Clarkston Everest Earns 1st Finals Win

June 11, 2016

By Scott Keyes
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Until Saturday, Clarkston Everest Collegiate had never won an MHSAA Finals championship in any sport during the school’s eight-year existence.

That all changed during a five-hour round of golf Saturday afternoon, as its boys team lapped the field en route to capturing the Lower Peninsula Division 4 championship at Forest Akers West on the campus of Michigan State University.

The Mountaineers fired a two-day total of 637 followed by Kalamazoo Christian (665). Muskegon Catholic was third at 685, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart fourth at 690 and Clinton rounded out the top five with a 692.

Everest Collegiate used a strong second day to run away from the field after firing a 317 to take a two-stoke lead into the second round. The Mountaineers were followed closely by Kalamazoo Christian (319) and Sacred Heart (328) during Saturday’s round.

Everest Collegiate coach David Smith credited the strong start in the opening round to his golfers focus heading into the Final. That, coupled with making clutch shots, allowed the Mountaineers to pull away late in the second round.

"The memories from this day will last a lifetime,” Smith said. “We will go down as the first state championship team in school history. It doesn't get any better than that. 

“It’s amazing,” he added. “This is such an amazing group of young men to be with.”

Everest Collegiate had never played the championship course until Friday. Smith was being honest when he said he didn't know what to expect before the opening round of play. But to see the team grow up this weekend nearly moved him to tears.

"You can teach the kids the basics of the game, but to watch them make shots in critical situations and just watch them grow as players is something you can't teach," Smith said. "My senior Tyler Rozwadowski came in and nearly won the whole thing as an individual player, and he never saw the course before until now. It's stuff like that which makes this victory even more impressive. I couldn't be prouder."

Taking the medalist honor was Lansing Christian sophomore Parker Jamieson, who fired a 71-76 two-day total of 147. Rozwadowski finished with 149 strokes, followed by White Pigeon's Jordan Olsen, Kalamazoo Christian's Colin Sikkenga and Collin Powers of Muskegon Catholic Central, who all tied for third at 154.

Jamieson, a Lansing native, is no stranger to the Forest Akers courses, and he played West as a veteran over the past two days. Needless to say he is already thinking about next year's tournament, as it will be played at Forest Akers East.

"I can't help not to think about coming back to Forest Akers next season and repeating," Jamieson said. "I really battled the heat out there Saturday, but so did everyone else. I focused on making good shots, making every shot count out there. It was definitely a grind."

Rozwadowski agree.

"I came into Saturday's round with a number in my mind that I wanted to shoot and I almost hit that number, but I came up a little short," Rozwadowski said. "I would have loved to have won the individual championship, but I wouldn't change anything winning a team title with my guys. This is pretty special."

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PHOTOS: (Top) The Clarkston Everest Collegiate boys golf team stands with its first MHSAA championship trophy in any sport. (Middle) Lansing Christian’s Parker Jamieson. (Click to see more from

Hockey Players Transferring Winter Puck Skills to Spring Golf Swings

By Tom Lang
Special for

May 26, 2023

When the Michigan seasons shift from winter to spring, some high school golf teams are a little more eager than others for the hockey season to officially end.

This is especially true for the school golf programs in Brighton, Hartland and Muskegon Mona Shores – examples of boys teams that love having hockey players transition from the indoor frozen ice to play golf outdoors on the lush green grass.

“I would take a golf team full of hockey players any day,” said Hartland golf coach Nathan Oake. “I love them.”

We can tell, because his program is full of them.

Hartland and Brighton each have eight hockey players on their 16-golfer varsity and JV rosters.

Mona Shores has three hockey players this year, but usually has more. In 2023 it’s Oliver MacDonald (all-state honorable mention in hockey), Nathan McNarland and Nicholas Taylor, who was voted Division 1 all-state golf last spring, then leading his team to fifth place at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final.

Hartland’s Ian Kastamo (16) takes a faceoff against Brighton this winter. Brighton golfer Winston Lerch was also Division 1 all-state last year in golf and an assistant captain on the hockey team this winter that finished Division 1 runner-up to Detroit Catholic Central. Here in 2023, he shot a 65 to open the season at Oakland University for medalist and has committed to Grand Valley State for golf with his 72-stroke average.

