Girls Golf State Finals
By Dean Holzwarth
It's been a long time over due, but the East Grand Rapids girls golf team finally achieved its ultimate goal.
After a 20 year hiatus, the Pioneers returned to the pinnacle of girls with a Division 3 state championship on June 5 at Forest Akers Golf Course in East Lansing.
The Pioneers did it in dramatic fashion by overcoming an 8-shot deficit to Grosse Ile, who were the three-time defending state champions, to win by one stroke.
"We were up against huge odds because Grosse Isle is a dynasty," East Grand Rapids golf coach David Ghareeb said. "We knew we had a strong team, but we knew we had to play exceptional golf. We knew that they (Grosse Ile) were going to play solid, but our girls came through and played stellar. I'm extremely proud of the way they played."
East Grand Rapids, who last won a state championship in 1979, shot a low team round of 312 on Saturday and a two-day total of 636, while Grosse Ile finished one stroke back with a 637. Jackson Lumen Christi (337-349-686) finished a distant third.
After placing state runner-up the past two years, the girls were excited to finally take home the state championship trophy,.
"This is the biggest thrill ever," said senior Allison Fouch, who won the individual medalist title last year. "Individual is nothing compared to winning it as a team. It's such a great feeling and it was a lot of fun."
Added senior Sarah Rector: "Our team didn't play quite to our potential yesterday (on Friday), but we came out today and knew what we had to do and we did it. It was just by one stroke, but it feels great."
The senior trio of Fouch, Rector and Lisa Bruwer have led the team all season and stepped it up when their team needed it the most.
"They kind of took it upon themselves because they knew they kind of let everyone down the first day and they knew they could play better," Ghareeb. "They shot solid, but they knew they had to step it up and get it to the next level. They came out focused and ready to shoot low scores and they knew what they needed to do.".
Fouch improved from day one to shoot a 2-under par 70 while Rector and Bruwer carded a 78 and 84, respectively. Freshman Katie Karhohs gave the team a lift with a solid round of 80.
The Pioneers placed three in the top ten medalists led by Fouch, who placed third (76-70) with a two-day score of 146, Rector was fourth (155) and Bruwer was 10th (166).
While Bruwer has enjoyed a successful sports career at East Grand Rapids, the senior was happy to end it with a state title.
"I can't even describe it--this is unbelievable, "Bruwer said. "I don't think it's sunk in yet. It ends our high school career on a high note and it will be one of the greatest things that we'll ever remember from high school."
Despite the team runner-up finish, Grosse Ile's Sarah Martin won the individual crown with rounds of 68 and 74, respectively.
Enid Gage of Wyoming Park carded a final round 72 to go with a 73 on the first day. Her two-day total of 145 earned her runner-up honors.
In Division 1 action, Farmington Hills Mercy won the state crown on Forest Akers West with a two-day total of 678 (350-328). They were paced by the sister combination of Erin Borowiec, who was the runner-up individual medalist, (80-73-153) and Jennifer Borowiec, who placed third individually (79-81-160).
Rochester Adams (350-328-714), led by top individual medalist Kim Benedict (74-78-152), was runner-up in Division 1.
In Division 2, Coldwater (345-341) took home the state title, while Clio (347-345-692) followed closely behind for runner-up honors.
Megan Cushman of Greenville was the top medalist (75-76-151), while Coldwater's Jennifer Petzko finished one-shot back with a 152.
Chrystina Russell from Muskegon Mona Shores placed third (79-80-159).
At the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Golf Finals, played on June 4, Marquette (390) won the Class A state championship, while Escanaba and Menominee, placed second and third, respectively.
Kendra Palmer of Marquette finished as the top individual medalist with a low rounds of 85, while teammate Yanti Grossman and Escanaba's Lindsay Delany tied for runner-up with rounds of 98.
In Class C, Crystal Falls Forest Park (446) was victorious by one stroke over Munising (447), while Norway (456) came through with third place.
Jessica Gagon of Norway was top individual medalist with a 96.
In Class D, Detour and Ontonagon tied for the Class D state championship with low team scores of 461.
Danielle Short of Painesdale-Jeffers carded a 96 for top individual honors.
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