Reigning Champ Adams, Neighbor Rochester High Aiming to Set Pace Statewide

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

August 17, 2023

The Lower Peninsula Division 1 Girls Golf Tournament might not be until October, but there probably will be many events before then that feel the same for Rochester Adams and Rochester High. 

Greater DetroitThat’s because whether it’s at invitationals, dual matches or league tournaments, whenever they are competing at the same event, it will likely be more than a battle of the best teams in Rochester or Oakland County.

It could very well be a contest between the two best teams in the state that reside roughly three miles from one another. 

“It’s nice to be battle-tested,” Adams coach Jeff Kutschman said. “We see Rochester this year between duals and tournaments probably six or seven times.”

Adams enters this year as the reigning LPD1 champion after a resounding triumph at Battle Creek’s Bedford Valley a year ago.

The Highlanders captured their first Finals championship by finishing 47 strokes ahead of runner-up Brighton, and Adams might be even more potent this year. The only graduate off of that team was Grace Wang, so Adams is in a great spot to repeat with nine of 11 players back. 

Laura Liu, Katie Fodale and Olivia Dance will be the senior leaders, with junior Alexa Camargo and sophomore Hannah Wang also back after playing at the Final last season.

“The mindset for the girls is just like it was last year, where it was one day at a time and one shot at a time,” Kutschman said. “We tried not to let anything get too big in front of us. Just go out and play golf. Just have a good time and focus on what you’re doing at the time.”

Adams celebrates its 2022 LPD1 title; the Highlanders graduated only one golfer. A traditional power that went through some hard times after winning its last Division 1 championship in 2016, Rochester seems to be back on the upswing.

The Falcons finished third at last year’s Final — 52 shots behind Adams — in what was their first top-5 finish since the 2016 squad won it all. 

Even better for Rochester is that its best four golfers are back from last year’s team: seniors Brooke Haney and Natalie Haise, junior Madison Yang and sophomore Ananya Kumar. 

For Rochester head coach Jeff Haney, who has helped guide the program to three Division 1 championships (2008, 2009, 2016) and two runner-up finishes since girls golf moved to the fall in 2007, it’s good to begin a season with lofty expectations once again.

“I’ll be honest, after we won in ’08 and ’09, I figured that would be the extent of that for me,” Haney said. “I was then fortunate to have those teams in ’15 and ’16. I really didn’t think it would come back around again. I feel pretty lucky to have a real strong team again.”

There is work for the Falcons to do in order to try and make up the 52-stroke difference Adams had on the Falcons last year, but Haney likes his team’s overall depth beyond the top four who are back.

“We have better depth than most people,” he said. “At a tournament, probably all nine of my girls can shoot under 100, compared to some other teams I’ve had where we barely had anyone who could shoot under 100.” 

In fairness, Adams and Rochester won’t be the only title contenders in Division 1.

Brighton graduated just one senior from last year’s runner-up team and is powerful as well, while Rockford has four golfers back from its team that finished fifth last year, including senior Jessica Jolly, who tied for third individually at the 2022 Final. 

But given the talent and experience both Adams and Rochester have back, don’t be surprised if the LP Division 1 Tournament in October turns into a de facto “Rochester Invitational.”

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties

PHOTOS (Top) Rochester High’s Madison Yang putts during last season’s Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final at Bedford Valley. (Middle) Adams celebrates its 2022 LPD1 title; the Highlanders graduated only one golfer. (Top photo by High School Sports Scene; middle photo courtesy of Adams’ athletic department.)

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