Emmaus wins EPC golf titles
A year ago the Emmaus golf team went undefeated during the regular season, but was edged by a tiebreaker for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Tournament title.
This season the Hornets again went undefeated. But the 2019 Hornets were much more dominant in the regular season. Their closest margin of victory was 18 strokes.
Emmaus’s dominance was on display at last week’s EPC Tournament, held Monday, Sept. 23 at Olde Homestead golf course in New Tripoli.
The Hornets posted a four-player score of 310, which was 12 shots better than second-place Liberty (322). Nazareth took third at 332.
“These kids are tough and they want to prove something,” said Hornet head coach Mo Bryan. “They want to prove that they can do this. I can’t wait to see how they are at districts. I have seven kids that made it to the district qualifier.”
The Hornets were led by Michelle Cox, a three-time EPC girls champ who will be seeking her first district title next Monday.
Emmaus sophomore Aiden LeBlanc, who took seventh place at leagues as a freshman in 2018, tied for the low round of the day among boys. He shot 75 and went to a playoff with Northampton’s Nate Wheeler.
Wheeler made par on the first playoff hole, the par-3 ninth, and LeBlanc bogeyed for second place.
Emmaus saw its top four players all shoot 82 or less as John Keba carded a 79 and Colin Wong fired an 82. Matt Zefass’ 83 was just behind and good for 14th place overall.
The Hornets have a lot of talented players on their team. But they also have a group that wants to play well for one another, not just for themselves.
“I’m so thankful for the team chemistry,” said Bryan. “They’re so positive with each other. Sometimes you can have one kid that can change that. We don’t have that at all. I don’t have any bad apples. They’re all great kids and they’re all there to pick each other up.
“They’re all friends with each other. I really, really like it. I’m lucky this year.”
Several of Emmaus’s golfers play plenty of competitive tournaments outside of the high school schedule. But they all enjoy playing together as a team just as much.
Cox, who travels around the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions to compete in top-level tournaments, said there’s a different feeling to high school golf.
“Those (non-scholastic) tournaments are for me and my future and getting college looks,” she said. “This is for school pride. Green and gold and the way for this. For EPC and for districts it’s about the team and it’s a lot of fun. They’re both fun, but in different ways.”
Emmaus, which hasn’t lost a regular season match since last in the 2017 season, has one of the deepest teams of any EPC team in recent years.
The team has potential to not only win districts, but possibly move through regionals and into the state tournament as a team. That’s something not many District 11 teams have been able to do. Most fall during the regional round.
“We think we have enough to get to states, so that’s what we’re hoping for team-wise,” said Cox. “It’s a lot of talent, but this team this year was just so much fun to be around. All the guys are great. I think we have good team chemistry.”
The Hornets will send six players to the district championship tournament.
While Cox and LeBlanc had earned exemptions into districts, five other Emmaus players competed in Monday’s District 11 qualifier, held at Olde Homestead.
The Hornets’ Matt Zefass tied for the low round at the event. He shot 1-over par 73 and finished tied with Parkland’s Sam Morazavi.
The top half of the boys field at the qualifier earned a spot in districts, which in Class 3A was the top 19 and ties out of 37 players.
Emmaus’s John Keba and Colin Wong both advanced by shooting 82 at the qualifier to tie for 11th place, while teammate Nate Seidel made it through right on the cut, shooting 87 to tie for 19th. The Hornets’ Sean Jaeger came up two shots shot, finishing 23rd with an 89 Monday.
Emmaus will also be one of four teams competing next week for a Class 3A team title, along with Blue Mountain, Nazareth and Liberty. Five of the Hornets’ six individual district qualifiers will make up the team at districts, with that team to be named before the event. The sixth player will also compete in the event, but not as part of the team.
The top four scores out of the five district team members will count toward the Hornets’ team score at districts.