Munising Girls Earn First Golf Title

By John Vrancic
Special for

May 30, 2013


ESCANABA — The Munising girls made a bit of golf history for themselves Thursday, earning their first MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 3 title with 416 strokes.


They were followed by Bark River-Harris with 435, Crystal Falls Forest Park with 444, defending champion Cedarville at 447 and DeTour at 474.


'“I think our consistency is what got us here,” Munising coach Bette Immel said. “We have four seniors who’ve played four years of varsity golf. This is a great way for them to end their careers.”


The Mustangs were led by sophomore Carla Nottmeier, an exchange student from Germany who was runner-up with a 93 at Highland Golf Club.


“On the front nine, I felt I wasn’t doing well with my driving,” Nottmeier said. “I didn’t get the distance I wanted, but that got better on the back nine. I started to relax a little more and hitting the ball a little farther. It’s a great feeling for us to win as a team.”


Sophomore Margo Brown, St. Ignace’s lone representative, was crowned individual champion at 90.


“I double-bogeyed the first three holes,” said Brown, who fired a 43 on the back nine. "After that, I told myself to shake it off, and I relaxed a little. I hit with my irons pretty good and putted pretty well.”


Brown, who played mainly on the school’s boys team during the season, had a chance to do two practice rounds at Highland, which she said proved helpful.


“I came up here with my dad on Saturday, then I had an 85 in a practice round here yesterday (Wednesday),” she added. “I knew what I had to do on every hole. The greens were real hard today. You had to hit the ball short and let it roll. You also had to club down on the par-3s.”


BR-H junior Savanna Stenberg hit 94, including 45 on the back nine.


“I started real bad on the front nine,” Stenberg said. “I was having a problem with chipping. My short game improved on the back nine, which was a big boost. I wanted to shoot a 42 on the back nine and hoped to finish in the high 80s. I know I could have done better, but I’m still pleased with my score. I had the home course advantage, which was pretty helpful because I knew where every obstacle was on the course.”


This marked the second straight runner-up finish for the Broncos, who placed second in Division 2 a year ago.


“Savannah shot a great round,” BR-H coach Scott Farnsworth said. “I’m proud of all the girls. They’ve worked extremely hard and done well all year. The girls all come from families who play golf. They have a golf background and understand the terminology. I hope they play golf all summer and keep improving their game.


“A lot of it is course management and knowing what to do. There was a lot of rough out there today. If you didn’t stay on the fairway, it added strokes in a hurry.”


Stenberg was followed by DeTour eighth-grader Madison Wilkie with a 95 and Forest Park junior Lexi Gussert and Munising senior Molly Mattson, both at 99.


Gussert, who came in as defending champion, already has offers to play basketball 

at several major colleges including reigning NCAA Division I national champion Connecticut, which she’ll be visiting in the near future.


Also part of Munising’s championship team were seniors Katie Immel, who hit 107, and Eve Gendron at 117 and Emily DesJardins at 120.


“Our four seniors are awesome kids,” coach Immel said. “Their cumulative GPA is about 3.8, and they’re great ambassadors to our community. They’re close friends and they’re all like my daughters.


“We were pleased to have Emily on the team this year. She tore her Achilles tendon in the first basketball game last year and didn’t think she’d be able to play golf. But the doctors cleared her shortly before the season. I think this really means a lot to her.”


Full results will be linked when available.


PHOTOS: (Top) German exchange student Carla Nottmeier shot a second-place 93 to lead Munising to the Division 2 team championship. (Middle) St. Ignace's Margo Brown watches a putt fall on the way to her medalist score of 90. (Photos by Keith Shelton.)

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.)