Harbor Springs Goes Low, Claims 1st Title

October 21, 2017

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Going into this weekend’s Lower Peninsula Division 4 Girls Golf Finals at Michigan State's Forest Akers East, the best team score Harbor Springs had produced this season was a 330.

When his team shot a 352 to place fourth after the first day, Harbor Springs coach Pete Kelbel pointed out that 330 number as a barometer for the Rams to try and close the 12-stroke gap that existed between them and first-place Almont.

“We already did a 330, and if we shot anywhere near what we did, we will be in the hunt,” Kelbel said.

Harbor Springs not only got to 330, but bettered it – and as a result was more than just in the hunt when it all was said and done.

The Rams were MHSAA champions.

Thanks to a blistering score of 328 in Saturday’s second and final round, Harbor Springs finished with a total of 650, 11 shots ahead of runner-up Jackson Lumen Christi.

Almont was third at 699, North Muskegon fourth with a 716 and Kalamazoo Hackett was fifth with a final score of 718.

The title was the first in Harbor Springs girls golf history. The Rams finished runner-up in 2014, their lone top-two finish before Saturday.

A big reason for the team jump was the improved scores on the second day from junior Madi Bezilla and sophomore Evie Garver.

After shooting an 87 on Friday, Bezilla did 11 shots better Saturday with a 76.

Garver also had an 11-stroke improvement, going from a 92 on Friday to an 81 on Saturday.

“(Evie) is probably the longest-hitting girl here,” Kelbel said. “Of course in golf you have to get the wedge shots on and the putts in, and that’s what she did today.”

Lumen Christi entered the day one shot back of Friday leader Almont and turned in a second-day score of 350, but it wasn’t enough to match Harbor Springs.

“This team won it,” Lumen Christi head coach David Swartout said of Harbor Springs. “My hats off to any team that can shoot that score on the second day. Typically on the second day, scores go up.”

However, the second-place finish was still a source of pride for Lumen Christi.

Swartout said the program was almost scrapped five years when only two girls came out for the team, and he saw one of the current seniors shoot a 21 on her first hole at the 2014 MHSAA tournament.

Lumen Christi ended up finishing 14th that season.

“To come from that to runner-up state champions, that’s phenomenal,” he said.

Senior Geraldine Berkemeier and junior Hillary Ziemba shot identical two-day scores of 163 to lead the way for Lumen Christi.

Individually, Brooklyn Columbia Central junior Alissa Fish emerged from a four-way tie for the lead after the first day to win medalist honors, following a first-day total of 79 with an 80 on Saturday.

“I struck my irons close enough, but I didn’t putt real well,” Fish said. “I actually putt really bad today and it had me in tears at some point. A lot of it came down to putting it close enough to where I could finish out a lot of holes.”

The individual runner-up was Almont senior Grace Zimmerman, who followed up a 79 on Friday with an 82 on Saturday to finish at 161.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Harbor Springs poses with its first MHSAA Finals championship trophy won in girls golf. (Middle) The top 10 individual finishers at Forest Akers East. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

Lacrosse Finals Move to U-M Among Headlines as Spring Sports Ramp Up

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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