Joining Lerch in the Bulldogs boys golf program are hockey players like Levi Pennala, winner of hockey’s Wall Award sponsored by State Champs as the top high school goalie. Pennala – who recently shot 72 at the Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship tournament, his career low for high school golf – finished in the top 30 last year at the LPD1 Final. Then early this spring when he was away at a high-level junior hockey tournament, freshman hockey player Adam Forcier stepped in and shot a school record 18-hole round for a freshman at 73. Jacob Daavetilla also works into the starting lineup at times.

Forcier tied the record of Davis Codd – who, as a pro hockey player on leave from the Saginaw Spirit OHL hockey team when COVID-19 shut down the league, won the LPD1 Final in 2021 for Brighton.

Brighton golf coach Jimmy Dewling said Codd was one of the earliest to prove to others you can play both hockey and golf and excel. In fact, that June in 2021, Codd went to an NHL scouting camp in Pennsylvania before the Golf Finals, drove overnight back to Forest Akers to play the two championship rounds, won the title, then immediately returned to Pennsylvania to resume the hockey camp.

“On our team, we believe, and TBone (Codd) was a perfect example of it, if there’s any time you have the opportunity to be competitive, it is going to make you a more well-rounded competitor and therefore better at your particular sport,” Dewling said.

“We like hockey players. In the winter, they have to think to where the puck is going, be smart enough to react, and understand how that emotion is going to carry over from one play to the next. When it’s your shift you have to forget about the last shift, or take something from the last shift and put it into the next shift, to have consistent play.

“It’s the same on the golf course,” Dewling continued. “It’s one hole to the next, one shot at a time, being tough, and that’s only going to come from competition reps. We love the athletic ability more so than anything; the toughness and competitiveness all year.”

In addition to Lerch and Pennala starting on varsity golf, they are joined by traditional golfers Matt Doyle, Riley Morton and Andrew Daily, who is committed to Wayne State and finished LPD1 runner-up last spring.

Mona Shores’ Nicholas Taylor fires an iron shot. Going into the 2023 golf postseason, Brighton is ranked No. 2 in Division 1. The Bulldogs have won the Next Tee Invite at Oakland Hills, the North Star Invite at Plum Hollow and the KLAA Conference Championship – earning Brighton’s first conference title since 2007. The Bulldogs also were runners-up at The Meadows Invite at Grand Valley State University. The team is averaging 297 for 18 holes.

Oake admitted this is a rebuilding year for Hartland’s golf program. The varsity lineup has only two returning players with varsity golf experience – Keller King and Brady Betteley.

“So, we opted to keep a group of tough competitors with a solid combination of speed and strength – and who are not concerned about the cold conditions that we play in,” Oake quipped.

Five others rotate into the Eagles’ golf starting lineup with King and Betteley: Isaac Frantti is an all-state hockey defensemen playing his first season of golf but shot a career-low 79 at American Dunes recently. He just signed a United State Premier Hockey League tender to play in Connecticut next year. Ian Kastamo scored the winning goal in Hartland’s Division 2 hockey championship victory in 2022, and LJ Sabala is a varsity hockey player as well.

Then there are two non-hockey freshmen getting shots to start occasionally – Dallas Korponic, who finished third at his weight at the Individual Wrestling Finals, and Michael Maurin. Five more sophomores and juniors are hockey players on the JV golf team.

We hope to be competitive with (Brighton) again soon, but they have the talent to make a big splash this year,” Oake said. “I also play golf at the same club as many Brighton players, so I see them quite a bit and we are friendly. When the Brighton team walked by our team on a recent Monday and all said hello to me and our guys, one of my players looked at me and said that this was the biggest difference between hockey and golf. In hockey, the small talk would be (traded) for the ice, and it would not be very nice out there.

“Either way, I believe both sports are filled with fierce competitors and respect, but when the game is over a handshake and a golf hat tip are offered to the victor.”

This story was updated and reposted with permission of

PHOTOS (Top) Brighton takes a team photo after finishing third at last season’s LPD1 Final, and all five golfers are back this season including hockey players Levi Pennala (second from left) and Winston Lerch (second from right.) (Middle) Hartland’s Ian Kastamo (16) takes a faceoff against Brighton this winter. (Below) Mona Shores’ Nicholas Taylor fires an iron shot. (Photos courtesy of High School Sports Scene, Sapshots Photography and Mona Shores’ athletic department, respectively.)