TECUMSEH — For the first time in nearly four months, the sound of high school student-athletes competing in an MHSAA event filled the air of one of Lenawee County’s venues on Friday.
The Tecumseh girls golf team hosted an invitational at Tecumseh Golf Club that drew in a total of 59 golfers from various schools in the area, including Adrian, and provided, at least for the afternoon, a sense of normalcy.
For both Tecumseh girls golf coach Becca Nowak and Adrian girls golf coach Jess Lewis, it was cathartic to see student-athletes back in action on the links.
Nowak, who is close to the Tecumseh softball program due to her father Jerry being the varsity coach, had to watch as girls she knew lost their season, which had so much promise as Tecumseh had a heavily upperclassmen-laden squad.
“I was just hoping for the best,” Nowak said. “My dad was out here volunteering earlier because he knows so many of the girls, but to be able to make sure they have a good half of their senior year with golf was my top priority. I want to make sure we can put as many events on the calendar for them so they get to play the max they can play this year.”
And from most appearances, Friday’s invitational looked normal, with girls enjoying the company of their fellow competitors on a lovely August afternoon, albeit with the addition of wearing masks when in close proximity and the full digitalizing of the scoring process due to Nowak using the MHSAA’s app that they developed with iWanamaker.
“Once I figured out what I was doing with the program, it does everything for you,” Nowak said. “It made (the process) very smooth. You’re always going to have the issue when you’re using technology, but it made the end of the tournament process a lot faster than it would have having to sit at a table, go over scores, sign scores, count the scores, it was 10 times easier at the end of it.”
On Friday, two of the girls from that lost softball team, Ella Corson and Sophie Whelan, now seniors, got the chance to play their sport when even six weeks ago, there was no assurance that any sport would be playing. It was, in a small way, able to make up for losing their promising spring softball season.
“I thought it was pretty exciting that we got to do that seeing as we missed out on softball (in the spring),” Whelan said. “That kinda stunk seeing as we should’ve had a pretty good season.”
Corson led Tecumseh’s teams with a third-place finish, tying with a pair of South Lyon East girls by shooting a 95 in her first meet of the 2020 season while Whelan was right behind her fellow Tecumseh captain, shooting a 98 to tie for sixth place with two other girls as Tecumseh finished fourth in the team standings for the day.
“It was nice to have a sport to actually come out and play,” Corson said. “It wasn’t a complete loss for our sports.”
For Lewis, who is not just the Maple girls coach but also coaches the boys in the spring, coaching any high school golf this fall was a sign of good things.
The Adrian boys golf team this past spring was aiming to contend for a deep Division 2 postseason run, having four experienced seniors leading the squad and, after years of cultivation by Lewis, had one of if not the largest teams in program history with 18 kids set to hit the links for the Maples.
That team, like Tecumseh’s softball team, was one of a multitude that was left wondering what could have been due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of high school sports statewide at the start of April.
Despite the Maple girls team this fall being a younger team once again, promise was shown by his squad as sophomore Lainey Betz, in her first competition being moved up to the No. 2 spot after being the No. 5 or No. 6 for the Maples last season, finished in the top 12 to nab a medal and lead Adrian’s golfers to a seventh-place finish in the team standings.
“The course was tough,” Lewis said. “Girls struggled with the speed of the greens early but once they got comfortable with that they all kind of settled in and finished strong. (We) didn’t play our best today but optimistic that we’re given a chance to play this season and that we’ll be able to finish it. After missing out on spring with the boys team, I’m just really happy to be back on the golf course and thriving.”
The Hudson, Lenawee Christian, Madison and Onsted girls golf teams were also on the links for the Hillsdale Jamboree where Onsted and LCS tied for second overall at 224 while Madison was fifth (249) and Hudson was sixth (252).
Also in action on the opening day was the Tecumseh boys tennis team, which beat Columbia Central convincingly, 8-0.
On Saturday, Addison cross country hosted the Addison Early Bird meet with LCS, Britton Deerfield and Morenci.
The Cougars won both the boys and girls meets with senior Levi Lange taking first on the boys side at 18:05.51 for the Cougars followed by sophomore teammates Grant Long (18:24.73). Senior Brooke Hildebrandt won the girls race at 21:35.88 for LCS.
On the boys side, Morenci sophomore Bryson Bachelder was third (19:12.94) followed by LCS freshman Josh Green (19:35.91) and Addison’s Robbie Michalowski (19:56.84).
On the girls side, freshman Neili Pike of Morenci was second (22:55.61) followed by her junior teammate Libby Rorick (23:25.11). BD sophomore Sara Bower (23:57.64) and LCS junior Lizzy Scharer (23:57.92) rounded out the top five.