Strong Finishes Vault Lumen Christi to Top

June 10, 2017

By Butch Harmon
Special for Second Half

BIG RAPIDS – After coming up three strokes short of an MHSAA title last season, the seniors on the Jackson Lumen Christi boys golf team were determined to leave Big Rapids with a championship trophy this weekend.

That determination was put to the test on both days of the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Final at Katke Golf Course, home of the Ferris State University golf teams. Turning in strong scores on the back nine both Friday and Saturday, Lumen Christi finished with a two-day total of 639 strokes. Hometown contender Big Rapids took the runner-up trophy with a 647 while Grand Rapids West Catholic, a team featuring three sets of twins, placed third with a 659.

The road to the title was anything but easy for Lumen Christi. While the Titans returned four seniors from last year’s runner-up squad, they faced challenges from the beginning of the season through their final holes of this spring.

“We had four seniors on this year’s team, and that always helps having that senior leadership,” said Lumen Christi coach Dave Swartout. “What is real amazing about this group is they never quit. We started poorly on both days, but the guys just kept plugging away and plugging away and plugging away. We really played well on the second nine on both days. These were long, six-hour days, and to do what they did on the second nines was just amazing.”

Senior Logan Anuszkiewicz led the way for the Titans as he shot rounds of 75 and 78 to finish in a tie for third individually with a 153 total. The team title was the first since 2012 for Lumen Christi, and for this group of seniors it was a goal they’d had since entering high school.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Anuszkiewicz said. “Four years in a row we’ve been close, and finally we did it.”

Fellow senior Phil Stuart was a testament to Lumen Christi’s tenacity. Stuart carded rounds of 81 and 82, but the scores were hard-earned.

“I shot a nine on number one (a par four) today so I didn’t start out strong,” Stuart said. “I wasn’t about to give up, so I kept grinding for the team. We really wanted this, so we all just kept grinding.”

One of Lumen Christi’s biggest obstacles came shortly before the season began when Luke Girodat, the Titans’ number one golfer, was hit by illness.

“Luke, our number one player, came down with mononucleosis before the season, and that put a crimp in things,” Swartout said. “He shot an 83 and an 84 for us this weekend, and that was with him feeling about 70 percent. He just never quit and kept grinding.”

“We just wanted this, that was it,” Girodat said. “We lost last year when we couldn’t finish on the back nine, and we were not going to have that happen this year.”

Senior Riley Hestwood turned in rounds of 85 and 81, believing all the time in his coach and teammates.

“Coach told us to keep going and keep grinding it out,” Hestwood said. “We believed in each other and our team and just kept grinding.”

Big Rapids, playing in the shadow of its high school just up the road, improved on a third-place finish from last year and also provided itself with a tangible goal heading into next season as the team will graduate just one player.

“First off, congratulations to Lumen Christi,” said Big Rapids coach Mark Posey. “They played two good days of golf. It always hurts and stings for a while, but we hope to move up one more spot next year. We have four guys coming back for next year.”

Tait Morrissey, that lone senior, fired rounds of 79 and 85.

“We sent Tait out with a second this year after a third last year,” Posey said.

Sophomore Pierce Morrissey finished in a tie for fifth individually with rounds of 77 on both days for a 154 total.

Charlevoix senior Matt Good came away with the individual medalist honor. Like the Lumen Christi team, Good needed to grind it out both days plus one additional hole as he and Tawas junior Daniel Shattuck both carded 150s for the tournament, forcing a playoff.

On the first hole of the playoff, both Good and Shattuck reached the green in three strokes. However, Good had a 4-foot putt while Shattuck faced roughly a 30-footer. Shattuck two-putted the hole and Good drained his on the first try to win the individual title.

“I just focused on my breathing and making good swings,” Good said. “I put in a lot of hard work, and it paid off.”

That hard work included countless hours working on short putts like the one that won him the title.

“I’ve spent thousands of hours dropping down a chalk line and practicing those 4-footers,” Good said.

He was two strokes off the lead heading into Saturday and started the final 18 slow, but came on strong on the back nine.

“I struggled at the start today,” Good said. “I started with a double and then bogeyed the next hole. I just kept grinding and trying to hang in there all day. I just tried to hang in there both days.” 

For Good, hanging in there has been the story of his high school career, as he returned to the Finals this season for the first time since his freshman year.

“I struggled the last two years,” Good said. “I worked real hard over the offseason, and I had some really big goals this year and I achieved every one of them.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Jackson Lumen Christi’s Luke Girodat follows a shot during Saturday’s Division 3 Final. (Middle) Charlevoix’s Matt Good watches his approach on the way to winning the individual title. (Click to see more from

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)