West Iron Girls Claim 1st Title since 2005

May 30, 2019

By Adam Niemi
Special for Second Half

IRON RIVER – The West Iron County girls teamed up with the boys to defend home turf during the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 2 Finals on Thursday.

The Wykons girls carded a 433 for team honors. Second-place Mya Grubbs scored the Wykons' best score with a 98 behind leading medalist Payton Dube of Hancock (79).

The West Iron boys' team also won to key a hometown sweep at George Young Resort, located about 10 miles east of Iron River.

The Finals title was the first for the girls since 2005.

"Exceptionally proud of both boys and girls," West Iron County head coach Mark Martini said. "To come back and fight like that is an attribute not everybody has."

Crystal Falls Forest Park (448) took second place, followed by Munising (475) and Bark River-Harris (556).

Hancock, Newberry, Norway and St. Ignace did not field enough golfers for a team score.

West Iron's Anna Malmquist scored a 99, tied for third with St. Ignace's Olivia Champion.

Sarah Premo was Forest Park's leading golfer. She medaled at fifth place with a 104.

"They didn't get in a lot of trouble," Forest Park head coach Patrick Sommers said of his team. "They kept the ball in play, and they played very consistent golf."

Martini said there wasn't a key moment to the Wykons' win. It was just about building and maintaining momentum among the flights.

"It was just kind of switched different times, different holes, different places," he said. "When they came in, I was really amazed they scored that well in the last seven holes."

And, last but not least, Martini said, limiting mistakes is key at a tricky course like Young's. Many tee-offs Thursday ended with the ball echoing off tree trunks among the forest-lined fairways.

"The woods are bad here," Martini said.

Martini, who knew the man for which the course is named, said the millionaire Young designed each hole from inspiration by holes he played on courses around the world.

The No. 3 at Young's, for instance, is a par-3, 138 yards and flanked by bunkers which hug the edge of the green. But the depth perception of the hole from the tee box on a hill well above the green can easily complicate a young golfer's swing.

On Thursday, it did. Like many of the other 17 holes. Thus, Young's is a course that isn't about gaining ground as it is limiting mistakes.

"If you can play off the tee, you're going to help yourself out," Norway head coach Joby Sullivan said. "With the big greens, it really allows for that second shot on the par-4s. The greens are rolling – they're really nice as well."

While Norway didn't qualify for a team score, the Knights were led by Mary Slagle's 121 to finish 13th.

Munising's low scorer was Taylor Downs at 105. Teammates Sydney Curtis (117) and Olivia Koenig (118) took 10th and 11th, respectively.

Priya Rao led Newberry with a 125. Brylea Johnson led Bark River-Harris with a 128.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Hancock's Peyton Dube fires an approach during her championship-winning round Thursday. (Middle) The West Iron County girls and boys title-winning teams. (Photos by Adam Niemi.)

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