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GOLF ROUNDUP: Clarion Boys Wrap Up Fifth-Consecutive KSAC Championship

FOXBURG, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Clarion senior Devon Lauer medaled for the fifth consecutive time, simultaneously leading the Bobcats to a KSAC-clinching victory — their fifth-straight conference championship — at Foxburg Country Club on Sept. 19.

(Pictured above, members of the KSAC champion Clarion boys golf team are, front row, from left: Avery Kline, Devon Lauer, James Keenen and Lucas Mitrosky; Back row, from left: Blake Weckerly, Parker Miller, Tanner Miller and Kameron Kerle/submitted photo)

Lauer shot a 1-over-par 35 on the nine-hole 2,555-yard loop, edging teammate Kam Kerle (36), a junior, by a single stroke in the penultimate match of the season.

It was Kerle’s second straight runner-up finish and his third in the last four matches.

A-C Valley/Union freshman Joe Rapp and Clarion’s Tanner Miller, a junior, tied for third, their 37s — one-stroke behind Kerle.

Three strokes out of third, in a three-way tie for fifth with 40s were freshman Sean Karg of Keystone, North Clarion senior Ethan Carll, and Bradon Baylor, a sophomore at Keystone.

Tied for eighth, one stroke behind the trio in fifth place, were senior Nick Aaron (41) of Clarion-Limestone and Cranberry junior Dane Wenner (41).

Seniors Cayden Baker of Cranberry and Keegan Book of Moniteau posted 43s to round out the top-10.

Clarion (201) kept its 2023 unbeaten streak alive with the victory at Foxburg, beating North Clarion (225) by 24 strokes.

The Bobcats counted the scores of Lauer, Kerle, Miller, James Keenan (45), and Avery Kline (48) to obtain their five-person team total.

North Clarion used the cards of Carll, Mason Shaftic (44), Jack Buckley (44), Gavin Howarth (47), and Connor Sliker (50) in its tally.

Keystone (228) was third, three strokes behind North Clarion. The Panthers counted rounds by Karg, Baylor, Talon Wilson (46), Jerod Schreuers (46), and Tyler Burns (56).

Trailing Keystone by a stroke was Cranberry (229), who used the scores of Baker, Dane Wenner, Dalton Wenner (45), Ethan Merryman (47), and Mason Albert (53) in its fourth place finish.

Fifth was Moniteau (230), one stroke out of fourth. Leading the Warriors were Book, Corbin Fallen (45), Connor Ealy (46), Carson Minear (46), and Landon Kelly (50).

Tuesday, September 21: Hunter’s Station Golf Course (Mega Match #9)

After clinching the conference title in the previous match, the final outing of the season on the 2,340- yard back-nine in Tionesta represented something of a victory lap for the Clarion Bobcats.

Not only did Clarion’s Kam Kerle win the event, the fifth time he’s medaled this season, but the Bobcats had three other golfers in the top-10 – Devon Lauer, Lucas Mitrosky, and Tanner Miller all tied for seventh.

Paced by those four, Clarion claimed yet another victory, capping off a perfect 9-0 season, though the win over Keystone was the by the Bobcats’ smallest margin of victory this season.

Kerle shot a 1-over-par 35, claiming victory by one stroke over runner-ups, Dawson Wallace (36), a senior at Moniteau, Keystone’s Braden Baylor (36), and North Clarion sophomore Jack Buckley (26).

It was Kerle’s first win since the fourth match of the season. He is one of two golfers to finish in the top-10 at each match, his lowest placing a tie for fifth.

Wallace, Baylor, and Buckley all had their best finishes of 2023. Previously, Wallace had a pair of 10th places. Prior to this outing, Baylor had three top-10s, one of which was a top-5. This was Buckley’s first appearance in the top-10.

Ethan Carll (37) of North Clarion and Karns City’s Joey O’Donnell (37), a sophomore, tied for fifth, one stroke out of second.

It was Carll’s fifth top-10 of the season and second top-5 – his previous best was a third at Wanango Country Club (Sept.12). O’Donnell, who had his best placing of the season, now has three top-10s.

There was a logjam at seventh. In addition to Clarion’s Lauer, Mitrosky, and Miller, Chloe Fritch, a junior at Karns City and the Keystone duo of freshmen Sean Karg and Jonathan Shultz all shot 38s.

Coming into into the last match, Lauer had medaled in the five previous matches. In all, he had eight top-10s and, counting his victories, seven top-5s.

Mitrosky claimed his seventh top-10 of 2023. He has three top-5s, his best placing a tie for third on the back-nine at Clarion Oaks (Sept. 7).

Miller finished in the top-10 for the sixth time, only one of which was a top-5 – a third at Foxburg the prior match.

Fritch, the only female who consistently played boy’s events this season, scored her fourth top-10. She had one top-5, at the first match of the campaign (Hi-Level on August 15).

