FLEETWOOD - Northwestern Lehigh golf coach Tim Miller was a happy man following the PIAA Eastern Regionals on Tuesday at Golden Oaks Golf Course.
Both Cole Miller and Nick Vecellio shot rounds of 77 to earn spots in the 2A tournament next week at Heritage Hills Golf Course in York.
"They've been battlers all year," the coach said. "The best thing I like to say about these two young fellows is that golf is icing on the cake for them. These two respect the other guys on our team, who are struggling to break 100. They treat them the same way they do the competitors out here.
"When you have that kind of attitude about playing golf, it helps you stay in the moment and how fortunate you are to have an opportunity to play in something like this. I couldn't be prouder for them. They've worked hard all year, they've been out in inclement weather and they're really looking forward to the state tournament and I couldn't be prouder of them."
Miller, coming of a win in the Lehigh Valley Tournament of Champions at Blue Ridge Country Club last weekend that clinched the Golf Association of the Lehigh Valley's Player Of The Year Award, is heading to states for the second year in a row. This year, for the first time, the tournament is broken up into two classes (3A and 2A).
Despite some very windy conditions, the 2011 TIMES NEWS Golfer of the Year started on Hole No. 11 and birdied two of the first seven holes he played. Then on the back nine, a triple bogey and a double bogey came into the picture and he had to buckle down to make sure he was one of the 16 2A golfers that advanced. Miller pounded his drive on the final hole (No. 10) and made a birdie putt to finish his round at 5 over.
"I was two under after seven holes and then I ended up making double bogey on my eighth hole of the day which was No. seventeen," Cole said after knowing he made the cut for states. "That put me back to even and stayed thre until Hole No. three were I took a triple bogey and that hurt. From there it was a little down hill, but I managed to finish with a birdie on my final hole to end on a positive note.
"I'm fairly happy with the way I finished. To come back strong after the nerves were setting in after that triple was pretty big for me."
Vecellio, a junior, was pretty confident if he would shoot a normal round that he would make it to states and that's just what he did finishing five-over just like his teammate. Winding out the regular season with a 75.5 average, made birdies on the 10th and 17th holes and hit a majority of the fairways.
"I felt that, if I played my game, I should have no problem getting in," he said. "I wanted to shoot a 75 today but on a couple of par fives, I had bogeys.
"Conditions were tough but I got off to a real good start with a birdie on 10, the first hole I played. I ended up shooting one-over on the front side which is real solid. I was happy with that. I hung in there at the end and made some big putt and finished well."
Tamaqua's Mike Weinert fired a round of 83 and missed the cut by just two strokes.
PIAA EAST REGIONAL GOLF
At Golden Oaks (Par 72)
CLASS 3A STATE QUALIFIERS
1. Craig Hornberger (Manheim Twp) 69; 2. Ryan Dornes (Manheim Township) 71; 3. Kyle Hakun (Springfield) 73; 4. (tie). Even Notaro (Northampton), Reilly Erhardt (Holy Ghost Prep), Jalen Griffin (Wissahickon), Jacob Reilly (Hershey) 74; 8. (tie) Brandon Greenplate (Dallastown), Ken Taras (St. Joseph's Prep) 75; 10. (tie) Joe Markmann (La Salle), Anthony Sebastanelli (Abington Heights), Connor Sheehan (Solanco) 76; 13. (tie) Kevin Kunkle (Northampton), Andy Butler (Manheim Twp.), Steve Cerbara (Holy Ghost Prep), Chris Cerminaro (Scranton Prep), Sean Ebert (CB West), Jack Gregor (La Salle), Zach Herr (CR North), Tyler Shank (Palmyra) 77; 21. (tie) Blake Hinckley (Unionville), Mack Oliveri (Conestoga Valley), James Twomey (CR North) 78; 24. *J.D. Hughes (Carlisle) 79. Other District 11 Golfers: Chad Hess (Parkland) 80; Bret Howey (Nazareth) 83; Carter Test (Northampton) 84; Nick Maff (Bethlehem Catholic) 86.
CLASS 2A STATE QUALIFIERS
1. **Noah Firestone (Mt. Calvary Christian) 75; 2. Evan Thornton (Wyomissing) 75; 3. Austin Renz (Danville) 76; 4. (tie) Cole Miller (Northwestern), Nick Vecellio (Northwestern), Derek Duttry (Central Columbia) 77; 7. (tie) Mariano Medico (Holy Redeemer), Mike Thomas (Lakeland) 78; 9. (tie) Dylan Beiler (Pequea Valley), Mark Farley (Calvary Christian), Sam Gallen (Wyomissing), Mike Massimino (New Hope-Solebury), Jeremy Royer (Conestoga Christian) 79; 14. Isiah Logue (Fairfield) 80; 15. *C.J. Hollister (Central Columbia), Robbie Seebold (Danville) 81. Other District 11 Golfers: Collin Hagenbuch (Wilson) 81; Eamon Marone (ND-GP) 82; Mike Weinert (Tamaqua) 83; Kyle Buchman (ND-GP) 86.
CLASS 3A STATE QUALIFIERS
1. Jamie Susanin (Radnor); 75; 2. Jackie Rogowicz (Pennsbury) 76; 3. (tie) Isabella DiLisio (Mt. St. Joseph), Erica Herr (CR North), Brynn Walker (Radnor) 77; 6. Elizabeth McGarrigle (Conrad Weiser) 78; 7. Madeline Herr (CR North) 79; 8. (tie) Julie Santo (Wallenpaupack), Samantha Staudt (Coatesville) 83; 10. Allison Cooper (Central Dauphin) 84; 11. Haley Goodling (Manheim Central) 86; 12. Mary Beth Palic (Manheim Twp.) 87. Other District 11 Golfers: Kelsey Patterson (Emmaus) 91; Helen Hsu (Freedom) 97; Loran Pritchard (Whitehall) 101; Emily Unrue (Easton) 103.
CLASS 2A STATE QUALIFIERS
1. Selena Cerra (Holy Cross) 82; 2. Franca Hurtado (Central Catholic) 86; 3. Taylor Krout (Loyalsock Twp.) 87; 4. Cara Basso (Villa Maria) 89; 5. Shannon Weber (Kutztown) 90; Emily Okrepkie (Holy Cross) 93; 7. Dana Droz (Veritas Academy) 97; 8. *Rebecca Graham (Boiling Spring) 98.
* qualified for states in a playoff.
** won East Region title in a playoff.