Column: Tiger Woods wins Masters, completes the re-birth of a legend

By Nick Archacki, news editor

The Masters is undoubtedly the most anticipated event of the year on the PGA Tour. The best golfers from around the world earn their way to the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia with the hopes of walking away with the famed green jacket.

Before the 2019 Masters started, unsurprisingly, the sports world was buzzing about Tiger Woods, arguably one of the greatest golfers to ever play the game.

Of course, there were many questions surrounding the living legend. Where would he place? Would he make the cut? Would he place in the top ten, top five? Would he win?

These speculations arose due to a magnitude of roadblocks Tiger has faced in the past ten years in his personal life and golfing career. Through that time, Woods has dealt with sports critics and long-time golf enthusiasts who said he would never win a tournament again.

However, in Tiger-like fashion, he made the critics eat their words. He brought in the crowd and fans like it was 1997 when he won his first Masters at age 21. He played the Masters like it was 2005 when he won his fourth Masters.

After all of the pain, agony, defeat, doubt, and criticism the icon has faced since 2008, Tiger has thoroughly made golf whole again with his most recent comeback. Finally, after 11 years without winning a major, the 43-year-old, who had four back surgeries in a span of four years, won his fifteenth major title, the 2019 Masters, his fifth Masters.

His Masters win ended the longest drought between Masters titles in golf history, 14 years. Woods is now second for the most wins in Masters history, behind Jack Nicklaus. On a side note, Woods is chasing Nicklaus for the most major titles in golf history; Jack has 18 major wins to Tiger’s 15 major wins.

When Woods sunk his two-foot putt on the 72nd hole of the tournament, he clenched his fist, picked his ball up, and let out a roar to the berserk crowd with both hands in the air, holding the putter that has won Woods 14 of his 15 majors.

Woods walked off the green straight to his family; yelling, shouting, and embracing the historical moment. He won a major in front of his kids and a new generation of golfers for the first time in his life. In an interview, Woods said, “to have my kids there, it’s come full circle. My dad was here in ’97, and now I’m the dad with two kids there.”

As a long-time golfer and Tiger Woods fan, for me to watch him win a major, acknowledge the importance of it, and remember it, I can’t express how elated I was when he knocked his final putt into the hole. I think everyone who’s involved with sports was happy to see Tiger win this tournament and watch his comeback become a perfect ending. This victory is without a doubt the greatest comeback in golf history.

Six-time NBA champion, Michael Jordan, shared his thoughts on Tiger’s victory and return to golf immortality. “To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen,” Jordan said. “He [Woods] had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit. They [Woods’ tour opponents] got problems. You don’t know what Tiger’s capable of doing.”         

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods, without exception, is one of the greatest athletes to ever live. For golf, he is the Michael Jordan of basketball; he is the Michael Phelps of swimming; he is the Muhammad Ali of boxing. Woods will be remembered for bringing youth, vibrancy, fans, and excitement to golf. Tiger changed the sport from a formal game to an exhilarating one.

Woods will also be remembered for his comeback and trek back to the top of the golf world. Woods said that he was “completely done with golf” two years ago. Nonetheless, you can’t kill a champion, especially when that champion’s job isn’t finished, even if he couldn’t tie his shoes two years ago.

With his performance in the 2019 Masters, he showed everyone that if you put your mind to your passion and never give up, you can achieve your goal. Tiger is now on the hunt, again, in chasing Sam Snead for the most wins in PGA Tour history. Snead has 82 victories to Woods’ 81.

On May 6, Woods received the highest honor any American civilian can acquire. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump for his courageous fight to make it back to the winners circle on the toughest stage in golf. Woods is now the fourth golfer ever to receive the award with predecessors Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Charlie Sifford being the other recipients.

The question now stands, will one of the greatest golfers, if not the greatest, of all-time achieve 82 wins? I think yes… I think he will get more. Will Woods win the most majors in history? Possibly. I do believe, however, that Tiger will tie Jack Nicklaus at 18 major championships.

Saegertown Trap Team shooting for success in 2019

By Samantha Thomas, staff writer

Snapchat-1419980013Saegertown students in grades 6-12 are taking to local shooting ranges for the 2019 Trap Shooting Season. The club, which was founded in 2016, has already become wildly popular in Saegertown, with 38 active members this year. Darin Ashbaugh is the head coach and assistants are Richard Johnson, Jason Bailey, John Jordan, and Doug Jordan. One of the team mottos for this year is: “Creating good stories about kids with guns.”

