Unexpected Star Helps TC West Shine

October 21, 2017

By Tom Kendra
Special for Second Half

ALLENDALE – Traverse City West senior Megan Jenkinson had to set down her celebratory slice of Little Caesar’s pizza to do a media interview.

Jenkinson is used to the sister duo of junior Anika Dy and freshman Anci Dy getting most of the attention (and they were certainly outstanding, as usual). But it was back-to-back rounds of 78 from Jenkinson, the Titans’ No. 3 player, which powered TC West on Saturday to its second MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 girls golf championship in the past three years.

“How is that for a happy ending?” asked first-year Titans coach Karl Gagnon, back for his second stint leading the program, as he wiped away tears of joy moments after accepting the championship trophy.

“Meg played her best two rounds of the year in the state finals in her final high school tournament. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Jenkinson’s outstanding play helped Traverse City West (626) to a surprisingly wide, 22-stroke victory over runner-up Brighton (648) in unseasonably warm and dry, but windy, conditions at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. 

TC West and Brighton shot out of the gate in Friday’s opening round, shooting rounds of 311 and 314, respectively, essentially turning the 18-school tournament into a two-horse race. The storyline going into Saturday was a variation of “Sister Act,” pitting the Dy sisters of Traverse City West against junior Annie Pietila and freshman Maggie Pietila of Brighton.

Anika Dy, the state’s reigning Miss Golf and already a verbal commit to play for the University of Michigan, was absolutely outstanding both days – shooting a 3-under par 69 on Friday and validating it with an even-par 72 on Saturday. Dy’s 141 total was eight strokes better than second place Savannah Haque of Rochester.

The 5-foot-1 Dy, who is certainly not a bomber off the tee, used her masterful course management skills and incredible putting to win Finals medalist honors at The Meadows for the second time. Dy chipped in on the final hole to take medalist honors when TC West won the first girls golf state title in school history on the GVSU course in 2015.

“I feel like this course is built for me,” said Dy, who is planning to take some time off from golf after a hectic summer and fall schedule. “I really didn’t hit it well at all, especially today, but I had some clutch putts, a lot of them for pars. My putting definitely pulled me through.”

Anci Dy, a 14-year-old who made it all the way to the quarterfinals of the Michigan Women’s Amateur in July (before losing to her sister, 2 and 1), finished sixth overall with rounds of 78-76-154. Jenkinson gave the Titans three players in the Top 10 with 78-78-156, good for ninth place.

It was ironic that the Division 1 Finals were held the farthest west of the four MHSAA championship tournaments, as nine of the top 10-ranked teams in the final Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association state poll hailed from the east side of the state. TC West, which entered the Finals ranked fifth, was the only ranked team from either western or northern Michigan.

“We had to represent,” Anika Dy said with a laugh. “There are so many good teams, but we knew that if we played smart that we had a good chance to win it.”

Gagnon, a longtime teacher at Lake City High School who actually started the boys and girls golf programs at Traverse City West before stepping down because of the distance and time commitments, is now retired from teaching and decided to get back into coaching. He thanked his son and assistant coach Greg Gagnon, along with Bay Meadows Golf Course professional Scott Wilson, the swing coach for many of the Titans’ players.

Senior Maddy McCall and junior Jillian Ellul also both figured into the scoring for TC West. The Titans used McCall’s 86 on Friday and Ellul’s 89 on Saturday to complete the total team effort.

Annie Pietila, following in the footsteps of her two older sisters, Emmie and Hannah, who both played Division I college golf at Tennessee, shot rounds of 75 and 80 to lead Brighton to second place. Saline (649) finished one shot behind Brighton for third, followed by Northville (664) and Plymouth (669).

Catherine Loftus shot consecutive rounds of 75 to finish third overall for Saline, which entered the Finals at No. 1 in the MIGCA rankings and was the only team at the Division 1 Finals that featured five seniors. Bloomfield Hills junior Mikaela Schulz (152) placed fourth, and Lapeer senior Brooke Gibbons (153) took fifth.

The Dy sisters, who gained much attention this summer with their outstanding play in the Michigan Woman’s Amateur that culminated with their epic match in the quarterfinals, were quick to deflect credit for this weekend’s championship to Jenkinson.

Jenkinson, who was the No. 6 player for the Titans as a sophomore in 2015, started off this year’s Finals tournament by topping her first drive “about 30 yards.” But she ended it by nailing a long par putt on her second-to-last hole on Saturday and then nearly jarred her final high school iron shot on her final hole, the par-3 17th.

In between, Jenkinson said she had her best putting tournament of the season, along with a chip-in for birdie and three straight birdies on holes 7, 8 and 9 on Friday.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs playing golf, like everyone does, so I really, really wanted to play good in my last tournament,” said Jenkinson, who is undecided about playing college golf. “I think that terrible first drive was a good thing. It kind of woke me up, and I knew it could only get better after that.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Traverse City West’s Anika Dy follows a shot on her way to winning a second MHSAA individual championship. (Middle) Brighton’s Annie Pietila led her team to a runner-up finish at The Meadows. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

Lacrosse Finals Move to U-M Among Headlines as Spring Sports Ramp Up

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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