The final High 5s of 2011-12 go to a pair of Ishpeming Westwood golfers who led their team to a rare feat of four straight Finals championships, and perhaps the most unexpected team champion of the spring season -- the Dansville softball team, which downed reigning champion Petersburg-Summerfield in the Division 4 championship game.
Ishpeming Westwood senior
LaFreniere completed her fourth and final season on the Westwood golf team this spring by helping the Patriots to a fourth-straight MHSAA title. She shot a 90 to finish individual runner-up at the Division 2 Final to teammate Megan Manninen. LaFreniere also was a forward on the basketball team and played No. 1 doubles for the tennis team that ended the fall with a third-straight Upper Peninsula Division 2 championship. Three of the golf titles were in Division 2, while the 2010 championship came in Division 1.
Winning ways: "It takes a lot of practice. Obviously the time you put in is what gets you the best results. But I also think it's about having fun."
I learned the most about golf from: "My dad (Paul) is a big golfer. We've had a membership at Wawonowin (Country Club) since I was really little. I would say maybe 10 years old (is when I started), maybe even younger."
If I could play with three others: "Rory (McIlroy) from the PGA, Tiger Woods just because he's the best known, and probably Jack Nicklaus. I just always hear about him when I'm watching golf. They always compare things to him."
Up next: LaFreniere will attend the University of Michigan and study one of the sciences, perhaps biochemistry, on the way to becoming a pediatric oncologist. "When they find a cure for cancer, I want to be part of that."
Ishpeming Westwood senior
Manninen, with LaFreniere, also completed her fourth and final season on the Westwood golf team as part of the Patriots' fourth-straight MHSAA Upper Peninsula Finals winner. Manninen shot an 87 to also win her second-straight and third total UP Division 2 individual championship. A point guard on the basketball team, she'll signed to play hoops this fall at Lake Superior State University.
I learned the most about golf from: "My dad (Kevin Manninen). He's the manager of Wawonowin Country Club and was the manager as Marquette Golf Course. He played at Oakland University and in a couple of U.S. Open qualifiers."
If I could play with three others: "My dad, Jame (Reichardt, her uncle who died May 14) and my grandpa (Harold Reichardt)."
My favorite golfer to watch: "Rory McIlroy. I enjoyed watching him last year in the U.S. Open. He was new, and he was trying to win for his dad because it was Father's Day. I enjoyed watching him a lot."
My favorite to watch play hoops: "Skylar Diggins, the point guard for Notre Dame. I like her control and leadership."
Up next: Manninen will get the chance to contribute immediately for the Lakers' basketball team, and will major in pre-med with hopes of becoming a physician assistant. "I want to help people, and when I was down at U-M (to visit her uncle at the hospital) I saw a lot of opportunities to do that."
On Friday, the Aggies won their first MHSAA Semifinal. On Saturday, the finished the weekend with the Division 4 championship. Dansville was in its third trip to Bailey Park over the last four seasons, and defeated top-ranked and two-time reigning champion Petersburg-Summerfield, 3-2. Not only was it the first softball championship in school history, but also the first MHSAA title in any girls sport. The Aggies had entered the postseason ranked No. 9 and finished this spring 31-5.
This spring's previous honorees
- Sarah Appold, Saginaw Valley Lutheran softball
- Katie Brozovich, Clarkston tennis
- Latipha Cross, Southfield track and field
- Sarita Dotson, Battle Creek Lakeview track and field
- Lauren Hooker, East Grand Rapids lacrosse
- Drake Johnson, Ann Arbor Pioneer track and field
- Jake McFadden, Clare track and field
- Sami Michell, Reed City track and field
- Mike Nagy, Manistique golf
- Cullen Prena, Walled Lake Central track and field
- Erika Southworth, Decatur softball
- Nick Stiles, Bath baseball
- Josh Vyletel, Howell baseball
- Malloy Weber, Northville soccer
- Zack Zingsheim, Lansing Catholic track and field
- Garret Zuk, White Lake Lakeland track and field
- Birmingham Seaholm tennis
- Detroit Western International baseball
- Grand Rapids West Catholic golf
- Grandville Calvin Christian soccer
- Grosse Pointe South girls track and field
- Muskegon Mona Shores golf
- Remus Chippewa Hills girls track and field
- Richland Gull Lake baseball
- Stevensville Lakeshore softball
Join Elizabeth Coon as State Champs! takes a look at all of the action from the 2023 Lower Peninsula Girls Golf Finals.