For the third straight season, the Wyoming Valley Conference will not have a participant in the PIAA Golf Championships.
Three golfers from the WVC took part in the East Regional Tournament at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood on Monday, but all three finished short of their goals of reaching the state tournament.
Dallas’ Mason Gattuso (Class 3A boys), MMI Prep’s Jessica McClellan (Class 2A girls) and Tunkhannock’s Brittany Zamber (Class 3A girls) all gave it their best efforts on the par 72 course, but ran into tough competition along the way.
Gattuso, who won the District 2 Class 3A title last week and was playing in his first regional tournament as a junior, got off to a slow start and couldn’t recover.
The Mountaineer shot a 47 on the front nine, which was 11 over par. He rebounded to score a very respectable 39 on the back nine, but it was a little too late to advance. His score of 86 was still 10 strokes behind the No. 24 golfer, which was the last qualifying spot for states.
“Nerves were a huge factor in today’s competition,” Dallas coach Jane Kilduff said. “It was a much larger scale of competition and he’s just starting to come into his own. …He learned a lot from today’s experience which I think will propel him to for the upcoming season. It was a great learning experience but he didn’t produce the score he was hoping for.”
Gattuso was playing with the first group, all district champions from districts 1, 3 and 11, including the tournament winner. And that may have effected his play a little bit, Kilduff said.
“I think he can compete with those players, but it was a new experience for him,” she said. “So I think just learning that you’re never truly out of it until it’s over (is a learning experience). I think he was playing the competitors as well as the course. So I think he learned to stay focused on his own game and not what’s going on around him because he’s equally-skilled to those competitors.”
Zamber shot 88 on the day and finished six shots behind the 12th-place finisher for the qualifying berth for states, while McClellan’s score was not available.
All wasn’t lost for District 2. Wallenpaupack’s Alex Pillar, who was runner-up at last week’s District 2 Tournament to Gattuso, moved onto states by shooting a 72 to lead all district competitors. Other D2 state qualifiers included Scranton Prep’s Sebastian Cimoch and Jack Habeeb in Class 2A who each fired 79s, and teammate Reilly Ruane (81) in the 3A girls tourney. Valley View’s Hannah Yanoski, the D2 2A champ, reached states by carding 82.
A total of 57 golfers from the regional moved onto the PIAA Championships, which will be held Oct. 24-26 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.