The team participates in the Crawford County Trap League (a traveling league) that includes Maplewood, Cambridge, and CASH. These teams compete on Tuesday nights. Saegertown is currently 2-1, posting wins over CASH (146-121) in week 1 and Cambridge (161-157). They lost a close match to Maplewood on May 7 (166-160). Their next travel match is on May 14 at the Saegertown Sportsmen’s Club.

In addition to the travel team, all members shoot on Sundays for points that may qualify them for competition at the next level, which is the state shoot at Elysburg, Pa. on June 22. Students competing in the state tournament are divided into divisions based on their age and seasonal average. Outstanding shooters then move on to the National Tournament in Mason, Michigan.

Snapchat-1316138064On May 18, team members will participate in a “Shoot for Youth” fundraiser at the Saegertown Sportsmen’s Club. The open registration event will include a day of shooting and a meal. There will also be a Chinese auction, prizes and awards for the best shooters, and other fun activities.  “Shoot for Youth” starts at 10 a.m. and will end at 2 p.m. Fifty birds and a pulled pork d dinner are included for $15. Non-shooters pay $8 for dinner.

The club will also host a pike and panfish fishing tournament to raise money for the program. The fundraiser will be held on June 1 on Conneaut Lake. The entry fee will be $60. For more information,  contact Darin Ashbaugh at (814)-795-2470 or stop into Myers’ Sports Connections in Saegertown.

 

Panthers face Bulldogs tonight for region title

By Taylor Munce, sports editor

 

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Senior Will Phelan serves the ball during a recent match against CASH.

The boys volleyball team began their stellar season with a record of 10-0 in the district after an impressive win over McDowell on May 2. They took down the AAA powerhouse in five sets with scores of 18-25, 25-21, 25-21, 17-25, and 16-14.

 

Senior outside hitter Will Phelan attributes the recent successes to teamwork. “It’s crucial in volleyball to have a good connection throughout the team because we pick each other up when we’re down,” Phelan said. Senior Eli Draa, right side hitter, echoed Phelan’s sentiments. “There are always six people on the court, and if one person gets mad everything crumbles,” said Draa. “We try to work together the best we can.”

Phelan celebrated his last home match with the memorable victory over McDowell, but still looks forward to the remaining matches.  “It was great to come out with a win on our senior night, and I loved the energy and spirit from the crowd,” he said. “But we still have some volleyball left to play.”  

With their win over Maplewood last night, the Panthers remain undefeated. Tonight, they face rival Meadville Bulldogs for the region title. The Bulldogs are also undefeated. 

Action begins at Meadville Area High School at 7 p.m. Follow @PantherPressSHS on Twitter for live updates.

Track and field: DeYoung headed to districts

By Mason McClure, staff writer

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Senior runner Gabe DeYoung

The Track and Field team traveled to Franklin on Saturday, April 13, where eight runners participated in various track events. Senior runner, Gabe DeYoung, qualified for the District 10 championship, which will take place at Slippery Rock University on May 18, in the 1600 meter race with a time of 4:46:41 and the 3200 meter with a time of 10:33:44. Gabe finished sixth in 3200 and ninth in 1600.

Club adviser William Hetrick said, “Overall, I was very proud of all of athletes who ran, and having Gabe qualify in both events already is exciting as it is his senior year.” 

After competing at Franklin, the runners traveled to Hermitage, where both Gabe DeYoung and Paige Fuller, a freshman runner,  beat their own personal records in the 3200. “It was a goal to do better and improve,” Fuller said. DeYoung agreed: “I’ve been trying to break my own record of 10:30 for a long time. It’s nice to finally be under that time.”

Hetrick expressed his appreciation for the Track Club, “We have ten members who run; it’s not an approved sport so members cannot receive letters but they volunteer to run and better themselves,” Hetrick said. “I think it’s great they run for their benefit as opposed to just running to receive a letter.”

The team also ran at Oil City at the Oil Country Invitational on May 4. Gabe DeYoung took first place in the boys 1600 with a time of 4:42.92, a personal best. He also took first in the boys 3200 in a time of 10:26.78, also a personal best. The team has two races this week one today and one Thursday at Meadville Area High School.

 

                                       

The value of a coach: Greg Molnar

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By William Hetrick

Coaches have banquets.  It has become a time-honored tradition with nearly all sports at all schools.

