Lakeview tradition continues at states

Lakeview tradition continues at states

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Lakeview tradition continues at states

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For the 10th straight season, coach Tony Evans’ Lakeview High girls’ golf team is in the MHSAA finals.

And for the 10th consecutive campaign, there’s going to be a Vocke gal representing the Spartans at the championships.

Friday and Saturday at The Meadows Golf Course at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, that’ll be Sarah Vocke. Before that, it was her older sisters Jessica (graduated in spring 2010) and Lauren (graduated in spring 2007).

Jessica is currently a junior at Michigan State University majoring in education, and Lauren is an MSU grad now in medical school in East Lansing.

Soon, Sarah will be at MSU, too. She’ll be graduating from LHS in the spring of 2013, and said she plans on maintaining her Spartan status near the state’s capitol and going after a degree in the arts.

So, these are kind of bitter-sweet times for Evans, as well as for Mr. and Mrs. Vocke — dad Cris and mom Kriste, both Lakeview grads themselves.

Because once this coming weekend is over, it’s going to be an end of an era — The Vocke Era — for Lakeview High girls’ golf.

Well, sort of.

See, even though there won’t be any more Vocke sisters playing for LHS in the foreseeable future after Saturday, Cris and Kriste will still be connected with the Spartan program. The Vockes own and operate three golf courses in town, and one of them is Cedar Creek Golf Club — Lakeview’s longtime home course.

“The Vockes have been great to us for many years now, providing us with great golfing daughters who are also great individuals, a great home course to play on, and lots of great kids for our school program from the junior programs they run every summer,” Evans said. “So even though it’s kind of sad that Sarah’s the last of the Vocke girls who’ll be on the team, we’re still looking forward to continuing our relationship with the Vocke family in other ways for many years to come.

“The Vockes … they’re all just super people.”

Sarah Vocke, who has usually been playing in the No. 2 spot for Lakeview this season, will be joined at this weekend’s MHSAA Division 2 finals at GVSU by No. 1 Danielle Little (senior), No. 3 Amanda Noakes (junior), No. 4 Megan Strole (junior) and No. 5 Lexi Popovich (senior).

“My parents have always been there to watch me and my sisters play every match through these past 10 years, and all of us (sisters) owe a lot to our parents. It’s weird, but Lakeview golf and one of us Vocke girls … it’s kind of been a tradition for so long now, it’s going to be strange next year when there’s no Vocke on the team,” Sarah said.

“But I’m not going to be going into my final weekend with the team thinking about sad things. I just want us all to do well as a team, keep our games together with the pressure that’s always on us to do well each and every meet, and finish as highly at state as we can.”

Lakeview finished tied for fourth in D-2 last season, and is currently ranked No. 3 in D-2 — behind top-ranked Muskegon Mona Shores (the four-time defending state champ) and No. 2 Okemos. Which is sort of strange, because Lakeview beat Okemos via a fifth-player tie-breaker score to take regional team honors last week, and Little tied Okemos’ Ellie Nichols (the defending D-2 state individual medalist) for the regional medalist title (both shot 77s at Stonehedge North).

“I think our ranking, though, is right around where we should be,” Evans said. “Mona Shores is definitely the class of our division again this year … and I’m figuring it will be us, Okemos and probably two or three other schools fighting for the runner-up spot again at this year’s finals. We could wind up finishing anywhere from second to fifth.”

Marching around The Meadows in tow of Sarah Vocke and the rest of the LHS contingent, of course, will be folks Cris and Kriste Vocke.

“I don’t think we know what we’re going to do with ourselves next year when we don’t have one of our daughters playing on the Lakeview team. We’re just so used to going out and following them around, walking around golf courses, getting in our exercise … and Cris has already said ‘no’ about adopting another daughter,” Kriste said with a chuckle.

Said Cris with a smile: “I just think Kriste and me have been blessed to have had three great daughters all play for Lakeview, it’s been a privilege for our girls to be parts of some great Lakeview teams, and I just want to thank coach Evans for putting up with all of us Vockes for so long.”

Added Evans, “Well, the pleasure’s been mine.”

MORE DIVISION 2

Also at GVSU this weekend will be Gull Lake sophomore Cydney Martell, who made state as an individual qualifier from the regional the Blue Devils hosted at Stonehedge.

DIVISION 3

The Cereal City’s own Bedford Valley Golf Club will for the first time host an MHSAA championships on Friday and Saturday.

Locals at the Gull Lake View chain of courses’ site will be coach Dick Hamilton’s Marshall team that finished third at last week’s regionals and which will be making its sixth state meet appearance in the past seven seasons (the Redhawks’ scorers at regionals were senior Amanda Genise, sophomore Sammi Price, sophomore Annie Cape and junior Jill Puckett); along with individual qualifiers Jozlin Johnson of Harper Creek (senior) and Anna Wendorf of Coldwater (junior).

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