Motto leads Esky girls golfers to team victory

ESCANABA – The Escanaba Eskymos girls and boys golf teams represented their home course Thursday, claiming first and second place respectively at the Northen Michigan Bank Golf Invite.

Norway put together a very strong performance, claiming the top spot for the boys with a team score of 337. No. 3 golfer Austin Hansen was medalist, finishing with a 77.

“It’s my first win ever, and I’m pretty happy about that, especially playing against the big guys today,” Hansen said. “We were projected to have a pretty good team this year. Our ultimate goal is to win for our senior (Mike Zygiel). Hopefully, we’ll do that. As a team effort, I think we’re going to be good for two or three more years.”

The Gladstone Braves grabbed third place with a score of 343.

Knights coach Tony Zygiel said that considering his team hasn’t had much practice, he’s very pleased with the way they are scoring.

“We can only hope to get better, but this is a good meet for us,” he said. “I’m really happy with the way they played.”

Hansen was followed by Ben Lasecki of Gladstone, who earned a 79. Brett Specker of Marquette, Dylan Gauthier of Escanaba, Dave Dykowski of Gladstone, and Bryce Kelly of Norway all tied for third place with a score of 83.

“I’ve been striking the ball really well lately, and I really like this course,” Lasecki said.

The top finisher for the girls was Marquette’s Avery Rochester, who scorched the competition once again with a score of 85. The second place finisher was Kelsey Motto of Escanaba, finishing with a 92. Gladstone’s Callie Jensen earned a score of 94 for the third place spot.

“This is the kind of golf my girls have been consistently playing,” said Eskymos coach Brian Robinette. “They are right around 400 each time we compete, and even on a cold, windy day like today, it’s just telling me that they are playing solid golf and the weather and the course isn’t going to be an issue. They’ve set a pretty good standard.”

In regards to the boys team, Robinette said he has shifted the lineup a lot since the season started. Each time they compete, he feels they are getting closer and closer to the lineup that will make it to the conference title.

“They are getting a taste of what varsity golf is all about,” he said. “I’m trying to close the gap between us and Gladstone, and we beat them for the first time today. That was a positive for sure.”

The Braves finished second with 432, and the Munising Mustangs were third with 452.

Gauthier, who is still recuperating from a serious leg injury suffered during hockey season, had a nice round of golf today and continues to surprise people with his ability to bounce back.

“He just made his mind up to go through the therapy and just get there,” Robinette said. “He’s playing at a level that’s very competitive, and he’s been a nice asset to the team, and we weren’t sure he was going to be able to contribute when the season began. You can’t say enough about him. There’s a story there that is inspiring.”

Gauthier said it felt good to finally be outside to get some playing time in, and he is continuing to make progress with his injury rehab.

“I’ve just got to keep going through it, and it will get better eventually,” he said.

Escanaba and Gladstone both resume Monday at Menominee.