Grand Blanc's Brody Medalist For Second Time, Adams Dominates Div. 1 Field

By Tom Lang
Special for

October 15, 2022

BATTLE CREEK — Grand Blanc senior Kate Brody said it was at least twice as good winning two state championships in girls golf than just having the 2020 title as a sophomore on her resume.

Coming in this season and into the postseason as the favorite – after taking third as a freshman and fourth in her junior year – Brody won her second MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 title as medalist, with a two-day, one-over-par 145. She is heading to Wisconsin to play her college golf.

Grand Blanc's Kate Brody takes medalist honors for the second timeBrody finished one shot ahead of East Kentwood’s Elise Fennell, and four better than Grace Wang of team champion Rochester Adams and Jessica Jolly of Rockford who tied for third. The two-day tournament was played at Gull Lake View’s Bedford Valley.

“When Elise birdied three of her last four holes, I knew on the last hole I was only one stroke ahead, so I was happy that we were playing together; not so much because of (tracking) the score but she’s one of my really good friends and I like playing with her, we get along well,” Brody said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better way for my high school career to end.

“In my opinion I think I came in as the best player in this field and I’ve worked so hard for (a championship) to not happen, so I wasn’t expecting this but it was my overall goal for sure.”

Brody was pushing the thoughts of it being her last high school tournament out of her head.

“I think it will hit me later that this was my last high school event,” Brody said, “but I think I have too much excitement to be sad about that part right now.”

Weather is almost always a factor in mid-October for MHSAA finals, but Brody said the competitors are used to it all.

“I think this weekend was about making pars, as many pars as you can and staying in play,” she said. “Staying focused mentally because you’re going to have some bad shots, but I think staying strong mentally was the biggest factor this weekend. We’re all used to playing in this weather, it happens every year at the state finals, so it’s whoever handles it the best.”

Rochester Adams somewhat surprised the field, but not themselves, with a commanding win over four-time defending champion and No. 1-ranked Northville and No. 2 ranked Brighton.

2022 Div 1 Girls Golf Champions - Rochester AdamsThe Highlanders came in ranked No. 3 and showed what they could do, enroute to an unexpectedly-commanding win – its first in the history of Adams girls golf.

Adams led after the first day at 312, ahead of Brighton (327), Rochester (334) and Northville (342) – but Adams blew that margin wide open to win the state title by 47 strokes over the runner up Brighton (676) and by 52 over cross-town rivals Rochester (681). Northville was fourth and Rockford took fifth.

“These girls were laser-focused,” said sixth-year Adams head coach Jeff Kutschman. “They were loose, they were ready to play. They were able to come out and just play one stroke at a time. They didn’t start the round thinking about how they wanted to finish. They started the round thinking about how they want to hit the next shot. And that’s hugely important in golf.

“Brighton is outstanding, Northville is outstanding, Rochester and Rockford too, and there’s a bunch of other really good teams,” he added. “I did not expect that (margin) at all.”

Adams had three golfers finish in the top six: senior Grace Wang took T-3 (at 5-over par 149), Katie Fodale was fifth and Laura Liu was T-6.

“We set up our goals to start the season and took it one tournament at a time; we were not just thinking about the end (of the season),” Wang said. “Being able to win states is awesome as a team, and in the beginning, we knew we had the potential to do it, but I think we had to put in the work, use the mindset that we needed and work it together as a team.”

Initially, Kutschman wasn’t able to describe the program’s first state championship, but eventually said: “Just amazement, excitement, shock, and just admiration for these girls that went out there and did it.” 

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PHOTOS (Top) Rochester Adams' Laura Liu putts at the 2022 Division 1 Finals. (Middle) Grand Blanc's Kate Brody after her second MHSAA medalist finish. (Below) 2022 team champion Rochester Adams. (Photos by Liv Alexander.)

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