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.

Click for full results.

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.)

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