Mid-Michigan girls golf preview

Mid-Michigan girls golf preview

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Mid-Michigan girls golf preview

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CAPITAL AREA ACTIVITIES CONFERENCE (CAAC) BLUE

Coaches’ predictions: 1. Okemos, 2. Holt, 3. East Lansing, 4. Jackson, 5. Grand Ledge, 6. Sexton

Top players: Elle Nichols (Okemos), Kristyn Crippen (East Lansing), Pader Her (Holt)

EAST LANSING

Last year: 3rd

Coach: Bob Filter (1st season)

Home course: Walnut Hills

Top returning golfers: Kristyn Crippen (sr.)

Outlook: East Lansing lost quite a bit from last year’s team, but the Trojans return Kristyn Crippen, who was just one shot back of Nichols for the Division 2 individual state title. The Trojans will have a new coach in Filter, who previously coached at Flushing High School. In his first year, Filter believes his team can compete, reach the Division 2 state finals and finish well.

GRAND LEDGE

Last year: 4th

Coach: Tom Lindeman (2nd season)

Home course: Grand Ledge Country Club

Top returning golfers: Haley Blumer (sr.), Beth Boman (sr.), Nicole Graham (sr.), Alexis Mrozinski (jr.), Taylor Bean (jr.), Ashlee Wells (so.)

Outlook: The Comets have a good group of players back, including an all-area player in Blumer and an all-area honorable mention in Boman. Six players with varsity experience return to the Comets for Lindemann’s second season, so this should be a reasonably solid lineup in what is looking to be a tough CAAC Blue.

HOLT

Last year: 2nd

Coach: Doug Harkema (12th season)

Home course: Eldorado

Top returning golfers: Pader Her (jr.), Alexxis VanPelt (jr.), Jenna Whitson (jr.), Katie Harmer (jr.)

Outlook: The Rams lost three seniors, but return 2011 all-state selection and LSJ Dream Teamer Pader Her. There’s a lot of good potential for the other returners. VanPelt was Division 1 all-area and honorable mention all-league in the CAAC Blue last season and all three played in the bottom spots of the lineup during matches. Holt will be trying to reach its ninth straight state finals as a team this year, but the Rams will be setting themselves up for a monster 2013 season with their lineup.

OKEMOS

Last year: 1st

Coach: Dan Stolz (4th season)

Home course: College Fields

Top returning golfers: Elle Nichols (jr.), Marie Lazar (sr.), Ryleigh Gordon (sr.), Katy Hollis (sr.)

Other contributors: Jen Maisner (sr.), Carly Bullock (jr.), Caitlin Catt (sr.), Jessica Kim (fr.)

Outlook: Nichols was the LSJ Player of the Year last year after winning an individual state title in Division 2 and leads a nucleus of four players that have played together for three years on varsity. Lazar was an all-area player last year for the Chiefs while Gordon earned all-area honorable mention. Although Holt should also be strong, the four returners make Okemos the team to beat to start the year in the Blue.

SEXTON

Last year: 6th

Coach: Chris Henderson (10th season)

Home course: Royal Scot

Top returning golfers: Alexandria Rocha (jr.), Jonyae Hinton (sr.), Shaniku Mallett (sr.), Sara Jones (so.), Smaria Tucker (so.)

Other contributors: Khristy Howard (fr.)

Outlook: Rocha is a three-sport participant that is capable of shooting in the high 40s for nine holes. There is some senior leadership here for the Big Reds with Hinton and Mallett, but the rest of the roster is younger and starting to gain experience playing the game.

CAAC RED

Coaches’ predictions: 1. Haslett, 2. DeWitt, 3. Owosso, 4. Ionia, 5. St. Johns

Top player: Hannah McManus, DeWitt

DEWITT

Last year: 2nd

Coach: Steve Crowley (14th season)

Home course: Prairie Creek

Top returning golfers: Kristina Smith (sr.), Hannah McManus (sr.), Megan Hanna (sr.) Morgan Heethiu (sr.), Cassidy Splawn (jr.)

Outlook: DeWitt is trying to unseat Haslett as champions of the CAAC Red after the Vikings prevailed last year. The Panthers just may have what it takes, which is an experienced lineup full of seniors while Haslett will enter this fall with a younger lineup. Crowley will need his seniors to step up. McManus will lead the Panthers and was Division 3 all-area honorable mention as a junior last season. Smith, McManus and Hanna all averaged less than 50 strokes per nine holes last season and will be relied on for leadership and experience along with Heethiu. This is a lineup that should finish in the top two of the league, but it will be a fight with Haslett for first.

HASLETT

Last year: 1st

Coach: Stephanie Wagemann (2nd season)

Home course: Meridian Sun Golf Club

Top returning golfers: Klaudia Holland (jr.)

Other contributors: Libby Dusenberry (so.), Mary Kate Martell (so.), Brinn Beltzer (so.), Stephanie Hilker (so.), Emily Fulton (jr.)

