Standouts Lead Mountaineers to D2 Peak

By John Vrancic
Special for

May 29, 2013

NORWAY — There was no question the individual winner was going to be from Iron Mountain High School at the end of Wednesday's MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 2 Girls Golf Final.

It was just a matter of which one.

Senior Katelynn Johnson and sophomore Cassie Feira shared the lead after 18 holes with 96 strokes apiece at Oak Crest Golf Course, forcing a sudden-death playoff hole on this sunny and warm day.

Johnson then became the overall winner by edging Feira on the first playoff hole.

"In my 15 years of coaching, that's the first time I've seen this happen," Iron Mountain coach Don Bianco said. "This was very unique. To have this happen was very special. Both girls played well. Katelynn just had better luck getting out of the sand trap during the playoff hole."

The Mountaineers also were crowned team champions for the first time since 2004 with 421 strokes. They were followed by Ironwood with 458 and Manistique at 466.

"The girls really deserve this," Bianco said. "This is a tough group of kids. They're willing to practice in all conditions. Plus, if they have one bad hole, they move on and grind it out."

This marked the first U.P. title for Johnson, who also was crowned Mid-Peninsula Conference champion last week and found being in a playoff with her teammate to be quite interesting and nerve-wracking.

"The pressure was on," said Johnson, who will attend Northern Michigan University this fall to major in nursing. "I couldn't have put the ball on the tee at first. I was so nervous. I was just shaking and everybody was watching. I don't think I have ever been that nervous in my life.

“I had a pretty decent drive, then both of us ended up in a sand trap and it took me two shots to get out. It was a relief to get out of there. After that I wasn't shaking anymore."

Once out of the sand trap, Johnson two-putted for the win.

"It was very nerve-wracking," Feira said. "I felt she should win because she's a senior. This the first time I shot under 100. I was happy to break that. I thought the back nine was easier than the front nine. I ended up in sand traps a lot in the front nine.

“As a team, we practiced a lot last week on chipping and putting, which are things I needed to work on. We also played 18 holes a few times and that helped a lot. The weather was better today, too. We didn't have to wear all the layers we did last week."

Feira's thoughts on playing extra rounds at Oak Crest were similar to Bianco's.

"I think coming here a couple times last week enabled the girls to get more comfortable with the course," he said. "Having a strong senior group also helped."

Alyssa Norback of L'Anse placed third at 97. She was followed by Ironwood senior Korrie Trier at 100 and Norway senior Shelby Matonich at 104.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Iron Mountain's Katelynn Johnson studies a putt during Wednesday's U.P. Division 2 Final; she won the individual championship in a one-hole playoff. (Middle) Norway's Paige Sheski tees off during her round at Oak Crest Golf Course. (Photos by Theresa Proudfit.)

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