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2024 Junior Championships Preview

Reigning Pennsylvania state high school and Allied Golf Association champions will be featured in loaded fields in both the boys’ and girls’ competitions when the Pennsylvania Golf Association (PAGA) hosts its junior championships, Monday and Tuesday, June 24-25. 

The 61st Junior Girls’ event will be played at Lebanon Country Club with an automatic exemption for the winner into the USGA’s Junior Girls’ Amateur later this summer. On the boys’ side, the East Course at Hershey Country Club will be the venue for the 81st playing of the championship.

Anna Swan of Lake View Country Club near Erie won the PIAA Class AA state title last Fall playing for North East High School at Penn State’s White Course. She is entered along with the 2023 PIAA Class AAA winner Rhianna Gooneratne of Plymouth Whitemarsh High School and The 1912 Club.

Bucknell Golf Club’s Hannah Rabb, the runner-up in each of the last two PAGA girls’ championships returns in search of the title. Rabb is the recent PIAA AA runner-up representing Warrior Run High School tying with Middlesex High School’s Kate Sowers (Tam O’Shanter Golf Club) who is also in the field.

A pair of PAGA Individual members, the Roberts’ sisters, Kate and Kayley, will also challenge Lebanon’s layout. Kate, a senior, and Kayley, a sophomore at Phoenixville High School finished just behind Gooneratne in the AAA championships in October.    

The exciting new addition to the girls’ competition is the opportunity for the champion to compete for national honors in the 71st U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, California from July 15-20.

Just to the west, Hershey will host a solid field of boys’ competitors as well led by last year’s PIAA AA champion Nick Werner, who plays out of Huntsville Golf Club and Wyoming Seminary.  Also competing are Nick Turowski (Penn Trafford High School) of Hannastown Golf Club and Wes Lorish (Plum High School) and Willowbrook Country Club, who tied as the PIAA AAA runner-ups, and Michael Maslanka from Riverside High School (Pine Hills Country Club), who finished fourth in the PIAA AA on Penn State’s Blue Course.

Coming off winning his second-straight Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP), John Stevenson of Sunnybrook Golf Club has his game at a high level coming into the event. Stevenson’s victory last week came in GAP’s 110th version of their boys’ championship. Joining him is the 2024 Western Pennsylvania Golf Association (WPGA) junior champion Aaron Didjunas (Youghiogheny Country Club) and the WPGA’s 2023 champion Griffin Hansberry of Nemacolin Country Club.

In addition, last year’s GAP Junior Player of the Year, Jeff Homer (Allentown Municipal) and Sebastian Botero (North Hills Country Club), the runner-up to Stevenson a week ago are entered at Hershey. The strong field also includes Colton Lusk (Nemacolin Country Club) and Seiji Sako (McCall Golf Club), who tied for fourth in the PIAA tournament playing for Peters Township and Lower Merion high schools, respectively.

Both 54-hole events are sponsored by DICK’S Sporting Goods