Detroit Catholic Central golf finished first in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I state finals June 11 at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Course. Pictured from left are assistant coach Rick Williams, Neil Zhu, Matthew Mans, Peter Stassinopoulos, Julian Menser, Liam Casey and coach Mike Anderson.

Detroit Catholic Central golf finished first in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I state finals June 11 at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Course. Pictured from left are assistant coach Rick Williams, Neil Zhu, Matthew Mans, Peter Stassinopoulos, Julian Menser, Liam Casey and coach Mike Anderson.

Photo provided by Mike Anderson


Detroit Catholic Central golf catches fire late to earn Division I state championship

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Novi Note | Published June 22, 2022

NOVI — Detroit Catholic Central High School made sure history wasn’t going to repeat itself.

Just a year ago, Catholic Central found itself looking up to first-place Ann Arbor Skyline at the 2021 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I state championship — a feeling the team made sure it wouldn’t experience this season.

“I knew right off the bat when day two hit that that morning it was going to be us against Skyline,” senior Peter Stassinopoulos said. “Knowing that we finished runner-up last year, we couldn’t do that again.”

Trailing Skyline by 10 strokes with four holes to play, Stassinopoulos, who shot a 70 in his second round, and senior Neil Zhu led Detroit Catholic Central to an improbable comeback to win the MHSAA Division I state championship June 11 at Katke Golf Course at Ferris State University.

As the state championship featured two rounds of golf, Catholic Central bested 17 other schools as each team brought its five best golfers to the state championship. The top four individual scores counted for the team score.

Catholic Central now has six championships in school history and its first since 2017, when Catholic Central won the third of three straight from 2015-2017.

While Catholic Central struggled shooting a 301 in the first round, a strong second-day showing earned Catholic Central a 286 score.

Zhu placed fourth on the individual leaderboard, shooting a two-round score of 145, while Stassinopoulos added a sixth-place finish with a 146.

Stassinopoulos drained the tournament-deciding putt to give Catholic Central a 587 team score and solidify its title win.

“That was kind of the dream moment to get it done and be the last kid,” Stassinopoulos said.

Skyline finished two strokes back with a 589.

As Catholic Central trailed with only four holes left, Zhu, Stassinopoulos and senior Liam Casey’s leadership came alive when it mattered most.

Zhu birdied three of his last four holes, while Stassinopoulos tallied an eagle and two birdies. Casey shot a 71 in his second round for a two-round score of 149. Catholic Central shot 12-under as a team in its final four holes.

Catholic Central coach Mike Anderson said his seniors have been a major part of his team’s success.

“Those guys really took it upon themselves to direct things this year,” Anderson said. “They took it upon themselves to be captains.”

Sophomore Julian Menser finished eighth on the individual leaderboard, shooting a two-round score of 147. Junior Matthew Mans finished with a 164.

Menser has been a consistent scorer for Catholic Central this season.

“He’s very tactical and well-thought-out; he’s an athlete in the sense that his entire life he’s competed in sports,” Anderson said. “He welcomes these moments.”

Catholic Central came into the state finals firing on all cylinders after winning the Region 3 championship by nine strokes June 1 at Salem Hills golf course.

All five golfers shot a 76 or under as Stassinopoulos (69) and Menser (71) led the way for Catholic Central in the Region 3 championship, taking first and second on the individual leaderboard, respectively.

Catholic Central played four rounds at Katke in tournament conditions before the state championship. The team’s familiarity with the course and momentum from regionals left Anderson confident.

“We recognized that’s where the state championship could be, and we wanted our guys to be familiar with the course,” Anderson said. “I felt like going into the tournament, from a strategic standpoint, we had a pretty good game plan.”

While Catholic Central will graduate key seniors in Zhu, Stassinopoulos and Casey, the group not only left its leadership with the team’s talented young core, but left with their main goal accomplished since their first day on the team.

“It was something I’ve dreamed of (since) coming in my freshman year,” Stassinopoulos said.