So much for the “sweetest place on earth”…
The Hershey Links golf course did not fare well for Millersville’s lady golfers at the PSAC Championships, the final and most crucial event of the fall season, over the weekend. Freshman Jamie Wharton lead the Marauder golfers in Hummelstown, PA at the 26th spot. Junior Amber Rohrer, who has been plagued by a shoulder injury, found herself tied for 29th at the end of the second round Saturday. Finally, another freshman, Kendal Olear, rounded out Millersville’s girls at 37th.
“Fair” was the word that interim head coach Ron Weaver labeled the females’ performance. “I had a little bit better expectations for the girls,” he said. “They all underperformed in the tournament.”
He sure had reason to think that, as Wharton, Rohrer and Olear sure had some bright spots during the fall season.
The “Big Three” did not hesitate as they came out of the gate at the Pocono Intercollegiate Invitational. Wharton caught everybody by surprise as she made a name for herself with no time wasted as she and Millersville’s continually improving veteran, Rohrer, tied for first overall. Olear also decided to join in on the fun as she placed 3rd in the same tournament.
The very next tournament taking place at the Reading Golf Club, Wharton continued her successful introduction to collegiate golf, tying for 2nd out of a field of just under 50. Rohrer also didn’t cool off at all as she continued her hot start by placing 7th during that weekend.
Unfortunately, those were the last top ten finishes of the fall season for the Millersville ladies.
Throughout the year, the ladies’ success sputtered and inconsistency was a problem. Their individual finishes varied from 1st to 60th. Rohrer having to sit out two of the last three tournaments with an out-ofnowhere left shoulder injury did not do anything to help Millersville’s efforts to get back to their winning ways.
“It’s tough,” Weaver said, alluding to Rohrer’s injury and the negative consequences that came with that; for example, less practice.
Albeit, there’s nobody out there arguing the fact that Weaver has two reasons to be optimistic about his squad’s future: freshmans Wharton and Olear.
Wharton kept up with one of the top golfers in the PSAC, let alone Millersville, in Rohrer. In fact, with her 90 and 91 in the first and second rounds of the Championships this Friday and Saturday, the freshman surpassed the junior with an 88.2 scoring average compared to Rohrer’s 89.5. Rohrer let Wharton squeak by her with her 95/93 score this weekend.
Olear, who has shown spurts of her ability as a golfer, has already been deemed the one with the most talent of all, according to Weaver. Although her scoring average was over 100 for the fall season, she definitely caught some eyes when she finished within the top 5 in the first tournament of her college career.
“We believe in them and they’re going to improve in the springtime,” interim coach Weaver said. “They’re eager and willing to put in the work.”
After a surprisingly dismal showing at the final tournament in the fall, nothing would pick their spirits up better by hearing that their head coach, Scott Vandegrift, was out of the hospital and ready to come back from his medical leave, right?
Well, Weaver was notified this week that that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
“I was put in a great word,” he said about being told of Vandegrift’s return – something that he, more of Vandegrift’s lifelong friend than Millersville’s interim head coach, was happy to see.
“We’re excited about that,” he said. “The team is so thrilled to have him back.”
Weaver will have to hand the coaching job over to Vandegrift for the spring season, but the name of the head coach is about the only thing that’s going to change.
“Scott has been a mentor to me all my life (so) passing the baton’s easy,” the interim head coach said. “It’s about the team, working hard… I’ve done everything (he’s) taught me and I’m just continuing it.”