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Emma McKinley-led Ludington girls golf team captures West Michigan Conference title

Montague second and Whitehall third in overall conference standings for fall 2022 season.

Photos by Scott DeCamp and Matt Tarket | CatchMark

MUSKEGON — Led by Emma McKinley’s 3-over 75, Ludington’s girls golf team totaled 366 en route to winning the West Michigan Conference championship meet Wednesday at Lincoln Golf Club.

With the victory, the Orioles solidified their spot atop in the final WMC standings for the 2022 fall season.

Whitehall was runner-up Wednesday with 369 and Montague third at 379, but the Wildcats finished second and the Vikings third in the final WMC standings based upon results from the previous four league jamborees this season.

“We’re excited to be in the conference,” said Ludington coach Erica Reed, whose team captured Lakes 8 Activities Conference titles each of the last two seasons.

“Last year (in the Lakes 8), we only had three teams and just to have a conference with eight schools, it’s fun. It’s fun to have a competitive league where you can have a competitive title, so we were excited to join it and excited to be part of it.”

Ludington girls golf coach Erica Reed poses for a portrait during the West Michigan Conference championship Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, at Lincoln Golf Club in Muskegon, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

In Wednesday’s team competition, Fremont was fourth (410), North Muskegon fifth (426), Oakridge sixth (427), Holton seventh (481) and Manistee eighth (495). In the final WMC points standings, it was Ludington first (1078) followed by Montague (1134), Whitehall (1158), Fremont (1264), North Muskegon (1296), Oakridge (1318), Manistee (1446) and Holton (1511).

In the individual competition for the WMC Championship meet, McKinley was followed in the top five by Montague’s Mackenzie Goudreau (77), Whitehall’s Ava Garcia (79), Montague’s Natalie Kellogg (87) and Ludington’s Sophia Sarto (89).

First-team all-conference members, based upon nine-hole averages from Wednesday’s competition along with a player’s top three scores from the other four WMC jamborees, included McKinley, Goudreau, Kellogg, Garcia, Sarto, Whitehall’s Grace McDowell and Elizabeth Bentz, Fremont’s Lily Schwart and Lena Hudson, Ludington’s Reya Dila, North Muskegon’s Lidia Carty, Montague’s Brooke Berry and Manistee’s Olivia Vasquez.

Oakridge’s Katie Utzinger and Whitehall’s Felicity Dingman were all-conference honorable mention.

Next week, teams will turn their sights to regional play. Montague is the two-time defending state champ in Division 4, while Ludington is aiming to qualify for the state finals as a team in Division 3.

“We have a talented squad and we’ve had a great season,” Reed said. “Every event we keep improving and we start to see players starting to improve. I’m looking forward to the day where we all have six solid scores and it’s getting closer and closer.”

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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