown ended in last place with 997 (330, 330, 337). Crosstown rival Gannon University finished the tournament in third place with a score of 928 (320, 302, 306). California University placed directly above the Hurst in fifth place. California’s score was 938 (321, 302, 315), four strokes above the Lakers. Shephard University was directly below the Lakers in the final tallying, with a seventh place finish and a score of 945 (318, 311, 316).
“I think we are a little disappointed in our performance as a team at the PSAC Championship,” Peters said. “We feel like we had a good chance to win this year, but we couldn’t quite put it together in any of the rounds. I think this tournament showed us what we need to improve this offseason to come out stronger for the spring season.”
Sophomore Jack Angelucci shared his teammate’s sentiments.“As a team, we know that we left a lot out there and it was by no means our best performance. We feel as if we are as talented as anyone that we come across, the issue is just finding that consistency heading into our spring season,” Angelucci said.
In the individuals competition, Indiana University’s Shaun Fedar came in first with 223 (76, 70, 77). Laker senior Adrian Larsen placed in the top ten, tying for fifth with 226 (75, 77, 74). Peters tied for 18th (235), and Angelucci tied for 22nd (237), while sophomore Dave Nichols tied for 33rd (244) to round out the Lakers’ top performers.
“My personal performance was not necessarily great, however I feel like I grinded out some solid scores in the first round and last round, when the weather made things really tough out there,” Angelucci said.“Right now, me and the rest of the guys are going to take the fall as a learning experience and work hard this winter to come back ready to go in March.”
With the PSAC Championship tournament over, both of the Lakers’ golf teams are now done competing for the fall. It won’t be until the spring that the golfs teams are back on the course