Seaholm Sweeps in Team Title Repeat

October 18, 2014

By Tom Kendra
Special to Second Half

EAST LANSING – It certainly wasn’t the first time Birmingham Seaholm senior Jamie Greene had shot par in a tournament.

But given the magnitude of the stage at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 Final, and the bitter cold and gusty playing conditions on the already-challenging Forest Akers West course, Greene’s sterling, even-par 72 is certainly the round of her life.

At least so far.

Greene’s career round, which was three shots better than anyone else in the field Saturday, helped defending champion Seaholm increase its big lead over the final 18 holes for a 660 team total and a dominating 37-shot victory over runner-up South Lyon.

“It’s just a great way to end my high school career,” said Greene, who will play golf next year at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. “We really, really wanted to win as a team, and being state medalist has been a goal of mine for a long time.”

South Lyon, led by the sister trio of senior Caroline Harding (159), junior Priscilla Harding (169) and freshman Elizabeth Harding (179), placed second at 697. St. Joseph took third at 707, followed by Okemos (721) and Midland Dow (722).

Greene, the lone senior among Seaholm’s top five players, rallied past junior teammate and first-round leader Allegra Cunningham for medalist honors.

Caroline Harding, who will play college golf on this same Forest Akers course for Michigan State, placed third at 159. Midland Dow sophomore Stephanie Carras was fourth at 162, and Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central senior Evon Shay took fifth at 164.

“I’m thrilled with Jamie Greene,” said Cathie Fritz, Seaholm’s co-head coach along with Leon Braisted. “She was disciplined, she played everything to the nines. I am thrilled that it finally came together for her within her high school career.”

The 1-2 punch of Greene and Cunningham gave the Maples, who each wore maroon maple leaves on their cheeks for the Final, a decisive edge on the rest of the field. But a steady finish by the Maples’ supporting cast ensured that no other team would catch them from behind. 

Cunningham was second for the Maples at 157, six strokes behind Greene. Rounding out the scoring for Seaholm were juniors Jordan Michalak (167), Annie Trotta (185) and Cate Joelson (187).

“This turned out so much better than we hoped. We knew our one, two and three players would play strong, but we are thrilled our fourth, fifth and sixth players really rallied,” Fritz said. “They really rallied, they had never played in this cold of weather, or this soft of a course, but they came through for us today.”

While the end result was the same as last fall, Seaholm’s route to the title could not have been more different.

The Maples needed a near-miraculous Saturday rally last year, charging from 17 shots back after the opening round to nip Okemos by one stroke. This year, Seaholm found itself in the opposite position with a 15-shot lead going into the final round.

Recalling their own charge from a year ago, the Maples proved to be unflappable front-runners this time, with the highest score out of the Seaholm five a respectable 93.

Birdies were an extremely rare commodity on both days of the 36-hole stroke play tournament, with a steady wind of about 15 mph blowing out of the northwest. But Greene was able to make a pair on Saturday – on the par-3 7th hole and the par-5 13th hole – en route to her even-par score. 

Greene attributed her stellar round to her year-long focus on course management and her positive attitude about the weather.

“I enjoy playing in bad weather, because it keeps me focused,” said Greene, who is a member at Detroit Golf Club. “I left my driver in the bag most of the day, and I was hitting my 4-iron off the tee. The best part of my game today was my iron shots into the greens.” 

With the back-to-back titles for Seaholm, which now has four MHSAA girls golf titles in school history, only two schools have won Division 2 championships since 2008. Mona Shores won four consecutive from 2009 to 2012, and now the Maples have won the past two.

Fritz said her team will be motivated to pursue a “three-peat” next fall with a solid, large nucleus of players returning.  

“We have 40 players over four teams, with only one key senior,” Fritz said. “We will build all year long. We’re going to push hard.”

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PHOTOS: (Top) Birmingham Seaholm poses with its championship trophy after repeating as winners of the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Final; individual medalist Jamie Greene holds the trophy. (Middle) Seaholm’s Allegra Cunningham, also the individual runner-up, watches a shot Saturday. (Click to see more from

3-Sport Standout Sluss Gives Lenawee Christian All-State Boost for Every Season

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

January 11, 2023

ADRIAN – Avery Sluss picked up a golf club for the first time her freshmen year at Adrian Lenawee Christian. Now she’s an all-state golfer.

