Mercy successfully defends Division 2 Girls Golf title at MHSAA State Finals

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Farmington Press | Published November 8, 2023

  Farmington Hills Mercy successfully defended their MHSAA Division 2 Championship Oct. 21 at Forest Akers East in East Lansing.

Farmington Hills Mercy successfully defended their MHSAA Division 2 Championship Oct. 21 at Forest Akers East in East Lansing.

Photo provided by Abby Slankster


FARMINGTON HILLS — After beating the field of 18 teams at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 State Finals last year by 27 strokes, Farmington Hills Mercy stood out as one of the premier teams in Division 2.

Once they returned three of their five state finals starters in senior Abby Slankster, junior Maeve Casey and junior Lila Polakowski, Mercy was poised for a repeat as they took the course Oct. 20 at Forest Akers East in East Lansing.

The trio have anchored Mercy varsity golf for the past three years, and with the continuity has come one of the stronger team bonds you’ll see in high school golf.

“I feel like this is one of the strongest teams out there,” Slankster said. “I think everybody gets along, they all have each other’s backs, and they’re all supporting each other 100 percent of the way.”

When Mercy knew they were going to be without Casey, who finished fourth at the state finals last year, for the final round of the state finals, everyone stepped up and had each other’s back.

Casey, a Yale University commit for hockey, currently plays AAA hockey as well, and had to depart on Saturday for a tournament in Minnesota. Before she left, Casey made sure she put Mercy in ideal position for the final round as her first-round score of 73 gave Mercy an early eight-stroke lead.

Behind Slankster’s 70 in the final round, Mercy didn’t miss a beat en route to winning the MHSAA Division 2 State Finals by 17 strokes.

Slankster, who shot an 80 in the first round, averaged an 81 throughout the season in tournament play, but she embodied what the role of a senior leader is to help Mercy take home the title.

“Abby has really come on this year,” Mercy coach Vicky Kowalski said. “She’s gotten a little bit better every single year, and she put a lot of work in over last winter and the summer. She just wanted to come back and be one of the top players in the state.”

Slankster’s final round score propelled her up to fifth in the standings, while Lila Polakowski was the master of consistency with back-to-back 79 scores to earn 12th.

A “course rat” as coach Kowalski would call her, Polakowski averaged an 85 throughout her tournaments but continued to get better and better down the stretch.

“My putting has just kind of been saving me throughout the season,” Polakowski said. “With my more risky rounds, I think my putting has really come in handy.”

In the spirit of breaking averages over the weekend, junior Macy Morphew, who averaged an 89 throughout the season, shot an 85 and an 81 during the two-day tournament.

Morphew was a reliable contributor last season on the B-varsity Mercy team, but she was able to show this year why she belongs on the big stage.

Senior Brinlee Nay was a consistent contributor in the state finals, shooting an 89 both days, while junior Marie Schueneman replaced Casey in the final round, shooting a 105.

In addition to defending their state title, Mercy also added a regional title to the trophy room as Casey (1st), Slankster (3rd) and Polakowski (6th) all finished in the top 10 to give Mercy the six-stroke win Oct. 11 at Farmington Hills Golf Club.