Open season on the links: Graduation leaves opportunities for several area golfers

The area high school golf landscape is wide open following the graduation of District 6 Class 2A boys champion Jack Mangene of Saint Joseph’s, Class 3A boys champion Tyler Nordblom of State College and District 6 Class 2A girls champion Halle Herrington of Philipsburg-Osceola.

Perennial Mirror first-team all-stars Andrew Ferguson (Tyrone), Tanner Pershing (Northern Cambria) and Derek McAlkich (Altoona) have also graduated, leaving plenty of opportunities for the remaining and upcoming players.

Leading the field in our area may be Bedford’s Jared Turner, who was the District 5 runner-up a year ago and made it through the PIAA Western Regional and qualified for states as a junior.

Eric Davis, who shared medalist honors with Ferguson at the Wheeling Invitational last season, returns for Hollidaysburg.

Luke Thompson, who made it to the Western Regional as a sophomore at Huntingdon last season, has transfered out of the area to Mercersburg Academy.

On the girls side, Central Cambria returns former District 6 Class 2A individual champion Jaylee Sikora. The Red Devil senior won a district title as a sophomore before finishing as the runner-up to Herrington last season.

The following is a look at the teams in the Mirror’s coverage area.

Altoona

Coach: Erick Kozak, 15th year

Career record: 134-52-4

Last year’s record: 12-5

Conference: Independent

Returning starters: Dom Fasolo, sr., Scotty Lawhead, jr., Bob Mancinelli, jr., Lucas Muffie, so., Kyle Hite, so.

Other returners: Cameron Geisler, jr., Marcus Lucas, jr., A. J. Pacifico, jr.

Newcomers: Luke Rokosky, so., Daniel Batrus, fr., Judah Fulchiero, fr., Jake Walsh, fr., Sean Eakins, fr.

Strengths: “We have a solid group of three or four players who have had varsity experience and know what it takes to win. We return three of our top six players. We have been working hard all summer and feel this will carry into the season and help us be successful.”

Concerns: “Relying on some newcomers to fill out our top six. Staying focused throughout the season. Blending a team together after having lost three seniors from last year. Someone to step up and take a leadership position.”

Overall outlook: “Once again, we hope to be peaking at the right time and have a chance to compete for a district title.”

Assistant coaches: Ron Bowser

Bedford

Coach’s name: Matt Barkman, ninth year

Career record: 85-47

Last year’s record: 11-4, 8-2 conference

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Drew Hall, sr., Brett Predix, sr., Jared Turner, sr., Joey Windows, sr., Kaden Anderson, sr., John Imgrund, jr., Matt Tokarczyk, so.

Other returnees: Rachael Feaster, sr., Gavin Habinyak, sr., Eli Dunn, so.

Newcomers: Luke Davidson, fr., Matt Edwards, fr., Ethan Byers, fr.

Strengths: “Our top seven scoring averages return. Good senior leadership.”

Concerns: “Focusing on one shot, one hole, and one match at a time rather than trying to look at the big picture.”

Overall outlook: “Fine tune skills as the year goes and peak at the right time to compete for a district championship.”

Assistant coaches: Adam Ritchey, Jesse Topper

Bellwood-Antis

Coach: Galen Claar, seventh year

Career record: 11-54

Last year’s record: 1-7

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning starters: Noah Patton, jr.; Arrhen Gathagan, so.; Ryan Malone, jr.; Wyatt Anderson, jr.; Holden McClellan, jr.; Jeremy Brown, soph.

Newcomers: Ethan Brown, soph.; Brandon Buss, fr.; Jordan Irvin, jr.; Aiden McFarland, jr.; Charles Wachnicki jr.

Strengths: “Numbers.”

Concerns: “Inexperience.”

Overall outlook: “I like what I saw last year and hope we can build upon that and improve day by day. That should make us more competitive overall.”

Assistant coaches: None

Bishop Carroll

Coach: Doug Link, 19th year

Last year’s record: 0-10

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Austin Oravec, sr., Kaleb Hilyer, sr., Taylor Ostinowski, sr., Dino Menie, so.

Other returners: Faith McMullen, sr., Lauren Bender, sr.

