By Dave Byrne
For the Mirror
YORK - Entering the PIAA Class AA Team Championships as the top seed may not have accurately reflected where the Central Cambria boys golf team stood in comparison to the rest of the state.
That was proven as the District 6 champions finished fourth overall, Wednesday at York's Heritage Hill Golf Resort, touring the rolling course with a cumulative score of 328.
"We were the No.1 seed, but we were probably, realistically, the third seed, fourth seed," Central Cambria coach Tom Aurandt said. "That's where we ended up, fourth, and I really think the guys had a chance. They played well, just not good enough, and that's the nature of golf.
"Fourth is a remarkable finish when you look at our program, look at our district and look at what we were competing against," he continued. "I think the boys did a tremendous job."
District 3 champion Wyomissing topped District 2's Holy Redeemer by two strokes in a one-hole playoff to win the state title. The two teams finished tied in regulation, each with 321. The tie extended to the teams respective No. 5, non-scoring, players, each of whom posted 101.
Senior Max Kirsch, who finished eighth in the AA individual tournament on Tuesday, had low honors for the Red Devils, carding a 78 with 10 pars and one birdie, coming on the fifth hole.
The low number of birds continued a trend from the individual championships for Kirsch.
"He had three birdies over the two days, and that's not Max," Aurandt said. "The greens were rough. They were bumpy. The balls weren't holding their lines."
Settling in behind Kirsch were freshman Jeremy Eckenrode and sophomore Dom Stevens, each with 83. Sophomore Gabe Seymour shot 84. Senior Sam Stevens' 88 did not factor in the total scoring. Eckenrode and Seymour each had one bird, both coming on the second hole.
While the finish may have been disappointing, three of the four scorers will return next year: Eckenrode, Dom Stevens and Seymour.
"If Jeremy continues to advance the way he should, he'll be down here in a year or two as an individual," Aurandt said. "He has that potential. Dom Stevens, same thing.
"The wild card is Gabe Seymour, he was right in it. Those guys will get better in time.
"I'm pretty optimistic about next year," observed Aurandt, who will look to the current freshman class to fill next year's quintet.