By: Dan Stickradt
GIRLS GOLF: Lake Orion reaches D-1 state finals for fifth straight season
BY DAN STICKRADT
FARMINGTON HILLS — Only three schools have reached the Division 1 state finals in girls golf the past five seasons and Lake Orion is one of them.
The 10th-ranked Dragons reached the cut by finishing third at the recent Division 1 regional at Farmington Hills Golf Course.
Eighth-ranked Clarkston (322) and seventh-ranked Bloomfield Hills (346) took the first two slots at the 10-school regional. All three advanced to the D-1 state finals at Grand Valley State University’s The Meadows Golf Course.
“I was looking at the state finals results the past five years and we’re one of three teams that have made it through all five years in Division 1,” noted Lake Orion coach Monty Gallaher. “The other schools to do it are Plymouth and Novi. That’s consistency. Before that, we had a (six-season) dry spell. But in recent years, we’ve been consistent, very competitive.”
The state finals berth is the Dragons’ seventh all-time, with the first coming in 2004. The Dragons were seventh that season.
Lake Orion also reached the finals in 2005 (ninth), spring 2007 (state champs), 2013 (10th), 2014 (second), 2015 (seventh) and 2016 (sixth).
“We’ve had some good teams over the years with a couple years where we also just missed qualifying,” noted Gallaher, just the third coach in the program’s history, which began in 1998 and with an OAA Division IV league title in that inaugural campaign.
“Since we won it back win 2007, and I wasn’t the head coach that season, we’ve been up there, but we haven’t played our best on both days of the state finals,” continued Gallaher. “Last year we didn’t play that well on the first day, but we had the third-highest score of the second day at the state finals. We’re hoping we can play well both days this season and sneak into the top five and who knows — maybe win it or take second. It’s possible if we play well and a few of the ranked teams ahead of us falter. I don’t know if we’ve played our best rounds of golf just yet.”
Senior Cameron Colton was third at the regional with a 77, three shots behind medalist Mikaela Schultz of Bloomfield Hills (74) and runner-up Alana Jones of North Farmington (76).
Freshman Marissa Kovac was ninth (88), junior Ashley Yearwood was 13th (91), junior Devyn Goodman placed 19th (94) and junior Jessie Fox 20th (95) for the Dragons.
“It’s funny, but all season along the three of us, Lake Orion, Clarkston and Bloomfield Hills have kind of taken turns at tournaments,” said Gallaher. “One tournament will finish ahead of them. At the county, Bloomfield Hills beat us by a stroke and at the regional it was Clarkston that prevailed. “we’re all very competitive and quite capable of doing well at the state finals. Our league is very well-represented at the state meet again this year.”