Central York golf coach Sean Guerin said the PIAA East Regional Golf Tournament is all about surviving and advancing.
Of the four stages of postseason high school golf — league, districts, regionals and states — only the league and regional tournaments are a single round. So, in order to advance to the sport's highest stage on the high school circuit, it all comes down to 18 holes in regional competition.
On Monday, seven York County golfers advanced past the regional stage, held at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Berks County, and will now move on to next week's PIAA state tournament, held at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York County.
Central York put the most players through, with junior Joe Parrini and freshman Carson Bacha making it through in the boys' 3-A division, and junior Julianne Lee making it through the girls' 3-A class. Dallastown senior Blake Sebring and junior Evan Greenplate also advanced in 3-A, as did senior Luke Hoffnagle of Spring Grove. In the 2-A tournament, York Catholic senior Andrew Forjan made it to the state round as well. He's the only 2-A player to qualify for the state tournament from the York-Adams League.
"Today was a little bit different in that it's more about kind of a survive-and-advance mentality," Guerin said. "I don't know if you're really going out trying to win this thing. So, I think guys are a little cautious and all they're worried about is getting through it and getting on to states."
Parrini, who's had an incredible postseason thus far, carded the lowest score of any of the local qualifiers with a level-par 72. He finished in a tie for sixth, five strokes behind Ben Pochet of Spring-Ford, who shot a 5-under 67.
Hoffnagle tied for 11th, carding a 1-over 73, followed by Bacha, who shot a 3-over 75. Both Greenplate and Sebring made it through to the state tournament by grabbing one of the final four spots in a playoff. The top 24 players advanced from the boys' 3-A field, with Greenplate and Sebring both moving on with matching 4-over 76s.
Junior Matt Bricker of Central missed the playoff by two strokes, finishing with a 78, a score that, in past years, would've qualified him for the state tournament, but not this year.
"Based on the history of (the event), the cut was really low this year," Guerin said. "It could've been because it was such a beautiful day and the course was beautiful and conditions were perfect. So, the scoring was very low. I think last year, 78 made it, so we were hoping (Bricker) could make it."
Girls' competition: On the girls' side, Lee was one of two local girls to play in the regional event, shooting a 5-over 77, finishing fifth, six strokes back of Samantha Yao of Conestoga, who shot a 1-under 71.
Susquehannock junior Kendel Abrams fell just short of making the state tournament, losing in a five-person playoff in which the five players were battling for the final three spots. The top 12 girls advanced to states. Abrams finished with a 10-over 82.
Class 2-A: In 2-A, Forjan moved on by posting a 7-over 79, tying him for 10th. He finished seven strokes behind R.J. Van Tash of Lancaster Catholic and Daniel Galbreath of Lower Moreland, who both shot even-par 72s to tie for first. The top 14 qualified for the state tournament.
Devin Peart of Littlestown was the only other area boys' player in the 2-A field, missing the cut by a stroke with a 9-over 81.
For the seven players who advanced, they'll now have a slight advantage in the state tournament when it returns to Heritage Hills for the 15th straight year. All seven are likely more familiar with the layout of Heritage Hills, having more opportunities to play the local track more often than their out-of-area opponents.
"I think we might have a little bit of an advantage there," Guerin said. "But, I will say, they really trick Heritage Hills up and it's very difficult. They make it very difficult for these guys. It's going to be a challenge either way."
The individual state competition will be held next Monday and Tuesday, while Central York will compete in the 3-A state team championship event next Wednesday.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org.