Lutheran North Ace, Cranbrook Kingswood Complete Title Climbs

By Scott DeCamp
Special for

October 17, 2021

EAST LANSING – Lauren Timpf came up a little short of her lofty goals at last year’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Girls Golf Final. The Macomb Lutheran North sophomore was not going to be denied this weekend at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers West.

Same went for the seasoned Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood team in its fourth-straight trip to the Finals.

Timpf wrapped up medalist honors, while Cranbrook Kingswood completed its team-championship mission on a chilly, windy Saturday.

After she fired an eye-popping 6-under 66 Friday, Timpf followed with a solid 1-over 73 Saturday in challenging conditions en route to a 14-shot victory over the rest of the field. Meanwhile, Cranbrook Kingswood collected its first Finals title since 2006 by shooting 694 for a six-stroke victory over runner-up Grosse Ile.

“I was hoping to go a little bit lower – that was my goal coming into today; really, to get it to double-digits under par was my goal,” said Timpf, who missed a playoff for medalist honors in last year’s Final by one shot when she bogeyed her final hole.

“It was tough conditions today, but I didn’t play my best. I let some shots get away, had a double out there. It was just a little bit tougher today.”

Whitehall’s Karli VanDuinen was runner-up at 153 (78-75), followed by Grosse Ile’s Lily Bargamian in third (154), Grand Rapids South Christian’s Ashley Thomasma fourth (160) and Freeland’s Averie Pumford fifth (162). 

Cranbrook Kingswood’s Natasha Samsonov (sixth, 163), Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Ashley Carroll and Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Ava Wisinski (tied for seventh, 165), Grand Rapids Christian’s Sara Muir (ninth, 167) and Ada Forest Hills Eastern’s Sophie Skoog (10th, 169) rounded out the top 10.

In the final team standings of the two-day tourney, South Christian placed third (708), while 2019 and 2020 champ Marian finished fourth (729). Grand Rapids Catholic Central took fifth (738).

Cranbrook Kingswood golf“For my seniors that played today, this was their fourth state (finals tournament). They played in it as freshmen. … For them, they weren’t nervous,” said Cranes coach John Minnich, whose last three teams finished fifth, eighth and fourth at the Division 3 Finals. Three of the five players in this year’s lineup were seniors who were plenty familiar with playing at the championship level.

Cranbrook Kingswood also had finished Division 3 runner-up from 2012-14.

In addition to Samsonov, seniors Ashley Cong and Katherine Li shot 175 and 186, respectively, to help Cranbrook Kingswood. Sophomores Sienna Ilitch and Mackenzie Behnke posted 163 and 189, in that order.

Nobody was going to give Timpf a run for her money, but for Cranbrook Kingswood, there was strength in numbers. A tough schedule throughout the season, competing against the likes of eventual Division 1 champ Northville, perennial power Marian and Division 2 fourth-place Farmington Hills Mercy, had the Cranes prepared to win Division 3 this time.

“It was one of those things where I told them, ‘You know, you guys could probably have a pretty special team. Stay together, keep working at it, keep playing,’ and they did,” Minnich said. “They put in the time, they put in the work and, you know, it was a great season.

“The program is kind of on an up-tick. (Cranbrook) girls want to play, they’re excited about playing golf,” Minnich said.

Timpf has been playing golf since a young age.

And she’s quite familiar with the Forest Akers courses. In July, Timpf won the 43rd Michigan Girls’ Junior State Amateur Championship at Forest Akers East.

In the summer of 2020, Timpf gave eventual Michigan Women’s Amateur champion Anna Kramer a run before falling to her in the quarterfinals, 1-up, at Forest Akers West.

“(Last year’s Finals finish) did drive me because I knew that I could have won that tournament. I mean, I bogeyed the last hole to miss the playoff,” Timpf said. “And since we couldn’t take flagsticks out (last year), two my 3-footers hit the (stick) and bounced out.”

Everything about Timpf’s game was working Friday, and putts were dropping.

It was more of a challenge Saturday.

“I mean, yesterday I felt like I played great – everything was working together, putts were dropping,” Timpf said. “Today, not as many, but I did get away with a few. I missed a few 3-footers.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS Macomb Lutheran North’s Lauren Timpf follows a shot during Friday’s first round. (Middle) Cranbrook’s Natasha Samsonov tees off during first-day play. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

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