Athletes get awards, gifts, and accolades.  I suppose it’s a nice way to wrap up the season.

The coach gets a gift and thanks from the booster club, the season ends, and life goes on.  But not always.

Greg Molnar retired as boys basketball coach at Saegertown High School at the close of this past season, a season that saw him register his 100th win, one of only four coaches in our school’s history to achieve that feat.  Longevity.

He spent a decade and some change coaching our boys.  He’s coached pretty much consistently since his first gig in 1984.

It’s not easy sticking with something so long, especially in today’s environment where your credibility is measured in the win-loss column, and you have twenty or more “assistant coaches” in the stands at every game.

Coach Molnar stuck it out–through losing seasons, some good ones despite his record, and through winning seasons, ones he felt could have been better, I’m sure.  It’s the way of the true coach.

You can always do better, get better.  Usually, you remember the close losses more than the dominant wins.  The kids more than the outcome.  And that is why I’m telling you about Greg Molnar.

Sure, he teaches next door to me in the English department at school.  Yes, we’ve had discussions about coaching as we’ve been doing it, though in different sports, for a long time.

We both see the value in sport as a way to see to the core of what kids are capable of doing.  We both see how character is built one drill at a time.

Coaches come and go.  It’s the way of it, the way it’s supposed to be, in fact.  When you leave, the slow ebb of time washes away your achievements, your records, even your legacy.

The full body of your day in the sun becomes a shadow fading into the distance.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t say some things of value about our coach.

I saw him take a technical foul at Iroquois so a unique athlete on their team could make a basket.

It was one of the most selfless and thoughtful acts I’ve seen in my years of coaching.

I’ve seen him play athletes who should have never seen the court because they earned the right in practice.

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Coach Molnar received the game ball from his 100th win at the banquet. 

I’ve seen him allow players to miss practices to attend other activities, like go hunting with a grandfather or attend a school trip; many coaches I know think the world revolves around their practice schedule.

How dare you do anything other than my sport during our season!  Not Coach.  He is a small town coach in charge of small-town athletes.  And he sees the value in each small-town kid.

At his final banquet, Coach complimented his athletes, apologized to many, told his final story. I was there.  It was awesome.  He will go the way of all great coaches.

But I will remember.  His former players will remember.  They are better for having had him teach them basketball.

And life. And that is the real measure of a coach.  Greg, it was a great banquet.  And career.  You deserve to be remembered.

(William Hetrick  coaches cross country at Saegertown High School. He also teaches next door to Greg Molnar. Both are veteran English teachers and coaches.)

SHS Track Club is up and running

By Mason McClure, staff writer

SHS Track Club is just that–a club.  There are no varsity letters to earn or Region titles to win.  Runners participate in track just to see if they can meet the qualifying standard for the District 10 Championship held at Slippery Rock University on Saturday, May 8.

The runners, including seniors Gabe DeYoung and Ben Crowl, as well as several other returners like junior Maddie Mondi, are hard at practice to get ready.  They are able to run at MASH’s home meets and various invitationals in the region, such as at Franklin, Fairview, and Hermitage.

Coach Bill Hetrick said, “We are really just a great group of kids who run various distances from the 100-meter dash to the 3200-meter run, to see if they can make Districts.”  Senior captain Gabe DeYoung said, “I want everyone to work towards their goals and work hard during practice.”

Lady Panthers looking for redemption

By Nick Archacki, news editor

Last spring, the Saegertown softball team was on the prowl to win their first state title after having an unbelievable season on the diamond. Sadly though, the Panthers lost a battle to Mount Union 4-2 in the second playoff game of the PIAA Championships.

Even though the season ended in a grind against Mount Union, the Panthers had a year to remember as they posted a 20-5 record, led the Class AA rankings and won the Region 3 title for their fifth straight year.

Now that the season has officially started for the ladies, they are ready to conquer the field once again with leadership from four returning and very talented senior players: Elizabeth Hasko, Courtney Hess, Carlie Schlosser, and Sarah Swartout. The team also includes four juniors, two sophomores, and eight freshmen.

Hess, one of Saegertown softballs’ best pitchers ever, is confident about the upcoming season and her teammates: “I think we’ll be a good team this year, we just have to keep working at it and reach our goals.” Swartout, who is a dominant force on the infield, is also in good spirits about this year’s campaign. “I think we’ll do good if we work hard because we have a young team. I also believe we will do well if we all work together and complete the plays to win games.”

