Prep Roundup: St. Francis soccer moves on to district semifinals against undefeated Elk Rapids; TC Central golf continues hot play, wins Nightmare Invite

·5 min read

May 26—TRAVERSE CITY — The opening round of girls soccer district action continued Thursday as three more area teams took to the pitch with hopes of advancing to the semifinals.

A trio of local squads advanced from Wednesday's tournament play as Traverse City Central, Grayling and Glen Lake all won their first-round matchups. Thursday was an opportunity for Traverse City St. Francis, Traverse City West and Petoskey to keep their 2023 campaigns alive and well.

The Gladiators got goals from Riley Collins and Betsy Skendzel to lead St. Francis over host Cheboygan (12-2-3) by a 2-1 final in their Division 3 match. Lilianna David picked up an assist, and Pasleigh Upshaw collected the win in goal with seven saves.

St. Francis (10-3-2) now has the tall task of taking on the undefeated and third-ranked Elks of Elk Rapids in the semis, which will be held back in Grayling at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Boyne City and Grayling play in the other semifinal at 7 p.m.

The Elks finished the regular season at 17-0-1, including a 10-0 mark to win the Lake Michigan Conference. Elk Rapids got the better of St. Francis in both of their matchups this season, topping the Gladiators 3-0 on April 10 and 2-1 on May 4.

The Titans, unfortunately, saw their season come to a close as Midland Dow grabbed the home win against TC West, also by a 2-1 final. The Titans ended their season at 9-8-2, and Midland Dow improved to 13-3-4. The Chargers now host Traverse City Central in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

West head coach Ed Fantozzi, who just completed his first year at the helm of the Titans' ship, said his team played well but was just unlucky.

"We did not lose. We just ran out of time," Fantozzi said.

The Titans missed a breakaway opportunity late in the game to tie things at 2-2. Aside from a first-half goal from Raegan LaCross, which Fantozzi said was "one of the prettiest goals of the season," West got solid defensive efforts from Sadie Wares and Dillyn Mohr as well as Lila Warren and Alessia Piombo in the midfield.

"The whole team worked hard together and set the bar for returning players," Fantozzi said.

The loss ends the high school soccer careers of the Titans' "fab five" seniors — Piombo, Ahna Campbell, Jenna Rawlin, Onalee Gustafson and Paula Liebman.

"They will be missed both on and off the field. What a great group of girls," Fantozzi said.

The Titans' Big North Conference foe Petoskey also lost Thursday, falling to Mount Pleasant 1-0 and ending its season at 6-4-5.

In action Wednesday, Benzie Central lost to Big Rapids Crossroads Academy, 6-0, at Mitchell Creek. The Huskies' season ended with a 1-13-1 record. Big Rapids moves on to battle top-seeded McBain Northern Michigan Christian (13-3), which received a first-round bye into the semifinals, at Brethren's Bobcat Stadium at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.


Trojans continue winning ways at Nightmare Invite

OGEMAW HEIGHTS — Tally up another win for Traverse City Central as the Division 1 No. 3 Trojans followed up Wednesday's Big North Conference championship victory with a first-place effort at the Nightmare Invitational.

Twenty-one teams competed in the annual varsity golf meet, and Central's top four scorers combined to fire a 307 to best runner-up Chelsea by 14 strokes.

"I just wish that every coach could experience what I've gotten to experience with these kids. It's been pretty amazing," TC Central head coach Lois McManus said. "It has just been an absolute joy to coach these young men."

Alpena, which has come on strong toward the end of the regular season, finished third with a 326 followed by Houghton Lake in fourth, Shepherd in fifth, and Division 1 No. 14 Traverse City West in sixth with a 339. The Trojans' varsity B team placed 10th with a 353, Petoskey was 15th with a 383, and Grayling was 21st with a 417.

Shepherd's Christopher Crockett was the low medalist on the day, carding a 74. Central's Boston Price and Cam Peters tied for second with a 76. Petoskey's Max Faulkner and Central's Michael Beattie each shot a 77 to tie for fifth, and fellow Trojans Mack Shane and EJ Maitland both carded a 78 to tie for 10th.

The Titans were led by Henry Stachnik with an 82 followed by Carter Dobb with an 84, Brady Lewis with an 85, and Simon McManus with an 88. Gage Modert paced Grayling with a 94.

Elk Rapids finishes 10th at Cardinal Invite

BIG RAPIDS — Elk Rapids traveled to Big Rapids and Katke Golf Course for the Cardinal Invitational on Thursday, and the Elks left with a 10th-place finish.

Spring Lake earned the overall championship, combining for a 314. East Grand Rapids ended the day in second with a 318, and Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern was third with a 320. The Elks finished with a 360.

Spencer Ball led Elk Rapids with an 86, finishing tied for 28th. The Elks' other scorers were Gabe Lavely with a 90, Owen Spencer with a 91, and Luke Spencer with a 93.

Manistee wins Fremont Jamboree

FREMONT — Manistee picked up a couple of championships at the Fremont Jamboree at Waters Edge Golf Course on Thursday.

The soon-to-be Mariners won the team title at the nine-hole tournament, and Manistee freshman Max Scharp fired a 3-under 32 to take the individual title. Manistee actually took the top three spots on the individual leaderboard as Braydon Sorenson and Jordan Bladzik each carded an even-par 35 for second place. Manistee's fourth scorer, Ben Schlaff, finished with a 43 to tie for 13th place.

Manistee won the team title by 18 strokes over runner-up Whitehall, combining to shoot a 145 to the Vikings' 163.