Northville Rallies for 3rd-Straight D1 Win

October 16, 2020

By‌ ‌Jason‌ ‌Schmitt‌ ‌
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING ‌—‌ ‌The rules of golf are pretty simple — for the most part.

But for one brief moment Friday at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Girls Golf Finals, Northville sophomore Samantha Coleman had a mental lapse. And she broke a rule.

After her third shot found the green on the par-4 ninth hole, she walked up onto the green and at the request of a playing partner, she marked her spot and moved her ball out of the putting line. When it was her turn to putt, she failed to move the ball back to its original spot. She was assessed a two-stroke penalty.

“The funniest thing is, as I walked up to the ball and while she told me to move the mark, I thought to myself, ‘Don’t forget to move it back.’ I always do,” Coleman said. “And then I was happy with par because it was a long putt. I was really proud of how I was doing. And to know that (mistake) was how I doubled — because I didn’t move it back — that was really rough.”

The mistake really got to Coleman, who had played her first 12 holes under par. That’s when her coach, Chris Cronin, stepped in.

“That’s really, really tough. And when you get emotional when you’re competing, it’s hard to concentrate and it makes it hard to finish,” Cronin said. “We talked for a long time. I basically walked with her for the last four holes. When Sam is playing, I let her play golf. She’ll normally see me every 3-4 holes. But today, I knew she needed me there to finish. We walked and talked. The one thing I told her was, ‘You’ve got to let your teammates pick you up.’ She’s thinking, ‘Well, what if my two strokes (cost us) and I told her, ‘You can’t worry about that. You’ve got to trust your teammates to pick you up.’  I think that gave her solace and comfort so she could finish the way she did.”

And what she and her teammates did was spectacular. Trailing Rochester Adams by a pair of strokes with five holes to play, Northville rallied to capture its third-straight Division 1 championship at Forest Akers East in East Lansing.

Northville shot 313 to best the Highlanders, who finished nine strokes back with a team score of 322. Grand Blanc was third with a score of 328, followed by Plymouth (330) and Rockford (334) in the top five.

Coleman finished with a 3-over 75 to lead the Mustangs, who became just the ninth program in Lower Peninsula history to win three straight girls golf Finals championships. The last to do so in Division 1 was Grand Blanc (2004-06).

Northville’s depth shined Friday, with just six shots separating its five golfers. Sophomore Avi Gill and junior Haesol Park each carded 79s, while senior Katelyn Tokarz finished with an 80 to round out the team’s scoring.

“If you look at our last two holes, that’s where we opened the gap,” Cronin said. “A lot of birdies on those last two holes. It’s awesome. Plymouth was our equal. They beat us handily a couple times this year. Adams beat us this year. Grand Blanc beat us this year. We knew it was going to be close, and I think that makes this extra special.

“That’s kind of our team’s MO. We’re able to finish strong. The girls really executed today. A good example was our No. 4 golfer, Haesol Park. She started six over after four holes. It was a rough way to start. She finished with a 79 today. That’s somebody hanging in there, grinding it out. All the girls did that. They knew that that’s what it was going to take to win today.”

After a rough start, Rochester Adams made a move and took the lead. 

“I’m proud of every single girl. I mean, the way they played and battle through things,” Adams head coach Jeff Kutschman said. “The conditions were changing. We had sun and no wind for a while. Then it felt like a 25-30 mile an hour wind for a couple holes, cold and cloudy. Then it was back to sunny. The way they battled through the conditions today was outstanding.”

Sophomore Grace Wang paced the Highlanders with a round of 76. Freshman teammate Laura Liu added a 78.

Grand Blanc sophomore Kate Brody was the tournament medalist, shooting a 2-under 70. She was the only player to break par.

“It feels great that all my hard work has paid off,” said Brody, who finished third overall a year ago. “I had to stay focused, stay calm and take my time on my shots. The conditions were rough but I think I did a good job adjusting to it. I have practiced so much, put a lot of work in. I’m just glad that I could come out with the win.”

Utica Eisenhower senior Ariel Chang and Ann Arbor Skyline junior Adie Maki tied for second with a pair of 73s. Plymouth junior Bridget Boczar and East Kentwood freshman Elise Fennell each shot 74 to finish fourth. Traverse City West senior Anci Dy (75), Coleman, Brighton senior Maggie Pietila (75), Ann Arbor Pioneer senior Amaya Melendez (76), Rockford freshman Jessica Jolly (76) and Wang (76) rounded out the top 10.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Northville’s Samantha Coleman follows through on a putt during the Division 1 Final on Friday at Forest Akers East. (Middle) Grand Blanc’s Kate Brody putts during her run to 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