Jozlin Johnson’s recent hot streak on the links for the Harper Creek High girls’ golf team continued Thursday at Binder Park Golf Course.
Yet Lakeview’s overall talent and team depth were again too much for either the Beavers or the co-op Battle Creek Central/Pennfield squad to overcome as the Spartans — ranked No. 3 in the state in Division 2 — claimed their sixth straight All-City crown.
Johnson, a senior, carded a 3-over-par 41 on Binder Park’s nine-hole Marsh layout that plays at a par-38 for the ladies to top Lakeview junior Megan Strole by four shots for individual medalist honors.
But as a unit, Strole’s 43, 44s by defending All-City individual medalist Danielle Little, a senior, and junior Amanda Noakes — along with a 45 by senior Sarah Vocke — gave Lakeview a team total of 176. Harper Creek was second with a 221, and BCC/Pennfield third with a 254.
Noakes wound up with the third place individual medal awarded by the Harper Creek Optimist Club — which again sponsored the 14th annual meet that was started by former Beavers coach John Peruzze — as she birdied the No. 9 hole in a playoff with teammate Little after both had 44s during regulation.
Johnson’s 41 Thursday came only a few days after she shot a career-low 77 for 18 holes to take individual medalist honors at last Friday’s Redhawk Invitational at Marshall Country Club. Playing in Thursday’s lead threesome with Lakeview’s Little and Vocke, Johnson pretty much cemented her first-place individual finish via a birdie on the par-5 No. 8 hole with a chip-in from about 10 yards out from the green.
“I’m a little surprised to be medalist today, but really, I’ve been playing pretty well lately after putting a lot of work into my game all summer by playing in lots of tournaments and matches,” said Johnson, who also had pars on the Marsh’s No. 4 (par-4), No. 6 (par-3) and No. 9 (par-4) holes.
“After that birdie, that gave me confidence going into my last hole … and when I got par on No. 9, I kind of knew that my score would be right up there near the top as I’d had a pretty good round. I’m happy for myself that I finished first individually, but I’m also happy for my team. Just last year we had only three girls out for golf, but this year we’ve got a full squad, and I think the program’s looking good now for at least the next couple of years.”
Harper Creek coach Cindy Kerridge said Johnson was “a very deserving winner.”
“Jozlin’s worked extremely hard, and I’m proud of what she accomplished — both today and recently. And it’s good for her to be getting hot at this time of the season, what with regionals and state coming up soon,” Kerridge said. “Now, I’m just hoping that her performance today can rub off on some of our other kids, helping to build their confidence and get their scores a bit lower, too.”
Lakeview coach Tony Evans — who guided the Spartans to a tie for fourth place at last fall’s D-2 state championships and wins in most every SMAC meet and invitational his squad has played in thus far this season — praised both his own players and Harper Creek’s Johnson for their efforts.
“What we shot today was pretty good for us, and that’s pretty much the way it’s been for us all season — the girls are consistent, they keep taking their turns of who goes lowest for us on any given day, and today it was Megan. That was nice for her to be our best shooter today, because she worked hard during the summer and has been playing better and better every match this season. And Amanda also played quite well today,” Evans said.
“As far as Jozlin’s performance today, 3-over was a great score on that course. Just awesome. I’m happy for her, we’re happy as a team for her … and hopefully she can keep it up and go pretty far when the postseason comes along.”
Aside from Strole, Noakes, Little and Vocke, Lakeview received no-count scores of 50 from senior Lexi Popovich and 55 from sophomore Julia Ryan.
Aside from Johnson and her 41, Harper Creek received a 58 from sophomore Miranda Maddox, a 60 from freshman Keely Cruz, a 62 from junior Paige Brady, and no-count scores of 64 from sophomore Maeve Hammond and 67 from freshman Baylee Wilkins.
Low for BCC/Pennfield coach John Green’s team were senior Megan DeHart (Pennfield) with a 56, senior Amber Chapin (Pennfield) with a 58, senior Ashlynd Horvath (Pennfield) with a 64 and senior Samantha Prescott (BCC) with a 76. With a no-count 103 was sophomore Paylend Swartz (BCC).