Mona Shores Packs a Powerful Swing

May 2, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The chances are good Muskegon Mona Shores will continue facing more senior-laden opponents this spring.

But just because the Sailors are made up of all juniors and freshmen, it doesn’t mean they don’t carry significant experience onto the course.

Juniors Reed Hrynewich, Andrew Van Aels, Joel Maire and Eric Kastelic all were among the team’s top five scorers at last season’s Division 1 Final at Oakland University. And although none placed among the individual top 10, the team finished fifth overall.

“We’re more poised,” Mona Shores coach Tom Wilson said. “We were fifth at the state finals last year, and I think there was a little bit of intimidation there. It was the first time the whole team had been there – Reed had been there as an individual – and I think they’ve picked up a lot from that.” 

Mona Shores’ golf team gets Second Half’s team High 5 this week after winning, by a stroke, the always-competitive Traverse City Central Invitational this weekend at Spruce Run and The Wolverine.

The Sailors didn’t finish first in either round over the two-day event. But they finished second in both, shooting 309 on Friday at Spruce Run and 297 on Saturday at The Wolverine for a combined score of 606 strokes – one fewer than Division 1 top-ranked Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central and two fewer than then-No. 5 Traverse City West.

Mona Shores is ranked No. 2 in Division 1. And as evidence of the respect given to the Traverse City tournament, three more teams from the weekend’s field have since been added to that state poll’s top 10.

Hrynewich shot a 69 to finish second at the Wolverine and a 75 to finish fifth at Spruce Run, and Van Aels finished eighth individually in both weekend rounds. Maire and Kastelic also both shot at least 82 in both rounds, and together the four have been making significant contributions since the start of high school.

“They were kind of leading the pack when they were freshmen,” said Wilson – who has led four teams to MHSAA championships, including two over the last 11 seasons.

But the juniors represent part of a line-up loaded with potential. Freshmen Glen Kastelic and Mitchell White fill the remaining starting spots. At Monday’s O-K Black Jamboree at Watermark Golf Course, also a win, both freshmen shot 36, with Hrynewich 37 and Van Aelt a 38.

Hrynewich is a significant presence at the top of the lineup. He’s been an all-stater his first two seasons – he tied for sixth in at the Division 1 Final as a freshman – and also was a hockey all-stater this winter.

A skillful swing runs in the family. His father Tim played two seasons in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins. And Reed’s twin sister also is among the state’s golfing elite – a three-time top-five Finals placer as Mona Shores’ girls golf team has won the last three Division 2 championships.

The Kastelic brothers also are strong hockey players, and Wilson said there’s certainly a connection between the two sports and their reliance on strong hand-eye coordination. 

He’s had strong hockey players lead some of his other top Mona Shores teams – and this one is beginning to show a championship look as well.

PHOTO: Mona Shores junior Reed Hrynewich lines up a putt during last season's Division 1 Final, where the Sailors finished fifth.

Mid Peninsula's Boys Sweep UPD3 Titles, Including 1st Team Championship

By Jason Juno
Special for

June 1, 2023

HYDE – The Rock Mid Peninsula boys won their first Upper Peninsula Finals boys golf championship Thursday, earning it in Division 3 at Highland Golf Club near Escanaba.

The Wolverines finished with a score of 324, 13 strokes fewer than runner-up Ontonagon.

“It’s the first time in school history for us, so we’re pretty excited about it,” Mid Pen coach Earlene VanDamme said. “The kids put a lot of work into this year.”

They did it with three golfers among the individual top five, led by medalist Bradly VanDamme, who shot a 77, and tournament runner-up Michael Englund, who carded a 78. Christian VanDamme was close behind with an 81, which was good for a fifth-place tie.

Big Bay de Noc’s Nick Desjarden watches a tee shot at Highland Golf Club. The three golfers have shot consistently around 80 all year. 

“Our top three boys were pretty equivalent. They were within one or two strokes of each other,” Coach VanDamme said. “I kept messing with the order. It didn’t matter where I put them, it always ended up that they were just all always kind of consistent.”

Bradly VanDamme said he has been shooting consistently in the 80s. He shot an 80 here during a practice round. 

“So a 77 today was huge,” he said. “I never expected to play as good as I did today.”

Fixing a key part of his game helped.

“I got off the tee well; usually that’s my struggle,” VanDamme said. “But every tee, I just thought, if I can keep this one in play and keep it in the fairway, then this course is pretty easy if you can keep it in the fairway.”

He said he was happiest about the team title.

“It’s great. All the guys are really excited. That was our goal coming into this – we didn’t care how we all individually placed, we just wanted to win as a team,” he said.

Watersmeet’s Edmond Williams putts during his round.That’s the way team leaders think.

“Bradly is a strong leader for the team,” Coach VanDamme said. “He continuously is just prepping the team, saying, ‘Come on guys, this is about the team score. We all need to do this.’”

His brother Christian VanDamme was just four strokes behind him.

“It helps that (Bradly’s) brother is on the team because he is very competitive with him,” said Coach VanDamme, who also is Bradly and Christian’s mother. “And they put a lot of extra practice in trying to better themselves, so they do practice a lot.”

Ontonagon was team runner-up for the second year in a row.

The Gladiators were led by Abi Pestka, who finished in third place and shot an 80, and Jerry Majurin, who tied Christian VanDamme with an 81.

“That’s the best the boys have done as a group,” Ontonagon coach Jim Jessup said. “Everybody was fairly close in terms of their scores.”

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PHOTOS (Top) Rock Mid Peninsula celebrates its first UP Finals championship in boys golf Thursday. (Middle) Big Bay de Noc’s Nick Desjarden watches a tee shot at Highland Golf Club. (Below) Watersmeet’s Edmond Williams putts during his round. (Photos by Jason Juno.)