Methacton’s Vance, OJR’s Sager win PAC-10 individual championships

GILBERTSVILLE – On a cold, gusty day where the wind could take the ball in any direction, Methacton’s Kyle Vance and Owen J. Roberts’ Maddie Sager were determined to stay on track.

It was Vance doing the blowing in the end as the Warriors sophomore blew away the field with a 2-under 69 to win the boys title at the Pioneer Athletic Conference Golf Championships Monday at Gilbertsville Golf Club.

Sager’s blowing was more of a sigh of relief as the OJR junior needed a playoff hole to edge Boyertown’s Emily Gilbert to win the girls championship.

Through difficult conditions and heavy whirling winds, the boys played the Red Course (par 35) and White Course (par 36) while the girls played the Blue Course (Par 35) twice.

Beating the field by at least six strokes, it was no question Vance, the defending District 1 champion, had taken the victory. For the girls, however, Sager needed an extra hole to earn the victory over Gilbert after the pair shot matching 73s through 36 holes.

Having finished in second place last season by only two strokes to his older brother and two-time PAC-10 champion Brandon Vance, Kyle Vance admitted that winning the PAC-10 individual title has been a goal of his since last season.

“It feels so good to get the win today and keep the Vance family legacy going,’ said Vance, who finished the day with six birdies and only four bogeys. “I had my putter working really well for me today, which ended up saving me a few times out there. I was hitting my drives and my irons all right, but it was my putter that really kept me going all day.’

According to Methacton head coach Kevin Flanagan, Vance’s work ethic is what has brought him to this point.

“Kyle has shown extraordinary maturity and leadership to our team this season,’ he said. “As a coach, he’s so great to watch. He knows how to tweak his game when something isn’t working. He understands how to avoid unnecessary risk. And he knows how to play and manage different shots on a golf course. He’s someone a lot of guys can look up to.’

Looking up at Vance in the scores were Pope John Paul II’s J.T. Spina and Upper Perkiomen’s Drew Kriebel, who each shot 75, while Spring-Ford’s Connor Boham shot a 77.

For both Spina and Kriebel, it took a few holes to shake off the nerves and get comfortable with the difficult conditions.

“This was definitely a new experience for me,’ admitted Spina, a freshman competing in his first PAC-10 Championship. “It took me a while to settle in and play alongside a guy like Kyle. I struggled on the first few holes, but once my nerves calmed down, I started to get comfortable out there and score well.’

After finishing 4-over on the front nine, Kriebel knew he needed to regain his focus if he wanted to stay in the hunt.

“Once I hit into the water on No. 2 I knew it was time to dial it in,’ said Kriebel who finished with a birdie and 13 pars. “Once my short game came around, I was a lot more confident off the tee and approaching the green. All in all, I can’t be too upset with how things turned out.’

Owen J. Roberts’ Conner Ruyak, Spring-Ford’s Matt Keim, Perkiomen Valley’s Nate Guerinni, Methacton’s Dan Rieger and OJR’s Ward McHenry all finished at 78, followed by Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet, who shot 79.

On the girls side, the match came down to the wire between two close friends in Sager and Gilbert, who both fully admit there is a competitive edge when they meet on the golf course.

“It felt good to compete against Emily today,’ said Sager. “We’re both really close, but also really competitive which brings the best out in us. Today, we ended up needing 19 holes to figure out who won. I’m honored that it came down to the wire against her.’

For Gilbert, finishing second is nothing to be ashamed of, especially when her score is an improvement from last season when she was the girls champion.

“I’m definitely not hanging my head after today,’ the senior said. “I finished three strokes better than I did last season, and I lost to a really talented golfer in Maddie. We always battle out there on the course, but at the end of the day we keep each other motivated.’

Behind Sager and Gilbert, Boyertown’s Olivia Steinmetz and Hatboro-Horsham’s Cassidy Gavaghan shot 86 while Perkiomen Valley’s Carly Dorminy finished at 91.

“I had a few bad shots out there, but in these conditions I’ll definitely take an 86,’ said Steinmetz. “It felt good to score well today and tie for third. I’ve put in a lot of hard work this season, so it’s nice to see it paid off at this point.’

Having won the PAC-10 individual titles, both Vance and Sager know that it is just a stepping stone toward a bigger tournament — the District 1 Championships, which are being held at Turtle Creek Golf Course on October 6 and 7.

“There are still a lot of things I need to work on before districts,’ said Vance. “It was great to get a win today but there’s still a lot more left for me to accomplish in the next few weeks.’

As conditions are bound to get colder and more difficult to play in with fall approaching, Sager knows it won’t be an easy task.

“I’m excited to see what these next couple weeks have in store,’ she said. “Districts are going to be really competitive, so I know I’ll need to be at the top of my game by the time they come around.’


Boyertown’s Drew Steinmetz and Methacton’s Connor McCaffrey each shot 80 while Matt Folk (OJR) and Matt Thompson (MT) finished with 81. Max Rennie (MT) and Joe Morgan (PJP) shot 82 while Eric Faust (OJR) shot an 83. Faust defeated Tom Wolf (OJR), Phil Huber (BT) and Dave Brown (OJR) who all shot 83 in a two-hole playoff to determine the final PAC-10 spot going into districts. The senior won the playoff with two pars. … Grace Simenson (PHX) and Hannah Fireman (HH) shot 92 as Sarah West (GV) had 93, Claudia LaBenski shot 94 and Jaclyn D’Angelo (PJP) shot a 95.

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