Cedarville's Trojans Make Another Championship Memory

By Todd Rose
Special for Second Half

June 4, 2021

GLADSTONE – The Cedarville Trojans went out with a bang for their school and the 2021 season Thursday afternoon in Gladstone, taking the overall team championship and placing first and second individually at the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 3 Finals at the Oaks Caddyshack Club in Gladstone.

The Trojans, beginning this fall, will merge athletic programs with nearby DeTour and become the Islanders.

Cedarville carded a 403 to finish ahead of Engadine at 475 and Cooks Big Bay de Noc at 484.

Trojans teammates Zoe Autore (92) and Lauren Miller (97) finished first and second, respectively, in the individual standings.

“I knew we had a good shot with our girls team because all five of our girls are pretty solid players,” Cedarville coach Rob Freel said. “I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I knew we would have a good shot at it, and I think they all played really well today.”

Cedarville's girls golf program won three Finals championships and finished runner-up three times, including in 2019. 

For both Autore and Miller, it was their best outing ever.

“It’s pretty decent because that’s never happened before,” said Autore. “I did a lot of firsts today, so that was good. (The 92) was my best. Even on nine, I’ve never shot that low before.”

Cedarville golf“My last nine could have been a little better, but it’s better than I’ve ever shot before,” Miller added.

Freel said both Autore and Miller stepped up to the occasion for the U.P. Finals.

“Zoe puts in a lot of extra work. She takes some private lessons ... and she’s always putting in extra time on the course,” Freel said. “Lauren plays a lot, too. They’re pretty solid players.”

Carney-Nadeau's Heidi Kirschner finished third individually with a score of 99.

“This is the best round of golf I’ve had in my entire life,” Kirschner said.

When the tournament began, Kirschner said she did not think third place was even a possibility.

“I haven’t been driving well the whole season, and today my drives were just on point and so were my irons, so it just kind of worked out,” she said.

Sarah Snyder of Powers North Central shot 100 and Cedarville’s Hayley Kohlmann 106 to round out the top five.

Also making the top 10 were Taylor Williams (Cedarville) and Madyson Permit (Ontonagon), tied for sixth at 108; Grace VanWormer (Cooks Big Bay de Noc) in eighth at 110, Emmy Bobula (Ontonagon) in ninth at 112 and Rayven Jacobsen (Crystal Falls Forest Park) 10th at 113.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Cedarville’s Zoe Autore tees off on No. 4 during Thursday’s Upper Peninsula Division 3 Final. (Middle) Teammate Lauren Miller sends an approach on the way to her individual runner-up finish. (Photos by Todd Rose.)

After Back-to-Back Top-10 Finals Finishes, Rockford Aims To Join Title Contenders

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

September 22, 2022

ROCKFORD – The Rockford girls golf team witnessed first-hand at last year’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final the type of scores it would take to compete for top honors in the state. 

West MichiganThe Rams finished a laudable eighth at last year’s championship tournament, but their two-day total of 697 (338-359) put them well behind champion Northville, which posted team scores of 307 and 308 to claim a fourth-straight Finals title by 12 strokes.

Rockford entered this season with aspirations to close the gap, and it has done just that with a talented quartet of experienced golfers.

“Our top four are better than we've had in the past,” Rams girls golf coach Scott Kruisenga said. “Maybe we’re not quite as deep, but the potential for all four of these girls to be in the 70s is pretty exciting.

“We’ve been seeing those scores by Northville, and Rochester Adams and Saline, and that's some darn good golf.

“The girls last year saw some of the scores that needed to take place in order to have a shot at a state championship, and they really took it serious over the summer. They played a lot of tournament golf, and they want it and they believe they can do it.”

The extra preparation and enhanced desire has been evident with low scores and first-place finishes.

The Rams have rolled through the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red thus far with the league tournament looming next week.

A new school record was established as well when Rockford won the Kent County Classic with an impressive 306. 

“We’ve played well, and it’s been fun getting to know everyone the last three years,” said junior Jessica Jolly, the team’s No. 1 golfer.

Aubrey Wilson putts off the rough during the Final at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. “Everyone is capable of shooting low, so when we can do our best on the same day it’s fun, and we’ve broken the school record multiple times in the past few years.”

Jolly is joined in the top four by seniors Mackenzie Davidson and Bridget Parlmer and junior Aubrey Wilson.

In addition to the Kent Country Classic, Rockford also won the O-K Red Midseason Tournament, the Sydney Carfine Memorial Tournament and the Greenville Invitational.

The Rams took second behind state powerhouse Brighton at the 36-hole Lober Classic at Crystal Mountain to open the season.

“They have really been playing up to their ability and been playing lights out,” Kruisenga said. “They’ve put a lot of hard work in, and I’ve had all four since they were freshmen so it’s been fun to see how they’ve been improving year by year.

“That has been the most exciting thing, seeing the improvement and dedication they are putting into get better.”

While the team had high expectations entering the season, Kruisenga said they have already exceeded his.

“I was thinking even if we stay the same as last year we would be a good team,” he said, “but everyone is playing better.” 

Jolly has been the catalyst and broke her own school record earlier this season with a superb 67 at Quail Ridge Golf Course.

She tied for ninth at the LPD1 Final as a freshman, when Rockford finished fifth as a team, and just missed the individual top 10 last season.

“I’m pretty happy with how I’ve played, and I’ve definitely seen my average drop to the lowest it’s been since I’ve been in high school.” Jolly said. “Most of my rounds have been under par, and it’s been fun to make some birdies and get a chance at shooting pretty low.”

After struggling on the second day of last year’s Final, Kruisenga said the success his team had at the 36-hole event earlier this season should bode well for the future. 

“We did that intentionally to try and get used to that back-to-back,” he said. “The girls fared really well. We lost by three or four strokes to Brighton, and we were tied going into the second day. They kept a good mental game and limited their mistakes.”

The Rams are anxious for the postseason, but refuse to take anything for granted. They want to finish the conference season strong before setting their sights on a Finals berth.

“Our first goal would be to win the postseason tournament, and then we hope to do well at Regionals and qualify for state,” Jolly said. “If we do, then we’re looking to perform well there and give ourselves a chance.”

Dean Holzwarth has covered primarily high school sports for Grand Rapids-based WOOD-TV for five years after serving at the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years along with shorter stints at the Ionia Sentinel and WZZM. Contact him at dream100@comcast.net with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties. 

PHOTOS (Top) Rockford’s Jessica Jolly powers through a drive during last season’s LPD1 Final. (Middle) Aubrey Wilson putts off the rough during the Final at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)