CM’s Waller wins WPIAL golf title
Lauren Waller celebrated little after carding a 75 to capture the WPIAL Class AAA championship in girls’ golf at Hillcrest Country Club in Lower Burrell.
That’s because the Canon-McMillan junior had plenty more work to do this past Monday, Sept. 30. Not only did she have to study for an organic chemistry test Tuesday, Waller had to prepare for another match. She hoped to help the Big Macs qualify for the boys’ team tournament when they battled Peters Township Oct. 1.
“A little,” Waller said regarding how much she reveled in her victory.
As soon as she arrived home, Waller hit the books while her parents took her sister, Taylor, to basketball practice. “It’s just a quiz,” Waller explained about the exam and then added, “right now, I’m really focused on the match against Peters Township. I want us to go to the playoffs. That’s all I’m thinking about,” she said of the boys’ post-season prospects.
Beyond that, Waller is also zeroed in on regionals. Last fall, she won the PIAA qualifier en route to a bronze medal finish in the state championships. “That’s all I’m thinking about is winning the regional and going on to states. Anything better than third will do.”
Improving her position in the district was Waller’s objective during the WPIAL finals. Last year, she finished as the runner-up with a 78 score.
“This year, my short game and my putting were on. I made seven, 1-putts and had a lot of up and downs. I thought I played well.
“(Winning) was definitely a thought,” Waller continued. “After last year’s second place, (winning) was in the back of my mind.”
Waller, however, did not dwell on that fact. She focused on golf.
“I went into the match knowing that if I played my game, I would have a good chance but I don’t put too much pressure on myself. I just golf and put everything else in the back of my mind.”
While the match featured live scoring, Waller was only aware of the marks in her grouping. Her threesome included: Casey Morrow from Shady Side Academy, who qualified for states as an alternate with an 84, and Marissa Balish of Hampton, who finished tied for third with an 81.
Peters Township freshman Mia Kness garnered runner-up honors with an 80 while Melissa Kearney from Upper St. Clair recorded an 82, good enough to make the cut for states.
“I was not aware of other scores. Just the ones in my group,” said Waller. “I just focused on my game.”
After her exam and her match against Peters, Waller now focuses on the PIAA qualifier to be held Oct. 16 at Tom’s Run Golf Course. The top five finishers advance to the state finals set for Oct. 21-22 at Heritage Hills Golf Course in York, PA.
In the WPIAL Class AA girls’ championships, Joey Walz from Seton-La Salle finished fourth with a 78 score.
Central Valley swept places 1-3 with Macky Fouse winning with a 75 followed by Marissa Sudar and Maddy McDaniel. Both carded 77s.