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

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