Ontonagon, Chassell Ace Rise in UPD3

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

June 1, 2018

GLADSTONE — Sometimes it pays for golfers to have short memories.

After struggling in Wednesday’s practice round at Irish Oaks Golf Course, Marli Hietila shook that off in time to earn medalist honors at Thursday’s Upper Peninsula Division 3 Golf Finals.

The Chassell junior shot 88 for her first U.P. title on this warm and humid day, which included a brief downpour. 

“My driver helped me a lot today, and my chipping was good,” she said. “I had a couple rough holes, but it turned out pretty good. The downpour made it exciting. We were just starting a hole when it started pouring. The weather conditions could have been better, although it wasn’t too bad. I would have preferred to have it a little cooler.”

Ontonagon captured its first title in seven years with 433 strokes, followed by Crystal Falls Forest Park at 442, Big Bay de Noc 479, Cedarville 498 and Pickford with 501.

“We knew Forest Park would be one of the frontrunners,” said first-year Ontonagon coach Adam Spaulding. “They have their competition and good facilities in their area. Our girls are real good about helping each other out. They played very well today.”

Last year’s champion, Cedarville sophomore Lily Freel, was runner-up this time at 90. 

“I definitely didn’t play how I thought I would,” said Freel. “My practice round went real well. I know I can play like that, which makes this pretty disappointing. My shots weren’t as solid as I hoped, and I really struggled reading the greens and misjudged distances. My putting also let me down. Golf is so unpredictable. I consistently shot in the low 80s all year, but didn’t do it on the day it really counted.”

Freel was followed by Powers North Central junior Jadie Linder at 95. 

“This was the best I played all year,” said Linder. “My drives went real well, and my putting was better than usual. I didn’t have any expectations coming in and played pretty relaxed. Last year I took sixth in the Finals. I improved a lot from last year.”

Ontonagon’s leader was sophomore Hallie Bobula, who shot 103 and edged Carney-Nadeau eighth-grader Tessa Wagner on a tie-breaker for fourth place.

Also placing in the top 10 individually were Carney-Nadeau senior Breanna Bedgood at 104, Mackinac Island sophomore McKenna Horricks at 105, Ontonagon senior Kinsey Weisinger 106 and Forest Park senior Alina Soha and Rock Mid Peninsula eighth-grader Shaelyn Lampinen both firing 107.

Click for full results

PHOTOS: (Top) Ontonagon’s Izabelle Lutz executes a chip Thursday at the U.P. Division 3 Golf Finals at Gladstone’s Irish Oaks Golf Course. (Middle) Chassell’s Marli Hietila shot 88 to capture girls medalist honors. (Photos by Mike Mattson.)

Pederson Wins Memorably, Ontonagon Ascends Again in 'Phenomenal' Fashion

By Jason Juno
Special for MHSAA.com

May 30, 2024

ESCANABA – Big Bay de Noc’s Camryn Pederson carded an 89 on Thursday to win the Upper Peninsula Division 3 Final individual champion and become the first U.P. champion to clear 90 since 2019.

“It feels really good,” she said. “I tried my best to golf as good as I could today, and I’m really glad that it came out the way it was. It’s a good way to end my senior year.”

She said she liked the open course that was low on hazards at the Escanaba Country Club. And she did most things well during her round Thursday.

“I think I minimized my putts. I only one or two-putt most of the holes,” Pederson said. “And my drives were really good.”

She became the second golfer from Big Bay de Noc to win a U.P. Finals individual golf title. Samantha Guertin won Division 3 in 2006 with a 90.

Pederson’s team was seeking its first title since 2005 after finishing runner-up last year, but finished second to a school where girls golf has pretty much always been strong – Ontonagon.

Ontonagon celebrates its latest girls golf Finals championship.When the MHSAA first separated the U.P. Finals into separate classes, Ontonagon won the first 10 Class C-D championships, from 1978 to 1987. When Class D got its own U.P. championship tournament, the Gladiators girls won the first four, part of a five-year run of titles from 1994 to 1998. When classifications changed again in 2001, and the name of the smallest group of schools changed from Class D to Division 3, Ontonagon didn’t stop winning, racking up seven more Finals championships.

On Thursday, the Gladiators made it eight wins in Division 3 and 23 overall.

Two of their golfers finished under 100 – runner-up Madyson Pantti carded a 94, and Sam Bailey had a 98. All five finished among the top 10 individuals. Summer Stites’ 100 was good for a fourth-place tie, and Olivia Lockhart and Shayna Stites tied for 10th with 108s.

It was the first U.P. Finals golf championship for all of them, including coach Jim Jessup. The Gladiators’ last team wins came with back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019.

Ontonagon repeated as Copper Mountain Conference champion this year. The Gladiators had finished third last season at the U.P. Division 3 Final and outshot Big Bay de Noc on Thursday by eight strokes, 400-408. Ontonagon shot 36 strokes better than at last season’s Final, and every golfer shot under 110, which Jessup called “phenomenal.”

“I think the girls just worked really hard to better themselves,” he said. “Their stroke play was better, their consistency was better.”

Pantti improved her score by eight strokes from last year’s Final. The junior will have another shot at an individual championships in 2025, but she had a lot to be proud of this time with her runner-up finish that led the Gladiators to a team title.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “It was something that we’d been looking forward to all season. We’ve done good in a lot of our meets, and I thought this was a really good year for us.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Big Bay de Noc's Camryn Pederson follows her drive on No. 4 on Thursday at Escanaba Country Club. (Middle) Ontonagon celebrates its latest girls golf Finals championship. (Photos by Jason Juno.)