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.

Saline's Williams-Hoak Named National Coach of the Year by LPGA Professionals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 20, 2022

The LPGA Professionals have named Saline High School golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak as its national Coach of the Year.

Williams-Hoak was among national award winners who were selected by the LPGA Professionals’ executive committee from a pool of Section Award winners, which were voted on by officers of those regional sections.

More on the award from LPGA Professionals:

The LPGA Professionals Coach of the Year Award was established in 1980 and is awarded annually to an LPGA Professionals member who is actively engaged in teaching and/or coaching golf at the collegiate or high school level.

LPGA Professionals Class A member Debbie Williams-Hoak knows what it takes to compete at the highest levels. She is a former LPGA Tour Player and track & field athlete who represented U.S. Track & Field in Russia and West Germany. She is a four-time Big Ten Champion, a member of the Ohio Track & Field Hall of Fame, University of Michigan Women’s Track Hall of Fame member and a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame as a player, coach and teaching professional. This year, she is being inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.

Having been a multi-sport athlete accustomed to competing at the highest level, Williams-Hoak brings something unique to her coaching style. She has successfully coached boys and girls golf for the past 16 years at Saline High School in Saline, Michigan, and currently is serving as the first female president of the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association. Williams-Hoak feels proud that every girl on her team shot career lows while maintaining 100-percent academic eligibility this season, while her boys team placed second in the conference championship and qualified for its second-straight state Finals appearance.

She is dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of the game while empowering students through golf and hopes her example will pave the way for other women coaches to lead as well.

Williams-Hoak received the 2017 Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award, the most coveted honor bestowed by LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, for her continued dedication and passion for empowering girls through golf.  She was honored with the Midwest Youth Leader of the Year and Goldie Bateson Award two times, in addition to numerous recognitions as Coach of the Year from Saline High School.

She is deeply involved with the LPGA Professionals organization, which she currently serves as the LPGA Midwest Secretary since 2021. She has been site director for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Greater Washtenaw Country since 2015 and acted as an advisor for the Site Director Certification program in 2021. From 2018-2021, she worked as an expert committee member for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf.  She also coached at the LPGA Leadership Academies in Michigan over the last two years.

"I am extremely humbled by this award, as there are so many outstanding LPGA coaches in our association. What an honor to represent the LPGA, the state of Michigan and the game of golf as a coach,” said Williams-Hoak. “It is a privilege to work with so many wonderful players who make coaching so rewarding. I am also fortunate to have such great fellow coaches in Michigan and throughout the LPGA. Thank you so much for this very special recognition."

PHOTO: Saline golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak, far left, stands for the trophy shot with her girls team after the Hornets won the 2016 Lower Peninsula Division 1 championship. (MHSAA file photo)