ESCANABA - Area Class D schools will have a chance to participate in a historic championship in June.
A Michigan high school golf title will be decided in Wisconsin when the Division 3 Upper Peninsula boys finals are held at Hurley Eagle Bluff Golf Course. Gogebic Country Club in Ironwood will host the girls.
It is the first time U.P. preps will decide that title in the western peninsula, or Wisconsin.
Dennis Grall, sports editor
Lac Vieux Desert in Watersmeet is the only other 18-hole U.P. venue near Ironwood, but the 55 mile separation does not make it conducive to host the tourney that far apart.
Last year D-3 was held on the eastern end, boys at The Oaks at Kincheloe and girls at Pickford Munoscong. In 2008 the girls played at Manistique Indian Lake while the boys were at Newberry Country Club, which is about 55 miles apart and made transportation difficulties a big issue.
All other D-3 golf finals have been held in Delta County, which because of its centralized location and numerous courses, is the best venue for the event.
The D-3 field has exploded in recent years, forcing MHSAA to use two courses for the 18-hole tournament. The first two-course event was 2000.
Marquette is D-1 host and Manistique is D-2 host for both boys and girls in June.
While it is the first time a Michigan state title will be held outside of the state, it is not a new idea. Several years ago Jerry Cvengros, then director of the MHSAA football playoffs, called here to find a good location in Wisconsin for a possible playoff game involving Menominee.
I gave him Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin-Oshkosh and several high school fields as possible sites, but alas, the Maroons lost the game that would have set up the unique playoff. Any of those sites would have been a better geographic fit than having the two teams meet at a neutral site in lower Michigan.
* Baraga came within one victory of playing a Class D boys basketball quarterfinal in Escanaba Tuesday. Superior Central landed that spot Wednesday by beating the Vikings 84-59 and will play Cedarville in a dream showdown of perhaps the best two teams in the peninsula - in all classes.
First-year Baraga coach John Young's wife is the former Jenny Scheeneman, a native of Escanaba. She is the daughter of Sue Scheeneman of Escanaba and Terry Scheeneman of Gladstone.
* Former Big Bay de Noc High School basketball player Brett Fox turned in a solid first season as varsity boys basketball coach at Laona, Wis. High School.
He led the Fighting Kellys to a 19-5 mark and a berth in the sectionals, where they lost to Marion 39-37. Marion then lost to Green Bay NEW Lutheran to decide which team would advance to the state tourney in Madison.
Fox, whose dad Gordy is a former Big Bay coach, was jayvee coach the previous two seasons.
* University of Central Florida's volleyball team resumed spring practice this week under coach Todd Dagenais, a native of Escanaba.
"We have determined that serving must be a huge part of our success in 2011," Dagenais said on the school's website."If we can limit our opponent's options, we can definitely use our size to our advantage and block some balls."
Seven starters return from last year's 16-16 squad.
* Matt Bucklin, a nephew of Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, finally had a chance Friday night to experience the NCAA basketball tournament as a participant.
The 6-foot University of Georgia junior reserve guard spent considerable time as a youngster with Izzo and the Spartans going to NCAA tourney games. When the team media guide asked him about the most famous person he ever met, he said Magic Johnson, indicating discussions with the former MSU star at the Final Four.
Bucklin, who is from Marietta, Ga., spent two seasons as a walk-on for the Bulldogs before getting a scholarship this season. He is the son of Mary Izzo of Iron Mountain.