Newcomers: Isaac Repko, sr., Allison Marconi, so., Jade Smith, so., Alasandra Menie, fr., Olivia Burk, fr.

Strengths: “I have a good group of kids that are eager to learn the game.”

Concerns: “Lack of experience and size of the team.”

Overall outlook: “I just want the kids to improve throughout the year and stay interested in the game. It’s something they can do many years after high school.”

Bishop Guilfoyle

Coach: Mark A. Scalice, first year

Last year’s record: 2-7

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: None

Other returners: Sam Barber, sr., Ashlee Rumbaugh, sr., A.J. Marasco, jr., Kyle Goss, jr., Adam Mason jr., Ayden Craine, jr., Ethan Miller, jr., Devin DeGennero, so., Nathan Rice, so.

Newcomers: Owen Dombrosky, fr., Trent Querry, fr.

Strengths: “We’re young, enthusiastic and determined to perform to the best of our abilities.”

Concerns: “Although we have a good group of returning players, they have little to no experience in match play.”

Overall outlook: “I am cautiously optimistic for the season ahead. What we may lack in skill and experience, we will make up with enthusiasm and determination on the golf course as we build toward the future.”

Assistant coach: Dan McGrath

Central

Coach: Robbie Keith, 12th year

Last year’s record: 23-14; 16-12 conference

Conference: Mountain League

Returning starters: Mason Baker, sr., Noah Bauman, sr., Jacob Dick, jr., Jerry Brumbaugh, so.

Other returning players: Tyler Thompson, jr., Trent Smith, sr., Tyler Helsel, so., Jonah Snowberger, so., Cohen Fisher, so.

Newcomers: Michael Housel, sr., Jaxon Mathews, so.

Strengths: “We have a player or two who put in a lot of time making their game better this summer. I’m hopeful that our athleticism helps the others catch up quickly as the season draws near. If that’s possible, we could be rather successful.”

Concerns: “I didn’t see enough players at the course on a regular basis to be as good as we could be. All of the players are good-character kids though, and I have no doubt they will all give it 100% once the season starts. Hopefully that’s enough.”

Overall outlook: “I’m very optimistic about how good we could be, since we are very athletic, and I’ve watched them hit quality shots before. It’s just a matter of them making their good shots more consistent, and that simply takes many repetitions with their golf clubs, and doing it the right way. I’m hopeful with the season starting, it will give them enough of those repetitions in a short period of time.”

Assistant coach: Zach Wozniak

Central Cambria

Coach: Keith Gilkey, fifth year

Career record: 30-9

Last year’s record: 5-5

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Alec Gabrielson, sr., Alex Gibson, sr., Sam Swope, sr., Brian Walwro, sr., Ian Mulligan, so.

Other returners: Lavan Powell, so., Noah Wilson, so.

Newcomers: Matt Gauden, sr, Nolan Johnson, sr., Ben Schweitzer, sr., Corbin Vrable, fr., Cam Emerson, fr.

Strengths: “We are returning five of six starters and have another six athletes that will round out the team. The team has been working hard and are pushing each other at practice.”

Concerns: “The LHAC is always tough, so we will need to be ready to compete every time we take the tee.”

Overall outlook: “The boys are excited for the season and know their potential. We hope to be competitive in our conference and be playing at a high level for the district tournament.”

Assistant coaches: Gretchen Getz, co-headboys and girls coach

Chestnut Ridge

Coach: Marcy Clapper, first year

Career record: 0-0

Last year record: 9-6

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Kamden Clapper, sr., Noah Hillegass, sr., Colby Miller, sr.

Newcomers: Jacob Dicken, sr., Brady Graham, sr., Seth Williams, sr., Gryphon Callihan, sr., Kai Burkett, jr.

Strengths: “We have great strength in the three returning seniors this year. They know what we need to do to have a successful season.”

Concerns: “We have five new players this year. Need to keep composure and mental focus on the match.”

Overall outlook: “I have high hopes for this group and look forward to taking them to districts to represent Chestnut Ridge.”

