2012-06-21 / Front Page

St. Mary claims first state title, and last for golf

By Mike Spencer
Of The Enterprise staff


ST. MARY GOLFERS accept their awards Saturday after winning the Division 4 state golf championship. From left are J.R. Duvall, Nick Shaffran and Paul Bardenhagen. Complete coverage starts on page 11. Photo by Jamey Conn High School Sports Scene ST. MARY GOLFERS accept their awards Saturday after winning the Division 4 state golf championship. From left are J.R. Duvall, Nick Shaffran and Paul Bardenhagen. Complete coverage starts on page 11. Photo by Jamey Conn High School Sports Scene Eagles are still rejoicing after the St. Mary golf team captured the school’s first state championship.

The Eagles shot a 306 on Saturday at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers West Golf Course to finish five strokes ahead of first-day leader Kalamazoo Hackett in the Division 4 state finals.

“In my first year as athletic director and I bring St. Mary a state title,” Bill Hendry, St. Mary’s athletic director said jokingly. “But the reality is, and friends who golf with me know, I would have nothing to do with the skills these kids have.

“They’d be slicing to the right.”

All kidding aside, Hendry knew what made the six-member St. Mary co-op squad the best in the Michigan High School Athletic Association tournament.

“Two good communities, two good schools and several very, very good athletes and great coaches,” he said.

St. Mary, which had been ranked No. 2 in the Michigan Golf Coaches Association poll behind Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central, finished eight strokes better than the No. 1 squad.

Team members included freshman Joel Sneed, who was fourth overall, and senior Paul Bardenhagen, who also earned an allstate medal by finishing seventh overall.

Both Sneed and Bardenhagen along with senior JR Duvall and junior Ian Duvall all attend Leland Public Schools.

St. Mary had two seniors on the squad — Joe Pendergast and Nick Shaffran.

Ironically, the school’s first state championship may be the last for golf.

Leland gave notice to St. Mary at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year that it was dissolving the co-op. Barring a miracle, St. Mary will not be offering golf next season as there are no returnees.

The St. Mary golf program was started in 2006 by Tim and Lucy Schaub when their son Bradford was a freshman.

“At that time, we knew that we had some experienced and talented golfers at St. Mary, including a couple of nephews, but there was no team on which they could compete,” Lucy Schaub said.

Since Leland had disbanded its team a couple years prior, the Schaubs worked to form a St. Mary team and open the team up to Leland students as well.

Former Leland coach Jim Varley was named head coach and Tim Schaub served as an assistant. Lucy Schaub became the team coordinator.

The first year, the Eagles won only half their matches and finished seventh in the regional.

“We’ve come a long way and have built a solid program,” Lucy Schaub said. “But unfortunately the pool of kids that have the desire and skill level to play high school golf has dried up for the near future.

“It has been a bittersweet season knowing that it would be our last, but there’s not better feeling going out as the state champions!”

Tim Schaub agreed.

“It was an incredible experience that I will never forget it,” Tim Schaub said.

The St. Mary co-op state championship golf team will be honored in a parade Sunday starting around 6 p.m. at the Leland Country Club, the team’s home course.

Players and coaches will travel through downtown Leland and along M-204 to Lake Leelanau to St. Mary School, where school officials will recognize the team’s championship effort with a program starting about 7 p.m.

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