Wednesday’s roundup: Brighton wins golf regional

Al Willman
The Detroit News

Next weekend’s Division 1 girls golf finals at Forest Akers East — on Michigan State’s campus — will feature two teams that are essentially next door to each other, with two completely different stories.

Brighton and Hartland are 8.4 miles apart in Livingston County and Kensington Lakes Activities Association rivals in some of their sports. Both will be competing for a state championship after finishing in the top three in Wednesday’s Region 6 tournament at Hartland Glen Golf Course.

Brighton — which finished ninth in Division 1 last year with a two-day score of 713 — will be making its 11th trip in 12 years to the state finals, after finishing first in the region with a 314. Hartland, on the other hand, qualified for its first ever state finals after taking third place with a 345.

Brighton’s Annie Pietella shot a 71, leading all golfers.

“As we got through the course, they put a lot of pressure on themselves,” Hartland coach Mike Joseph said. “Consequently, they didn’t golf as well as they could have. I think as we realized that we had a chance, the excitement kind of built with the girls.”

Hartland was led by Sydney Bradford, who shot a team-low 82. Jamie Erickson notched an 86, while Abbey Chase (88), Sammi Behen (89) and Savannah Grabowski (92) rounded out the team’s individual scoring.

“She started off a little bit rough,” Joseph said of Bradford, whose final two holes finished with a double, and then triple bogey. “She finished strong with some birdies and pars. She was disappointed that it couldn’t have been better.”

As a team, Lapeer, led by Baylee Thompson’s 77, finished second with a 342.

Hartland’s girls golf program started in 1998, when Joseph ran the inagural junior varsity team. Two years later, he inherited the varsity job from Bill Taylor, who was retiring.

“He got it going and asked me to come on board as a JV coach,” Joseph said. “Then, he retired from teaching a couple years later and I took over from there.”

There have been four times — 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2012 — when Hartland missed qualifying by only one stroke.

“It’s a little bit hard to take,” Joseph said. “That sticks with you and that sticks with the program until the next year.”

Last year, Hartland set a school record on the way to a fourth place finish in Region 4 — shooting a 342, four strokes behind third-place Northville.

“This year we were able to get over the hump,” Joseph said.

Now, the focus is on the state finals, which begin next Friday.

“Now that we’ve made it to the state finals, our goal is to now make it to the top ten,” Joseph said. “I think we are very capable of doing that.”

Division 1, Region 6 team results

1. Brighton, 314

2. Lapeer, 342

3. Hartland, 345

4. Davison, 350

5. Grand Ledge, 369

6. Holt, 373

6. Milford, 374

8. Grand Blanc, 377

9. Howell, 378

10. Saginaw Heritage, 404

Boys soccer scores

Dearborn 4, Dearborn Edsel Ford 0

Imlay City 5, Capac 0

Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 4, Riverview 2

Girls field hockey scores

Detroit Country Day 6, Dearborn 1

Al Willman is a freelance writer.