Golf: 2014 Five Things to Watch

Written by Brad Everett on .

Here are five things to keep an eye on during the 2014 golf season.

*Canon-McMillan's Lauren Waller has a great shot of successfully defending her WPIAL Class AAA individual title and could be in the running to win her first PIAA title. Waller, a senior and Penn State recruit, claimed top honors at the WPIAL and PIAA Western Regional championships before finishing in a tie for third at the PIAA championships.

*The Upper St. Clair boys (Class AAA) and Central Valley girls (Class AA) each swept WPIAL and PIAA titles last season, but being hit hard by graduation will make it tough for the teams to repeat. This is particularly true for Upper St. Clair, which graduated all five of its top players, including PIAA individual champ Grant Engel. Central Valley lost WPIAL and PIAA individual champ Macky Fouse and teammate Marissa Sudar. The Warriors do return junior Maddy McDanel and sophomore Alex Bozich.

*Can Sewickley Academy make it back-to-back WPIAL Class AA boys titles? The Panthers have a decent shot. The losses of Keenan Hickton and Sam Duerr will be tough to overcome, but the Panthers have hope because of the return of senior Anthony Muscato, junior Scott Brown and sophomore Jason Li. The Panthers finished third at the PIAA championships.

*Both of last year's WPIAL boys champions graduated - South Fayette's Corey Long (Class AAA) and Leechburg's Matt Barto (Class AA), so there will be a changing of the guard atop the championship standings. The top five finishers in Class AAA are all gone. The top returnees are Central Catholic senior Nick Cuny, Allderdice senior Sasha Lobel and Hempfield senior Javon Trout. In Class AA, third-place finisher Cody Dobbin, a junior at Burgettstown, is the top returnee.

*On the girls side, nine of the top 10 finishers at last year's WPIAL Class AAA championships were underclassmen. Waller - who won the event by five strokes - will be challenged by a group that includes Peters Township sophomore Mia Kness (the runner-up), North Allegheny junior Megan Leto and Hampton junior Marissa Balish. In Class AA, McDanel is the top returnee. She finished third last season. One of her top competitors is expected to be Seton-LaSalle senior Joey Walz.