Seaholm Succeeds by a Stroke

October 19, 2013

By Mark Meyer
Special to Second Half

EAST LANSING – Birmingham Seaholm found itself in an unenviable position Saturday morning, 17 shots off the Division 2 Girls Golf Final lead at Forest Akers East and facing an uphill climb against an Okemos team brimming with confidence.

Throw in some swirling rain, a brisk wind and temperatures in the 40s, and the Maples certainly had plenty of ground to cover if they had hoped for a repeat of their 2008 title.

Based on the way they kept their composure throughout the weekend – and with three of their five starters coming back next season – the Maples have plenty to look forward to in the coming years.

Senior Megan Lam keyed the second-day surge with a medalist round of 78 as Seaholm surged to a 1-stroke victory over Okemos, 663-664. The Maples outshot the Chieftains 320-338 Saturday thanks in large part to the play of sophomore Allegra Cunningham (79), junior Jamie Greene (81) and sophomore Jordan Michalak (82).

And, even though her score didn’t count toward the team total, senior Rylie Miller (84) closed out her high school career by chipping in for birdie on the 18th green – over the sand and into a hole that she could not see.

“I can’t tell you how amazing (of a comeback) this was,” Miller said. “After yesterday we were so upset. We went home afterwards and went to the football game against Groves (a 28-22 league title-clinching win for Seaholm) and that really pumped us up. We came out ready to win.

“To go home (Friday night) and watch our classmates celebrate that victory helped us so much. It was amazing.”

Seaholm assistant coach Cathie Fritz said the object was to have fun and block out the negative thoughts, no matter the conditions.

“Muddle through the weather,” Fritz said, “find some fun out there and hit shots, despite the pouring rain and the freezing cold. We had to find the fun in being on the golf course.”

Lam, one of two co-captains along with Miller, credited her father for an overnight tip that made a difference in her game.

“He told me my first putts had to be better,” Lam said. “I had to lag the ball closer to the hole and make as many two-putt greens as possible.”

Lam, a four-year starter for the Maples, said the weather was not a huge factor for her.

“Having played at states for four years, you kind of expect it and prepare mentally so that it doesn’t mess up your game,” Lam said. “It was really a pretty normal day for me.”

As it was for Okemos senior Elle Nichols, who became only the second player in Lower Peninsula history to win three individual MHSAA titles.

Nichols overcame a poor start – two double bogeys in the first three holes that put her 7 over par through six holes – to shoot 79 for a two-day total of 155, three shots ahead of Lam.

“I knew I had to go low on the back nine,” said Nichols, who closed with a 35, “and the birdie at 10 (capped by a 60-foot putt) helped get me started.”

The third individual trophy, however, couldn’t make up for the disappointment of a runner-up team finish.

“This team worked very hard to get to this position,” Nichols said, “and we wanted to finish it with a title.”

Sophomore Jessica Kim (81-83), junior Sydney Williams (82-89) and senior Carly Bullock (87-87) completed the scoring for the Chieftains, who finished third as a team in 2012.

“We had a terrific season,” said Okemos coach Dan Stolz. “We won our conference for the third year in a row, won a Regional and had a great day (Friday) to start the two-day tournament.

“But we started (Saturday) playing pretty crummy, Seaholm made up a lot of shots early and maybe we got a little tight. But then we came back and played much better on the back nine. We didn’t shoot a terrible score for the way the course was playing; they (Seaholm) just played better and deserved to win.”

Sisters Stephanie Carras (freshman) and Kharissa Carras (senior) both finished among the top 10 individuals to lead Midland Dow to a third-place finish with a team total of 695. Stephanie carded rounds of 79-80 while Kharissa, playing in the lead group with Nichols and Lam, shot 86-82.

Prior to the beginning of the awards ceremony, Fenton sophomore Madi Shegos received special mention for her hole-in-one Friday on the par-3 18th hole.

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PHOTOS: (Top) Birmingham Seaholm’s Jordan Michalak celebrates after chipping in for a birdie. (Middle) Okemos’ Elle Nichols finished first individually for the third straight season, tying at MHSAA record. (Click to see more from High School Sports Scene.)

Manistique Celebrates 2nd-Straight Finals Medalist, 1st Team Title Since 2015

By Jason Juno
Special for Second Half

May 31, 2023

NORWAY – After finishing runner-up to her teammate by one stroke last year, it was Nora Cunningham’s turn to be an Upper Peninsula Finals champion.

But more important to her was the fact that she and Macy Green, last year’s UP Division 2 medalist, led Manistique to a team championship Wednesday at Oak Crest.

“It feels really good,” Cunningham said of her individual achievement. “Above all, though, I think the team win definitely feels the best. Last year we ended up good individually, but the team win was our ultimate goal, so it was nice to get that this year.”

Manistique finished with a score of 455 for its first UP Finals title since 2015, and after the Emeralds finished fifth last spring. Bark River-Harris was runner-up with a 501.

Bark River-Harris’ Ella Boney hits out of the sand during her UPD2 Final round. Cunningham – who tied for second individually in 2022 – shot a 101 this time to finish three strokes ahead of Bark River-Harris’ Ava McDonough. Green and Manistique teammate Maddy Maline both carded 107s.

Oak Crest played tougher than it looked, Cunningham said. There’s a lot of trees, and she lost balls in the rough. She had a couple of rough holes, carding an 8 and a 9, but kept them to a minimum.

“I think I had really consistent drives, and then I just tried to take it hole by hole and not get too frustrated,” she said. “I had some rough holes, but I just bounced back from them.”

Her game is even better than it was last year. 

“Nora has added an extreme amount of distance off the tee,” Manistique coach Tim Noble said. “She’s really hitting drives past most everyone else. And it’s allowed her short game to flourish because she doesn't have to hit those mid irons like she used to.”

It had to be a happy ride back to Manistique after a hot day on the golf course. The boys team also won the UPD2 title, and the Emeralds’ Ryan McEvers was medalist.

Pretty much all the hardware went to Manistique.

Macy Green tees off for the Emeralds.“It is excellent that we both have the U.P. title, really good for the town of Manistique,” Noble said. “One of our better sports; we usually do pretty well in golf.”

He said he knew a team sweep was possible, but he had more confidence in the girls thanks to Cunningham and Green, who had great days both last year and this year.

“It’s nice to see Nora and Macy really have some success,” Noble said. “Macy picked it up as a sophomore, she learned to golf (after being a really good softball player). Nora’s going for college golf. It’s nice to see her go out on top.”

Cunningham signed to golf at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

Bark River-Harris’ Ella Boney and West Iron County’s Kya Dallavalle both finished with 115s to round out the top five.

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PHOTOS (Top) Manistique’s Nora Cunningham tees off during her round Wednesday at Oak Crest. (Middle) Bark River-Harris’ Ella Boney hits out of the sand during her UPD2 Final round. (Below) Macy Green tees off for the Emeralds. (Photos by Jason Juno.)