Seton-La Salle dominating the links

Published Sep 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm (Updated Sep 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm)

That Seton-La Salle is contending for a section championship in boys’ golf this fall comes as no surprise. The Rebels are the defending champions and winners of two of the past three titles.

That the Rebels have qualified two individuals for the WPIAL Class AA championships Sept. 25 at Sewickley Heights Golf Course is not shocking either.

The bombshell is this. “Most of the kids are not country club,” explained Chuck Rutter, who has coached for 14 seasons. “These guys work at it. They’re dedicated.”

Devotion and labor has translated into an 11-1 record for the Rebels as they headed into a match with Serra Catholic. The Eagles represented the lone blemish on the Rebels’ schedule.

Additionally, SLS’s efforts resulted in Joey Deegan and James Dolan earning berths in the district finals.

“Expectations for the season were to win or tie for the section and get one or two individuals to the finals and hopefully make it to the finals as a team,” said Rutter, who has been in the coaching business since his 1970-82 stint at Central Catholic. He came to SLS in 1982.

The Rebels will have to wait on that third challenge as the road to the WPIAL team finals commences next month. The championships are set for Thursday, Oct. 10 at Cedarbrook Golf Course in Belle Vernon.

“We are playing well as a team. The players have embraced our goals,” Rutter said. “They’ve sacrificed drives, kept the ball in play and have been dedicated to the team concept.”

Deegan leads the team with a 37.3 average for nine holes. While Dolan is averaging 40, Evan DeKlaven is No. 2 with a 39 average. DeKlaven and Billy Kluth just missed the cut for the individual championships. Kluth finished with an 82, one stroke away from qualifying, during the Section 7-AA tournament.

A double-bogey on the 17th hole at the South Park Golf Course prevented Deegan from securing medalist honors. He carded a 75. Serra’s Max Kaminsky won the qualifier with a 72. Dolan shot an 81 to earn one of the final slots for the finals.

Keystone Oaks advanced two duffers. Andrew Bigler finished with an 80 and Josh Short tied Dolan with an 81.

For the Rebels, who play their matches at Frosty Valley and South Hills Country Club, Eric Schneider and Cameron Cox normally round out the starting roster. Senior Sean Fratangelo, junior Rocco Mercurio, sophomore Mike Horbal and freshman Noah LaFerriere complete the varsity.

“We have potential,” said Rutter. “We are not keeping a 49 or 50 on the roster. Everybody has improved tremendously. They’ve all worked on their games. We have a hard-working team. This is just the beginning,” he predicted.

For many other area golfers, it’s just the beginning, too.

Bishop Canevin’s Sam Smallhoover shot a 77 at Cedar Brook Golf Course and finished fourth in the Section 4 qualifier.

Mt. Lebanon’s Gabe Nass, James Newman and Steve Sramac all shot 80s and qualified for the WPIAL semifinals held Sept. 24. The Class AAA championships are set for Oct. 2 at Diamond Run Golf Club in Sewickley.

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