Assistant coaches: Rick Wissinger

Everett

Coach: Michael Walker, sixth year

Career record: 31-33

Last year’s record: 7-4

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning starters: Brighton William, sr., Wyatt McGowan, sr., Dylan Taylo, jr., Isaiah Shumaker, so.

Other returners: Leroy Clark, sr., Braelin Smith, so., Chloe Elbin, so., Charlotte Miller, so.

Newcomers: Jacob Calhoun, fr., Laiken Bowser, jr., Quentin Brambley, fr.

Strengths: “We have a solid group of upperclassmen returning with a lot of varsity match experience that knows what it takes to be successful and win.”

Concerns: “Relying on some returners with not much varsity match experience to fill the couple spots we have from losing two seniors from our top six.”

Overall outlook: “To get better each and every match and stay focused throughout the season. To be peaking at the right time to defend our ICC title and compete for a district championship.”

Assistant coaches: None

Hollidaysburg

Coach: Bryan James, ninth year

Career record: 75-17-3

Last year’s record: 12-2

Conference: Independent

Returning starters: Quinn Garrity, sr., Gaige Orndoff, sr., Frank Yeager, sr., Camden Aumen, jr., Eric Davis, so.

Other returners: Kolby Kirkham, sr., Nick Matteson, sr., Jack Aigner, jr., Zach Clapper, jr., Lucas Goodman, jr., George Cummings, so.

Newcomers: Christopher Miknis, so., Weston Eberhart, fr., Hayden Neff, fr.

Strengths: “Eleven returnees that share a positive attitude and desire to play the game.”

Concerns: “Ability to recover and avoid big numbers.”

Overall outlook: “This year presents a good opportunity for us to be successful, and we are looking forward to the start of the season.”

Assistant coaches: Jerry Landry

Huntingdon

Coach: Scott Eichelberger, 13th year

Career record: 91-109-1

Last year’s record: 24-12

Conference: Mountain League

Returning starters: Levi Briggs, sr., Jackson Ritchey, sr., Rece Ritchey, sr., Brady Handy, jr., Andon Suchan, so.

Other returners: Zach Long, Jr.

Newcomers: Andrew Cunningham, jr., Will Guyer-Wright, fr., Jordan Houck, fr., Ryan Marshall, fr.

Strengths: “A nice group of returners that we will lean on for leadership. A newcomer that looks to compete for a starting position.”

Concerns: “How will the newcomers fit into the team? Will the underclassmen gel with the upperclassmen? Can we keep our focus through all 18 holes?”

Overall outlook: “Looking for a strong showing in the Mountain League.”

Assistant coaches: Lloyd Dell

Northern Cambria

Coach: TJ Mullen, ninth year

Career record: 74-23

Last year’s record: 9-4

Conference: Heritage

Returning starters: Aaron Krug, sr., Derek Stafford, sr., Troy Paronish, sr., RJ Spears, sr., Nate Bolvin, so., Jacob Paronish, so.

Other returners: Tyler Kerfonta, jr., Logan Parrish, so., Alyssa Delosh, jr., Jenah Lombardo, sr., Macey Davison, sr.

Newcomers: Hunter Butterbaugh, fr., Rylee Maines, fr., Adrianna Farrell, jr., Matt Hoover, sr., John Zemrose, fr.

Strengths: “The team will return six starters who had a very successful season last year. We are experienced and have been working very hard this summer to improve. The golfers are enthusiastic and eager to get the season underway.”

Concerns: “That the team plays consistent golf. Staying within their individual scoring range.”

Overall outlook: “The team is looking to win a conference title. We are looking to compete in the district playoffs and send some individuals to the district and regional rounds.”

Assistant coaches: Pat Shell, Mark Faught

Penn Cambria

Coach: Chris Wilk, 31st year

Career record: 159-155-2

Last year’s record: 8-2

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Tanner Fogel, sr., Gregory Caldwell, jr., Brodie O’Donnell, jr., Brody Vinglish, jr., Thomas Weakland, jr.

Other returners: Cameron Sumner, sr., Jarod Hoover, sr., Ian McGonigle, sr., Matt Kearney, jr., Kyle Reese, so., Landon Kennedy, so.

