By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
GREENFIELD TWP. – Abington Heights placed all six of its players in the top 17 of a 114-player field Monday to capture the team title in the boys Bob Simons Classic.
Only second-place Scranton Prep managed to have even half its lineup shoot 83 or better while Abington Heights got all six players in at or below that score in difficult conditions at Elkview Country Club.
Fast, dry conditions put golfers to the test in the tournament for Lackawanna League members, but a young Comets team was ready.
Using one senior, one junior, three sophomores and a freshman, Abington Heights posted a four-player team score of 316 to defeat Scranton Prep by five strokes.
Cade Kelleher, a part-time player on a veteran team a year ago, led the way with a 5-over-par, 77 while claiming the tournament’s low sophomore award.
“It’s a team sport and we want to take the team as far as we can,” Kelleher said. “I came in playing some good golf and I’m going to hope to continue that.”
Kelleher showed resilience while leading three Comets in the 70s.
“I made a few good birdies following bogeys,” he said. “There were some good chances and I made a few of them and thankfully it lowered my score.”
Abington Heights returned just one full-time starter from last season, but had others like Kelleher who had shown potential and had a lot of new talent coming in. The Comets opened the season ranked first among Big Schools in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Golf Power Rankings of District 2 teams and lived up to that billing Monday.
Robert Munley, another sophomore who was a part-time player a year ago, followed up a low freshman effort in last season’s Simons Classic by contributing to the team title with a 78.
Luke Morgan, the only senior and the top returnee, shot a 79, including a 38 on the back nine.
Freshman Philip Mathews completed the team score with an 82. Alec Hamilton and Connor Abel each shot well enough to contribute to a team title in their score was needed, finishing with 83s.
“A lot of young talent, that’s for sure,” Abington Heights coach Frank Summa said.
One of Summa’s most difficult tasks in the preseason was simply choosing a group of 12 players to take into the season before then selecting his six-player lineup for each competition.
“Prior to the tryouts, when I had 35 players signed up, I knew I was going to have my hands full figuring out what would be the best 12 players,” Summa said. “After a day, we had it down to 28, then after the second day, we had it down to 22, which was still tough to pick from.”
Summa kept only one senior and one junior along with seven sophomores and three freshmen.
“It gives us a good idea on how well we can do,” Summa said of the tournament performance.
Scranton Prep, led by Gavin Walsh, who tied for second overall with a 73, and low freshman Ben Walsh, who shot an 81, posted a team score of 321 while finishing second for the second straight year.
Riverside was third, one stroke in front of Valley View, which was playing on its home course.
North Pocono, the 2021 champion, was fifth.
MORE SIMONS CLASSIC COVERAGE
Scores: All team totals and the top 43 individuals: Bob Simons Classic boys scores – NEPA Sports Nation.
Bob Simons feature: The story, first posted in 2021, explains why the tournament carries the name of the Wallenpaupack coach. Simons recognized for role in sport – NEPA Sports Nation.