St Ignace Stays Course, Surges to Win

June 1, 2017

By Adam Niemi
Special for Second Half

IRON RIVER — Claudette Brown couldn’t help but hold back tears Thursday.

But the fourth-year coach had good reason to feel emotional. Her first class of seniors on the St. Ignace boys golf team had just won the Upper Peninsula Division 2 Final title at George Young Golf Course.

Having coached them since their freshman year, Brown said the team overcame a challenging course for the win, highlighted by Carter Tallaire’s 80. St. Ignace’s 336 edged Iron River West Iron County (346) for the title.

“It was a very good day. They worked hard,” Brown said before pausing and choking back tears. “We had some struggles this season. We had some issues with some kids, so we had to change things up before we came. But they pulled it off, and they came through. I have three seniors this year, and it’s going to be hard to let them go. They’re pretty special. It’s good.”

West Iron County coach Mark Martini said he was impressed by St. Ignace’s ability to navigate the course. His team had played George Young every day the previous week, and the greens played differently each time.

“I thought that St. Ignace played really well for the conditions with the spring we’ve had,” Martini said. “My guys, for the most part, freshmen and a sophomore; I thought that was a good finish for us placing second. The scores were really quite good for all the situations that we’ve had all year weather-wise.”

Brown said the course presented unique challenges, given that her team last played it as freshmen, and the team also traveled four and a half hours prior to competing. She listed off the features of the course that made it difficult for her team.

“Just the greens are fast, pin placement, keeping it straight,” Brown said. “It gets a little narrow on a couple holes. Dog legs are a little challenging at times, some water holes.”

Yet Tallaire’s 80 just edged an 82 by Norway’s Brad Schalow and West Iron County’s Noah Thomson. Tallaire said he struggled with his short game throughout the day.

“It was a little rough. I didn’t putt too well, and I didn’t hit as many fairways as I wanted to either,” Tallaire said. “For the most part, the course played well too; it was nice. I’ve played very well before today. I shot three or four rounds under 80. It’s a tough golf course. It plays long, it plays nice, it was difficult. I’ll take an 80 for how I was playing.

“Under a hundred yards, I just couldn’t get anything going. I’d get it up, and then I’d have to chip and two-putt. I three-putted a couple times. Anything under a hundred yards, it was rough.”

Kody Rickley placed fourth for St. Ignace with an 83, and teammate Andy Metz was sixth with an 85.

Trevor Tchida’s 86 paced Hancock, which did not qualify for a team score.

Newberry finished third with a team score of 371. Ethan Edwards carded a team-low 88 to take eighth overall. Crystal Falls Forest Park (384) took fourth and was led by Riley Hendrickson’s 92.

Brown said part of the challenge for teams is coming from smaller courses that they frequently play to compete for a U.P. title at a course not only bigger, but more demanding in various ways. But the team was confident coming into the day, she said.

“We come from a little nine-hole course, so it’s hard, but it’s a great challenge,” Brown said. “We go down and golf in Gaylord a lot, and this year even West Branch. They get a lot of experience playing the tougher courses, so I think that helps us prepare for the UPs.”

Full results will be linked when available.

PHOTOS: (Top) A player tees off during the Upper Peninsula Division 2 Finals on Thursday. (Middle) Norway’s Brad Schalow sends a putt on the way to finishing individual runner-up. (Photos by Adam Niemi.)

Lacrosse Finals Move to U-M Among Headlines as Spring Sports Ramp Up

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 9, 2024

The Girls & Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played at University of Michigan Lacrosse Stadium for the first time, one of the most notable changes for this season as sports ramp up for more than 100,000 athletes anticipated to participate this spring for Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools.

The MHSAA sponsors postseason competition each spring in baseball, girls and boys lacrosse, girls soccer, softball, girls and boys track & field, boys golf (Lower and Upper Peninsula) and girls golf (UP), and girls (LP) and boys (UP) tennis.

The U-M Lacrosse Stadium opened for competition in 2018 and seats 2,000 spectators. The Girls Lacrosse Finals will be played Friday, June 7, with Division 1 at 4 p.m. and Division 2 at 7 p.m. The Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played the following day, June 8, with Division 2 at 11 a.m. and Division 1 at 2 p.m.

Girls lacrosse also has a significant format adjustment this season, as games will be played with four 12-minutes quarters instead of the previous two halves, in part to allow coaches more opportunities to provide direct instruction during a game. Two more rules changes are expected to improve flow of play – players awarded a free position outside of the critical scoring area no longer must come to a stop and settled stance before self-starting, and false start penalties outside the critical scoring area have been eliminated.

Several more rules changes will be noticeable this spring:

In boys lacrosse, a change was made to enhance player safety. Play will stop immediately any time a player’s helmet comes off, and that player may not return until the next dead ball after play continues.

Fair and legal starts are a continued emphasis for track & field, and a rule change will allow for movement before the start of the race as long as a competitor does not leave their mark with a hand or a foot after the “set” command, or make forward motion before the starting device is activated.

A significant rule change in softball alters pitch delivery mechanics. The pitcher may now have both feet off the ground at the same time when releasing the ball as long as both feet remain within the 24-inch width of a pitching plate and the pitcher does not replant the pivot foot before delivering the pitch.

Another change in softball requires that a playbook/playcard be worn on the wrist or kept in a back pocket to reduce distractions. If worn by the pitcher, the equipment must be worn on the non-pitching arm. Similarly in baseball, a wristband with plays or instructions will be permitted but must be a single, solid color, and for pitchers may not contain the colors white or gray or be otherwise distracting. Baseball players must wear this wristband on the wrist or forearm, and pitchers may wear one only on their non-pitching arm.

Also in baseball, a rule change allows for one-way communication devices worn by the catcher to receive instructions from the dugout while on defense, for the purpose of calling pitches. The coach must be inside the dugout/bench area to use the communication device.

Golfers now are required to participate in at least four competitions for the high school team prior to representing that school team in an MHSAA Regional or Final. Those four regular-season competitions may be 9 or 18-hole events.

In tennis, for the first time in Lower Peninsula play, a No. 1 doubles flight from a non-qualifying team will be able to advance from its Regional to Finals competition. To do so, that No. 1 doubles flight must finish first or second at its Regional, and the No. 1 singles player from that team also must have qualified for the Finals individually by finishing first or second in Regional play.

On the soccer pitch, two officiating-related changes will be especially noticeable. Officials now may stop the clock to check on an injured player without that player being required to leave the match – previously that player would have to sub out. Also, categories for fouls have been redefined: careless (which is a foul but does not receive a card), reckless (a foul with a yellow card) and excessive force (foul with red card). 

The 2023-24 Spring campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Golf and Boys Tennis Finals during the week of May 27 and wraps up with Girls Soccer, Baseball and Softball Finals on June 15. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regional Semifinals – June 5
Regional Finals, Quarterfinals – June 8
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Boys Regionals – May 28-June 1
UP Girls & Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Boys Finals – June 7-8

Boys Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 10-15
Regionals – May 16-29
Quarterfinals – May 31 or June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 8

Girls Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 16-18, or May 20
Regionals – May 22-June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 7

Girls Soccer
Districts – May 22-June 1
Regionals – June 4-8
Semifinals – June 11-12
Finals – June 14-15

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regionals – June 8
Quarterfinals – June 11
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Girls Regionals – May 15-18
UP Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Girls Finals – May 31-June 1

Track & Field
Regionals – May 16-18
Finals – June 1