It was an extremely deep talent pool for mid-Michigan girls golf this year, but Lansing Catholic junior Jacqueline Setas stood out slightly above the rest.
Above Holt’s Pader Her, who took third as an individual at the Division 1 state meet and averaged less than 37 strokes per nine holes.
Above Okemos’ Elle Nichols, the two-time Division 2 state individual champion and last year’s LSJ player of the year.
Above two of her own teammates in Danielle Crilley and Janie Fineis and ahead of Kristyn Crippen of East Lansing, who tied for first at the Division 2 state tournament this year after taking second behind Nichols last year.
In that kind of company it takes a big resume to stand out, but Setas has put one together in being named the Player of the Year this fall.
“Just the talent around Lansing this year and throughout the years has been really unbelievable,” Setas said. “They’ve really pushed me to play my best and I feel like I did that. I felt like I played pretty close to my best this year.”
“She had just a great year. She just really played well all year for us,” Lansing Catholic coach Mary Schafer said of Setas. “There’s a ton of talented golfers in the Lansing area, that’s for sure. It’s incredible how many good golfers there are.”
Setas still found a way to be at the top of the discussion. She carded a nine-hole round of 30 at Groesbeck in a match against Stockbridge and established a new women’s competitive course record round with a 68 at Wheatfield Valley during the CAAC league tournament.
Setas averaged 35.86 strokes per nine holes and 74.82 for 18 holes, working hard over the summer to build on a stellar junior season that saw her tie for third individually at the Division 4 state championship.
“Over the summer I just worked on course management and short game, because short game is where you can save the most shots, so I just worked on putting and chipping a lot,” Setas said.
Setas anchored the top spot in the lineup for Lansing Catholic as the Cougars won their third straight Division 4 state title at Forest Akers West, but she was pushed every day by fellow Dream Teamers Janie Fineis and Danielle Crilley.
“Each and every day they just strived to make me better as a player. They’re both terrific golfers themselves,” Setas said.
With Fineis and Crilley graduating, the leadership role will be on Setas’ shoulders next season as Lansing Catholic tries for four straight state championships.
That will be a new challenge, but there will also be some unfinished business from this fall.
Despite shooting an 18-hole round of 76 in wicked conditions at her regional, Setas fell in a playoff for medalist honors. She did the same in the Division 4 state tournament, losing on the first hole to Wisconsin commit Aya Johnson of North Muskegon.
It will be another summer of work, the same regiment that propelled Setas to a memorable season in 2012.
“It’s going to be a little but tougher next year without Dani and Janie, but the girls know they just need to keep playing and producing the scores and I feel like we’ll be fine,” Setas said. “You ‘ve just got to know that you’re in the leadership role and keep encouraging them.”