Seaholm Seniors Say Bye With Another Win

October 17, 2015

By Chip Mundy
Special for Second Half 

BATTLE CREEK – As the Birmingham Seaholm girls golf team gathered Saturday in the clubhouse of the Bedford Valley Golf Course, the body language of the girls suggested they might not have played well.

They were somber. They hugged. They cried. However, they actually played well enough to win their third consecutive Lower Peninsula Division 2 championship, and the emotion they were showing was the sadness of losing 11 seniors to graduation, including three who played this weekend. 

“It was more sadness that it was the end of their high school careers,” said Seaholm coach Cathie Fritz, a co-coach along with Leon Braisted.

Seaholm’s fourth MHSAA championship came with a score of 664, 13 strokes ahead of runner-up Midland Dow and 28 ahead of third-place South Lyon. But it was closer than scores made it appear. 

After play Friday, the leaderboard was quite jumbled as four teams were within 13 strokes of first-day leader Seaholm (335). Midland Dow was second (337), St. Joseph third (344), South Lyon fourth (347) and Okemos fifth (348).

Seaholm senior Allegra Cunningham explained the team’s strategy going into the second day with a slim lead.

“We did not have a score in mind,” she said. “We had a goal of just beating the girls in our group, or at least staying as close to them as possible so nobody could get too far away. 

“My sophomore year we came back from 17 down to win by one, so every shot seriously counts, and we just focused on the notion that everything counts.”

Seaholm’s second-day score of 329 was at least 11 strokes better than the rest of the field, and senior Catherine Markley led the way with a 79 after a first-day 85.

“I was just hoping to do better than yesterday, and I didn’t expect to do this well, so I’m really proud of myself,” Markley said. “This was a roller-coaster of emotion, especially at the end. 

“I was so nervous to finish, but at the same time I knew it was my last hole of high school golf, so it was really emotional, but I’m really excited that it ended so well.”

Cunningham, who delivered back-to-back rounds of 82, had high praise for Markley. 

“Our team really pulled it together, and Catherine Markley, she’s MVP,” Cunningham said. “She had 79 and everybody played amazing. We could not be happier with how the girls played today.”

Seaholm’s steady scoring was the ticket to the title. The eight scores used toward their total ranged between 79 and 89. In addition to the scores by Cunningham and Markley, Jordan Michalak had 80 and 79 to lead the team with a 159 total, and Hailey Roovers added rounds of 88 and 89. 

“We have focused this season in getting the girls to think in the here and not look ahead or behind at previous holes,” Fritz said. “They were really in the here and now, and that made a huge difference.”

Seaholm also used Cate Joelson on Friday and Emma Whittington on Saturday, but neither figured in the top-four scoring. Joelson said watching on Saturday was tougher than playing on Friday. 

“You’re kind of biting your nails watching your teammates and hoping for them to do well,” she said.

Michalak’s effort was good enough to earn her a tie for third place individually, but she was left with a feeling of frustration after a triple bogey on her final hole. A par would have put her in a playoff for the individual championship. 

“I had a bad last hole of high school golf, but that’s OK. I still finished great and it was enough to be top three,” she said. “I was so overwhelmed with emotion, both good and bad, and the tears were definitely flowing.

“I knew that it was close, and I was a little bit worried. But then I came in and it really didn’t matter, and everyone else was pleased with their own scores.” 

The individual MHSAA championship went to Muskegon Reeths-Puffer freshman Karina VanDuinen, who followed a first-day 82 with a 74 to edge Stephanie Carras of Midland Dow by two strokes. VanDuinen sat in the front row as the scores were put on the big board one by one.

“It was harder watching than it was playing,” she said shortly after learning that she had won the championship. “I’m trying not to cry right now, and I’m just shaking.” 

VanDuinen is just 14 years old, and she has been playing golf for just three years. Her parents, Mike and Christa, knew immediately that she was gifted in golf.

“She was in the high 90s in her first week, and the second week she was in the 80s, and it went from there,” her father said. 

VanDuinen won the regional with a 71 but soared to a first-day 82 at the MHSAA Final, leaving her five strokes off the pace going into the final day. It was a deficit she knew she could overcome, but she also knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

“I knew if I shot low enough there was a chance, but I didn’t think I was actually going to do it,” said VanDuinen, who had a second-day 74. “I thought I needed to shoot 72, so I didn’t think it was going to be good enough. 

“My drives and putting were definitely good, though.”

VanDuinen’s parents said the difference between Friday and Saturday was simple: Putting. 

“Her putts weren’t falling Friday like they did today,” her mother said.

“I actually think she hit the ball better Friday than she did today, but she made the putts today,” her father said.

VanDuinen started her second round with five pars and a birdie through the first six holes and went on from there to win. As a freshman, she has the opportunity to win four MHSAA Finals titles, but she knows that won’t be easy. 

“I’m going to try,” she said, “but right now, one time is good enough for me.”

Portage Northern senior Morgan Janke-Wolff had a highlight of her own with an eagle on the par-5, 378-yard fourth hole. She chipped in from about 10 yards off the green. 

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Birmingham Seaholm poses with its MHSAA championship trophy Saturday at Bedford Valley. (Middle) Seaholm’s Hailey Roovers follows through on an approach shot. (Below) Muskegon Reeths-Puffer freshman Karina VanDuinen unloads a shot on her way to the individual title. (Click for 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