Con­estoga’s Yao fin­ishes 2nd at states

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Thomas Nash tnash@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Thomas_Nash10 on Twit­ter

YORK >> Con­estoga sopho­more Sa­man­tha Yao fin­ished sec­ond in the girls PIAA 3A Championships on Tuesday af­ter­noon with a 2-over 144 at Her­itage Hills Golf Re­sort.

A day after work­ing her way to the top of the leader­board tied for first, Yao got off to a rough start Tuesday, which even­tu­ally en­abled Peters Town­ship se­nior Mia Kness to claim the gold with an even-par 144.

“I didn’t have my A-game early on,” said Yao, who posted dou­ble bo­geys on Nos. 1 and 5, “so I was re­ally bat­tling out there.”

She got back on the horse pretty quickly, though, ben­e­fit­ting from two chip-ins be­fore post­ing backto-back birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to help close out the round.

“I knew that Mia (Kness) was go­ing to be con­sis­tent and tough to keep up with,” added Yao. “I was just aim­ing to keep up with her — make some pars and oc­ca­sion­ally make birdie.”

Fresh off her round and she’s al­ready think­ing about next sea­son.

“I’m happy that I was able to get here. I’m hop­ing that if any­thing goes wrong next year, I can use the ex­pe­ri­ence I got here this sea­son.”

Rad­nor’s Gabby Kim fin­ished up in sev­enth at 158 while her sis­ter June Kim shot a 173 for 13th place.

From the back tees

Kevin Scherr’s cell­phone was quickly blow­ing up after his round.

“I’ve got 21 text mes­sages al­ready,” he said Tuesday

with a smile while look­ing down at his phone.

“That’s what hap­pens when you win,” team­mate Vic­tor Tavares quickly re­sponded.

Much like his phone, Scherr was shin­ing brightly all over the course of the two-day PIAA Championships at Her­itage Hills.

“It’s amaz­ing,” he said, “it hasn’t even sunk in yet. I played be­yond my ex­pec­ta­tions this week. Hon­estly, I didn’t even think I would be in the run­ning here. There are so many good play­ers and this course is so dif­fi­cult. This is such an honor to wear this medal.”

A day after jump­ing out to a 4-stroke lead with a 2-un­der 69 on Mon­day, the Nazareth Area se­nior backed it with a 4-over 75 Tuesday to bet­ter the field by five strokes and claim the ti­tle.

“It was gut-check time, and he didn’t back down,” said Nazareth head coach Jar­ret Hoff. “With the wind and the cold weather, he played very smart, solid golf. He def­i­nitely de­served this.”

Scherr hit 13 greens in reg­u­la­tion for his round and landed in nine fair­ways. He used his put­ter 35 times, mix­ing in a pair of 3-putts. He posted a birdie on No. 1 and racked up five bo­geys and 11 pars.

“My driver was by far my best club both days,” said Scherr. “It def­i­nitely helped me to give my­self a chance, es­pe­cially com­ing down the fi­nal few holes. Hit­ting the green be­comes a lot eas­ier from the mid­dle of the fair­way.”

Play­ing along­side Scherr, Cum­ber­land Val­ley’s Camp­bell Wolf took home the sil­ver, fin­ish­ing at 7-over for the tour­na­ment.

Pope John Paul II ju­nior J.T. Spina fin­ished tied for third place with La­trobe sopho­more Brady Pe­varnik. Both en­ter­ing the day at 2-over, Spina and Pe­varnik each fired a 6-over 77 on day two.

“I was ex­cited,” Spina said of play­ing in the lead group dur­ing his first try at states. “I knew I’d be in con­tention and I knew I still had a chance. There are a lot of good play­ers here, so to be among the top group of them is re­ally some­thing spe­cial.”

Spina car­ried his emo­tions on his face through­out, grit­ting his teeth through two lip-outs and sport­ing a bright smile fol­low­ing his lone birdie putt on No. 7.

He drove nine fair­ways and hit nine greens in reg­u­la­tion, rack­ing up 11 pars, five bo­geys and his lone dou­ble bo­gey of the tour­na­ment on No. 14.

“One dou­ble in 36 holes,” he said. “I’ll take it. I re­ally can’t com­plain about that. It was bound to hap­pen at some point.”

After fall­ing short dur­ing the open­ing round of the Dis­trict One Tour­na­ment the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons, Spina made the 2016 post­sea­son his most mem­o­rable by far.

He fin­ished tied for 13th at dis­tricts, then backed that with a sil­ver fin­ish at the East­ern Re­gion­als last week.

Ad­mit­tedly, there’s a lot he can take away as he’s al­ready started to shift his fo­cus to his se­nior sea­son.

“Hope­fully this sea­son is just kind of the start,” said Spina. “I showed my­self that I can com­pete at the PAC level, the dis­trict level, the re­gional level and the state level. I’d say it’s been a pretty good post­sea­son.”

Up­per Dublin se­nior David Kim was the area’s next best fin­isher, claim­ing a ninth-place tie with Franklin Re­gional’s Palmer Jack­son at 12-over 154.

Kim backed his 7-over 78 on day one with a 5-over 76 on day two. He fin­ished with a birdie, four bo­geys, a dou­ble bo­gey and 12 pars in be­tween.

North Penn’s Ron Robin­son fin­ished tied for 14th with a 157.

A sea­son after Methac­ton’s Kyle Vance and SpringFord’s Ben Po­chet fin­ished tied for 21st, the two wound up fin­ish­ing to­gether yet again tied for 17th at 158. Vance posted a 4-over 75 Tuesday while Po­chet shot a 6-over 77.

Down­ing­town East’s Wills Mont­gomery fin­ished tied for 20th at 159 while Norristown’s Caleb Ryan and Unionville’s Nick Giane­los were close be­hind at 160 to tie for 23rd.

Bishop Shana­han ju­nior Ryan Con­ners shot an 85 on day two after post­ing a 79 while West Ch­ester Rustin’s Luke Shevlin took 34th with a 166.

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