Local Sports Journal
The Spring Lake girls golf team did what every coach can only dream their team will do in the state finals – step up their play when it mattered most.
Trailing by six strokes to Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood after Friday’s opening round, the Lakers cut 17 shots off their Day 1 score and stole the Division 3 state championship Saturday at Forest Akers East Golf Course in East Lansing.
“We wanted to be in the hunt,” said veteran Spinig Lake Coach George Bitner. “They (Cranbrook) were in the position to defend, so the pressure was not on us. We had nothing to lose because we were in second.”
Playing from behind obviously appealed to the Lakers.
Spring Lake’s Anna Kramer shaved three strokes off her first-day 78 and shot a 75 for a 153 tournament total. Kramer finished second individually, falling just short of Cranbrook’s Cordlia Chan (75-75-150).
Ginnie Olszewski, who is the only senior on the squad, opened with an 83 Friday and improved to a 79 on Saturday to finish with a 162.
Kayla Krueger was the most improved Laker golfer on Day 2, taking her 87 down to an 81 for a final score of 162. Emma Conroy shaved four strokes from her first round 90, shooting an 86 for a two-day total of 176.
The Lakers lived up to advanced billing. They were ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 3 all season after finishing third in the state finals last year.
“Talent wise this is the best group,” said Bitner, who has coached for 34 years at Spring Lake and recently celebrated his 50th year in education. “It’s special to have 50 years of teaching in and to have this. It’s nice to prove it after being ranked No. 1 all year and do it.”
The championship is just the second state title for Spring Lake’s sports program. Through Bitner’s years of coaching, the golf program has consistently sent an individual or team to state, but until this weekend nobody brought home a title.
“They are extremely close as a group, eight of them can shoot 41,” Bitner said “They have depth and they just get along with each other.”
Mona Shores finishes 6th in Division 2
The Mona Shores girls golf squad could not overcome a bad first round on Friday and finished sixth overall at the Division 1 state finals Saturday.
The Sailors shot a 373 on Friday and took off 11 strokes Saturday for a tournament score of 735.
Rylee George led Mona Shores with a two-day total of 180 with rounds of 85 and 95. Darian Smith shot a 91 on both days for a 182. Sami Pyman shot a 95 and 88 for a 183 and Kendall McKinley shot a 103 and 88 for a 191.