Jane Kilduff’s most frequent advice to the players on her Dallas golf team is to remain in the moment, concentrating on the shot they are about to face, not the score they hope to shoot.
So, it was only right for Kilduff to take the same approach herself during the most successful week to date of her high school coaching career.
In a seven-day stretch, the Mountaineers won an exhibition match created to honor the memory of Kilduff’s late father, won a challenging regular-season finale to finish tied for first place in their and earn a shot at the Wyoming Valley Conference Class 3A playoff that they won Wednesday.
“I almost wouldn’t even allow myself, as their coach, to get ahead, so when we finished out and I heard we won, I almost was speechless,” Kilduff said when Dallas shot 323 in the 18-hole WVC playoff at Wilkes-Barre Golf Club to beat out Crestwood (330) and Tunkhannock (355). “I wouldn’t allow myself to get ahead of myself.
“I’m grateful for that because I was able to experience a great surprise for myself too and the pride in the kids. It was a great day.”
By following up the WVC Class 3A-2 Division tie for first place with a win in the WVC Class 3A playoff match, the Mountaineers advance to the District 2 Class 3A championship match Oct. 7 at Elmhurst Country Club against the Lackawanna League representative – Abington Heights, Wallenpaupack or Valley View.
“It’s been a great week,” Kilduff said. “The kids did everything I asked of them, so I’m extremely proud of them. They’ve come far this season.”
It all started with the least significant match in terms of titles, but one with sentimental value to Kilduff.
With all the large schools all playing each other and the small schools all playing each other in the WVC scheduling format, Dallas and Lake-Lehman did not have a match against each other.
Similar to other sports, the teams met in a match with a special prize attached.
The schools got together and created the Kilduff Cup, in honor of Thomas Kilduff, Jane’s father, who coached the Dallas golf team for 30 years along with his career as a teacher.
Dallas pulled out a 169-174 victory over Lake-Lehman, which also won its division and was at Wilkes-Barre Golf Club Wednesday for the conference’s Class 2A title, in the Sept. 22 match on the front nine at Irem Temple Country Club.
Mason Gattuso led the way, shooting 40. Kyle McAndrew had a 42, Brett Ostroski a 43 and Colin Bowanko a 44.
Mike Sikora led Lake-Lehman with a 41. Adam Motovidlak and Tyler Scharff shot 43. Bobby Lugiano had a 47.
Dallas needed a win over Class 3A-1 Division champion Tunkhannock in the final league match Sept. 23 to finish 9-1 and tie for first in the division with three-time defending champion Crestwood.
Gattuso’s 2-over-par, 38 at Irem led a 162-188 romp over the Tigers. Bowanko and Ostroski shot 41, one shot better than McAndrew.
Tunkhannock was led by Tyler Faux 41, but Dylan Mislevy’s 43 was the only other score under 50.
That result set up Wednesday’s three-way match.
Dallas and Crestwood had split home-and-home matches in the regular season and Crestwood had a slight lead at the turn before a steady back nine rallied the Mountaineers to the title.
Gattuso again led the way, shooting a 78. His 6-over-par score was the best from any of the five teams involved in the two playoffs, beating out Crestwood’s Shane Angle by a stroke.
Bowanko and Ostroski shot 80. McAndrew had an 85.
Faux shot 84, Emma Harding 87, Mislevy 89 and Luke Straley 95 to produce Tunkhannock’s team score.
As she smiled talking about the victory, Kilduff reminded herself that there are still matches ahead both in team and individual District 2 play.
“I’ve had a lot of proud moments with them this season and the smile’s starting to hit my face as I unwind about it,” Kilduff said, “but I’m already trying to make all the preparations for where we have to go and making sure that is taken care of.”
Lake-Lehman missed out on a tiebreaker or it would be heading to the District 2 team championships as well.
Both Lake-Lehman and Wyoming Seminary shot 355, using the best four scores out of six.
When a fifth score was used as a tiebreaker, the Blue Knights edged the Black Knights, 98-99.
Liam Gilroy shot 83, Noah Munley 86, Bobby Wilson 91 and Tyler Maddock 95 for Wyoming Seminary. Jeremy Callahan had the 98.
Motovidlak shot 85 for Lake-Lehman. Lugiano and Sikora had 87s and Tyler Scharff shot 97.