Back-To-Back: Hickory girls golf rolls to another state title – Sharonherald

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Updated: January 24, 2023 @ 10:42 am
Hickory High head coach Craig Antush, far left, and his Hornets hoist the PIAA Class 2A championship team trophy on Wednesday in State College.

Hickory High head coach Craig Antush, far left, and his Hornets hoist the PIAA Class 2A championship team trophy on Wednesday in State College.
The Hickory High girls golf team made history on Wednesday by winning the program’s second straight PIAA Class 2A team championship with a victory at Penn State’s Blue Course in State College.
The Hornets captured the fifth girls golf team title in District 10 history and became just the third Mercer County girls sports team to win back-to-back PIAA crowns.
Last fall at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, Hickory won the state team title by 14 strokes. On Wednesday, the Hornets doubled that to 28 strokes as they shot 236 to outdistance second-place finisher Mercyhurst Prep (264).
The other team scores were Scranton Prep (268), Greensburg Central Catholic (285), Penn Cambria (305) and Mt. Pleasant (326).
“These three days were really tough,” Hickory coach Craig Antush said. “Crazy windy day on Monday, breezy, damp, cloudy and cold on Tuesday, and Wednesday we had wet snowflakes, rain, and wind. It was a beatdown weather-wise, but these girls are just insanely mentally tough. I just can’t get over it.
“There is just a small percentage of kids who get to experience this and we’ve been fortunate to win it two years in a row and this is our fourth trip to states. We finished third in 2018, second in 2019, 2020 was COVID, and now 2021 and this year.
Hickory junior Sasha Petrochko set the tone on Wednesday with birdies on her first two holes and Hickory was off and running.
Petrochko and sophomore teammate Luciana Masters both shot 78s while junior Ava Liburdi carded an 80 for the 236. Sophomores Ava Miklos and Madeline Myers both shot 50s.
“Sasha started out really hot and the No. 12, par-5 hole gave her trouble, but she still recovered and to finish just six over – it shows how great these girls are from the mental aspect,” Antush said.
“Luciana had an impressive round and it started getting challenging over the last four or five holes and Ava Liburdi played great. The whole team, even the younger girls, is just impressive in everything they do. I run out of words or cliches to say. It’s just incredible to witness.
“I know from all the sports I’ve been associated with, when things aren’t going your way, it can beat you down. We just stress you play 18 holes. From one to 18, no matter how good or how bad it’s going, just stick with it and the results are obvious.”
The Hornets started their season with a win at the Happy Valley Invitational. They concluded their season with a trophy back in State College.
“I can’t thank the kids and family members enough and what they do and their commitment to make this success happen,” Antush said. “It’s certainly an awesome time in my life. We’ve had some really great moments. It’s something to cherish.
“Last year we had Alena (Lancio) help the program immensely as assistant coach. Her work situation this year made it tough. Matt Liburdi agreed to come onboard and he’s done great things. They are a big part of our success.”
North East (2020) and Villa Maria Academy (2014, 2015) are the other D-10 girls golf teams to capture PIAA team titles.
Hickory High School now has eight teams that have won state championships. The others are football in 1989, boys track and field 2017 and 2019, and girls track and field in 2012, 2015 and 2016.
The other Mercer County girls teams that have won back-to-back PIAA titles are Hickory girls track and Farrell volleyball (1993-94 and 2001-02).
Coach Ralph Sundelin’s Lakeview High boys team finished sixth in the 2A team tournament on Wednesday with a 343.
Lake Lehman won the state title with a 296. They were followed by Devon Prep (308), Sewickley Academy (322), West Shamokin (327), Delone Catholic (333) and Lakeview.
Chris Mong led the Sailors with an 83, Adam Snyder shot an 86 and Jackson Gadsby and Owen Dye carded 87s. Also for Lakeview, Maddox Bell shot an 88.
Lakeview won the program’s first District 10 championship at The Country Club of Meadville on Sept. 30.
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