Shores Core 4 wins Fourth MHSAA Title

October 20, 2012

By Greg Chrapek
Special to Second Half

ALLENDALE – Repeating was the theme of the weekend at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 Girls Golf Final.

Not only was Muskegon Mona Shores looking for a fourth straight team championship, but Okemos junior Elle Nichols had her sights set on repeating as the individual medalist at The Meadows Golf Course on the campus of Grand Valley State University.

In the end, both the Sailors and Nichols accomplished their goals, but not without plenty of thrills along the way. On the team front, Mona Shores became the first girls golf team to win four straight Lower Peninsula championships. The Sailors also came full circle as their two-day total of 666 matched the score they shot in winning the 2009 title with four of the same players.

Mona Shores led the tournament at the end of the first day with a 341 and came back on Saturday to shoot a 325. Battle Creek Lakeview finished second with a score of 707 while Okemos took third with a 711.

“We talked about the butterflies after the first day,” Mona Shores coach John Brainard said. “We talked Saturday morning about getting rid of the butterflies. About getting a fire in our bellies instead and going out after it.”

That was exactly what the Sailors did, as seniors Hailey Hrynewich and Morgan Smith led the way with scores of 79 while fellow seniors Britni Gielow and Kelsey McKinley shot rounds of 83 and 84, respectively. All four have been among the team’s top five for all four championships.

“It feels so great to win it again,” Hrynewich said. “That was our goal from day one this season, to win a fourth state title. There was a lot more pressure on us this year. Everyone knew we were going for our fourth in a row, but we knew we had to do it."

The title was bittersweet for Brainard, who will say goodbye to his special senior class.

“I’m so proud of these girls,” Brainard said. “These four seniors are very special. They set the state record that no other team has done before.”

With a fourth title heading to the trophy case, Brainard is already looking ahead to a possible fifth next year.

“That’s my job,” Brainard said. “I’ve already started looking ahead. I started last summer getting some girls out for the junior varsity team, and we’re going to work on getting some more golfers out.”

While the Sailors won by 14 strokes, Nichols had a much closer margin of victory as she had to go to a three-person playoff to repeat as champion by one stroke.

Nichols was in third place, three strokes out of first as she carded an 81 on Friday. She came back Saturday and fired a 77 to finish with a 36-hole total of 158. Hrynewich came in with scores of 79 on both days to also finish with a 158, while East Lansing senior Kristyn Crippen, who was the Division 2 runner-up last fall, shot a 76 on Saturday to go with Friday’s round of 82.

The three golfers then played the treacherous 18th hole. Nichols’ second shot landed short of the green in the tall grass that was even more of a hazard due to the heavy rain from the previous two days. However, she was up to the challenge as she blasted a shot out of the tall grass and mud and onto the green some 40 feet beyond the hole. From there, it was a 40-foot, downhill put for par. Nichols sent the ball on a smooth line to the hole, but once it arrived at its destination the ball jumped just over the lip.

After her opponents missed their bogey putts, Nichols sank her next to edge Hrynewich and Crippen by a stroke and win the playoff.

“I knew somehow I had to get out of the gunk,” Nichols said. “I knew if I could get out of that I had a chance. My first putt lipped out, but then I got my second putt to go in.”

Nichols saved her best putts until the end, according to her coach Dan Stolz.

“Elle didn’t play her best,” Stolz said. “She struggled with her putting some, but then she almost holed that 40-footer that went around the lip. She had eight or nine three-putts, and if she made some of those it wouldn’t have been as close.”

Or as dramatic.

“It was really exciting,” Nichols said. “I was not sure it was going to happen, but I had been there before so I had confidence that I could do it again. I won state last year and knew that I could get it done.”

For Hrynewich, who was on the green in two, the sting of losing the playoff was soothed by the thought of being a four-time team champion with her classmates.

“I thought I had it, but then I missed that putt,” Hrynewich said. “It was disappointing to lose in the playoff, but we won the team championship, and that was the big thing. Winning our fourth team title was what we I really wanted more then anything.”              

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PHOTO: (Top) Muskegon Mona Shores' Hailey Hrynewich, East Lansing's Kristyn Crippen and Okemos' Elle Nichols shake hands after their playoff hole ended with Nichols winning her second MHSAA championship. (Middle) Mona Shores receives the Division 2 team trophy for the fourth straight season. (Click to see 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