Wong repeats as District 11 champ
Evelyn Wong won her second District 11 Championship last week, shooting 3-over par 75 at The Steel Club in Hellertown on Tuesday to win by three strokes over Saucon Valley’s Emma Shelby (78).
“I’m kind of glad with the way I finished, but I’m also glad about how I worked mentally,” said Wong, an Emmaus senior. “I tried to keep myself calm and focus on the next shot.”
Wong was one of three Emmaus players to finish well enough to earn a trip to the state tournament this week. She will be joined at states by teammates Matt Zerfass and Aiden LeBlanc.
Wong’s approach to the district tournament was a bit different from last year, when she came out on top of a tight battle with former teammate Michelle Cox in a playoff.
Last year Wong was still focusing on physically hitting the right shots. This year her approach was primarily on the mental aspect of the game.
“It used to be just hitting a ball and how to hit it well,” Wong said. “Now I know how to hit it well. It’s more about how I can hit it well every time depending on how I think. It’s a lot more of a mental game now.”
She made three birdies, four bogeys and one double bogey in her district championship round. She said a visit to her coach, Andy Miller at Ledgerock Golf Club in Berks County, helped her prepare for her final high school event in the Lehigh Valley.
“I’m really glad I went to my coach on Saturday,” Wong said. “”He told me the top tips that I had to think of today like trying to distract myself from overthinking things, focusing on my shot when I need to. I’m glad I went to my coach and I’m glad that my brother (Colin, a former EHS golfer and 2021 graduate) came with me today because he really helped me.”
After finishing fourth overall last year, Wong knows her game can hold up with the best players in the state. She shot 3-over par 75 at last year’s state tournament, which is held annually at Heritage Hills Golf Course in York.
Wong would love to win the state tournament, but she knows that all she can do is play her best and accept whatever position that gets her on the leaderboard. When asked where she’d like to finish she was honest and optimistic.
“I’ve dreamed of [finishing first],” she said. “But everyone does. In reality I’ve told myself there is no expectation. Just play your best.”
Wong, Zerfass and LeBlanc competed Tuesday in the state championship tournament. That event was played after Press deadline.
Zerfass, who won this year’s league title in a playoff over Liberty’s Matthew Vital, took second place to his Hurricane rival at districts last week.
An eagle on the 15th hole put Vital in the lead and he held on to shoot 2-under par 70 for his first district title by one stroke over Zerfass.
“I feel like I played fantastic,” said Zerfass. “I played pretty darn steady, only two bogeys all day. Going into 17 I was playing great.”
Zerfass had a one-shot lead through 10 holes before Vital made birdie on the 11th hole and both were at 1-under par for the day. Zerfass birdied No. 12, but then bogeyed the next hole to keep things even.
When they got to the 15th, Vital, who missed birdie putts on his previous two holes, drove his ball into the trees on the par 5. But he made a great shot, a cut 7-iron from nearly 180 yards, then drained a long putt for eagle while Zerfass made birdie.
“I think that was the turning point,” said Vital, “because I missed one on 12, missed one on 13 and then I got to 14 and I hit my drive in the trees. To make the eagle there, that set me up.”
Vital made bogey on the 17th hole, but Zerfass doubled bogeyed before a birdie on the last hole closed the gap to one stroke.
Zerfass was the only player all day, including boys and girls in Class 2A and 3A, to make a birdie on the 18th. Only 16 of the 78 players (62 boys, 16 girls) that competed at districts even parred the brutal par-4 that featured a hole location that was nearly impossible to get close to.
Zerfass enjoys playing with Vital and the battles they’ve had over their time in high school and even before in Golf Association of the Lehigh Valley events.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for anybody better to play with. Each and every time I’m paired with him I’m super-excited. I know we’re going to give each other a good run for our money. We feed off each other and when one person plays good the other person plays good. It’s a battle but it’s awesome.”
LeBlanc, who returned to the East Penn School District this year for his final season on the golf team, earned his trip to states with a fifth-place finish. He shot 4-over par 76 and avoided a playoff for the final state qualification by one stroke.
LeBlanc got off to a slow start, with bogeys on his first and third holes. But he played the next seven holes at 2-under par with birdies on 6, 9 and 10 and a bogey on the 8th.
After playing the 11th-14th holes at 4-over par (one double bogey, two bogeys, one par) he made a birdie on the 16ht before a bogey on the 18th got him in at 75.
