Traverse City West’s Anika Dy closes out high school career with third straight state title
BATTLE CREEK — As Anika Dy prepared for the 18th hole at the state finals about eight hours after she first teed off on Saturday, it occurred to her that it wasn’t just another hole.
As the Traverse City West senior tried to loosen up with a stretch in the windy, cold conditions, she relayed the situation to her playing partners at Bedford Valley in Battle Creek.
“Last hole as a high-schooler,” Dy noted to Plymouth senior Shae Zydeck, while Northville’s Nicole Whatley reminded Dy that she was just a sophomore.
And what a high school career it has been.
Dy will head to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor next year as one of the most decorated golfers in state history.
“It didn’t really hit me until the last hole,” Dy said. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is my last drive, this is my last approach shot, this is my last putt.’ … I’ve just been trying to keep myself in the moment, be present. I think that was key today.”
That last hole as a high-schooler was an uneventful par closed with a steady eight-footer, capping her third straight state championship. It closed a season where she won every tournament but one, as her sophomore sister, Anci, edged her at an Alpena event.
“It’s been so much fun,” Anci Dy said of playing with her sister. “I’m going to miss her.
“I don’t think she has a bad bone against anybody here, ever. She’s just so supportive. She’s very humble, which is something a lot of us just admire her for.”
The other top players throughout the state backed that up.
During Anika’s final walk up the 18th fairway, she saw friend Annie Pietila of Brighton waiting to tee off on 16 and asked how her round was going. Pietila, who finished tied for 10th, noted she was happy to be done soon with the round, which was hampered by more than 2 hours of weather delays.
“Finish strong,” Dy encouraged across the course.
Dy celebrated Whatley’s makes throughout the round, and shared her misery when the talented Northville sophomore, who matched Dy with an even-par 72 on Saturday, rolled putts past the cup on the edges.
Dy won the event by six strokes, a masterful 4-under two-day score of 140.
She led the defending champion Titans to a third-place finish, as the program has grown on the backs of the Dy sisters.
“We had 17 kids this year, which is the biggest they’ve had in a long, long time,” Traverse City West coach Karl Gagnon said. “Success breeds success. (Anika) is the main reason. She’s taken Traverse City West girls golf and put it on the map. And I’ve said this before, as good a golfer as she is, she’s as good a person. Kids like to play golf with her because she treats them so well, she encourages them, she supports them, she congratulates them. They just love that.”
Added Anika Dy: “When I was a freshman or sophomore, the seniors were so nice to me. And, of course, I’ve just been nice all the time. I just want to leave my mark, help them out. It’s more fun that way too.”
Anci Dy, who tie for fifth place on Saturday, said she’s taken notes on her sister over the years, and hopes to become more like her steady sister on the course as she moves more into the spotlight for her final two years.
“When you see her, you never know if she’s doing good or bad,” Anci Dy said. “She’s very cool and collected, which is something I’m trying to learn from.
“I think it’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be a learning process for me and give me a chance to kind of see what she went though. I want to learn from her experiences and add on to that with my own memories.”
PHOTO: Anika Dy of Traverse City West, left, poses with the other top finishers from Saturday’s Division 1 MHSAA girls golf state finals at Bedford Valley in Battle Creek. From left, Mikaela Schulz of Bloomfield Hills, who was second; Utica Eisenhower’s Ariel Chang, who was third; Northville’s Nicole Whatley, who was fourth; and Dy’s sister, Anci Dy of Traverse City West, who tied for fifth.