Newcomers: Nathan Little, so., Jon Zernick, fr., Ryan Stipanovich, fr., Luke Shuagis, fr., Landon Kumpf, fr.

Strengths: “Solid core of returning starters with multiple years experience. Hard working, determined, and dedicated group.”

Concerns: “As in any sport, consistency is always a concern. Playing away matches is more an issue than any other sport, but most starters have played these courses many times.”

Overall outlook: “We are hoping to pick up where we left off last year, losing two starters from last year is not an issue, because we have players prepared to step in and fill the void. My challenge to these players was to lower their scoring average from last year and from what I’ve seen this summer they have done so and exceeded that goal. We had several instructors work with the team, and several players have come to me this summer with problems and have made changes in their swing mechanics for the better. Our goals are always high, but nothing that we can’t reach. This year will be a true team effort with no one or two individuals carrying the load. Any or all starters have a chance to post low numbers.”

Philipsburg-Osceola

Coach: Jordan Albright, fourth year

Career record: 96-41-1

Last year’s record: 36-11, 23-5 conference

Returning starters: Brandon Singer, sr., Keegan Soltis, jr., Chad Frank, jr., Ky Bender, sr., Jake Vaux, jr., Trent Butler, jr., Tyler Doyle, sr.

Other returners: Elliot Croyle, so., Tristen Doyle, so.

Newcomers: Zach Kolby, so.

Strengths: “Lots of playoff experience. Depth in our team from spots one through six, and most importantly competitive will.”

Concerns: “As with every year, trying to play our best golf as a team in October.”

Overall outlook: “1. Get better each week. 2. Win the Mountain League. 3. Win districts. 4. Make it back to states.”

Assistant coaches: Chris Michelone

Portage

Coach: Scott Burda, third year

Career record: 18-12

League: WestPAC

Last year’s record: 8-6

Returning starters: Jon Brickley, jr., Ethan Dyche, so., Austin Gentile, jr., Max Herman, sr., Eli Selapack, sr.

Other returnees: Logan Arnold, jr., Jack Graessle, sr., Tristen Gressick, so.

Newcomers: Luke Brickley, fr., Cole Ellis, fr., Isaac Jubina, fr., George Kissell, fr., Nathan Krisko, fr.

Strengths: “Multiple upper classroom with match experience.”

Concerns: “Consistency.”

Overall outlook: “We return our top five scorers from last season. I am hoping that with this experience and the addition of a quality freshman class that we can compete with the top schools in our league. I am looking for us to improve as the season progresses and to have some players qualify for districts.”

Assistant coaches: Jeff Vasilko

Tussey Mountain

Coach: Toby Horsh, fifth year

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning starters: Matthew Hall, so.

Other returners: Jaden Gibson, so., Christian Herdman, so.

Newcomers: Angelina Smith fr., Caleb Soffer, fr.

Concerns: “We lost six non-seniors from last season, so we are even more inexperienced than last year’s squad.”

Overall outlook: “I’m just hoping I can teach some kids to learn the game of golf and have a good time doing it.”

Tyrone

Coach: Mike Funicelli, first year

Career record: 0-0

Last year’s record: 20-2, 17-1 conference

Conference: Mountain League

Returning starters: Brent McNeel, sr; Trey Kyle, sr; Chris Wilkins, sr; Jacob Taylor, jr; Wade Hendrickson, jr

Other returners: Cody Harpster, sr; Tyler Hamp, sr; Jeremy Byers, sr; Tyler Beckwith, sr; Luke Brooks, so

Newcomers: Cassidy Miksich, fr; Balin Hand, fr; Cyrus Ahlert, fr

Strengths: “With seven returning seniors and two returning juniors, we have a very experienced team that knows how to compete. They have worked extremely hard this summer and will continue to do so throughout the season. We have several members who have played a great amount of tournament golf and are mentally tough because of that.”

Concerns: “Having to replace Andrew Ferguson is nearly impossible, but we are looking for someone to step up and take over the No. 1 spot. We have a very strong core of four golfers so we need a few golfers to step up and earn their spot in the top six.”

