By Marion Valanoski
For The Daily Item
C.J. Tyler is getting accustomed to walking to the podium following the District 4 Golf Championships and having a gold medal draped around his neck.
The Shikellamy junior shot a 76 Saturday afternoon at the Williamsport Country Club for a two-day total of 148 to finish first in Class AAA and qualify for regional competition. In addition, Justin Geedey of Selinsgrove finished with a 186 to earn a regional berth.
Raven Fatool of Shikellamy was the lone competitor in AAA girls and qualified for the regional tournament after carding a 180 in the district event.
In AA boys, Austin Renz of Danville dominated a 20-man field to finish first and lead a six-man contingent headed to regional competition.
Tyler opened the tournament Thursday with a 72 and then carded a 76 to finish eight strokes in front of Geedey as only two golfers qualified out of the seven-man group.
“The wind made it very difficult out here (Saturday) so the right club selection was important,” said Tyler, who won the title last year and finished tied for first as a freshman but lost in a playoff. “Coming off capturing the school’s first team championship, winning the individual crown is great. It was a great two days of golf and being able to advance to the next round is outstanding.
“This was a tough course and the competition was very good.”
Fatool, who is only a junior, had no competition in the district tournament but still wanted to do well heading into the next round.
“My goal (Saturday) was trying to better my first-day score (88),” Fatool said. “The wind was brutal out there and made it difficult, but this is my first time moving into the next level and I’m looking forward to doing well there.”
Renz was a big part of the reason why the Ironmen unseated Central Columbia as District 4-AA team champion. He came through with another solid round Saturday (75) to finish with a two-day total of 146, which was eight shots better than runner-up Derek Duttry of Central Columbia (154). Robbie Seebold of Danville also qualified with a 155, which earned the bronze medal. Central’s C.J. Hollister also finished with a 155, but he had a higher back-nine score, a tiebreaker that gave the medal to his Danville counterpart.
Montgomery’s Alex Worthington was fifth with a 162 (80-82), and Lewisburg’s Russell Nash came in sixth with a 164 (80-84).
“The first foursome that went out (Saturday) is a very talented group that put enormous pressure on the rest of the field,” Ironmen head coach Ron Kanaskie said. “Austin had two great days and played well despite the weather conditions and he kept his composure.
“We had a 29-1 regular season against very good competition that helped prepare us as a team and individuals for the district tournament, and I could see this group growing in ability as the season progressed. I don’t think we are done growing yet and that’s good as we move on in the competition.”
“Looking at the field there were legitimately 15 golfers capable of claiming one of the six qualifying positions,” Kanaskie added, “and I thought we were well-prepared as a team for the weather conditions. I told them to take it one shot at a time.”
Loyalsock teammates Taylor Krout (80-86) 166 and Taylor Daskivich (86-89) 175) claimed two of the three AA girls qualifying spots, while Milton’s Katie Behnert (87-96) 183 claimed a place in the next round.