Golf: Pioneer finishes 10th at States; Melendez takes 9th overall to lead the way

Northville finished second by just four strokes to Plymouth at last week’s Regional but more than made up for it when it mattered most. The Mustangs had their top five players within six strokes of each other, led by sophomore Samantha Coleman’s 75, and fired a team-best 313 to win the MHSAA Division 1 State Finals at Forest Akers East on a chilly and windy Friday.

Only one of Northville’s top five players is a senior so they will be tough to beat again next season. They certainly proved tough to beat this season.

Rochester Adams fired a 322 to finish second with Grand Blanc third (328), Plymouth fourth (330) and Rockford fifth (334). Brighton and Bloomfield Hills tied for sixth (346), Traverse City West was eighth (353) and Hartland ninth (356).

Pioneer, the only local team to make the trip to East Lansing, fired a team score of 360 to crack the top 10. The Pioneers finished three strokes better than Troy (363) and 14 better than Grosse Pointe South (374).

Amaya Melendez fired a four-over-par 76 to lead the Pioneers. The rest of the Pioneer scorecard featured sophomore Mackenzie Rooney (90), senior Jillian Giordano (92), freshman Alex Ellender (102) and junior Hayley Marchand (104).

“It wasn’t our best day but I’m happy overall with how we played,” said Pioneer coach Bill Lyle. “Taking 10th place out of 18 teams is a nice finish. It was a great run by our seniors Amaya and Jillian and a great learning experience for our other players. We have a great foundation for the next year.”

Melendez wrapped up a spectacular career at Pioneer and was proud of how her team played all season, including on Friday. The senior finished tied for ninth overall in a highly competitive field.

“The team has really improved during the season,” Melendez said. “We went into states with positive mindsets and were happy with our golf games. We put a lot of work into golf and made sure we were prepared.

“I am so proud of everyone for doing well and pushing through as a team.”

Pioneer finished third at last Wednesday’s Regional to qualify for the State Finals for the third year in a row.

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