Golf by its own nature has social distancing built in, but playing through the COVID-19 pandemic still brought its share of challenges and changes to area high school play during the 2020 season.
“Little different – no handshaking, no scorecard exchanging but honestly a little simpler this way,” Central Bucks West senior Milo Jezzeny said. “Keep to yourself and just try to play the best you can.”
Yet while navigating the new normal of sports, several golfers found ways to continue to perform at a high level and earned spots on The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media 2020 All-Area teams.
Jezzeny leads the all-area boys first team, the 2020 Golfer of the Year tying for eighth place at 2-over 73 in the PIAA Class 3A championships after taking fourth at District 1. The senior also helped the Bucks place second at district along with earning the Suburban One League Colonial Division title.
“I think I improved a lot, looking back on my freshman year, it wasn’t even the same golf swing, it wasn’t the same scoring,” Jezzeny said. “I definitely improved a lot and I was happy I could finally make it to states senior year, close it off on a high note.”
Plymouth Whitemarsh senior Dylan Gooneratne qualified for PIAAs for the second straight season, finishing this year a shot behind Jezzeny at 3-over 74 to be a part of the six-way tie for 14th. He grabbed District 1’s last state berth in a playoff after he and three other golfers finished the two days at Turtle Creek Golf Course at 7-over 151.
Gooneratne also made it back-to-back years atop the SOL Boys tournaments scoreboard, this season tying for first at Five Ponds Golf Course with an even par 71.
SOL Liberty Division champ Wissahickon had a pair of first team selections in junior Christian Matt and senior Jackson Tappen. Matt tied for fifth at districts, shooting a 3-over 147 and at states tied for 23rd at 5-over 76. Tappen carded a 5-over 149 at districts to tie for eighth then tied for 33rd at states with an 8-over 79.
Souderton senior Stephen Butler made the first team after his second trip to states, having previously qualified as a sophomore in 2018. Butler placed 11th at districts with his 6-over 150 then at states shot at 6-over 77 to tie for 26th.
La Salle sophomore Kevin Lafond advanced to the PIAA Championship (tying for 38th at 11-over 82) and helped the Explorers win a fourth consecutive District 12 title as he shot a 5-over 75 in a 313-316 victory over St. Joseph’s Prep at Philmont Country Club’s North Course.
Mount St. Joseph senior Clare Gimpel anchors the Girls All-Area Team after tying for second place in District 1-3A with a 5-over 148 then tying for seventh at PIAAs with a 5-over 77.
2020 Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery All-Area Golf Teams
Boys First Team
Milo Jezzeny, Sr., CB West
Dylan Gooneratne, Sr., Plymouth Whitemarsh
Kevin Lafond, So., La Salle
Stephen Butler, Sr., Souderton
Christian Matt, Jr., Wissahickon
Jackson Tappen, Sr., Wissahickon
Boys Second Team
Noah Sim, Sr., Hatboro-Horsham
Charlie Kerprich, Jr., Upper Dublin
Brendan Bauer, Sr., Pennridge
Blake Stewart, Sr., Pennridge
Kevin Lydon, Jr., CB West
John Lee, Jr., CB West
Darren Nolan, Jr., La Salle
Boys Honorable Mention
Dom DellaPenna, Sr., North Penn
Quinn Marett, Jr., North Penn
Austin Maggioncalda, Sr., Springfield-Montco
Jeff Cooper, Sr., Methacton
Tyler Leyden, So., La Salle
Charles Feraco, So. Central Bucks West
Girls All-Area Team
Clare Gimpel, Sr., Mount St. Joseph
Abigail Lynn, So., Central Bucks West
Ashley Ea, Sr., Pennridge
Riley Thomas, Sr., Methacton
Hayley Ekert, So., North Penn
Taryn Shine, So., Pennridge
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