Kennedy Repeat Keys Marian Title Sweep

October 19, 2019

By Steve Vedder
Special for Second Half

ALLENDALE – Shannon Kennedy had no trouble sleeping the night before her drive for a second MHSAA Finals title in three years.

The Bloomfield Hills Marian junior held a two-shot lead after the first round of the Lower Peninsula  Division 3 championship at The Meadows. But instead of fretting over the many pitfalls which cause golfers to stumble, Kennedy promptly sealed her title Saturday with an even-par round of 73, including a clutch birdie on No. 18.

"I slept pretty well," said Kennedy after finishing with a two-day total of 143, three shots better than Flint Powers Catholic two-time all-stater Jolie Brochu. "You just have to go out and play your game. I felt like I was going to win."

Kennedy's individual championship sparked Marian to the team title, its first. The Mustangs finished with a 689, three shots better than reigning champ Powers. Marian shot a 335 the first day to lead the Chargers at that point by 11 shots.

Kennedy also had won the Division 2 championship as a freshman and finished third a year ago. She said she was confident the team would be in the hunt for a championship with a chance at upsetting a Powers team which lost only one golfer from 2018. After Marian captured the Catholic League championship late in the season, Kennedy said a whisper about winning a state crown grew into a real opportunity.

"We always knew it was a small possibility. We didn't talk too much about it until we got here and we thought, 'Hey, we can do this thing,’" she said.

Marian co-coach Cathie Fritz agreed with Kennedy that winning this weekend was a possibility. Fritz and co-coach Leon Braisted teamed up to win five Finals titles with five second-place finishes at Birmingham Seaholm until moving to Marian four years ago.

"We've got girls who work hard," Fritz said. "Marlo Hudson is our only senior, Shannon has worked hard the last 12 months and we've got multiple juniors who we knew would keep us in the hunt."

Marian's three juniors – Lauren Sass, Laura Emerson and Sarah Kuredjian – all broke 100 on Saturday. Hudson had rounds of 79 and 91.

Detroit Country Day finished third with a 711, Marshall was fourth at 712 and Big Rapids rounded out the top five with a 731. Powers entered the tournament ranked No. 1, while Marian was second and Big Rapids – which has four top-10 finishes since 2016 – was No. 3.

Other top individuals this weekend included Marshall's Karlee Malone, who was third with a 153. Madeline Blum of Marysville was fourth with a 160, and three golfers tied for fifth at 163: Haslett's Sydney Dausman, Grand Rapids Christian's Ryann Breslin and Big Rapids' Hope Thebo.

Braisted said Kennedy's individual title was no surprise to him.

"It's not about her; she's very humble," he said. "She's that precise. It's important to her to win, but she really wanted the team to win."

Powers coach Jim Snow said there is often a small gap between high expectations and actually winning a championship.

"Golf is a funny game. You don't always win just because you're favored," he said. "There can be weird bounces or a putt won't fall. To win a championship, things have to fall into place. That's just the nature of the business. You have to be precise and if you're not, you don't win.

"We played hard and just lost to a good team."

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PHOTOS: (Top) Marian’s Shannon Kennedy follows through on an approach during Friday’s first round of the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Final. (Middle) Powers’ Jolie Brochu follows one of her drives. (Click to see more from

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