NorthPointe Pulls Away for 1st Girls Golf Title

October 19, 2019

By Tim Robinson
Special for Second Half

BATTLE CREEK — For Sabrina Langerak, a reversion to form made all the difference for Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian at the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Girls Golf Final on Saturday at Bedford Valley Golf Club.

Langerak, a junior, shot 88 in Friday’s first round after averaging 77 strokes during the season.

On Saturday, her 77 lifted the Mustangs to their first-ever Finals championship. After ending Friday three strokes behind two-time reigning champion Harbor Springs, NorthPointe won the title Saturday by five strokes. 

“(Friday), I was swinging too fast and missed a lot of putts,” Langerak said. “Today, I took my time a lot more and thought about my putts more.”

The championship was a family effort for the Langeraks. Brian Langerak is the coach, and his two daughters, Sabrina and senior Hannah, played key roles this season,

“We take a lot of golf home with us,” Brian said, smiling.

NorthPointe and Harbor Springs were neck-and-neck throughout the day.

“We knew (Friday) it was a two-horse race, because we had a 20(plus)-stroke lead on the field,” Brian Langerak said referring to his team and Harbor Springs. “We got out to a great start, but it came down to the end. It was almost like match play out there. We knew we were in the running, but we also knew it was very close, down to the last couple of holes.”

For the Rams, it marked the end of play for a stellar senior class that included Evie Garver, Mackenzie Gillette and Maggie Bailey.

“(They) were runners-up in the state twice and won two state championships,” Harbor Springs coach Pete Kelbel said. “So, we’ll go home happy.”

The Rams also went home with medalist honors, with Jacque O’Neill edging Wixom St. Catherine’s Sara Haupt in a one-hole playoff after both finished at 164. Sabrina Langerak just missed out, carding a 165.

Both got onto the green in three on the first playoff hole, the 419-yard par-4 No. 16, but Haupt missed with her first putt and O’Neill then prepared for her putt.

“I was a little nervous, but I was trying not to think about it too much,” O’Neill said.

She said she was prepared for No. 16, which was the first of what would have been three playoff holes had the tie remained.

“I was just trying to play it like I had the last few days, because I’ve played that hole pretty well throughout,” she said. “I just tried to hit my spots.”

A junior, O’Neill also was a major part of Harbor Springs’ team success the last three seasons.

“We’re a little disappointed, but we’re happy for Northpointe Christian,” she said. “We’re looking forward to next year.”

Haupt, a junior, was happy with her weekend.

“I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did,” she said. “I had low expectations. I had never gone to states before. I just wanted to try my best and have fun.”

Afterward, the NorthPointe Christian players and parents posed for a team picture, with Hannah Langerak keeping the trophy firmly in her grip.

“It’s amazing,” the senior said, “because I got to practice with my dad and sister all the time and play with them all summer.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian celebrates its first MHSAA Finals championship in girls golf Saturday. (Middle) Harbor Springs’ Jacque O’Neill putts during a playoff hole; she won the hole and the individual championship. (Click to see more from

After Back-to-Back Top-10 Finals Finishes, Rockford Aims To Join Title Contenders

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

September 22, 2022

ROCKFORD – The Rockford girls golf team witnessed first-hand at last year’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final the type of scores it would take to compete for top honors in the state. 

West MichiganThe Rams finished a laudable eighth at last year’s championship tournament, but their two-day total of 697 (338-359) put them well behind champion Northville, which posted team scores of 307 and 308 to claim a fourth-straight Finals title by 12 strokes.

Rockford entered this season with aspirations to close the gap, and it has done just that with a talented quartet of experienced golfers.

“Our top four are better than we've had in the past,” Rams girls golf coach Scott Kruisenga said. “Maybe we’re not quite as deep, but the potential for all four of these girls to be in the 70s is pretty exciting.

“We’ve been seeing those scores by Northville, and Rochester Adams and Saline, and that's some darn good golf.

“The girls last year saw some of the scores that needed to take place in order to have a shot at a state championship, and they really took it serious over the summer. They played a lot of tournament golf, and they want it and they believe they can do it.”

The extra preparation and enhanced desire has been evident with low scores and first-place finishes.

The Rams have rolled through the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red thus far with the league tournament looming next week.

A new school record was established as well when Rockford won the Kent County Classic with an impressive 306. 

“We’ve played well, and it’s been fun getting to know everyone the last three years,” said junior Jessica Jolly, the team’s No. 1 golfer.

Aubrey Wilson putts off the rough during the Final at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. “Everyone is capable of shooting low, so when we can do our best on the same day it’s fun, and we’ve broken the school record multiple times in the past few years.”

Jolly is joined in the top four by seniors Mackenzie Davidson and Bridget Parlmer and junior Aubrey Wilson.

In addition to the Kent Country Classic, Rockford also won the O-K Red Midseason Tournament, the Sydney Carfine Memorial Tournament and the Greenville Invitational.

The Rams took second behind state powerhouse Brighton at the 36-hole Lober Classic at Crystal Mountain to open the season.

“They have really been playing up to their ability and been playing lights out,” Kruisenga said. “They’ve put a lot of hard work in, and I’ve had all four since they were freshmen so it’s been fun to see how they’ve been improving year by year.

“That has been the most exciting thing, seeing the improvement and dedication they are putting into get better.”

While the team had high expectations entering the season, Kruisenga said they have already exceeded his.

“I was thinking even if we stay the same as last year we would be a good team,” he said, “but everyone is playing better.” 

Jolly has been the catalyst and broke her own school record earlier this season with a superb 67 at Quail Ridge Golf Course.

She tied for ninth at the LPD1 Final as a freshman, when Rockford finished fifth as a team, and just missed the individual top 10 last season.

“I’m pretty happy with how I’ve played, and I’ve definitely seen my average drop to the lowest it’s been since I’ve been in high school.” Jolly said. “Most of my rounds have been under par, and it’s been fun to make some birdies and get a chance at shooting pretty low.”

After struggling on the second day of last year’s Final, Kruisenga said the success his team had at the 36-hole event earlier this season should bode well for the future. 

“We did that intentionally to try and get used to that back-to-back,” he said. “The girls fared really well. We lost by three or four strokes to Brighton, and we were tied going into the second day. They kept a good mental game and limited their mistakes.”

The Rams are anxious for the postseason, but refuse to take anything for granted. They want to finish the conference season strong before setting their sights on a Finals berth.

“Our first goal would be to win the postseason tournament, and then we hope to do well at Regionals and qualify for state,” Jolly said. “If we do, then we’re looking to perform well there and give ourselves a chance.”

Dean Holzwarth has covered primarily high school sports for Grand Rapids-based WOOD-TV for five years after serving at the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years along with shorter stints at the Ionia Sentinel and WZZM. Contact him at with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties. 

PHOTOS (Top) Rockford’s Jessica Jolly powers through a drive during last season’s LPD1 Final. (Middle) Aubrey Wilson putts off the rough during the Final at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)