There was hardware galore produced by the Abington Heights golf team this fall.
Two Comets qualified for the individual state championships, with one player securing a third-place finish, while another captured a District 2 title to highlight the postseason play for Abington Heights.
The year began with Anthony Sebastianelli, the third-place state finisher, leading the Comets to the team title at the prestigious Irving Jackman Memorial Tournament in the preseason by firing a 2-under-par 70 at the Scranton Municipal Golf Course.
As a team, the Comets added both Lackawanna League and District 2 titles and advanced to the state tournament.
For Comets coach Mike Williams, there was no question about what was the highlight of the year.
“The team accomplishment stands out. It was huge to make the team finals,” Williams said. “Individually, to have two players advance to states, with Anthony finishing third in the state, there’s a whole litany of things to celebrate.”
The Comets got a lot done in September and October, pushed by a knowing coach.
“It’s been a most satisfying season,” Williams said. “We wanted to win the league, win the district and advance through the regional to make states. I’m proud of the kids accomplishing all we did.”
From the first time the team gathered, Williams made sure they were aware of their potential, that they knew what they could achieve.
“I knew we had the talent,” Williams said. “In my speech at the beginning of the year, I told them, you have the ability and the talent, but you have to believe in yourselves.”
The talent level was clearly evident by the end of the year, as the Comets had the District 2 champion, the third-place finisher in the state, and a junior, and they were three different players.
The district champion was junior Terry Hurst, who narrowly missed making the state tournament as an individual.
“He can be as good as he wants to be,” Williams said. “He is tremendously talented, and I believe in him.”
The second junior was state qualifier Nick Beckish, who wasn’t even in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season but tenaciously battled his way into the lineup.
“He wasn’t in the lineup at the start, but he persevered,” Williams said. “It showed late in the season, where he had matches in practice [to get in the lineup]. I’m proud of what he accomplished, and it bodes well for next year.”
Sebastianelli began the season strong by winning the Jackman tournament, and was the last local player standing with his third-place state finish. But all season long, the senior added more than just his golfing ability to the Comets.
“He’s been on the team for four years, and he has such a positive attitude,” Williams said. “He always knows he’s going to win; he never goes in shooting for second.”
That attitude can be contagious as Sebastianelli’s ability to remain positive rubbed off on his teammates.
Williams believes that senior Dave Harris is among the top players in the league, but may not have received the acclamation he deserved because of all the talent on the team.
“He’s one of the best players in the area, but if you don’t make it out of the district meet — and I think the toughest step is getting out of districts,” Williams said. “He provided solid leadership, and always was a presence in the lineup.”
Matt Heckman, John Comerford and Steve Silverman rounded out the lineup for the Comets, a trio of seniors who always brought their best when playing for Williams.
“They made tremendous contributions to the team throughout the year,” Williams said.
The Comets did not win a title this year, but that did not mean the season wasn’t a success.
In Division I of the Lackawanna Football Conference, Abington Heights placed second with a 7-1 mark that was beaten only by Scranton Prep, which went 8-0 en route to a 10-0 regular season record.
The Comets rebounded on their second shot at the Cavaliers, defeating Scranton Prep in the District 2 Class AAA semifinals.
But the Comets were on the wrong side of the revenge angle a week later against Berwick in the district final. A year ago, Abington Heights beat the Bulldogs to advance to the state playoffs but, this time around, Berwick topped the Comets en route to reaching the state semifinals.
Abington Heights had another successful year in cross country, compiling an 18-3 record to place fourth in the Lackawanna League.