Both Hess and Swartout have goals for their final softball season: to have a good batting and fielding average and to improve [their] defensive skills. Hess also mentioned that she is going to try her best to continue to be a leader for the younger girls, inspiring them to work hard at the game of softball.

However, the team will have to cope with the loss of a beloved coach this season. Tom Brunot, who coached Saegertown softball for over a decade recently passed away at the age of 62 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Hess and Swartout both experienced Coach Brunot’s love for coaching and his players: “He’ll always be with us no matter where we go and no matter how good or bad we’re playing. He’s our driving force to do well and keep playing, we’re going to dedicate this season to him. He always had a positive attitude, always had your back, and made you feel like a great person.”

The Lady Cats are currently in Kissimmee, Florida for Spring Training and will return April 1. The Panthers’ next game is on April 3 at Rocky Grove and their next home game is on April 4 vs. Northwestern at 4 p.m.

Crowl advances to state finals in swimming

By Amanda Crowl, staff writer

Senior Ben Crowl and freshman Brittany Houck competed as part of the Meadville Bulldogs swim team at the  PIAA D10 championships, which were held at the Spire Institute on March 1-2. By the end of the first day, Crowl knew he was headed to the state finals as part of the 200 yard medley team that finished with a time of 1:40.59.

Crowl stands in 5th place after the 100 yard breaststroke competition.

There are a total of three relays and eight individual races spread across a two-day period. Crowl and Houck each swam in two relays and two individual events with the Meadville Bulldogs swim team.

Crowl qualified for districts in the 200 yard medley relay, 200 yard IM, 200 yard freestyle relay, and the 100 yard breaststroke. He took fifth place in his 200 yard IM (2:20.92), third in the 200 yard freestyle relay (1:39.20), and fifth in the 100 yard breaststroke (1:05.86). In his 100 yard breaststroke, he lost to one of his teammates by one hundredth of a second.

Swimming in two relays and two individual races, Brittany Houck took home three second places and one fourth place. Her times are as follows: 200 yard freestyle relay (1:41.25), 100 yard freestyle (55:15), 400 yard freestyle relay (3:49.87), 100 yard breaststroke (1:10.24).

Crowl and Houck gave their best last Friday and Saturday swimming at districts. Crowl will continue into states, and Houck will train harder to follow in his footsteps next year. “I definitely need to push harder at practice so it will benefit me in the long run,” Houck said.

The state finals will be held at Bucknell University on March 15. “I’m excited about the experience of being a state swimmer,” Crowl said.

Kiser and Kightlinger hunt for hardware at states

By Braeden Kantz, managing editor

Saegertown wrestlers are headed to the PIAA AA Individual State Championship in Hershey. Junior Kenny Kiser will make his third consecutive appearance along with junior Alex Kightlinger, who will make his debut at the 2019 State Competition.

Last weekend at the North West Regional tournament, both Kiser and Kightlinger secured their place at states. Kiser claimed his second region title with a 6-2 decision over Rocco Bartolo from Reynolds. Kightlinger placed fourth, securing his first appearance in the state tournament.

The Saegertown Panthers have sent wrestlers to the PIAA State Championship for 11 consecutive years under the leadership of head coach Jimmy Mulligan. Mulligan has mentored ten state medalists, including four state champions.

Kiser, who is currently ranked second in the state by the PA Power Wrestling website, will attempt to capture his first state medal this weekend. After two consecutive losses in the “blood round” (a high stakes round in which you medal if you win, and go home if you lose), Kiser is excited to return to the Giant Center and attempt to bring home some hardware. “I don’t want to repeat what happened last year,” Kiser said. “I have a lot more confidence in my wrestling and my ability to compete at the top levels after this season.”

Kightlinger, who is also ranked by PA Power Wrestling, will make his first appearance as an individual in Hershey this weekend. After coming up short in the 2018 regional tournament, Kightlinger battled back in 2018-2019, boasting a (35-14) season record and placing fourth in the region, qualifying him for the state tournament. “I feel pretty proud that I’m here, and I’m ready to take home some hardware for the first time,” Kightlinger said.

Wrestling will begin tomorrow March 7 at 9 a.m. The tournament will continue on Friday and the finals and other medal rounds will take place on Saturday, March 9.

For live updates, follow us on twitter @PantherPressSHS.