By John Vrancic
Special for Second Half
GLADSTONE – Poor weather may have limited the Ontonagon girls’ time on the golf course this spring.
But the Gladiators made any opportunities to prepare pay off as they repeated as Upper Peninsula Division 3 champions Wednesday at Irish Oaks Golf Course.
Ontonagon's girls finished with 418 strokes, followed by Cedarville at 429 and Powers North Central with 438.
"Our girls have been shooting around 105," Ontonagon coach Adam Spaulding said. "We knew what they brought to the table. We were beating some D-1 schools in our three meets. We knew we could compete.”
Three Ontonagon golfers bettered that 105, while the fourth scorer shot 108. Senior Whitney Rule led the way with a fifth-place 102.
This marked the second straight runner-up finish for the Cedarville girls.
"The girls did good today," said Cedarville coach Rob Freel. "Runner-up, we'll take that any day. We have no seniors on either team (girls or boys), which is encouraging.
“I'm real happy with how our girls played. I'm proud of all the kids."
Cedarville junior Lily Freel regained her individual title with an 85, a comfortable 12 strokes ahead of North Central sophomore Jadie Linder. Mackinac Island junior Makenna Horricks and North Central sophomore Ava Eichhorn shared third place at 100.
"There were some rough holes," said Lily Freel, who was runner-up last year after winning the tournament as a freshman in 2017. "I had quite a few bogeys. I just kept telling myself to do the best I can and focused on the next shot. I birdied the last hole on both nines. It felt great to finish strong and win it. I was kind of disappointed last year, but that just made me work harder."
Linder was happy to be runner-up after placing third a year ago.
"The last two years have gone pretty well," she said. "The back nine went pretty rough today. I struggled with my short game. I couldn't hit my irons. Then, I figured out my irons on the front nine and started feeling better about the way my game was going.
“Lily had a phenomenal round. It means a lot to me to take second."
Rock Mid-Peninsula junior Kennedy Englund, Mackinac Island sophomore Ella Cowell and Cedarville sophomore Lauren Miller all tied Rule for fifth at 102.
Click for full results.
PHOTOS: (Top) The Ontonagon girls golf team is pictured together after winning the Upper Peninsula Division 3 title Thursday at Irish Oaks in Gladstone. (Middle) Cedarville’s Lily Freel. (Photos by Austin Hemmingson.)