By Pete Chiodo
Winning Titusville’s first-ever District 10 championship in the sport of golf, that seemed like the easy part for the Rockets, who defeated second place Harbor Creek by 18 strokes.
Convincing head coach Tim McCord to take the team to Taco Bell after the tournament, that was the hard part.
“C’mon,” one of the golfers moaned. “We won!”
At last, McCord relented. “All right,” he said begrudgingly.
Well, they certainly earned it. The Rockets had a big day at the Country Club of Meadville on Saturday, following up on their Region 5 title by claiming the D-10 Class AA team trophy.
Following Titusville’s team score of 335 came Harbor Creek (353), Hickory (365) and Saegertown (385).
“We’re very excited for this team,” said McCord. “It’s a young team, but they’ve worked very, very hard to get where they are today, to be champions. ... We’ve been pretty steady this year. That’s an average score for us, but I look at that as a good score on a track like the Country Club of Meadville. It’s a tough little place to play.”
In the Class AAA tournament, Cathedral Prep returned to the top of the heap, defeating 2012 champion Meadville 321-340.
Maginnis leads Rockets
Titusville’s No. 1 golfer, Matt McCord, hadn’t even turned his card into the scoring table yet. But it was already apparent that the Rockets had won it.
Harbor Creek — led by Jacob Van Slyke’s 78 — was all in with its 353. And even without Matt’s contribution, the four Titusville golfers that had reported their scores added up to 347.
Matt McCord eventually turned in his 81 to officially seal the deal.
The key round for Titusville belonged to its No. 2, Eric Maginnis, who fired a three-over-par 75.
“That’s actually the first time I’ve ever broke 80, so I’m really happy with how I played,” said the sophomore Maginnis. “Making putts, that’s really what this course is about. If you can putt, you can shoot pretty low. So I made a lot of putts and got up and down a couple times and that’s what led me.”
Matt McCord was less than happy with his 81. But he was excited about how well his team played.
“For me, an 81 is more or less a bad round,” said the junior. “Considering I had about 40 putts today and shot 81, I’ll take it.
“But, to win a District 10 championship is great. For the first years of my career we were here and didn’t pull it off. And to finally win it is nice.”
Also for Titusville, Seth Mehlenbacher was third with an 88. Taite Foley scored a 91 and Zack Richards had a 93.
“We’re all proud, because we’re all coming back next year,” Matt McCord said. “And we’re even hungrier now.”
Elsewhere in the Class AA leaderboard, Hickory’s Billy Colbert tied Maginnis for the lowest round in the classification with a 75.
Saegertown was led by Jake Sada, who carded a 91.
Titusville will try to keep things going when it competes in a PIAA regional tournament on Friday at Treasure Lake Golf Course in DuBois. The Rockets will face the District 9 champion. The winner of the regional will advance to the PIAA championship tournament, scheduled for Oct. 23 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.
Prep back on top
District 10 has held a team competition for eight years now. In Class AAA, the first six were won by Cathedral Prep.
Last season, the Ramblers had their streak ended by Meadville, which beat the Ramblers in the 2012 team tournament before going on to win the regional tournament and advance to the team state championships.
Yesterday, however, the D-10 trophy was back in the hands of the Ramblers, who bested the Bulldogs 321-340.
Prep’s Andrew Britton had the low round for the day, shooting a one-over-par 73.
“Andrew, he’s been playing lights-out pretty much all fall,” said Cathedral Prep coach Jason Willow. “I figured out his average because I’m trying to get him recruited. And his average in the fall for 18 holes is, like, 74.3. He’s been hitting the ball real solid and really containing himself mentally, as far as not letting a bogey here or a three-putt there get him down. He’s able to bounce back. He’s playing like a senior should.”
The rest of the Ramblers came in under 90. Ryan Podufal scored an 82. Evan Wronek and Jack Kloecker shot 83s. And Jack Kelly carded an 88.
“We’ve scored much better than we did (Saturday),” said Willow. “In fact, this is probably one of our higher team scores we’ve had the last three weeks. But everybody scored high, as you saw. The greens were rolling fast, we got some wind, and there was the pressure of playing on a big stage. It always adds a couple strokes when these kids are playing for something important.”
Meadville was led by junior Charlie Holt. Even though he is still struggling with an elbow injury, Holt finished with a 77.
“Charlie played very well,” said Meadville coach Fred Garvey. “A 77? I’m thrilled. ... This was only his sixth competitive round because he’s been hurt.”
Other scores for the Bulldogs belonged to Matt Burchard with an 84, Kyle Luben with an 89, James Mullen at 90 and Dalton Zelasco at 91.
“We felt (the pressure) a little bit,” said Garvey. “We’re young. That’s a senior and three first-year players, really. ... I’m happy and frustrated at the same time. You’ve got to play good to beat Cathedral Prep. They have nice teams, always.”
Prep also advances to Friday’s regional tournament at Treasure Lake. They’ll face the winners of districts 5, 6, 8 and 9.