Escanaba Conquers Cold to Repeat

June 1, 2017

By Ryan Stieg
Special for Second Half

MARQUETTE — There was a brisk wind blowing Wednesday afternoon on the Northern Michigan University Golf Course, but the tough conditions didn’t have an effect on the Escanaba girls team.

The Eskymos fought their way through the cold and won their second straight Upper Peninsula Division 1 title – and their efforts delighted Escanaba coach Brian Robinette. 

“The girls just really went out and performed today,” he said. “We needed to show up as a team today, and we definitely did that. This was a highly successful season. The girls kept improving and had great attitudes, and they’re an easy team to coach because they like golf. 

"It’s easy to coach someone who likes the sport they’re in. They were really dedicated and serious about the game, and it showed out there today.”

At the 10-team meet, the Eskymos finished with a comfortable 18-stroke lead over Houghton (351 to 369) to repeat as champs. That wasn’t all for Escanaba though as Paxton Johnson was medalist for the second year in a row, shooting a 75.

When asked if she was used to constantly winning tournaments, Johnson put that thought to rest quickly.

“You never get used to this,” she said with a laugh. “It feels great every time. My wedges worked out great for me today, and I just liked how I did.”

For the second-place Gremlins, it was a disappointing outcome, but coach Ruth Ryynanen felt her team left it all on the course.

“The day went pretty well,” she said. “We’ve played here before, and I think that helped us a bit. One of our girls (Kaaren Liston) had a personal best with a 77, and that was wonderful to see. She is always trying harder and does her absolute best.

“We have a good group coming back next year and I have five girls who didn’t even get to play today that have been practicing hard and could step up for us.”

Marquette took third place with a score of 390, and Redettes head coach Ben Smith thought they had a great day overall.

“Since we played at two different sites (the boys were at Marquette Golf Club), I didn’t get to see a lot of them, but from what I know, (the girls) played really well,” he said. “Ellie (Hicks) shot an 85, and I’m happy for her because that’s a great way to end her junior year. Today was just a great day for them to come together, and I hope that they can build on that.”

Menominee also finished with a score of 390, but had to settle for fourth due to a disqualification.

Individually, Liston took second place, Hicks finished third, and the Escanaba trio of Sam Henderson (91), Megan Dagenais (92) and Darby Beckon (93) took fourth through sixth, respectively.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Escanaba’s Sam Henderson, left, finished fourth individually while Houghton’s Kaitlyn McKay just missed placing among the top 10 individuals. (Middle) Aspen Micheln watches one of her shots for third-place Marquette. (Photos by Rachel Oakley.) 

Potent Pair Lead Cedarville/DeTour Girls to Repeat; Ontonagon Ace Paces Field

By Jason Juno
Special for

June 1, 2023

HYDE – Cedarville and DeTour have been golfing together for just two years as a co-op – and they already have two Upper Peninsula Girls Golf Finals titles.

The Islanders repeated in Division 3 with a score of 420 on Thursday at Highland Golf Club near Escanaba. That was eight strokes better than runner-up Big Bay de Noc and 16 fewer than third-place Ontonagon.

“It’s nice,” Islanders coach Jeff Autore said. “These girls worked hard. They knew they had a chance to be defending champions. We knew we had a pretty good chance coming in. This was our goal. The girls knew it, they were determined. This is why we practice in the rain and in the snow and in the cold.

Ontonagon’s Emmy Bobula tees off during her championship round.“We expected this and we worked hard for this, and they deserve it.”

For Hayley Kohlmann, who shot a 94, and Taylor Williams, who carded a 107, it was their third-straight team title. Cedarville also won as a standalone team in 2021. 

“They’ve had a pretty good run,” Autore said. “And then we co-opped with DeTour, and Lily Plowman has been our best player all year long. She finished in the top five last year.”

Plowman also shot a 94 on Thursday. She and Kohlmann were two of just three golfers in the field to shoot under 100.

The other was medalist Emmy Bobula of Ontonagon; she shot a 90. All three were over 100 at last year’s Final, held at the same course.

Bobula shot a 113 last year.

“So I really improved this season a lot,” she said. “It was crazy, that was my PR (personal record), so yeah, pretty bonkers.”

It was definitely a good time for such a good performance. She likes playing in tournaments and doesn’t get nervous for them. There’s no bigger tournament than this one for U.P. high school golfers.

Mackinac Island’s Isabella Nitzschke hits out of a tough spot beside a tree. “It’s crazy, it’s kind of surreal,” Bobula said. “I shed a few tears because it’s my senior season. It feels pretty good.”

Her coach Jim Jessup said Bobula wanted to have a big year – and she did.

“She’s a senior, she had drive, she wanted to do things this year and she did them,” Jessup said.

It all started for her Thursday off the tee.

“Probably my drives really saved me,” she said. “I had good drives today, which is probably the best thing and chipping, I did pretty well in chipping today actually.”

Ontonagon’s Madyson Pantti shot a 102 and Camryn Pederson of Big Bay de Noc a 105.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Cedarville/DeTour’s Lily Plowman hits out of the sand during Thursday’s UPD3 Final. (Middle) Ontonagon’s Emmy Bobula tees off during her championship round. (Below) Mackinac Island’s Isabella Nitzschke hits out of a tough spot beside a tree. (Photos by Jason Juno.)