By: Scott Keyes
Okemos sophomore Elle Nichols wins Division 2 golf championship
Standing 220 yards from the school’s first girls individual title, Nichols rifled her 3-iron shot into the wind onto an elevated green. Two putts later she had secured a 1-shot victory over East Lansing junior Kristyn Crippen.
"An absolutely fantastic shot,” Stolz said. “Elle’s a great competitor, and it really showed when she played the last nine holes in one over par.”
Nichols opened the tournament with a first-round 77 and shot 80 the second day. Crippen shot 78 and 80, and her East Lansing teammate Maggie Campbell shot a pair of 81s to finish fourth overall. The Trojans finished seventh as a team, as Kathryn Cleary (100-102) and Marie Fata (104-103) completed their scoring.
Nichols, who finished fifth at state as a freshman, carried an 18-hole average in the high 70s this season. She won the opening 18-hole and closing 18-hole events during the CAAC Blue season, as well as the league meet and the regional.
Stolz told her to plan for the worst conditions possible when preparing for the state meet.
"I felt that way she would be ready for anything,” Stolz said. “The weather was absolutely horrible, the wind was howling, and there she was, blocking it out and using it to her advantage.
Her back nine [on Saturday] was just incredible. She had made a few bogeys on the front and quite possibly was looking at a score in the mid-80s. But that’s the type of player she is. She settled down and kept it together.”
In Division 1, Holt shot a two-day total of 776 to finish in eighth place behind team champion Grosse Pointe South (692) at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. Sophomore Pader Her led the Rams with a two-day total of 185 (92 and 93). Rams teammates Lauren Strong and Alexxis Vanpelt finished at 195 while Kari Somerville carded a two-day total of 203.
In Division 3 at Forest Akers West Course in East Lansing, Erin Lawrence of Haslett finished fifth overall with a two-day total of 177 (88 and 89). Vikings teammate Chelsea Root finished at 194, while Olivia Barker of Lakewood had back-to-back 95s.