The State College boys’ golf team won their first state championship in the program’s history, winning the PIAA Class 3A Team Championship trophy on Monday at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.
The team as a whole shot +8 (292 in total) to defeat the Fox Chapel Pool (+8, 292), LaSalle College (+15, 299), Central Bucks West (+16, 300), Dallastown ( +19, 303) and Dallas (+45, 329). State College entered a tag team playoff with Fox Chapel for the win.
Senior John Olsen has waited for this moment throughout his career at State College. The two-sport athlete, who also plays on the hockey team, had to balance the two practices at the height of the golf season. But it paid off as the senior made history with the Little Lions.
“It means a lot to us because we were the first State College team to go to the State Championship, and winning it the first time – with a pretty good score – means a lot for what everyone else has put in.” , Olsen said. . “It was well deserved, really; we all went there. It is also my last year. It’s really really cool.
Junior Luke Janac, Olsen’s teammate on the course and on the ice, stepped in from the high school parking lot, where the team arrived at a gathering of cheering fans with a police escort.
“It was really great to win because you can’t take that away from us and we all played well,” said Janac.
Olsen (-1) finished under par (71) with a 70, with Maxwell Wager with 72 (+1), Janac with 74 (+3) and Joey Sabol with 76 (+5). Thomas Hay finished off the team’s score by shooting 84 (+13).
Winning this title was the culmination of a full year of hard work for the Little Lions.
“It really means a lot to our team,” said Wager. “We’ve really put in a lot of hard work and effort in practices and games all this time. It really means a lot to see our team come together, fight, fight against a lot of tough teams to get the state championship first and then win it is amazing.
The Little Lions have had a long year made for them with successes throughout. They participated in Operation Our Town in Altoona. Then they took second place in the Ligonier Valley Invitational and the Hershey Invitational. Olsen won the Wheeling Invitational and the team went even further.
With an overall record of 23-8 and a Mid Penn record of 22-8, State College became the District 6 section champion, with Olsen winning the District Individual Championship and qualifying for the PIAA Individual Championships. Then, they became the regional champions of the West with the Olsen medal. Eight players advanced to the Individual Mid Penn Final, with Olsen winning a silver medal.
But even all of these accomplishments are pale compared to winning the top prize.
“Winning the state title is pretty big and pretty cool because we’re the # 1 team in the state, and that’s pretty awesome,” said Sabol.
Winning the state championship is something head coach Greg Wilson, now in his six years at the helm of the Little Lions, has envisioned this team for years – ever since he first saw Olsen play. in eighth grade.
Throughout his tenure, Wilson has seen the hard work this team put into the course to reach this point. Sometimes there were long mornings working on the putting and evenings that began to drag on on the driving range. Nonetheless, his team managed to hone their craft and work towards the ultimate goal of hoisting the state championship trophy to victory.
“This is a team that we’ve been thinking of winning a state title for years,” Wilson said. “I saw the first time [Olsen] came over to play and I said to my assistant and I said, ‘With John coming in ninth grade, with Max Wager coming in, Luke [Janac] when we get there, when john is senior, i think we’ll have a real shot at winning the state title.
“They proved it. Here we are – champions of state.