It has been a very good year for Point Park athletics, and the Pioneers men's golf team put an exclamation point on it by finishing 22nd at the NAIA men's golf national championship at Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore.
Despite missing the cut to advance (the first 17 teams moved on), the Pioneers had a banner season, especially considering they hadn't been to the NAIA national tournament since 1969.
"To get to the NAIA tournament in four years, I couldn't be happier," said Point Park head coach Gabe Bubon. "We've experienced the lowest of the lowest and now the highest of the highest the last four years.
"It's a big accomplishment getting here, and now we know what it's all about, and, hopefully, we can get back and next time make the cut or place in the top 10."
Bubon said that the Pioneers would have made the cut if they had played just a little better. They missed it by five strokes, but the course was tough and the conditions made it tougher.
Bubon also said they were not good enough when it came to making pars on a consistent basis.
He said the group needed to be better Day 1 because they began Day 2 behind a little bit, which meant they had to make something happen on a course that isn't built for that.
"We played good, but not great," said Bubon. "We had our chances all three days. There were times when we were playing really great golf, but we didn't finish the rounds.
"We all wanted to make the cut, but we didn't get it done. It was a big deficit to start the day, and with that, you take some chances maybe more than you would in another situation.
"This course will make you pay if you miss a pin, and it started to get away from us at that point."
The Pioneers were led by senior Billy Wivel (Deer Lakes), who shot a team-best 16-over par, junior Chris Bowen (Bethel Park), who shot 17 over and senior Austin Elder (Warren, Ohio), who was 20 over.
"This was a very tough course," Bubon said.
"If you miss a shot, you can easily put up a big number because a lot of the pins were sucker pins close to the edge of the green. On a lot of courses, you have a good chance at birdie on a lot of the holes. Here, you had to take par a lot of the time. And, if you went for the pin instead of middle of the green, you had to pay if you missed.
"All in all, it was a really great year. We won four tournaments in a row, including the KIAC tournament. And to get to the NAIA tournament after starting up the program four years ago is tremendous."
More golf excellence
Junior Ian Bangor (Sewickley Academy) and freshman Ben DuCarme (Canon-McMillan) from Carnegie Mellon were named to the 2013 PING Mid-Atlantic Region team by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
The two are the 10th and 11th Tartans to be named to the all-region team.
This was Bangor's third time to achieve such an honor. He played 19 rounds this season with an average score of 73.8, won three tournaments and shot a season-low 69 three times.
He also established a Tartans record with a three-round score of 211 at the Vulcan Invitational.
DuCarme also played 19 rounds, averaged 77.6 per round and made five top-10 finishes.
A couple more former WPIAL standouts earned honors in their sports:
Joe Killian (Springdale), a freshman third baseman at Allegheny College, was named the NCAC baseball newcomer of the year after batting .374.
Ken Terpack (Chartiers Valley), a senior at Penn State Altoona, was voted first-team all-Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. Terpack led PS Altoona in nearly every offensive category.
In addition, Katie Cecil (Huntington Beach, Calif.), a junior at Carnegie Mellon, won the Atlantic South Region Arthur Ashe Jr. award for leadership and sportsmanship from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Slippery Rock had nine track and field athletes qualify for the NCAA Division II championships in Pueblo, Colo., May 23-25, and three of them are from the WPIAL.
Freshman Samantha Taylor (Gateway) finished third in the PSAC in the javelin and qualified for the nationals with a throw of 43.89 meters (144 feet).
It was the 15th-best throw in Division II this year.
Freshman Ashley West (Pine-Richland) earned All-American honors in the indoor season in the high jump and qualified for the national outdoor meet as the 16th seed after clearing 1.72 meters (5-73/4).
And senior Kevin Jewel (East Allegheny) will be the No. 5 seed in the 800 meters at the national championship.
He has been the best 800-meter runner in the Atlantic Region this season and has run a sub-1:50 three times this year in addition to winning the PSAC title the past three seasons.
Taylor goes overseas
Slippery Rock University senior Devin Taylor (New Castle) signed a pro basketball contract Wednesday to play for the Etzella Ettelbruck Club in Luxembourg next season.
Taylor finished his three-year Slippery Rock career with 1,141 points and 750 rebounds.
"I'm very proud of Devin for what he has accomplished at Slippery Rock University, both on the court and in the classroom," said Slippery Rock coach Kevin Reynolds.
"This is an outstanding opportunity for Devin to go play in a top league overseas and this is a great day for Rock basketball."mobilehome - sportscollegedistrict
Paul Zeise: email@example.com, 412-263-1720 and Twitter @paulzeise.