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Millersville birdies fly south for spring

The Millersville men's and women's golf teams pose with the Payne Stewart statue in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Mitch Burns.

Brenden Curry
Sports Editor

The Millersville men’s and women’s golf teams followed the trends of many Marauders vacationing abroad this spring break.

Both the men’s and women’s team competed in tournaments during spring break. The tournaments were held on Friday, March 16 and continued into Saturday the 17.  

“It was great to get away and play golf for a week, this was most team members first 18 holes of the year so it was good to get the reps in.” Redshirt sophomore Matt Spak said.

Pinehurst No. 2 is the course that receives the most recognition. Pinehurst No. 2 hosted the prestigious U.S. Open three times and is expected to host again in 2024.

Pinehurst No. 2 also plans to hold the U.S. Amateur in 2019.

The team endured a 10-hour bus ride to Pinehurst, North Carolina with members of West Chester University’s golf team. Spak added that not many PSAC schools can say that they have shared a bus with a conference opponent.

“We have a great bond with West Chester and we feed off each other’s energy,” Spak commented on traveling with the Golden Rams.

Once the Marauders arrived in the Tar Heel State, the teams spent the week practicing for their respective tournaments.

The team also held bonding activities such as bowling and watching the NCAA basketball tournament. During the practice rounds, the Millersville Golf Instagram page documented a friendly chip and putt competition to celebrate the March Madness tournament.

“I think we really got a lot done down there and we had quality team time,” Spak said.

The trip to North Carolina had a very special meaning for Spak. He is a resident of Cary North Carolina, a suburb of Raleigh. While on the trip, Spak was able to see his parents David and Suzanne Spak.

Spak stated that being home in North Carolina made him feel comfortable. He commented that his familiarity with the Bermuda grass used on most North Carolina courses gave him an advantage over his northern opponents.

“Being back in Pinehurst is an awesome experience because it’s the cradle of golf, with nice weather year-round,” Spak said.  “It was great to be home as we prepare for the Oglebay Resort Invitational!”

Freshman Ronnie Yanoski starred in his first ever collegiate tournament. He shot an even 36 in the front nine.  He birdied back-to-back holes at the 11th and 12th to get to 2-under.

The Archibald, Pennsylvania native went bogey-free until the 14th hole in the first round. The other two bogeys came at the 16th and 18th hole to finish 1-over 73. He finished tied for 18th by shooting a 73-82.

Senior Connor Sheehan tied for fifth place at the invitational. Sheehan went 39-37 to record a 4-over 76 on Friday. Early in the second round, he made two birdies to make him 2-under with six holes left. Despite bogeying on 14th and double bogeying on 17th, a birdie on 18 allowed him to finish 76-73.

“He really helps the rest of the team strive to get to his level,” senior Mitch Burns, who shot 81-77 and finished 25th out of 93 said.

Spak calls him a great role model who continues to improve out on the golf course and brings great energy to the team and a team component.

“He’s not playing for himself, but for the team and the school,” Spak commented.  

Spak made a Carolina comeback at the Brown Invitational. In the first round, Spak finished tied for 32nd place with an 87. On Day 2, he had a shaky start by shooting 6-over after eight holes. His four birdies later in the second round allowed him to turned it around on Saturday, where he finished 2-over 74.  He was four under his final 13 holes in the second round.

Like her twin brother Ronnie, freshman Hannah Yanoski also shined bright in North Carolina. She tied for 14th place with an 84 in the first round and an 87 in the second round.  

Her performance contributed to Millersville’s fourth-place finish at the Brown Golf Intercollegiate Invitational held also on Saturday, March 17. The women’s team finished with a score of 698.

Junior Danielle Greene finished a few spots behind Yanowski at 17th. Greene shot 84 in round one and 89 in round 2.

Millersville rounded out the Top 20 with senior Alexa Strong’s 89-87 during the weekend tournament.

According to Spak, head coach Scott Vandegrift is expecting his golfers to make regionals this spring season.

“We have to be patient with ourselves,” Spak emphasized. “If we put the pieces together, we have a chance to making it to nationals.”