Shaler golf teams prepare for upcoming fall season
John Brough wants to see determination up and down the lineup from the Shaler boys golf program this season. After losing the Titans’ lone state playoff qualifier -- Tanner Grzegorczyk -- the Titans will have a lot of open spots this season.
“It’s wide open this year,” Brough said. “I want them to want it. We have two or three underclassmen coming in this year that could take some spots.”
Zach Hernon is the top returner for the boys program this season. Shaler finished 2-6 in section play last season. This season, the Titans will be in Section 3-AAA with Butler, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley.
Navigating through the section will depend on how quickly the fresh faces adapt to the varsity level.
“I’m looking for consistency,” Brough said. “There are a couple young guys with match experience. I’m hoping to build on that from last year. I want to take what they did last year and build on it one match at a time. Continue through the season and rebuild.”
Both Shaler programs will be seeing some change -- and hoping for more victories. On the girls’ side, coach Samantha Smyers resigned and will be replaced during the first week of August. Athletic director Clinton Rauscher said via e-mail the school is still finalizing someone to lead the team.
The Shaler girls will be in Section 4-AAA along with Armstrong, Butler, Fox Chapel, Kiski Area and Shady Side Academy. Last season, the Titans didn’t win any dual matches.
Junior golfer Anna Grzegorczyk said most of the players on the team took lessons over the summer to help prepare. She said they still play with Smyers once a week. Having her older brother, Tanner, around has been a boost, as well.
“He helps me out with my game,” Anna said. “He tries to encourage me to play more with him. He thinks a lot about his next shot and where the ball is going to be after that. He focuses on the place where he wants to be.”
Having a little more mental focus is something Anna wants to utilize to qualify for the district championship this season. No one on the Shaler girls golf team qualified for WPIALs last season.
Anna’s best round over nine holes is a 43, and she’s hoping to shoot even par at Lakeview by the end of the season.
“I think I’ve been practicing every week to make it to WPIALs this year,” Grzegorczyk said. “I think I need to work on more of my putting and not taking bad hits.”