Manistique Pair Power UPD2 Medalist Push, Munising Rises as Top Team

By Jason Juno
Special for Second Half

June 1, 2022

IRON RIVER  Manistique’s Macy Green was a really good softball player before she switched to golf full time just last year.

Teammate Nora Cunningham has been playing for a couple of years, and she won a few tournaments this season.

“And they’ve been highly competitive with each other all year,” their coach, Tim Noble, said.

The juniors carried that friendly competition through to the Upper Peninsula Division 2 Final at Young’s Golf Course on Wednesday. They were within a stroke of each other – at the top of the leaderboard. Green was medalist with a 102, and Cunningham shot a 103 to tie for second with Bark River-Harris’ Hannah Larson.

Cunningham said her back nine was OK, but she struggled on the front. “So that was a bummer, but I’m happy that Macy did what she did,” she said. “She really pulled through and did great.”

Green golfed with the No. 2 golfers, and she didn’t expect to win from there.

“It’s kind of shocking, honestly,” she said. 

Manistique golfShe said she improved a lot this year, and the same was true of her day Wednesday.

“I struggled a lot with drives the first nine holes, but in the back, I improved a lot. I think that’s what helped,” Green said.

Ceara LaBlanc of Brimley was fourth with a 106, and Pickford’s Isa Franklin was fifth with a 107. 

The Munising girls won the team title with a score of 454. West Iron County was second at 469.

Logan Peters led the Mustangs with a 108, which was good for seventh overall.

Munising has four seniors who have been playing since they were freshmen.

“They’ve been improving year by year,” Munising coach Bette Immel said. “This year they wanted to come out and win it. We came in second place last year. So they thought now with senior leadership we would be able to do it, and we were fortunate to be able to come out today with the win.”

The sun and perfectly blue skies were a constant on the challenging course Wednesday.

“It was extremely long,” Immel said. “The greens were freshly cut this morning, so the kids said it was hard to land a ball on them, and putting was real tough. A little windy but not too bad. But definitely the putting was the difference today, I believe.”

Cunningham wasn’t arguing about the greens.

“The greens are very hard to get used to,” she said. “And there’s woods, and there’s water. But the greens are definitely one of the most challenging of the courses that we played this year.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Munising’s Jenna Matson tees off on the first hole during Wednesday’s U.P. Division 2 Final at Young’s Golf Course. (Middle) Manistique’s Macy Green tees off at No. 17 on the way to winning the individual championship. (Photos by Jason Juno.)

3-Sport Standout Sluss Gives Lenawee Christian All-State Boost for Every Season

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

January 11, 2023

ADRIAN – Avery Sluss picked up a golf club for the first time her freshmen year at Adrian Lenawee Christian. Now she’s an all-state golfer.

Southeast & BorderSluss started playing basketball because it was a way for her and her older brother, Gavin, to connect. She’s now the leading scorer on the Cougars basketball team a year after receiving all-state recognition.

Everything she touches seems to turn to gold. She will return to the soccer field in the spring already with her college plans in place. She signed recently to play goalkeeper at Indiana Wesleyan University.

“I’ve learned so much from sports,” Avery said. “It teaches me a lot about life.”

Her coaches call her a self-motivated athlete, quiet leader and someone dedicated to her faith, her teammates, and academics. She is a 4.0 student and has played four years of varsity golf, basketball, and soccer. She’s earned all-state recognition in all three sports.

“She is very self-motivated,” said first-year Lenawee Christian girls basketball coach Emilie Beach. “She doesn’t miss workouts or practices. She pushes herself hard. She forces others to rise (around her).”

Sluss is in her fourth season on the Lenawee Christian varsity basketball team. This year her role changed from mostly a defensive specialist to scorer.

Sluss puts up a shot during last season’s Division 4 Semifinal at Breslin Center.Beach said Avery hasn’t changed her positive attitude with the changes in her role on the team. She has a high basketball IQ, Beach said, which helps her on the court.

“It can be tough and frustrating, but she comes in with a great attitude each day and leads her teammates,” Beach said. “She is a quiet leader who leads by example. She is hardest on herself, and that’s where a lot of her motivation comes from.”

The Cougars have had great success on the basketball floor the last several years, and Sluss has been part of it. She’s played alongside all-staters and played at the Breslin Center. She started and played 20 minutes in last year’s Semifinal loss to Plymouth Christian Academy.

This season she’s averaging 14.5 points a game, with 16 3-pointers, and has scored at least 17 points four times.

“It’s very different, but I like the role I’m in now,” she said. “Now, it’s like you have to score. I’ve accepted it. I’m just trying my best to fulfill that role for my teammates.”

Sluss sat out the fall travel soccer season while she was recovering from a slight back injury. But she was able to hit the golf course. She shot a two-day total of 186 at the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Final, helping the Cougars finish second as a team. A year earlier Sluss shot an 89 and 87 and helped the Cougars finish fourth overall.

Not bad for someone who didn’t pick up a golf club until just a few years ago.

“Golf was new to me my freshman year,” she said. “Some of my friends said I should try it, so I did. I went to the range maybe one or two times before I started to play. I’ve loved it.”

As far as sports goes, soccer was her first love. She started playing at the age of 4 when a neighborhood dad gathered a few girls together and formed a team.

“We started playing in the back yard,” she said. “I’ve been playing soccer ever since. My first travel team was when I was 7.”

Sluss first started thinking about playing college soccer when she was in kindergarten.

“I’ve always wanted to play soccer in college,” she said. “I’ve dreamed about that. I’ve spent so much time on the sport that it would be silly not to. I want it to pay off with college.”

Sluss plants a chip on the green. She used to play multiple positions but turned to goalkeeper at the age of 12.

“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “There are a lot of little things. The mental part of being a goalkeeper is important.”

After being named to the coaches association all-state third team last year, Sluss is primed for a big season this spring, especially with her college choice behind her.

“It is a strong Christian college, which was important to me,” she said. “It’s a lot like Lenawee Christian. Everyone on the soccer team was great when I met them, and the girls are so nice.”

Sluss has become adept at mixing sports with academics and life.

“Balance is a big issue,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, especially doing two at a time.

“My whole family, my parents (David and Kristen), they always push me to be the best I can be. I owe them a lot. Even my little sister (Addie) pushes me to do my best.”

Avery’s family moved from Toledo to the Adrian area several years ago, and the two perfectly complement to each other.

“Lenawee Christian has been a great fit for me,” she said. “All of the people are awesome, and I have grown in my faith here.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Avery Sluss gathers up the ball while playing keeper for Lenawee Christian’s soccer team. (Middle) Sluss puts up a shot during last season’s Division 4 Semifinal at Breslin Center. (Below) Sluss plants a chip on the green. (Photos courtesy of the Lenawee Christian athletic department.)