Outlook: Five varsity players graduated off a team that took first in the CAAC Red last season. Haslett is younger this time around with four sophomores in the fold, but the Vikings are determined to improve and defend their league title. Holland will lead the team with experience after contributing to last year’s team.

IONIA

Last year: 4th

Coach: Doug Tackmann (9th season)

Home course: Rolling Hills

Top returning golfers: Margot Cook (sr.), Erika Ketchum (sr.), Jessa Delo (sr.), Lauren Fuller (sr.)

Outlook: The Bulldogs have a good core back, with Cook coming off an all-conference honorable mention junior season. Cook, Ketchum and Fuller are all in their third years on varsity and all four averaged between 44-50 strokes per nine holes last season. Tackmann believes his team can be competitive and finish in the top half of the Red, but it will be tough to challenge DeWitt and Haslett.

OWOSSO

Last year: 3rd

Coach: Nicki Flinn (4th season)

Home course: Owosso Country Club

Top returning golfers: Kailey Grubb (sr.), Rachel Omer (jr.), Sydney Freeman (jr.), Merissa Sietsema (jr.), Elle Rowlison (jr.), Abby Elbing (sr.)

Other contributors: Jordan Bannan (jr.), Abby Tolrud (fr.), Mary Basso (fr.), Jaelyn Smith (fr.)

Outlook: The Trojans will be led by Grubb, who averaged 46 strokes per nine holes and was named all-conference last season. This is a team with experience, including two seniors and five juniors, but also one with some newcomers that will be getting their first taste of varsity competition. Flinn feels her team will be in the middle of the league again.

ST. JOHNS

Last year: 5th

Coach: Rick Schultz (5th season)

Home course: The Emerald

Top returning golfers: Rachel Hicks (jr.)

Outlook: Other than Hicks, the Redwings will have a lot of young players this fall that are just beginning the game. St. Johns will rely on Hicks for leadership and experience, but will need those young players to step up and develop their games over the course of the season in order to have success.

CAAC GOLD

Coaches’ predictions: 1. Jackson Lumen Christi, 2. Jackson Northwest, 3. Mason, 4. Waverly, 5. Parma Jackson County Western, 6. Charlotte, 7. Eaton Rapids

Top player: Hanna Holmi, Waverly

CHARLOTTE

Last year: 5th

Coach: Teresa Johnson (6th season)

Home course: Charlotte Country Club

Top returning golfers: Dorothy Shewchuck (sr.)

Other contributors: Brittany Kinnison (sr.), Chelsea Delcamp (jr.)

Outlook: The Orioles bring back Shewchuck, who will enter her fourth year on the varsity team after being named team MVP as a junior. Johnson is excited about having five new freshmen on the roster and looks forward to them contributing more as the season progresses, but Charlotte will need the top of the lineup to lead the way.

EATON RAPIDS

Last year: 6th

Coach: Bob Ribby (1st season)

Home course: Branson Bay

Top returning golfers: Sydney Adams (so.), Alexis Babbitt (jr.), Anna Croley (jr.), Anne Ford (sr.), Megin McCormick (jr.), Hailey Simmons (jr.), Miranda Worden (sr.)

Outlook: The Greyhounds have two seniors and four juniors in Ribby’s first season as coach, so there’s quite a bit to work with here. However, with Jackson Lumen Christi, Jackson Northwest, Mason and Waverly in the league, it will be difficult to move up in the standings.

MASON

Last year: 3rd

Coach: Kirk Petee (13th season)

Home course: Eldorado

Top returning golfers: Shannon McNamara (jr.), Lexi Williams (sr.), Maddie Nodus-Rydahl (so.)

Other contributors: Lauren McDermott (jr.), Erin Beebe (jr.)

Outlook: Mason should be in the top three of the conference along with Jackson Northwest and Lumen Christi. It’s a younger team, but Petee and the Bulldogs should still have a reasonably competitive squad. Williams, the lone senior in the lineup, will provide leadership and experience while Mason also returns McNamara and Nodus-Rydahl. The Bulldogs will also get McDermott back after a knee injury forced her to miss the 2011 season.

WAVERLY

Last year: 4th

Coach: Mark Feinauer (10th season)

Home course: Royal Scot

Top returning golfers: Hanna Holmi (jr.), Rachael Rienstra (jr.), Crystal Tran (sr.), Lauren Miller (jr.)

Other contributors: Jessica Tran (so.)

Outlook: Waverly has some talented pieces, including Holmi, who qualified for the Division 2 state finals last season as an individual and all-area honorable mention as a sophomore. The Warriors lost Allison Goodman to graduation, but return two all-league players in juniors Holmi and Rienstra. There’s some good experience here, but Feinauer will need to find help from some of his younger players.

CAAC WHITE

Coaches’ predictions: 1. Lansing Catholic, 2. Lakewood, 3. Williamston 4. Portland, 5. Corunna, 6. Stockbridge

Top player: Jacqueline Setas, Lansing Catholic

CORUNNA

Last year: 6th

Coach: Brian Osborn (3rd season)

Home course: Corunna Hills

Top returning golfers: Diana Zvonek (sr.)