Karg had a break-out freshman year. Along with Kerle, he was the only golfer to have top-10 placings at each match. He finished with five top-5s, scoring runner-up finishes at Hi-Level, Wanango (Sept. 12), and on the front-nine at Clarion Oaks (Sept. 14).

Shultz posted his best finish of the season.

Using the scores of Kerle, Lauer, Mitrosky, Miller, and James Keenan (40), Clarion tallied a five-person team score of 189. It was the Bobcats fifth time scoring below 200. Clarion’s average margin of victory in its undefeated season was 19.88 strokes.

Keystone (195), in second, had its best placement of the year and first sub-200 team score. The Panthers were led by Baylor, Karg, and Schultz, with the scores of Talon Wilson (40) and Jerod Schruers (43) also counting. Previously, Keystone had finished in the top-5 five times, all thirds.

Moniteau (204) was third behind the scores of Wallace, Chason Delarosa-Rugg (39), Landon Kelly (40), Corbin Fallen (44), and Keegan Book (45). With their finish, the Warriors have seven top-5 placings, their best a tie for second at the second match of the season (Slippery Rock on Aug. 2).

North Clarion (215) was third, counting the scores of Buckley, Carll, Gavin Howarth (46), Mason Shaftic (47), and Kelton Stitt (49). This season, the Wolves had seven top-5s, including three runner-up finishes.

Cranberry (216) took the fifth position, one stroke higher than North Clarion. Scoring for the Berries were Ethan Merryman (39), Dalton Wenner (42), Cayden Baker (43), Dane Wenner (46), and Mason Albert (46). The Berries are the only other team besides the Bobcats to finish in the top-5 at each match.

They were runner-ups to Clarion five times.

Other notable individual performances for the season (listed by team): A-C Valley/Union – freshman Joe Rapp finished with seven top-10s, including four in the top-5 that featured a second at Slippery Rock (Aug. 28); freshman Koen Strausser had one top-10

Clarion – senior Avery Kline and junior James Keenan both had two top-10 placings

Clarion-Limestone – senior Nick Aaron had three top-10s, including one top-5; seniors Jack Callen and Jack Craig each had a top-10

Cranberry – senior Cayden Baker had seven top-10s and five top-5s, one of which was a tie for medalist honors (Aubrey’s Dubb Dred Sept.5); sophomore Dalton Wenner finished in the top-10 three times, including twice in the top-5; junior Dane Wenner had two top-10s

Forest Area – senior Keyon Custer placed in the top-10 once

Keystone – freshman Talon Wilson finished in the top-10 four times, including two top-5s, one a tie for first at Hunter’s Station (Aug. 31)

Moniteau – senior Keegan Book had one top-10 finish

North Clarion – senior Mason Shaftic placed in the top-10 three times, with two top-fives including a second at Slippery Rock

With the KSAC regular season over, the boys have this week off before playing the first round of the District 9 tournament at Pinecrest Country Club in Brookville on Monday, Oct. 2.

Top Nine-Hole Averages (final)
1. Kam Kerle (Clarion) – 36.78
2. Devon Lauer (Clarion) – 36.89
3. Sean Karg (Keystone) – 38.67
4. Cayden Baker (Cranberry) – 40.56
5. Joe Rapp (A-C Valley/Union) – 40.78
6. Lucas Mitrosky (Clarion) – 41.00
7. Ethan Carll – 41.22
7. Tanner Miller (Clarion) – 41.22
9. Chloe Fritch (Karns City) – 442.00
10. Mason Shaftic (North Clarion) – 43.00

Final Team Standings
1. Clarion – 81.00
2. Cranberry – 64.00
3. Keystone – 54.00
4. North Clarion – 52.5
5. Moniteau – 49.5
6. Clarion-Limestone – 41.0
7. A-C Valley Union – 34.00
8. Forest Area – 18.0
9. Karns City – 6.0

Monday, September 18: Clarion Oaks Golf Course (Mega Match #7)

Moniteau senior Mariska Shunk won her third consecutive match, shooting a 7-over-par 43 on the 2,287-yard front nine to best teammate Kendall Sankey (47), also a senior, by four strokes.

Sammantha Smith (49), a senior at Moniteau, and freshman Ruby Watson (49) of A-C Valley/Union tied for third, two strokes behind Sankey.

Moniteau senior Taylor Voloch (50) was fifth, four strokes better than sixth place finisher Mallory McMasters (54) of Cranberry, a junior.

Sophee Hazlet, a Moniteau senior, and Clarion-Limestone’s Casey Love, a junior, carded 59s, tying for seventh.

Moniteau’s Kennedy Sullivan (62), a freshman, took ninth by a stroke over tenth place finisher and teammate Julliette Brown (63), a fellow freshman.

