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.) 

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