Other contributors: Amanda Oakes (jr.), Payton Birchmeier (jr.), Katie Ennis (sr.), Emily Ehl (so.)

Outlook: The Cavaliers are an inexperienced bunch, with Zvonek as the lone returner. Osborn believes this will give the younger members of the team a chance to compete in what should be a strong league. Corunna has added some athletes from other sports and Osborn has seen them pick up the game quickly.

LAKEWOOD

Last year: 2nd

Coach: Carl Kutch (11th season)

Home course: Centennial Acres

Top returning golfers: Olivia Barker (jr.), Kennedy Hilley (so.), Victoria Hager (jr.), Bryonna Barton (jr.)

Other contributors: Emily Barker (fr.)

Outlook: Lakewood features one of the best golfers in the area in Olivia Barker, who finished in 15th place as an individual qualifier at the Division 4 state finals last season and has been All-CAAC White the past two seasons. Now her sister, Emily, joins the team as a talented freshman. Hilley was also all-league last season as a freshman. Kutch believes this team has the depth and talent to make a serious run at qualifying for states as a team.

LANSING CATHOLIC

Last year: 1st

Coach: Mary Schafer (5th season)

Home course: Groesbeck

Top returning golfers: Jacqueline Setas (jr.), Danielle Crilley (sr.), Janie Fineis (sr.)

Other contributors: Mary Beth Maddalena (jr.), Lauren Burnett (jr.), Elaina Walling (fr.)

Outlook: Winning back-to-back state championships will make you an overwhelming favorite, and that’s just what Lansing Catholic is in this league. Can Lansing Catholic make it three state titles in a row? It’s very possible with three Division 4 all-state players back in Setas, Crilley and Fineis. Setas and Crilley both had two of the best averages in the area for nine holes last fall on their way to making the LSJ Dream Team and Fineis was an all-state selection. The rest of the lineup will be needed as the season goes on, but one through three the Cougars may be the best in the state at any level.

PORTLAND

Last year: 3rd

Coach: Sarah Honsowitz (7th season)

Home course: Portland Country Club

Top returning golfers: Becca Snyder (sr.), Katie Blake (jr.), Kristen Lawless (sr.), Allison Lanz (sr.), Sydney Cody (sr.), Emily Cody (sr.)

Other contributors: Kelsey Feldpausch (sr.)

Outlook: Perhaps no team in the CAAC White returns as much depth as Portland will this fall. All of last year’s varsity team returns, including two all-league players in Snyder and Blake. The Raiders have six seniors, which will give them plenty of experience and leadership, but it will be a challenge to keep up with Lansing Catholic and Lakewood.

WILLIAMSTON

Last year: 3rd

Coach: Bob Burns (5th season)

Home course: Brookshire

Top returning golfers: Lauren VanStreain (sr.), Anna Farrell (sr.), Lacey Fate (sr.), Tori Masters (sr.), Erin Wenk (sr.), Amber Ottarson (jr.), Katy Shoecarft (sr.)

Outlook: Like Portland, the Hornets are another team with a lot of returning players. That group includes six seniors and a junior. VanStreain and Farrell were all-conference performers last season as juniors and will hope to guide Williamston this fall as the Hornets battle in the middle of the CAAC White.

GAC RED

PERRY

Last year: 5th (CAAC White)

Coach: Jake Baumgartner (12th season)

Home course: Glenbrier

Top returning golfers: Megan Baumgartner (jr.), Kaitlyn Marra (sr.), Courtney Vanderhoof (jr.), Hanna Watkins (jr.)

Other contributors: Miranda Lewis (so.), Kelsi Larsen-Allen (fr.), Samantha Demerly (so.), Lauren Aldrich (so.)

Outlook: The Ramblers return several players, including an all-area and All-CAAC White player in Baumgartner. Perry moved its athletic programs to the Genesee Area Conference’s Red Division, but since only one other girls golf program competes in that division, the Ramblers will be an independent in girls golf this season.

TRI-VALLEY CONFERENCE (TVC)

ALMA

Last year: 3rd

Coach: Steve Kettler (1st season)

Home course: Pine River Country Club

Top returning golfers: Megan Shaw (jr.)

Other contributors: Hannah Chase (jr.)

Outlook: The Panthers return a two-year varsity player in Shaw, but there isn’t a ton of experience for Kettler in his first season as coach. Chase will look to provide some depth for this team as Alma hopes for a solid season to build for the future.

ITHACA

Last year: 5th

Coach: Jessie Miller (2nd season)

Home Course: The Fields

Top returning golfers: Taylor Strait (jr.), Ashley Clark (sr.)

Other contributors: Leah Bontrager (jr.), Shelby Clark (jr.)

Outlook: In his second season as coach, Miller hopes the Yellowjackets can finish in the top half of the league. Strait and Clark return to give this team some experience at the top and Miller says his team has been playing a lot this summer and has improved dramatically.

— Compiled by Denny Schwarze and Jack Dowd

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