By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
In their final regular season match and last tune-up for Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) regional play, the Oxford Wildcats defeated the Avondale Yellow Jackets, 201-231, on Monday, October 5 at Metamora Golf & Country Club.
Freshman Keira Billis, as she has done throughout the season, led the way for head coach Gretchen Gabler’s program, carding a 46. With this victory, the Wildcats secured third-place in the Oakland Activities Association (OAA) White Division, a two-spot improvement from 2019.
Two days later, Wednesday, October 7, the girls traveled to Twin Lakes Golf Club with hopes of qualifying for the state finals for the first time in the 25-year history of the program.
Officially titled MHSAA Regional No. 5, Oxford was up against some stiff competition in the 12-team field, which included the Rochester Adams Highlanders, Bloomfield Hills Black Hawks and Troy Colts.
Finishing with an even 400, the girls slotted in eighth, with Billis shooting a team-best 93. Senior co-captain Janelle Grech also broke 100 with a 99, and junior Lilly Yankee and seniors Kate Dietiker and Eryn Petriko added a 103, 105 and 114, respectively.
The top-three teams, who qualify for the state finals at Michigan State University in East Lansing, were Rochester Adams (331), Bloomfield Hills (340), and Troy (359).
The regional title was the Highlanders’ first in 21 years, and the team was led by freshman standout Laura Liu, who registered the day’s best score of 79.
Occupying fourth-place with a 366, the Lake Orion Dragons narrowly missed a trip to the state finals, slotting in just seven strokes behind the Colts.
State guidelines also allow the top-three individuals not on qualifying teams to advance to the finals. This year, Walled Lake Northern Knights senior Rachael Krieger (83), Clarkston Wolves junior Elin Gebrowsky (85), and Birmingham Seaholm Maples junior Grace Simpson (86) were the lucky trio.
Although Dietiker, Grech and Petriko have exhausted their eligibility, there is reason to be optimistic when looking at Gabler’s program in 2021. Billis and classmates Ellie Gieselman, Gabi Wait, and Lexie Yankee are all set to return, along with Lilly Yankee.
By Teddy Rydquist