By John Vrancic
Special for Second Half
GLADSTONE – It was a great day to be an Ontonagon golf Thursday as the Gladiators retained both ends of the Upper Peninsula Division 3 Finals at Irish Oaks Golf Course.
The Ontonagon boys, placing four among the top 10 individuals, totaled 347 strokes on this sunny and mild day. They were followed by Dollar Bay with 357 strokes and Powers North Central at 370.
"Both teams have a lot of senior leadership which is absolutely helpful," said Ontonagon coach Adam Spaulding of his boys and girls lineups. "We had just three meets coming into the Finals due to poor weather. We had to make up for lost time. Our practices consisted of hitting buckets of balls between two holes. We couldn't get on our course (Ontonagon Golf Club) until about May 15."
North Central freshman Bryson Mercier was boys medalist with a 74. Ontonagon senior Ed Polakowski and Big Bay de Noc sophomore Travis Johnson shared runner-up honors at 82.
"I played real good today," said Mercier. "I had been struggling the past week, but made it stress free today. I was nervous coming in, then I settled down after parring the first hole. It got a little windy and a little hard in the end, although I thought I handled it very well.
“Like any sport, there's always room for improvement. I'm going to practice as much as I can and try to get better."
Ontonagon sophomore Tomas Immonen and Dollar Bay senior Drake Schmitz and junior David Strom shared fourth place at 85. Senior Brad Mhyren shot an 88 to tie for seventh and senior Henry Menigoz carded a 90 to tie for 10th for the Gladiators.
"It was crazy taking it two years in a row," said Polakowski of the team championship. "I didn't think we'd be here again this year. We always stay consistent and play a decent game."
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PHOTOS: (Top) The Ontonagon boys golf team is pictured together after winning the Upper Peninsula Division 3 title Thursday at Irish Oaks in Gladstone. (Middle) Powers North Central’s Bryson Mercier. (Photos by Austin Hemmingson.)