Drive for 5 Dons grab OVAC title

WHEELING – The Weirton Madonna golf team won its fifth straight Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 1A championship Tuesday on the Crispin Course at Oglebay Park.

Michael Rogers had his best round at Crispin, with a 70, to earn 1A medalist.

“It means a lot because I lost (the medalist title) to my teammate last year (Nick Mazur),” Rogers said. “To win it my senior year is special.”

Rogers’ finish was hotter than the blazing sun, which shot temperatures into the 90s. It did not affect Rogers, whose score settled at 70 when he birdied his final three holes.

He needed it to hold off Bishop Donahue’s Stephen Gretchen, who carded a 71.

Rogers was joined on the All-OVAC 1A team by Gretchen, teammates Thomas Gianni (72), Mazur (73), Beallsville’s John Deitrich (73) and Conotton Valley’s Brandon Busby (74).

“I’m not sure he knew he needed those final three birdies, but I did tell him it was close,” Madonna coach T.J. Brancazio said. “Coming in, I knew it was going to be close. That’s his second straight 70, so he is playing his best golf right now.”

So is Madonna, which collected that fifth straight trophy.

“I’m very proud of these kids,” Brancazio said. “With these guys I never know who is going to shoot the low round. This is our conference title so there is always a high priority placed on it. The other teams are getting better. There were a lot of nice rounds by some other No. 1s today. We’re happy to be able to win it again.”

The Blue Dons did it with relative ease. Again. Of the schools fielding complete teams, Conotton Valley was the closest to Madonna in 1A with a 348, 56 strokes behind the winners.

“I had a feeling that I was going to have a good round,” Rogers said. “I felt good on the range and it followed me on the course. I’ve never played Crispin this well, so I’m happy.”

Wheeling Central won the Class 2A crown.

Justin Leonard and Thomas Stanley had 73s while teammates John Haley and Sean McFarland had a 74. They were the top four All-OVAC 2A finalists. Bridgeport’s Zack Herink and Shadyside’s Jake Gregan had 79s and were also named t o the All-OVAC team.

“We’re a senior-led team and that was the two seniors in the (medalist) playoff,” coach Ed Cihy said. “It was up to the kids to do th work and they did that. When you have two 73s and two 74s, that shows they were focused. I’m proud of them. They swing the clubs, they make the shots.”