Traverse City West’s Anika Dy earns medalists honors
BY DAN STICKRADT
EAST LANSING — For Jeff Haney, it’s hard to pick just one word to describe Rochester’s girls golf season in 2016.
“Those words fit,” smiled Haney. “It was perfect the way the girls ended it and the season was truly unbelievable season to be honest. We played three tournaments that we won this season without certain players there. So, yes, it is unbelievable the way we played this season.”
Rochester, ranked No. 1 the whole season, captured the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 state title Oct. 14-15 at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers East Golf Course in dominating fashion.
The Falcons shot a 310 on Friday’s opening round and came back with a 308 to take the state title by 21 strokes with a 618 total — the school’s fourth overall crown. Rochester also won D-1 titles in 2002, 2008 and 2009 and have finished in the top 10 in the state 16 times in the last 20 years.
Rochester finished second last season on a fifth-man tie-breaker to Traverse City West. There would be no heart-break this time around.
“The very next week (after last year’s state finals) we met and we said right then that we were going to take responsibility and what can we do to get better to have a chance next year,” recalled Haney. “We didn’t commiserate on losing on the tie-breaker. We focused on getting better for this year, make a plan and come back and try to win it this season. The girls were weight-training all winter and taking private lessons, doing whatever it took to get better. They worked tremendously hard.”
Senior Brooke Busse finished fifth (73-75-148) to lead Rochester, while senior Veronica Haque, a four-time state qualifier, was eighth (75-75-150). Freshman Savannah Haque (79-79-158), senior Erika Yang (84-79-163) and junior Keri Yang (83-83-166).
“It’s a lot more special to me to win as a senior and because the first two years I (qualified) alone without my teammates and last year it was fun that we all got to go but disappointing that we lost at the end,” said Veronica Haque, who recently committed to Division I Oakland University. “This year winning with them, showing how much we improved, is special. Its a great way to end.”
Without two of its top three golfers, Rochester opened the season by finishing a respectable eighth out of over 30 schools at the Traverse City Lober Classic in mid-August. The Falcons then reeled off 12 straight tournament wins to cap the season —even shooting a state record 289 in capturing a regional title on Oct. 5.
Novi grabbed the state runner-up slot 21 strokes behind Rochester, posting a 639 total (327-312).
Bloomfield Hills claimed third at 648, followed by defending state champion Traverse City West (652), Saline (661), Lake Orion (676), Brighton (678), Clarkston (678), Lapeer (680) and Plymouth (680) in the top 10 of the 18-school field. Oakland County schools took home the top three places and had five finishers in the top seven.
Novi posted a school record 312 on the second day, which jettisoned the Wildcats from fifth on Friday to the runner-up slot. Previously, Novi’s best state finals finish was fourth in 2014.
“I knew they could do it,” smiled Novi coach Megan Henry. “The way we played the second day was unbelievable. The 312 was the new school record and Alexa Hatz had an individual school record for 18-holes with a 69 (Saturday). They definitely stepped up. They knew all along that they could do it.”
Individually, Traverse City West sophomore Anika Dy shot a 72-71 for a 143 total to earn medalist honors by two strokes.
Clarkston’s Meghan Deardorff and Mikaela Schulz of Bloomfield Hills tied for second at 145. Novi’s Alexa Hatz (147), Rochester’s Busse (148), Grand Blanc’s Cammi Lucia (149), Ann Arbor Skyline’s Jami Laude (149), Rochester’s Veronica Haque (150), Lake Orion’s Moyea Russell (151), Stoney Creek’s Lauren Ingle (151) and Novi’s Abby Livingston (151) also made the All-Tournament team.
“To be honest, I didn’t feel like I played very good the first day,” admitted Dy, who shot a school record 65 at the Grayling Invitational last month. “I wasn’t hitting the ball all that well and my putting was a little off. I think it was my mental approach that got me through it. Today, I feel like I played better, even with the wind. It feels great to be able to win a state title. There were so many good players here this weekend.”