Houghton girls still dominant

MARQUETTE – The Copper Country, and specifically Houghton, has become a mecca for girls sports excellence.

The Gremlins and Calumet have ruled Upper Peninsula volleyball in the fall for a number of years, while Houghton and just in recent years Ontonagon, L’Anse and Dollar Bay have had their way in girls baskeball during the winter.

Now comes the Gremlins in the spring, ruling the golf world with their fourth straight MHSAA Division 1 golf championship at the Marquette Golf Club on Wednesday.

“They have been really consistent,” Houghton coach Corey Markham said about his players. “It’s quite a feat considering we hadn’t played a hole until we came down here for the Negaunee Range Bank Invitational on May 13.”

Their four scorers were all within seven strokes of each other, led by Megan Kelly’s 95, third-best round of the day.

Teammate Adison Cook added 99, Noelle Polakowski 100, Taryn Kaurala 102 and Lindsey Sandell a non-counting 105.

Houghton totaled 396, a full 27 shots ahead of runner-up Marquette’s 423.

Gladstone’s Callie Jensen shot 90 to earn medalist honors, while Marquette sophomore Sydney Higgins was runner-up with 94.

Higgins was a member of the Redettes’ soccer team whose season ended about 10 days ago. As her primary sport, soccer practice prevented her from attending the golf team’s practices or meets.

“I’ve only had a chance to have a little bit of practice,” Higgins said, “so I’m happy with how I shot today.”

Jensen also said she had room for improvement despite her low round.

“I definitely left a couple of strokes out there,” Jensen said. “I had a 9 on one hole. That one I hit into a lateral hazard.

“I was chipping pretty good, though. I had a lot of one-putts to save some pars.”

Escanaba was third with 433, followed by Gladstone with 437, Calumet 443, Menominee 466 and Manistique 502 in a 10-team field.

Calumet was led by the Darnell triplets, Rachel shooting 106 and Allison and Valerie with 107s. Kelsey Fink added 123 and Catherine Frantti a non-counting 134.