By John Raffel




Lakewood earned a spot as a team in the Division 3 state golf finals Oct. 16-17 at Forest Akers West Golf Course at Michigan State University.

The Vikings had rounds of 419 and 403 to take 13th out of 15 teams.

Emily Barker led the way for Lakewood with rounds of 88 and 79 for 167 total. Maranda Barton shot 103 and 109 for 212, Tyler Hopkins 108 and 109 for 217, Kate Richmond 120 and 111 for 231, and Kayla Bair 129 and 106 for 235.

Carl Kutch has been Lakewood’s coach for 14 years. It was the fourth year in a row that the team has gone to the state finals.

“We had three kids that had been there the previous year and two new ones,” he said. “It was a goal to break the top 10 and we ended up 13th. The two kids that didn’t go to state finals showed improvement the second day. The team did improve by 16 strokes the second day.”

It was the first time at the finals for Richmond and Blair. Some of the improvement was due to decision making, Kutch indicated.

“Emily Barker did nine strokes better,” Kutch said. “The weather conditions were about the same, maybe colder.”

Barker, a senior, was the nucleus of the team. She tied for ninth at state and was a candidate for all-state for the third straight season.

“She’s been a very special athlete for our program to build around,” Kutch said. “Last year, she finished third. That was her best finish. Had she had a better day Friday, it could have been different.

“Her mental game is very strong. Her ability to let go of a bad shot and come back after something that doesn’t go quite right is her biggest strength. Her ball-striking in general is very good. She got off the tee very well. The last couple of weeks, she’s started hitting more greens in regulation and hasn’t struggled as much. That’s led to more birdie opportunities and par putts.”

Barton is a junior “and will be leading the team next year,” Kutch said. “She should come in as our No. 1 player.”


Central Montcalm

Central Montcalm’s Ava Miller finished 25th out of 89 golfers at the Division 4 state finals Oct. 16-17 at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers East Golf Course.

She shot 94 in the first round and 93 in the second round.


Big Rapids

Alexis Dawkins played in the Division 3 state finals Oct. 16-17 at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers West Golf Course. The first day, she shot an 89 and wound up with an 85 the second day for 174.