Sports Town will review the 2011-12 school year during July. Today we will revisit the golf season.
It was an outstanding year in 2011 on many levels for high school golfers in the North region of the Post-Gazette's coverage area.
The bottom line is the outstanding effort turned in by the Shady Side Academy girls golf team. From the first postseason match all the way through to the two-day PIAA state championship final at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, the Indians had little trouble in any of their matches.
Shady Side's domination of Division I began in the semifinals of the WPIAL Division I team qualifying event when the Indians advanced to the championship round with a 46-stroke victory (320 to 366) over Fox Chapel. Upper St. Clair also advanced to the finals with 392 strokes.
The domination continued at the team championship when Shady Side Academy improved by 13 strokes to win the Division I title with 307 strokes. Division II champion Central Valley was next with 342, but that was the end of the line for the Warriors as 2011 was the final year where Division I and Division II team scores were blended into one category for regional and state tournament play. In 2012, all Division II teams will compete for their own regional and state championships in the individual and team competition.
Shady Side's domination didn't stop there either as the Indians rolled to another dominating triumph at the West regional tournament, scorching both State College and Mercyhurst Prep by a 40-stroke margin with a final score of 343. There was no letup either at the state tournament where the Indians won their second state title for coach Helene Gosse with 685 strokes over the two-day event. The three other teams competing for team honors failed to break 700 strokes. District 1 champion Radnor was second with 730, while District 3 champion Central Dauphin was third with 785. District 6 champion State College was a distant fourth with 833 strokes.
The accomplishments weren't entirely limited to team exploits either. For the fourth straight year, Shady Side standout golfer Kendall Allen won the West regional championship with a 4-over-par round of 76 at Tom's Run Golf Course. Butler senior Marisa DeCola shot a 77 to place second. Both qualified for the state championship along with Fox Chapel seniors Emily Lawson and Katterina Luttner.
At the state tournament, Luttner, DeCola and Allen earned medals. Luttner and DeCola tied for fourth place with 14-over par totals of 158 for the 36-hole event, eight strokes behind the winning effort posted by Council Rock North junior Erica Herr. Allen finished in a four-way tie for ninth place with a 22-over-par total of 166.
Two of the Indians' top five golfers will return in 2012. Shannon Gramley will be a senior, while Lauren Waller will be a sophomore. Allen, Michelle Bucklew and Molly Lowery all graduated.
There were other outstanding accomplishments recorded by North area golfers. Butler senior Marissa DeCola won the WPIAL Division I individual girls golf championship with an even-par round of 72. The next three spots were filled by competitors from North area schools. Fox Chapel's Katerina Luttner and Shady Side Academy's Allen placed second and third, respectively, with rounds of 75 and 76 while Fox Chapel's Emily Lawson was fourth with a round of 80.
(Photo: Shady Side Academy's Michelle Bucklew. Cara De Carlo/Tri-State Sports & News Service.)