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Golf: OVAC Tournaments Set to Begin

September 10, 2013
By TONY VIOLA , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING -Like most of his golfers, Don Headley has been pretty consistent in his time at Wheeling Park.

In his five years of coaching the Patriots, they've won five OVAC championships, making it the second time Park has won five straight titles since the start of the 21st century.

On Thursday, they'll try to go 6-for-6, a feat the Patriots of the early 2000s failed to accomplish.

''It means a great deal,'' Headley said. ''That's been the kid's goal. This whole thing started five years ago with a different group, but these kids want to carry on that tradition.''

They'll get the chance on Oglebay's Jones Course where the 5A tournament is set to tee off at 9:30 that morning.

Park returns last year's 5A and W.Va. AAA state medalist in junior Cole Hand as well as Dylan Wojcik, who finished third on the team in last year's tournament as a freshman.

Wojcik will be Park's No. 2 man, while freshman Kyle Wenzel and sophomore Freddie Fitzsimmons will fill in at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.

''We're very young,'' - the Patriots have no seniors on their roster - ''but some (players) have experience,'' Headley said. ''We've been playing pretty well recently. The kids' chemistry is very, very good. They're excited.''

Despite a solid group of contenders, Headley knows it won't be easy for the Patriots.

Parkersburg South and University both have strong, experienced teams. The Wood County Patriots actually beat Park for the Three Rivers Athletic Conference championship - the first time the Ohio County Patriots haven't won the TRAC title.

South's Alex Schreckengost and the Hawks' Cale Wheeler will be Cole's top competition, as well as Brooke's Logan Lojszyk and Cambridge's Skyler Roederer.

''The kids have been practicing and getting ready for this tournament,'' Headley said. ''They're ready to defend.''

The same can be said for Madonna as coach T.J. Brancazio's Blue Dons will try to win a fifth consecutive 1A title this morning on Oglebay's Crispin Course.

The Blue Dons, who won last year by 49 strokes, have everyone back - five players were all-OVAC last year, led by senior Michael Rogers, though teammate Nick Mazur is the defending medalist. Alex Colantonia, Matthew Lyons and Thomas Gianni rounded up that group. Gianni's score was among the top five in the class, but because they take only the top 4, it wasn't counted on Madonna's total.

Meanwhile, in Class 4A, East Liverpool will look for back-to-back championships as it captured its first league title in school history last year to break St. Clairsville's two-year run as the toast of the class.

The Red Devils, though, will look to return to the top spot today on the Jones Course after they claimed the Buckeye 8 Championship behind medalist Seth Vannoy. St. Clairsville was also the only team in that tournament to have three players finish in the Top 10 with Nathan Teater sixth and Joel Giffin 10th.

Linsly will look to move up a spot from the its runner-up finish a year ago in Class 3A. The Cadets, who returned six of their top seven players from that squad and are looking to bring a title home for the first time since 2007, will be in action on Thursday on the Crispin Course, while in 2A, Wheeling Central enters the tournament today as defending champs after claiming last year's crown to make it two out of the past four years the Maroon Knights have won it.

The 2A tournament will be held in conjunction with 1A as both classes will play on the Crispin Course starting at 9:30 a.m.

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