LL Section 1 Golf-Conestoga CC

Lancaster Catholic’s Jack Novis tees off on the 13th hole during an L-L League golf match at Conestoga Country Club on Tuesday, September 1, 2020.

YORK — Jack Novis was upbeat when he finished up at the PIAA 2A golf championships on Monday, even if it was the Lancaster Catholic senior’s final high school round.

Although Novis didn’t post a great score at Heritage Hills Golf Club, he had a lot to be happy about as the reigning District Three Class 2A champion.

“I am happy I made it, but I would say the highlight of the season was winning the district championship,” he said Monday after carding a 13-over par 84, which tied for 40th.

While entering states as a district champ added some pressure, at the end of the day the windswept Heritage Hills proved to be a bigger challenge.

“It’s hard not to be nervous in this situation,” Novis said. “It was tough today. Also with the cold, the ball wasn’t traveling as far. It was just a lot of things.”

Novis was 8-over after the first nine holes, but regrouped on the back nine, where he shot a 40, thanks to his only birdie of the day, on the par-4 13th.

“I really wasn’t hitting my driver well, so I didn’t have a lot of chances to make some birdies,” he said. “It just wasn’t a great ball-striking round. I didn’t putt well either. It was a tough day.”

Two of his Lancaster Catholic teammates made their first trips to states also, as sophomores Gavin Badger and Savannah Miller joined Novis on the course.

Both underclassmen made great strides this season. In fact, Miller took up golf only 15 months ago and medaled at districts to reach the PIAA championships.

“Last year was my first year playing high school golf,” Miller said. “Today I embraced the experience, because it was a first-time experience. I just enjoyed it and played golf.”

“It was really cool. It’s a pretty nice course, so it was fun to play,” Badger said in agreement. “I didn’t really feel any pressure. I just came here to have fun.”

Badger shot a 15-over 85. Starting on No. 10, he shot a 40 for his first nine holes, but things remained difficult.  

“The wind played a factor on a couple of holes and made them really hard,” he said. “I would like to be more consistent because my scores are all over the place right now. I’d like to just make that a little bit better.”

Miller got off to a decent start at 3-over par after five holes; however, the challenges increased from there and she recorded a 19-over 91. Still, she loved playing at the state championships.

“Golf sometimes angers me,” said Miller, who also swims and plays lacrosse competitively. “On some of the holes, if I have a bad time I am in a terrible mood. But at the end of the day I am still playing golf, so it doesn’t matter that much.”

Both said reaching the PIAA championships as sophomores will provide incentive for them to return the next two years.

“I also play two other sports, so picking a sport to prioritize is key,” Miller said. “Playing golf today makes me want to put more time and effort into golf. Also, watching some of the players here motivates me to play to that level as I grow my golf skills.”

“I can just improve, get better and hopefully place here,” Badger added. “It was a good year. It was shaky in the beginning, but I put it together and the last few weeks playing in these tournaments was just really fun.”

As Miller and Badger look ahead to potential return trips to states, Novis can reflect on a solid high school career, capped by his first trip to the PIAA championships.

“It’s been a long trip. I learned a lot and have a lot of good memories,” he said. “I felt like I could make states and knew I was capable of winning districts. I just had to put it together.”

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