STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — For the first time in 10 years, the Hazleton Nittany Lion men's golf team is back on top after winning the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) championship on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at the Penn State Blue Course in State College.
Hazleton took a commanding 17-stroke lead into the finale, which it continued to build on throughout the day. It was no contest in the end, however, as the Lions captured the conference title with a 57-stroke advantage over the second place finisher.
The day wasn't totally without drama, as it took extra holes to determine the tournament's top individual performer. Ultimately, Hazleton took home nearly all of the hardware given out at the Blue Course.
Jeremy Harper (Mountain Top) came out on top in the playoff to win his second straight individual title and Head Coach Jason Martonick received PSUAC Coach of the Year honors, the result of a total team effort all season long with the Lions running the table and winning their final five events of the year to capture the conference title.
After a solid effort in round one, Colin Hoy (Harleysville) slipped back to the pack in the final round, however the junior still managed to post the number needed to lock up the team championship. Hoy was excellent off the tee but couldn't quite get the approach shots in close enough to challenge the leaders.
Hoy knocked in a pair of birdies on the day to finish at 10 over par with an 82, locking up an All-Conference award in the process and finishing tied for sixth place in the PSUAC event.
Similarly, Will Long (Honesdale) backed up slightly on Tuesday, although he excelled on the tee shots all day. Long was just seven over par after 14 holes played but tightened up as the round concluded, going five over on his final four holes to finish with an 84.
Nonetheless, Long's two-day total was good enough to land the sophomore on the PSUAC's All-Conference Team, an eighth-place finish with a combined total of 165 strokes played.
Joey Rebarchick (Hazle Township) struggled earlier this season, but the swing began to click over the past several weeks and culminated in an outstanding performance at the two-day championship.
Rebarchick followed his opening round of 78 with an equally impressive effort to finish in sole position for third place individually in the PSUAC and just one shot outside of a USCAA All-American Award. Rebarchick scrambled to near perfection on Tuesday, with clutch par saves on holes nine, 13 and 16 where he drained a lengthy par putt to keep his round on track. Rebarchick ended the day at just five over par for a 77 and two-day total of 11 over par.
The above trio's excellent scores were accompanied by quality rounds from David Simons (Freehold, New Jersey) and Kolton Weaver (Bloomsburg). Simons offered up back-to-back rounds of 86 while Weaver added rounds of 86 and 92, respectively. Both of their scores would have led to a Hazleton victory on Tuesday which speaks to the exceptional depth of the squad.
Visit the Penn State Hazleton athletics website to read the full recap.