Northville wins first high school golf state title
Battle Creek — The Northville girls golf team wrapped up the first team state championship in program history on Saturday.
But to listen to its coach, the team had it won days earlier.
This week, Northville coach Chris Cronin asked the team to share a reason it was playing in the state finals.
“Every girl that’s playing on the state team sent back the note that they’re playing for their teammates,” Cronin said. “That was huge. I knew at that point we couldn’t lose because that’s what you shoot for as a high school coach.
“They’ve been close like that all year. That’s what made it really just extraordinarily special.”
The Mustangs closed the undefeated season Saturday in the wind and rain at Bedford Valley Golf Course in Battle Creek, winning the Division 1 title, beating Kensington Lakes Activities Association rival Plymouth by 31 strokes.
Northville, led by fourth-place finisher Nicole Whatley, shot 318 on Friday, then improved to 312 on Saturday despite two weather delays that lasted nearly two combined hours.
Senior Anika Dy of Traverse City West closed her illustrious high school career with her third straight state title, shooting 4-under 140 for the two-day event.
“You can’t complain about it or whine about it, you just take it for what it is and be positive,” Dy said of the weather, which caused more than two hours of delays. “It was hard, not going to lie, it was a mental grind more than anything.
“Yeah, it was rainy, cold, windy, snowy, whatever, but It’s up (in your head) where it’s the hardest.”
Michigan-bound Dy had seven birdies in the tournament, the last coming on Saturday’s seventh hole as she went up and down out of a greenside bunker.
Northville has one graduating senior in Mariella Simoncini, who said she will sign next month with Oakland.
“It’s been amazing,” Simoncini said of the undefeated season, after she took 13th place at 163. “We’ve come so far in the last four years that I’ve been on this team.”
Also for Northville, junior Sufna Gill tied for fifth at 155, sophomore Katelyn Tokarz tied for 20th at 168 and junior Sedona Shipka tied for 25th at 170.
Other top individuals included Mikaela Schulz, a senior from Bloomfield Hills, who took second at 146; and Utica Eisenhower sophomore Ariel Chang, who shot 1-under 71 on Friday and was third at 148.
Anika Dy’s sophomore sister, Anci, tied Gill for fifth at 155.
Plymouth, led by seventh-place senior Shae Zydeck at 156, shot 661. Defending champion Traverse City West was third at 664.
Kay Zubkus of Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern won the first playoff hole to top Allison Cui of Okemos for the individual title.
Forest Hills Northern won the team title for the second straight year after being shut out of first place since 1982.
Danielle Staskowski of Pontiac Notre Dame Prep joined Dy as a three-time consecutive state champions, winning on the first playoff hole against Jolie Brochu of Flint Powers Catholic.
Flint Powers Catholic won the team title, its first since 2008, at MSU’s Forest Akers East in East Lansing.
Alissa Fish of Brooklyn Columbia Central shot 162 at Grand Valley State’s The Meadows in Allendale to win her second straight state title.
Harbor Springs won the team title for the second straight season with 730.
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.