Southeast & BorderSluss started playing basketball because it was a way for her and her older brother, Gavin, to connect. She’s now the leading scorer on the Cougars basketball team a year after receiving all-state recognition.

Everything she touches seems to turn to gold. She will return to the soccer field in the spring already with her college plans in place. She signed recently to play goalkeeper at Indiana Wesleyan University.

“I’ve learned so much from sports,” Avery said. “It teaches me a lot about life.”

Her coaches call her a self-motivated athlete, quiet leader and someone dedicated to her faith, her teammates, and academics. She is a 4.0 student and has played four years of varsity golf, basketball, and soccer. She’s earned all-state recognition in all three sports.

“She is very self-motivated,” said first-year Lenawee Christian girls basketball coach Emilie Beach. “She doesn’t miss workouts or practices. She pushes herself hard. She forces others to rise (around her).”

Sluss is in her fourth season on the Lenawee Christian varsity basketball team. This year her role changed from mostly a defensive specialist to scorer.

Sluss puts up a shot during last season’s Division 4 Semifinal at Breslin Center.Beach said Avery hasn’t changed her positive attitude with the changes in her role on the team. She has a high basketball IQ, Beach said, which helps her on the court.

“It can be tough and frustrating, but she comes in with a great attitude each day and leads her teammates,” Beach said. “She is a quiet leader who leads by example. She is hardest on herself, and that’s where a lot of her motivation comes from.”

The Cougars have had great success on the basketball floor the last several years, and Sluss has been part of it. She’s played alongside all-staters and played at the Breslin Center. She started and played 20 minutes in last year’s Semifinal loss to Plymouth Christian Academy.

This season she’s averaging 14.5 points a game, with 16 3-pointers, and has scored at least 17 points four times.

“It’s very different, but I like the role I’m in now,” she said. “Now, it’s like you have to score. I’ve accepted it. I’m just trying my best to fulfill that role for my teammates.”

Sluss sat out the fall travel soccer season while she was recovering from a slight back injury. But she was able to hit the golf course. She shot a two-day total of 186 at the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Final, helping the Cougars finish second as a team. A year earlier Sluss shot an 89 and 87 and helped the Cougars finish fourth overall.

Not bad for someone who didn’t pick up a golf club until just a few years ago.

“Golf was new to me my freshman year,” she said. “Some of my friends said I should try it, so I did. I went to the range maybe one or two times before I started to play. I’ve loved it.”

As far as sports goes, soccer was her first love. She started playing at the age of 4 when a neighborhood dad gathered a few girls together and formed a team.

“We started playing in the back yard,” she said. “I’ve been playing soccer ever since. My first travel team was when I was 7.”

Sluss first started thinking about playing college soccer when she was in kindergarten.

“I’ve always wanted to play soccer in college,” she said. “I’ve dreamed about that. I’ve spent so much time on the sport that it would be silly not to. I want it to pay off with college.”

Sluss plants a chip on the green. She used to play multiple positions but turned to goalkeeper at the age of 12.

“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “There are a lot of little things. The mental part of being a goalkeeper is important.”

After being named to the coaches association all-state third team last year, Sluss is primed for a big season this spring, especially with her college choice behind her.

“It is a strong Christian college, which was important to me,” she said. “It’s a lot like Lenawee Christian. Everyone on the soccer team was great when I met them, and the girls are so nice.”

Sluss has become adept at mixing sports with academics and life.

“Balance is a big issue,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, especially doing two at a time.

“My whole family, my parents (David and Kristen), they always push me to be the best I can be. I owe them a lot. Even my little sister (Addie) pushes me to do my best.”

Avery’s family moved from Toledo to the Adrian area several years ago, and the two perfectly complement to each other.

“Lenawee Christian has been a great fit for me,” she said. “All of the people are awesome, and I have grown in my faith here.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Avery Sluss gathers up the ball while playing keeper for Lenawee Christian’s soccer team. (Middle) Sluss puts up a shot during last season’s Division 4 Semifinal at Breslin Center. (Below) Sluss plants a chip on the green. (Photos courtesy of the Lenawee Christian athletic department.)