Alpena girls golf team hosts annual Battle on the Bay tourney

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Cassie Stanton hits a ball down the fairway during the Wildcats’ annual Battle by the Bay girls golf tournament on Tuesday at River's Edge Golf Club.

The Alpena girls golf team took to the course on Tuesday as the Wildcats hosted their annual Battle by the Bay home golf tournament that featured a few Big North Conference teams among others as both varsity and JV teams competed at River’s Edge Golf Club.

Five BNC teams competed in the event, including Alpena, defending state champion Traverse City West, Traverse City Central, Petoskey and Cheboygan.

Alpena and both Traverse Cities had teams participating at the JV level on Tuesday as well

“It was a wonderful opportunity for us because Traverse City West were the state champs last year and their top two girls were individual state champs and TC West has a good group of girls to watch,” Alpena coach Jeannie Ellis said. “The experience of watching girls like that play is exceptional because we don’t have the resources that they have in the Traverse City area so for our girls to see that level of play on the course and see how those girls manage that course is exceptional.”

West golfer and two-time defending Division 1 state champ Anika Dy returned to River’s Edge with her course record of 63 still standing for female golfers.

The Titans took first place with a team score of 313. West was followed by Central who finished second with a 382, followed by Petoskey with a score of 386, Cheboygan shot a 417 and Alpena.

The Wildcats finished the day shooting 468 as a team. Brynna Smith led Alpena after shooting a 107 on the day. Other top performers for the Wildcats were Kennedy Ellis who shot a 110, Gianna Bolda recorded a 123 and Gwen Kollien finished the day with a 128.

“I just wanted the girls to keep up with the pace of play and have fun. Many of our alternates are doing this for the very first time so I was just looking for these girls to have a fun experience and do the best they can,” Ellis said. “Our four varsity girls did the best they can and their goal was to see how close they could come.”

Alpena will have two more tournaments before they reach the halfway point in the season. The Wildcats were fortunate see and compete against some of the best competition they will see all season with two of the top teams in their conference joining them on the course Tuesday.

“We will be in conference play and that will get us closer and closer to regionals. We’re taking the top four to regionals and our top two are looking good. We have a ways to go, but I think that they can pull it out for us,” Ellis said. “We had a good time and learned a lot today and some of our girls were excited to try something new.”

West also took first in the JV event with a score of 414, followed by Central with a 524 and Alpena’s JV squad shot a 607 on the day.

Alpena’s JV team was led by Cassie Stanton who shot a 145. Mia Carlson ended with a 146, Kate Kurowski and Mykenze Klimczak both finished with a 158, Brylie Carsten shot a 159 and Madison Timmreck finished the day with a 164.