RAY SWANSON | Keystoner A special honor for a fallen friend
Talk about making a good thing out of a negative situation.
Steven Chavara died following a tragic accident in August of 1997 while employed at Sharon Tube. He had many friends, made during his athletic careers at Farrell High and later at Wright State, the University of Pittsburgh and Youngstown State.
His best friend, his wife, Lisa, decided something should be done following her husband's death to preserve his memory.
"We thought at first of staging some kind of benefit volleyball tournament but decided a golf tournament would be better," she explained.
Athletic prowess: Steve attended Wright State on a volleyball scholarship after graduation from Farrell where he played for coach Chuck Montgomery.
At Farrell, Steve not only played volleyball but was a member of the Steeler basketball team.
"The Kid," as he was known to his many friends, went on to coach volleyball at Ursuline High while also officiating on the high school and college level.
Proceeds of the Chavara Benefit Tournament are turned over to local high school's scholarship funds.
"The last three years we turned over $5,500 in scholarships and this year, following the recent tourney, I plan on turning over another $2,000," said Lisa.
Increasingly popular: The tournament is becoming one of the most anticipated events in Mercer County golf history.
"We had a full house this year in our tourney with 38 teams and that's 190 participants in our five-man scramble which was held at the Hermitage VFW Golf Course," she said.
Lisa said more women are becoming involved in the tournament each year, something she had not planned on.
"Things just seem to work out better each year," she said. "After we announced our tourney dates this year, we were full in four weeks."
We have heard nothing but good things about the tournament from many of those who participated in this year's event in mid-August.
The winners: To place first in a field of 190 golfers took some, doing but a local group, comprised of men from Hermitage, captured top honors.
The team was Tony Mastrian, basketball coach at Hickory High School; Bruce Bittler, coach of the ninth grade boys basketball team at Hickory; Dan Moschillo, a former Hornet athletic standout and now a chiropractor; Pat Mastrian, Tony's brother, and John Miller, a recent Hickory High golf standout.
"Everyone contributed," said Tony Mastrian. "We made some clutch shots when we had to and that's what put us on top."
The winners posted a 15-under-par 56.
Bittler reportedly turned in a super shot on the final hole, a par 3, when he placed his tee shot about 6 inches from the cup. An ace would have been the topper to an already beautiful day for the five-some.
Titans ranked: The Westminster College football program is ranked in a pair of NCAA Division III Top 25 preseason rankings by national football publications. The Titans are ranked 18th by Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette and 25th by Lindy's College Football Annual.
Westminster, under the direction of second-year coach Jerry Schmitt, returns 29 letterwinners and 15 starters from last year's team which finished 8-2, including 5-0 against teams from the Presidents' Athletic Conference.
The 2000 Titans were ranked as high as No. 10 by Hansen's before closing the season at No. 14. In both Titan losses last season, the games were still in doubt into the final 10 seconds.