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Fall Sports Preview: Girls Golf

Josh VanDyke • Aug 24, 2016 at 12:45 AM

The Spring Lake girls golf team was a marked bunch last fall, after winning the Division 3 state title the year before. The Lakers not only repeated as Division 3 champs — they decimated the entire field in the process, winning the state title by 70 strokes, after claiming the Lakes Eight Conference by an astonishing 185 strokes.

The team returns two All-State performers in Anna Kramer and Madelyn Nelson, but can the team find a collective balance behind them? Time will tell, but don’t bet against what looks to be another title contender for longtime Lakers coach George Bitner.

SPRING LAKE

Last season: Repeated as Division 3 state champions, Regional and Lakes Eight Conference champions.

Key Players

  • Senior Anna Kramer (Individual medalist at state finals, All-State Super Team selection, All-Conference selection)
  • Junior Madelyn Nelson (All-State, All-Conference selection)
  • Senior Jaedyn Shelton (All-Conference selection)
  • Sophomore Hannah Klein
  • Senior Taylor Klein
  • Senior Jackie Olszewski

Coach George Bitner on the 2016 team: “We’ve started off playing terrible in a few tournaments. We shot a 369 in our first match, but then we responded with a 349 at the Hamilton Invite and won the Hamilton Invite with a 343 last week.

“Anna (Kramer) hasn’t played yet though, so those scores will go down quite a bit once we get her back. This is good learning experience for the team as a whole, and I think that experience will give them confidence to know that they can win tournaments without our best golfer with us.

“I can see them all progressing since that first match already. We’re already 33 strokes better than we were in our first match. I think we’ll do pretty well in the new O-K Blue conference. Our top competition will most likely be Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian. I’m looking forward to the new season. We’re a very deep team that has quality golfers all the way up to our ninth and 10th girls. We have a team of characters who knows their limitations, but refuses to accept them.”

GRAND HAVEN

Last year: Finished fourth in the O-K Red Conference

Key Players

  • Junior Rebekah Schrader
  • Junior Audrey Reus
  • Senior Ashley Vorac
  • Senior Summer Dewitt

Coach Roger Glass on the 2016 team: “We lost our No. 1 player to graduation, but we are returning girls who got a lot of playing time last year and that experience should pay off. Rebekah Schrader and Audrey Reus will most likely lead the team this year. They have both worked hard over the summer. Our two seniors, Ashley Vorac and Summer Dewitt are also going to provide us with a solid foundation. Ashley is really striking the ball consistently right now. Our 5-6 players are Christina Byrne and Ally Kingma. Ally is very close to getting her scores in the forties. We also have a few junior varsity players that may move up to the varsity level.”

FRUITPORT

Last season: Finished fourth in the Lakes Eight Conference

Key Players

  • Senior Morgan Green
  • Senior Shelby Thurston
  • Junior Summer Woodring

Coach Brett Westerlund on the 2016 team: “We’re entering a new conference this year in the O-K Black, and we are returning seven of 11 girls from last year’s roster. We feel like we are way ahead of last year’s pace.

“Our top three players from last year return in seniors Morgan Green and Shelby Thurston, and junior Summer Woodring. We’re also looking for continued improvement from a talented group of girls. Being in a new conference, we just hope to see continued improvement throughout the season. There are some very strong programs in the O-K Black that will force us to challenge ourselves, especially Mona Shores and Reeths-Puffer.”

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