Lehighton’s Miller wins gold
ORWIGSBURG - Lehighton was the odds-on favorite to defend its title at the Schuylkill Golf League championships - and the Indians didn’t disappoint.
But very few would have tabbed Lehighton’s Aaron Miller to win the individual title. But Monday truly was Miller Time.
Shooting a round of 78 on the Donald Ross designed Schuylkill Country Club course gave the Indian senior the gold medal.
Miller never thought it would be such a grand day - at least not after the way it started.
Bogeys were on the card through the first five holes, and in championship golf that isn’t a good sign.
After that start, Miller didn’t think it was going to be his time.
“Honestly, I felt terrible,” Miller said. “I had five bogeys through the first five or six holes. I thought I was out of contention, and didn’t think I would do anything.”
But just that quickly, things changed.
His short game came into focus as his putting was starting to catch fire, and before Miller knew it, he was back in the swing of things.
“I had a few birdies out there which kept me from going crazy,” Miller said as he cracked a sullen smile. “I was really out of it mentally, and it kind of helped me recover.”
That recovery paid double dividends, as not only did it propel him to the individual title; his round led Lehighton to the team championship.
The Indians would go on to shoot an overall team score of 364, beating Blue Mountain (369), Mahanoy Area (390) and Schuylkill Haven (419). It was a big victory since the Indians were playing on Blue Mountain’s home course.
“Back-to-back,” said fifth-year Lehighton coach Mark Maholick. “We had a lot of high expectations, and it was a little more pressure this year. But our kids really came through.
“The way Aaron played was just great. He picked us up. Jack Lorenz, one of the better golfers in the league, had his struggles, but it’s golf. This team has been great all season. I thought Trey Spring also had a big day for us.”
Spring captured fifth place with a round of 85.
Lorenz - who entered the tournament as the favorite carrying a low gross average of 76 for the season - shot 12 strokes over his norm to finish with an 88.
There was a special playoff between Tamaqua’s Peter McGinley and Lourdes’ John Feudale, who had tied for third place with 83s. McGinley finally came to the fore after five extra holes.
“It’s been a great year for Peter,” said Tamaqua coach Matt Stine about his sophomore golfer. “All season he’s been getting better and better. Last week, he shot a 78 here. So I was kind of expecting him to do well - which he did.”
SHE’S THE GAL
Brooke Powis’ story is remarkable. Powis, a junior at North Schuylkill, never picked up the sticks until June of 2020. Her golfing career has (HAD) suddenly taken a foothold.
For the second straight season, Powis finished as the top girl in the league, shooting a blistering 87. She now moves on for her second straight District 11 tournament with an automatic bid.
Weatherly’s standout three-sport athlete, Maddie VonFrisch, will be back in the District 11 qualifier for a second straight year after finishing with a score of 100 to grab fifth place.
QUOTABLE … “In wind like this, the greens are lightning fast,” said Maholick. “A 78 is a really solid score on this course anytime, but especially on a day like today.”
ALL SMILES … Weatherly’s Brain Kaminski was happy with VonFrisch’s outing, stating: “She’s on pace to continue to get better. Hopefully she can get back to districts this year.”
DIVISION CHAMPS … Lehighton not only picked up a league trophy, but also the Division I title too. Mahanoy Area - which was undefeated during the regular season - was awarded the Division II crown for the second straight season.
BAD START … Mahanoy Area was expected to make a run at the team title, but some of the Bears struggled, including their top player, Luke Matta, who last week shot a 78 on the same course. “It was terrible for me. I got off to a horrible start.” Matta said after he shot a 52 on the front nine, before turning it around to fire a 42 on the back to finish with 94.
OFF TO DISTRICTS … Lehighton will send its entire team to districts with the automatic berth. Powis also gets an automatic berth in the tournament. Everyone else with a low enough average to get in will have to go though a qualifying round to make districts. That takes place Monday at Old Homestead in New Tripoli.
(at Schuylkill Country Club)
Lehighton 349, Blue Mountain 369, Mahanoy Area 390, Schuylkill Haven 419
1. Aaron Miller, Lehighton, 78; 2. Jeff Markosky, No. Schuylkill, 80, 3. Peter McGinley, Tamaqua, 83; 4. Joey Feudale, Lourdes, 83; 5. Trey Spring, Lehighton, 85; 6. Cole Maksimik, Blue Mountain, 85; 7. Tyler Barton, Schuylkill Haven, 86; 8. Jack Lorenz, Lehighton, 88; 9. (tie) Luke MacDonald, Blue Mountain, 89; Dawson Milewski, Lourdes, 89; 11. Dave Miller, No. Schuylkill, 92; 12. (tie) Talan Spitter, Schuylkill Haven, 93; Nick Mikita, Mahanoy Area, 93; 14. Luke Matta, Mahanoy Area, 94; 15 (tie). Grant Colbert, Pine Grove, 94; Matt Reprish, Lourdes, 94.
1. Brooke Powis, No. Schuylkill, 87; 2. Leyna Warner, Blue Mountain, 96; 3. Victoria Fuss, Pottsville, 99; 4. Maria Friewald, Blue Mountain, 99; 5. Maddie VonFrisch, Weatherly, 100; 6. Carleigh Palmeri, Nativity, 102; 7. Katie Miller, Tamaqua 113; 8. Bella Lesante, Marian, 127.