Overall outlook: With such a large amount of upperclassmen returners, we are built to win now. We are hoping to not only win the conference but to also compete for a district championship.”

Assistant coaches: None

GIRLS

Central Cambria

Coach: Keith Gilkey, third year

Career record: 21-1

Last year’s record: 9-1

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Lauren Kiepert, sr., Jaylee Sikora, sr., Cydney Forcellini, jr., Megan Stevens, jr.

Newcomers: Kaitlyn Lauer, jr., Olivia Griffith, fr., Jewel Sikora, fr.

Strengths: “We are returning some outstanding golfers and are excited about our newcomers.”

Concerns: “We lost two outstanding players to graduation, so we need someone to step up and fill those voids.”

Overall outlook: “The Central Cambria girls have a winning tradition, and we hope to keep that going this year. Many of the girls have been playing in junior tournaments and ready to go.”

Assistant coaches: Gretchen Getz, co-head boys and girls coach

Hollidaysburg

Coach: Bernie Jubeck, ninth year

League: Independent

Returning starters: Taylor Hileman, sr., Morgan Bihary, jr., Megan Dinges, jr., Samantha Shoemaker, jr.

Other returners: Sawyer Glass, sr., Allison Patrick, sr., Emma Cummings, sr., Maddie Smith, jr., Ava Ventura, jr., McKenzie Woods, jr., Payton Bihary, so., Sabrina Sargent, so.

Newcomers: Taylor Smith, jr., Sarah Huang, so., Ashden Stitt, fr., Emma Kennedy, fr.

Strengths: “Girls who have the desire, enthusiasm and attitude to become better every day. Very coachable. We’re also fortunate for the DeGol family and Scotch Valley’s commitment and devotion to high school golf.”

Concerns: “Though we have a great group of girls who want to become better, we need to concentrate and prepare to be better in practice sessions in match play. Pace of play.”

Overall outlook: “Looking forward to individual nd team improvement. Expect to be competitive in all matches.”

Assistant coach: Jill Hileman

Penn Cambria

Coaches: Chris Wilk, Jacque Claar

Returning starters: Kayla Ringler, sr. Jillian Latoche, sr., Markie Krug, so., Allison Slebodnick.so.

Newcomers: Lexi McConnell. jr., Kylee Marsall, fr., Sophia Cannonie, fr., Emmy Swan, fr., Kyiah Luther, fr., Bella Spahr, fr., Alyssa Mostick, fr., Kylee Mento, fr.

Strengths: “Kayla and Jillian have made tremendous progress their first three years and are working hard to get better. The returning players (Marlie and Allison) will take the experience from last year as freshmen and look to contribute more this year. The newcomers have the talent and work ethic to succeed and may be called on to participate in some events this year.”

Concerns: “All players must be prepared to go to the next level if they wish to be successful.”

Overall outlook: “Girls golf in the area seems to be declining, so finding competition is difficult. Our AD has scheduled as many matches and tournaments as possible to help the girls get involved in events so we may prepare them for postseason. We should be competitive with the events we have. The girls have put the time in this summer and are very dedicated to the program. Our seniors will be asked to set an example for the newcomers and assist them as they progress.”

Philipsburg-Osceola

Coach: Steven Torquato, fourth year

Career record: 39-3

Last year’s record: 12-0

Returning starters: Lindsey Bordas, sr., Katie Lingle, sr., Sami Hardy, jr., Abby Lonjin, jr., Harley Williams, jr.

Newcomers: Jocelyn Hutton, jr., Ivy Reed, so., Lauren Sinclair, so., Camden Potter, fr., Abby Vaux, fr.

Strengths: “I am very lucky to have a strong group of returners who are motivated to carry on the tradition of a successful girls’ golf program at Philipsburg-Osceola. I am blown away by how thoughtful and helpful my returners are and how much they care about helping the new girls develop an appreciation for the sport.”

Concerns: “As with the start of any season, my main concern is with helping my girls reach their personal goals throughout the season. We have some big shoes to fill, but I am very confident in the ability of our growing team/program.”

Overall outlook: “I think we have a strong chance of having another successful season this year. The girls are determined and have been working hard to prepare for another exciting season.”

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