Trojans finally break through to finals
Thornapple Kellogg senior Anna Kaminski played in her fourth regional tournament as a varsity golfer Monday, and for the first time she and her teammates earned a few more rounds.
Thornapple Kellogg’s varsity girls’ golf team qualified for the Division 2 Lower Peninsula State Finals with a third place finish at Monday's Division 2 Regional Tournament hosted by Portage Central, beating out the host Mustangs by seven strokes for the final state qualifying spot.
The Trojans scored a 387, just three strokes back of the regional champions from St. Joseph (384). Mattawan (385) was the regional runner-up, two shots ahead of TK.
Junior Paige VanStee led TK with a 94, which put her in ninth place individually for the tournament. Kaminski was tenth with a 95. Fellow Trojan seniors Anna Harmens and Paige Willette tied for 16th with 99’s, and Maddie Shepard shot a 112.
TK was the only team at the regional to record four scores under 100 Monday.
The Division 2 Lower Peninsula Finals will be held Oct. 18-19 at Forest Akers East Golf Course on the campus of Michigan State University. The top three teams and top there individuals not on those teams at regionals across the state this week earn spots in the state finals.
The Trojans last qualified for the state finals as a team in 2005, back when girls' golf was played in the spring. Trojan assistant coach Caitlin Chamberlin, now a math teacher at TKHS, was a member of that 2005 team.
The Trojans, fresh off an OK Gold Conference championship, which they clinched last Friday at Yankee Springs qualified for the finals even without one of their top golfers Monday. Senior Clair Jansma, who had been a member of each of the past three Trojan regional teams along with Kaminski, aggravated a back injury while helping the team to the victory at the conference tournament last week. She hopes to heal up and earn her spot back in the team's top five in the week ahead.
Jansma and her teammates have been building towards a state finals spot for years. Kaminski and Jansma were both members of the Trojan team that placed seventh at its Division 3 Regional Tournament in 2016. They were joined by Willette and Harmens in the regional line-up for a sixth-place finish in 2017. The group of Jansma, Willette, Kaminski, Harmens and VanStee just missed qualifying for the finals a year ago – placing fourth at their regional tournament.
Portage Central put together a score of 394 Monday, ahead of Byron Center 397, Zeeland West 403, Portage Northern 407, Gull Lake 409, Sturgis 428, Coldwater 429, Battle Creek Lakeview 445, Holland 449 and Zeeland East 458.
Zeeland West's Phloy Wongvilart led the group of three individual state qualifiers from the tournament, scoring a 79 that earned her the overall medalist honors of the day. Portage Northern's Kit Schaefer shot an 80 to finish as the overall runner-up and Holland's Paloma Havlik an 88 to also earn spots at the finals.
Mattawan was led by senior Molly Ostrander and St. Joseph was led by junior Maya Hunter. The two girls tied for third individually, each scoring an 85.