West Xtra: After productive summer, Central Valley girls ready for season
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Consider these accomplishments:
• The top finisher in points for the Kings Restaurants Tri-State PGA Junior Golf Tour's girls 14-15 age group.
• The points champion for the Kings tour in the girls 16-18 age group.
• The golfer who was second place in points for the Kings tour in the girls 16-18 age group.
• Four of the top 11 finishers at last season's WPIAL individual championship.
"They're all mine," Central Valley girls golf coach Larry Milosh said with a laugh that bordered on being proud, funny and diabolical all at the same time. "They're all my golfers."
They sure are. The Warriors began practice Monday, the first official gathering of a team that is the two-time defending WPIAL Division II champion.
The scary part is that Milosh figures his team will only be better than last season. There's legitimate reason to believe him, too -- none of last season's starters graduated, and the Warriors welcome freshman Maddy McDanel to the team. McDanel was the Kings tour points leader in the 14-15 age group.
"We have everybody back -- and we ADD her," Milosh said. "She's pretty strong. She'll definitely be in our top five."
McDanel joins a Central Valley team that has won the WPIAL Division II girls golf title in both years of the school's existence. Central Valley was created out of a merger of Center and Monaca schools.
Center's team was a perennial section title contender (Monaca did not have a team) throughout much of the past decade. Milosh said Center and, later, Central Valley have combined to win eight section championships since 2000 and have a 58-match winning streak in section play.
Milosh is the owner and pro at Ironwood Golf Center in Center Township, a facility where most of the girls on his teams over the years first picked up the sport.
"I think what happens is [young golfers in the area] see these girls and maybe some of the publicity they get and the banners in the school," Milosh said. "We have a junior program at Ironwood, and the kids come out and if they see some older girls playing golf, they gravitate toward the sport.
"I obviously encourage it. I think it's just a great sport for girls. But I really think the difference is we have this facility in the township, and they get instruction at an early age, and if there's a love for it, that's good, but if they have the innate ability at the start of it and you encourage it, they seem to develop by the time they get to high school."
That's what is happening with McDanel -- and what has already happened with Macky Fouse, Jocelyn and Marissa Sudar, Daniella Battisti, Amanda Scala and Katelyn Humann before her.
The latter six were the top players on last season's WPIAL championship Central Valley team. McDanel, the Kings 14-15 season player of the year, joins the Warriors this season.
"We all have good days, and we all have bad days," senior Jocelyn Sudar said. "But we're usually around the same scores, give or take a few strokes."
To give an idea of Central Valley's strength, junior Marissa Sudar had the low score on the first day of tryouts for the team Monday.
"She shoots a 35," Milosh said. "First day of tryouts, she's probably my No. 3, and she shoots a 35."
Fouse, a junior, won the Kings season-ending player of the year junior championship tournament for girls 16-18 at Nemacolin Woodlands Aug. 8. Jocelyn Sudar finished second at that tournament but was the season points champion. Marissa Sudar was second on the 16-18 points list and Fouse fourth.
Milosh said he was told that this was the first time one high school team could boast the champions of both age groups of the prior summer's Kings tours.
Jocelyn Sudar, Battisti and Humann are seniors, Fouse and Marissa Sudar juniors and Scala a sophomore.
"I know that people on my team are pretty close together," Sudar said. "We all golf in Kings tournaments, and we've known each other for a while so we spread the word around so we can hopefully get more people involved."
Milosh said "there's no question" that any of his starters are capable of playing golf in college. As a senior, Jocelyn Sudar has attracted interest from Division I schools. But before she turns her attention to that, Sudar has a more immediate goal.
For all Central Valley has accomplished, the Warriors have yet to be eligible to win a PIAA championship. This season, Division II was changed to Class AA in the WPIAL, and Class AA teams can qualify for the PIAA championships.
"They want to be the first from Central Valley to get a state title," Milosh said. "The hopes are high here, the expectations real high."
First Published August 16, 2012 12:00 am