Since the season began, Dallas has been the top golf team in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
The Mountaineers won the Preseason Tryba Tournament, tied for the Division 2 championship and won the WVC Class 3A team title.
One thing the team has missed along the way has been an individual winner in an 18-hole event. Could Tuesday finally be the day the Mountaineers crown an individual title when 40 golfers from the WVC shoot for a District 2 title at Elmhurst Country Club?
Well, four Dallas golfers might have a bit of an advantage on its conference opponents because they just played at Elmhurst last week for the District 2 Class 3A team championship. And despite falling to Wallenpaupack by eight strokes, three of the team’s district qualifiers all carded their lowest scores of the season in the 18-hole tournament.
“It certainly is very helpful having the time to be able to learn the course,” Dallas coach Jane Kilduff said. “To know how the course plays and certainly sets them up for a strong feeling and confidence coming into the district tournament.”
Junior Mason Gattuso led the way for Dallas last week firing 2-under par 70 for the lowest score of any of the 20 golfers who were in the event. He’s hoping for a repeat performance on Tuesday.
“It’s a confidence-booster because it shows me that I can shoot the number that I want to shoot,” Gattuso said about his round at Elmhurst on Friday. “It’s not as easy as it sounds.”
It won’t be easy at all. Especially in 3A where Gattuso and Dallas’ youngsters will have to deal with Coughlin’s Ryan Keyes, who was the lone WVC boy golfer to reach the East Regional last year. Then there’s Shane Angle from Crestwood, who knocked off Keyes and the rest of the field last week at the WVC Pre-District Tournament winning by six strokes.
From the Lackawanna League in Class 3A boys, Wallenpaupack’s Kyle and Alex Pillar have been tough to beat all season and so have Abington Heights’ Troy and Connor Kelleher and Nick Sebastianelli.
The 3A tournament also features five WVC girls shooting for a gold medal or a berth in next week’s East Regional led by Pittston Area’s Allie Craig, who claimed the Pre-District title last week. Tunkhannock’s Emma Harding and Brittany Zamber along with Crestwood’s Olivia Donnini and Evie Williams are also teeing up for the girls.
They will have to deal with Scranton Prep’s District 2 Class 3A team champions led by Lauren Golden, a returning regional qualifier.
Speaking of Scranton Prep, the school’s boys team defeated Wyoming Seminary last week for the D2 2A team crown thanks to four scores of 78 or lower.
That means two-time WVC Pre-District champ, Adam Motovidlak, from Lake-Lehman and the rest of the other 17 WVC district qualifiers will have their hands full.
Motovidlak, who won the tournament last week via playoff with MMI Prep’s George Palermo, will be looking to advance to the East Regional for the first time. In the senior’s previous two appearances at districts, he fell in a playoff for the last regional spot.
Tyler Marchese, Jack Habeeb, Frank Adamo and Sebastian Cimoch, the four Scranton Prep golfers who shot 78 or less at Elmhurst last week, are returning district qualifiers from Class 3A. Being in 2A gives the current 2A participants a bigger hurdle to overcome.
Wyoming Seminary paces the WVC Class 2A boys participants with six district qualifiers. Only one WVC girl in 2A will participate that being Jessica McClellan from MMI, who fired an 83 at the Pre-District tournament.
A total of 80 boys and 18 girls will take part on Tuesday at the district tournament vying for one of six boys spots and three girls berths in each classification to reach the PIAA East Regional, which will take place on Monday, Oct. 17 at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood.
Note: The start time for Tuesday’s District 2 Championships was pushed back to 10:30 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. due to the possibility of frost.
Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @tlsports.