Led by its trio in the top-three, Moniteau won the team event with a score of 139.

A-C Valley/Union (189) was second, fifty strokes off Moniteau’s pace. The Falcon Knights counted the scores of Watson, Laurel Regester (67), and Rayanne Sherry (73) to derive their three-person team total.

Cranberry (192) was three strokes out of third. The Berries used the cards of McMasters, Kayala Hanna (65), and Kelsey Hanna (73).

Wednesday, September 20: Hi-Level Golf Course (Mega Match #8)
Mariska Shunk of Moniteau won her fourth straight match and sixth of the season with her medalist-earning 1-over-par-35 on the 2,209-yard front nine in Kossuth. It was her best round in the four trips she’s made to the course in 2023, four strokes better than the 39 she put-up at the end of August.

Shunk, who has been the class of the KSAC girls’ field over the past two months, finished second in the only two matches she didn’t win.

Once again, Sankey finished runner-up to her teammate, her 9-over-par 43 eight strokes behind Shunk.

It was sixth time she has placed second behind Shunk.

Sankey did have her moment in the sun, winning the third Hi-Level match at the beginning of the month.

Her lowest placing in the 8 matches she’ played was a fifth (once).

Moniteau’s Samantha Smith placed third with a 46, tying for the best round of the three she’s played at Hi-Level. It was Smith’s third consecutive third place finish and fourth of the season.

Of the seven matches Smith has played, she’s been in the leaderboard’s top-5 five times.

Moniteau senior Hayden Hilliard completed the Warriors sweep of the top-4 positions. It was her second top-5 of the season. Hilliard’s 48 for the event was her best round at Hi-Level of the four played, 3-strokes better than the 51 she shot in mid-August.

Hilliard finished the season with three top-10s in seven matches, two of those in the top-5.

A-C Valley/Union’s Ruby Watson (50) and Moniteau’s Taylor Voloch (50) tied for fifth.

Watson and Voloch have both placed in the top-10 at each match this season, with the former scoring six top-5s and the latter three.

Mallory McMaster of Cranberry came home in seventh, her 52 the best round of the three she’s played at Hi-Level by six strokes.

McMaster had one victory this season, at Foxburg (mid-August), and three other top-10s.

Moniteau teammates Cara Roxberry (54), a junior, and Gabriella Shearer (54), a freshman, shared eighth. It was, by a stroke, the best round of the three Hi-Level matches Roxberry has played, as well as her highest placing of the season.

Roxberry’s played five matches in 2023, coming away with three top-10s. Shearer has competed in all eight of the season’s matches, also posting a trio of top-10s.

Three Moniteau teammates tied for 10th with 57s – senior Jessie Stocks, senior Emily Hillwig, and Juliette Brown. Hillwig had her best finish of the eight-match season, showing a six-stroke improvement from the three previous times she’s played Hi-Level.

Stocks has competed in seven matches with six top-10 results, including a pair of top-5s. Like Stocks, Brown’s played in seven matches, with four top-10s to show for it.

Shunk, Sankey, and Smith led Moniteau (124) to its eighth victory, capping off a perfect season. The Warriors performance was their best of the four matches at Hi-Level, six below the 130 they shot at the end of August.

Moniteau’s winning score was 48 better than runner-up A-C Valley/Union (172), who counted the cards of Watson, Rayanne Sherry (84), and Laurel Regester (86).

Neither Cranberry nor Keystone had enough players to calculate a three-person team total.

In addition to the golfers previously mentioned in this recap, several others had notable performances in 2023.

Of those who competed in all eight matches, Keystone sophomore Lily Nicewonger recorded four top-10s.

Moniteau’s Sophee Hazlet and Kennedy Sullivan competed in seven matches. Hazlet posted three top- 10s, including two top-5s. Sullivan finished with five top-5s. Kelsey Hanna, a junior at Cranberry, and Reagan Best, an A-C Valley/Union freshman, each played six matches. Hanna had two top-10s and Best four, with one top-5.

Clarion-Limestone’s Casey Love only played two matches and had top-10s in both.

With the regular season complete, the KSAC girls will next play at the District 9 tournament, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Bavarian Hills in St. Marys.

Top-10 Individual Nine-Hole Averages (played in at least 7 of the 8 Mega Matches)
1. Mariska Shunk (Moniteau) – 42.375
2. Kendall Sankey (Moniteau) – 45.875
3. Ruby Watson (A-C Valley/Union) – 51.63
4. Taylor Voloch (Moniteau) – 52.50
5. Samantha Smith (Moniteau) – 53.00
6. Jessie Stocks (Moniteau) – 54.43
7. Hayden Hilliard (Moniteau) – 57.43
8. Mallory McMasters (Cranberry) – 57.57
9. Kennedy Sullivan (Moniteau) – 58.29
9. Juliette Brown (Moniteau) – 58.29