Utica Eisenhower’s Ariel Chang watches a shot  at the Macomb County Invite Sept. 11 at Cherry  Creek Golf Club. Chang’s 72 led the entire tournament field for the third year in a row.

Utica Eisenhower’s Ariel Chang watches a shot at the Macomb County Invite Sept. 11 at Cherry Creek Golf Club. Chang’s 72 led the entire tournament field for the third year in a row.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Ike girls golf wins Macomb County Invite for second straight year

By: Jacob Herbert | Shelby - Utica News | Published September 23, 2019

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Utica Eisenhower girls golf team has been riding something of a hot streak lately.

Most notably, the Eagles topped the field at the Macomb County Invite Sept. 11 at Cherry Creek Golf Club in Shelby Township. Ike also won the invite last year, ending Macomb Lutheran North’s four-year run.

Ike shot a 326 team score, 34 strokes lower than second-place finisher Macomb Dakota and 56 strokes lower than Warren Regina, which closed out the top three.

“It gives us a big boost,” Eagles coach Jerry Griesbeck said about the win. “It’s solidifying what they thought they could accomplish; now they are doing it.”

Amidst the repetition of winning the county invite in back-to-back years, the Eagles still found a way to do something unique and unprecedented.

Typically in high school golf tournaments, teams can send out five golfers, with the top four counting toward the team score. Eisenhower was led by Ariel Chang’s 72, followed by Allison Gottshall’s 83, Alexis Sharplin’s 84 and Kayla Lease’s 87.

The fifth Ike score was Hannah Dunn’s 89. To put things into perspective, 32 total scores were put toward the team total for the tournament. Of those 32 scores that made the cut, 23 of them were 89 or higher.

Griesbeck said he has never had to cut an 89 in his 15 years of coaching.

“Normally an 89 is something that you cherish; it’s a good thing,” he said. “That was just fun.”

One of the bigger determining factors that went into Eisenhower’s victory was that the tournament was played on Ike’s home course.

Gottshall noted how that familiarity played into the Eagles’ hands nicely.

“It helps a lot because we know how to play the holes and how far we should hit everything,” the senior said. “We’re used to it.”

Chang’s 72 topped the entire tournament field for the third year in a row. Still, the junior said it wasn’t her best round. Chang felt she left a few putts out there but admitted, “It could have gone a lot worse.”

Griesbeck met Chang when she was in fifth grade, on the Cherry Creek driving range. Griesbeck noticed something special in Chang’s game at a young age and hoped he would still be around coaching when she made it to the high school level.

“She is hardworking, she’s dedicated, she’s usually the first one to practice and she’s usually the last one to leave,” the coach said. “She’s one of the biggest cheerleaders on the team. She realizes that she has accomplished a lot in her short career here, and she wants to assist everybody else. There is just no iota of ‘me.’ None of that with her.”

In just a few short weeks, Chang and the Eagles will be competing in a Division 1 regional tournament. Ike is scheduled to play Oct. 8 at Heather Hills Golf Club in Romeo.

For Chang, winning the Macomb County Invite gives the team the utmost confidence in its ability to succeed in the postseason.

“It kind of wakes us up and makes us realize we can actually do this,” she said. “We can go farther and do a lot better than what we’re doing right now.”  

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