Emmaus finished second in the team standings at districts with a team score of 384. Liberty won the team title at 379.
The Hornets’ Noah Schurman and Patrick Bova also competed in districts. Schurman qualified for districts individually, while Bova was unable to advance to states but was part of team scoring.
Schurman shot 81 for 15th place, while Bova shot 82.
In Class 2A, Palmerton’s Josh Suto shot 1-under par and edged Evan Eichenlaub (Moravian Academy) by one stroke. Brooke Powis (North Schuylkill) won the Class 2A girls tournament with a 104.
Palmerton won the Class 2A team championship.
District 11 Golf Championships
CLASS 3A BOYS
1. Liberty 300, 2. Emmaus 303, 3. Nazareth 322, 4. Lehighton 350.
1. Matt Vital (Liberty) 70, 2. Matt Zerfass (Emmaus) 71, 3. Michael Vital (Liberty) 74, 4. Hunter Probst (Stroudsburg) 75, 5. Aiden LeBlanc (Emmaus) 76, 6. *Trent Moyer (Northampton) 77.
Did not qualify
7. Giffort Hart (Saucon Valley) 77, 8. Erik Smith (Saucon Valley) 78, 8. Jase Barker (Liberty) 78, 8. Matthew Ronca (Liberty) 78, 11. Colin Zavacky (Saucon Valley) 79, 11. Freddy Bacon (Bangor) 79, 11. James Kelly (Parkland) 79, 14. Chase Skrapits (Nazareth) 80, 15. Noah Schurman (Emmaus) 81, 16. Cohen Resch (Southern Lehigh) 82, 16. Owen Fahs (Nazareth) 82, 18. Colin Sarnoski (Southern Lehigh) 83, 18. Michael Andrews (Southern Lehigh) 83, 20. Will Eberz (Stroudsburg) 84, 21. Aaron Miller (Lehighton) 86, 21. Aiden Greenberg (Nazareth) 86, 21. Drew Bohl (Nazareth) 86, 21. Pierce Argot (Pocono Mountain East) 86, 25. Nick Taborelli (Pocono Mountain East) 87, 25. Trey Spring (Lehighton) 87, 27. Cole Maksimik (Blue Mountain) 89, 28. Deacon Dickinson (Southern Lehigh) 92, 29. Lydon Patascher (Pleasant Valley) 103.
*Won on first playoff hole
CLASS 3A GIRLS
1. Evelyn Wong (Emmaus) 75, 2. Emma Shelby (Saucon Valley) 78, 3. Natalie White (Bangor) 82
Did not qualify
4. Ashlyn McCormick (Pocono Mountain West) 89, 5. Madison Salter (Northampton) 92, 6. Camryn Hoff (Nazareth) 93, 7. Allie Tarreto (Nazareth) 94, 8. Sydni Sundstrom (Parkland) 99, 8. Kristine Landis (Whitehall) 99, 10. Marla Freiwald (Blue Mountain) 100, 11. Chloe Chase (Parkland) 101, 11. Danielle Crenshaw (Parkland) 101, 13. Paulina Poels (Bangor) 103, 14. Maddie Hagens (Southern Lehigh) 105.
CLASS 2A BOYS
1. Palmerton 308, 2. Central Catholic 328, 3. Mahanoy Area 388, 4. Schuylkill Haven 397.
1. Josh Suto (Palmerton) 71, 2. Evan Eichenlaub (Moravian Academy) 72, 3. Ben Ortwein (Notre Dame Green Pond) 75, 4. *Tyler Hager (Palmerton) 76.
Did not qualify
5. Connor Reinhard (Palmerton) 76, 6. Nathan Myers (Central Catholic) 78, 7. Tyler Barton (Schuylkill Haven) 79, 8. Charlie Long (Central Catholic) 81, 9. Jeff Markosky (North Schuylkill) 84, 10. Thomas Young (Moravian Academy) 86, 10. Aaron Janis (Central Catholic) 86, 10. Peter McGinley (Tamaqua) 86, 13. Sebastian Holbrook (Moravian Academy) 87, 14. Grant Culbert (Pine Grove) 90.
*Won on fourth playoff hole
CLASS 2A GIRLS
Did not qualify
1. Brooke Powis (North Schuylkill) 104, 2. Katie Miller (Tamaqua) 125.