It was state finals weekend for the boys golf teams around Michigan. Several divisions of high school golf teams would head to their respective golf courses to participate in the Lower Peninsula MHSAA state championships during the weekend. State finals for boys high school golf takes place over the course of two days on June 11th and 12th.
The teams play two rounds separated on the two different days. Teams play on 18 holes of golf action in each round, with the scores added up for the total tournament. Top teams place for team state championships, and individual golfers battle it out for individual state championships and top ten finishes.
The Hillsdale Academy would have one of their most successful regular seasons in the school’s sports history. The Hillsdale Academy boys golf team, led by Head Coach Charlie Blood, finished the regular season undefeated in league jamboree play in the SCAA. The Colts would head to the regional tournament held in Grass Lake, Michigan to have a chance to qualify as a team or individually for the MHSAA LP D4 State Finals.
The Hillsdale Academy Colts finished in second place overall for the regional championship, which would qualify them for the state finals as a team. Top three teams per regional tournament qualified for the state finals.
The Hillsdale Academy team would travel up to the pristine golf course called The Fortress. The Fortress, an 18 hole golf course located in Frankenmuth, Michigan, would be the site of the D4 State Finals. The Hillsdale Academy golf team would go up against 17 other schools that were all in the top three at their regional championship events.
Over 100 team and individual golfers would qualify for the state championship. The Fortress features a landscape designed to replicate the early Scottish roots of golf. Featuring bent-grass tees, greens and fairways that surround 75 bunkers, the teams and individual golfers would have a tough two-day state finals to determine who would be crowned champion.
The Hillsdale Academy boys golf team would have a successful day on the greens, finishing with a final team total of 703 strokes for the entire state finals tournament. This would be good enough for a top ten finish as a team for the Colts. They would finish in sixth place. Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic, Lansing Christian, and Charlevoix would be your top three finishers in that order. Kalamazoo Hackett finished with a total score of 640.
The Colt’s sixth place finish in the D4 State Finals is the best finish the team has had in the state finals in school history. The historical achievement for the team was aided by the individual standout performances from each of Hillsdale’s golfers.
Rykert Frisinger, a Freshman for the Colts, would lead the way during both days of the tournament for his team. Rykert Frisinger finished with a final total of 158 for both days of the tournament. Frisinger finished out day 1 with a total of 77. This was good enough for a top ten spot in seventh place after his first 18. The first day saw Frisinger finish with three birdies all coming on the front nine. He birdied holes one, two, and six. Hole two was a par three.
He managed to hit for par on eight other holes, finishing with only seven bogies. Day two saw Rykert shoot an 81 final score over 18 holes. He finished with two birdies on holes five and six. Rykert Frisinger would finish just outside the top ten in 11th place as a individual. Frisinger was happy to be out at the state finals with his team, and even though it wasn’t the finish he wanted, he was still glad to have been able to participate.
“It was great being out here at the state finals as a Freshman,” said Frisinger. “Our team did well, and we had a great season thanks to our Senior leadership and Coach Blood. We have a young team, and I am looking forward to next season and improving.”
Freshman Ridley Fast would have the second best finish for the Colts. Fast finished with a final total of 177 in the tournament and finished 43rd overall in individual standings. Fast would golf a 92 overall score in his first day of the tournament. Fast would come back and improve during his second round on Saturday, finishing with a 85 overall score.
Senior Christian Gossage finished third best for the Colts. Gossage finished with a final score of 183. The Senior would take 48th place in individual standings. Gossage finished with a 92 on his first day, and an 88 on his second day. The Senior would hit three birdies during the tournament. He hit one on his first round on a par five on hole 14. He would hit the other two on his second round on holes 17 and 7.
Rounding out the top four for the Colts was Senior Joel Mekelburg, who finished in 60th place and a final score of 188. Joel Mekelburg finished with a 95 on his first day and a 93 on his second day.
Also golfing for the Colts was Junior Jake Waldvogel, who finished with a final score of 193 and in 71st place. Waldvogel finished with a 99 on his first day and a 94 on his second day.
The Seniors for the Colts, Christian Gossage and Joel Mekelburg, were instrumental in the team’s success this year. They believe that the team’s success this year will help in future seasons.
“The course was in great shape and our team just had a fun weekend.” said Gossage. “I am glad we were able to be here, and it was an awesome experience helping lead the team with our Coach. We want to thank our Coaching staff and Coach Blood for an amazing Senior year. As Coach always said “”You ain’t getting it done if you ain’t having fun””.”
“It was a great year for us, and a great experience wrapping it up at a great course,” said Mekelburg.”We played great, and finished with a top sixth finish. That was a great experience for our younger players. Coach Blood kept us positive throughout the year, and the achievements we had will help set the mindset for the team next year.”
Head Coach Charlie Blood was not able to make it out for the state finals this year. The golfers were joined by their family and the other coaches in celebrating the team’s success for Coach Blood.
Coach Brent Falke, the assistant coach for the Colts, took over head coaching duties during the finals, and believed the hard work all paid off for the team in the end.
“We are very proud of the team’s hard work in the classroom and on the course this season,” said Coach Falke.
The team played in some hot and humid conditions this state finals, and Coach Falke credited the team for fighting through it to the final holes of the second round.
“It took a lot of resiliency, and Gatorade, to make it through but they did,” said Falke. “They were able to visualize shots and our Senior leadership helped the young players finish through the tournament. Christian Gossage’s leadership will be in full demand when he joins the Coast Guard Academy, and Joel Mekelburg will look to continue his academic career at Bethel College.”
The Colts will return several starters next Spring as they look to repeat their success that they had in the 2020-21 Spring season. For more information on the MHSAA golf finals, head over to their website and the finals homepage.