BY STEVE STALLONE
GREENFIELD TWP. — With the likes of North Pocono’s Billy Pabst and Dallas’ Logan Paczewski lurking atop Class 3A, it was clear the rest of the field was swinging away for the third and final PIAA qualifying spot at Tuesday’s District 2 Individual Golf Championships.
The same can be said in the Class 2A field, where Scranton Prep’s Michael Sewack was running away with things, while a fierce battle waged beneath for the remaining three spots and accompanying trips to states.
For certain, the large contingent of local golfers from Hazleton Area, Crestwood and MMI Prep who reached the district tournament made their presence felt at Elkview Country Club.
Hazleton Area’s Joey Rebarchick shot a 39-40–79, and was positioned in a three-way tie for that final spot behind Pabst (72) and Paczewski (73).
Coming in with the final group of the day, however, Valley View’s Logan Gavin revealed his score of 37-41-78 that ended any need for a playoff, and ended Rebarchick’s senior season one stroke shy of a possible trip to states.
“Joey was right there, one shot from advancing to states,” Boretski said. “He didn’t even play well, but he grinded and that’s the kind of player that he is,and that’s the kind of program that we have. The kids have a lot of character. I’m really proud of the season that we had.”
Rebarchick was one of five Cougar boys competing in Class 3A Tuesday, after claiming the WVC team championship and reaching the District 2 final.
Connor Matteo (86), Jonathan Joseph (87), Collin Kulsa (94) and Jacob Palmero (100) also represented the Cougars.
Most players Tuesday ran into a fast putting surface that made scoring difficult.
“I was hitting the ball really well. I was hitting the ball great. The problem was my putting. My short game got me,” Rebarchick said. “I just couldn’t get a lot of stuff going out there today. The greens were tough.”
Crestwood’s Owen Blazick was golfing in the group with the leaders, Pabst and Paczewski, and stood strong, finishing at 81. Teammates Nash Greene and Derek Johnson each carded 93s.
“Owen did have a nice day and he played with two very, very good players,” Comets head coach Mark Jarolen said. “Owen’s young, he’s a year behind those guys, so he has a bright future. He’s a very good player. I’m looking forward to next year and the year after with him, that’s for sure. The same with our team. My No. 2 guy, Derek Johnson, is a freshman. The future looks good.”
MMI Prep represented itself well in the Class 2A field. Christian Homnack shot an 82, one shot out of a three-way playoff at 81 for the final two state qualifying bids. Junior teammate Thomas Mayernik was one stroke further back at 83, and Noah Long came in at 91.
“They really did make a good showing, especially on a tough day like this on a tough course,” MMI head coach Ryan Jastremsky said.
“They only saw it for the first time on Sunday. We came up for one practice round and we finished that in the dark. For the competition that is in Double-A, they really showed well.’’
“Christian and Thomas especially, but Noah played well also. It was a very good day for him to end his high school career on.”
Most important of all, the golfers on all teams were able to end a crazy season — one full of doubt due to the coronavirus — on their terms.
“I felt the year went good. We were cruising for a while and it was fun. It was definitely a fun year,” said Rebarchick. “That’s what I’m going to remember for a while.”
“I think everything the PIAA did, the district, the Wyoming Valley Conference…It was great to get the young men and women to get to play and help them get through a tough situation,” added Jarolen.
“I’m happy that we got the season in,” Jastremsky said. “A couple of months ago that was in question, so to be able to complete a season and have some success here for these kids at the end, that’s all you can ask for.”