No Heartbreak This Time as Rochester Rises

October 15, 2016

By Tom Kendra
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Every high school golf coach reminds his or her team that “every stroke counts.”

The exception is Rochester girls golf coach Jeff Haney, because his team has learned that lesson first-hand over the past three seasons.

Rochester missed out on making it to the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Girls Golf Division 1 Final by four strokes in 2013, then by two strokes in 2014 and, last year, the Falcons lost out to Traverse City West for the championship on a fifth-player score tie-breaker.

That cumulative heartbreak fueled plenty of extra desire this fall for Rochester, which certainly made every stroke count in a 21-shot victory over Novi for the Division 1 title Saturday at windswept Forest Akers East in East Lansing.

“Oh yes, because of what’s happened the past few years, it’s very easy for me to get their attention on the importance of every single shot,” said Haney, who guided the Falcons to their third Finals championship in the past nine years, and fourth overall. “These girls have all shaved strokes off their average from the start of the year, which is why we were able to win it.”

Rochester registered the lowest team scores in the 18-team field on both Friday (310) and Saturday (308), for a 618 total. Novi was second at 639, followed by Bloomfield Hills (648), 2015 champion Traverse City West (652) and Saline (661).

The Falcons were paced by senior standout and fifth-place individual Brooke Busse (73-75-148), but the real secret to their success was depth. Exhibit A was the Falcons’ fifth golfer, junior Keri Yang (83-83-166), whose total was 15 shots better than any other team’s No. 5 player.

Senior Veronica Haque (75-75-150) placed eighth overall and was followed closely by her freshman sister, Savannah Haque (79-79-158), and senior Erica Yang (84-79-163).

“I’m just very relieved that it’s over and that we did it,” said Busse, who was part of all three years of Finals-related heartbreak for the Falcons. “We knew we could do it, and we were really focused on staying positive. A big key is that we putted better (Saturday), and that’s why we shaved a few strokes off our total from the first day.”

Rochester actually extended its lead in Saturday’s final round, just the opposite of last year when unranked Traverse City West charged from five strokes back to tie for the top spot, eventually winning on the tie-breaker. Since neither Rochester nor Traverse City West had a senior in their lineup last fall, the stage was set for a rematch.

While the lower half of the West lineup struggled, sophomore Anika Dy certainly did her part for the Titans.

Dy, who placed second last year as a freshman, finished 1-under par with rounds of 72 and 71 for a 143 total, two shots better than Clarkston senior Meghan Deardorff (74-71-145) and Bloomfield Hills sophomore Mikaela Schulz (72-73-145).

Novi senior Alexa Hatz (147) shot a sizzling 3-under par 69 on Saturday – the best round of the tournament – which moved her up to fourth overall and powered her team to a surprising second-place overall finish. Also placing in the top 10 for the Wildcats was junior Abby Livingston, who shot 151 and tied for ninth.

Other individuals in the top 10 were Grand Blanc senior Cammi Lucia (149) and Ann Arbor Skyline senior Jami Laude (149), who tied for sixth, and Lake Orion senior Moyea Russell (151) and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek senior Lauren Ingle (151), who tied for ninth.

But the story of the weekend was the continued surge by Rochester, which just one week ago set the state girls golf record for postseason scoring with a 289 total at Twin Lakes Golf Course in Oakland Township.

That Regional performance was an incredible achievement for a Rochester program that has had plenty of highlights in recent years. The Falcons have finished in the top 10 at the Finals 16 times over the past 21 years, with four MHSAA titles (the others coming in 2002, 2008 and 2009) and three runner-up finishes (2005, 2007 and 2015).

Haney said it was huge to validate that Regional performance by staying hot and winning the program’s first Finals title in seven years.

“It’s a big relief to tell you the truth,” said Haney, whose team was able to handle the increasing winds on Saturday, which were more of a factor on the more open East course than Forest Akers West. “There are some great teams and great individuals in Division 1 that we battle with all the time. This team definitely earned it.”

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PHOTO: (Top) Rochester's Veronica Haque putts during Saturday's second round at the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final. (Middle) Traverse City West's Anika Dy watches a drive during her round; she finished as individual medalist. (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