EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Less than two weeks after the sudden death of their coach, the Grand Rapids South Christian girls golf team finished eighth in the state championship tournament.
The Sailor girls shot a 366 on Friday, ending the first day of the Division 3 tournament at Forest Akers East Golf Club at Michigan State University in sixth place. They shot a 377 on Saturday, meaning they finished with a 743 overall. That left South Christian in eighth place.
Their coach Rod VanDyke, who was also a South Christian math teacher, died Oct. 7 after he was hit by a car near Jenison while riding his bicycle to work. The girls, who decided to keep playing to honor their coach, won their regional tournament the next day.
“We still feel wounded, and I think that’s going to take a lot more time than just a week. But I think these girls really wanted to spend another week together, wanted to play in that regional, … to continue on and enjoy each others’ company. And that’s a good part of the grieving process, that they could continue on, and stay in the hotel together and do things that teams do,” boys golf Coach Mark VanStee, who stepped in to coach the girls after VanDyke’s sudden death, told 24 Hour News 8 Friday.
“I think they just like having fun, and Coach VanDyke was that kind of guy. He was just a fun-loving guy. That’s why we miss him so much, because he was so much fun,” VanStee continued. “So as much as we’ve been crying, we’ve been laughing. They’ve been telling funny stories they’ve been hooting and hollering. So it’s sad, but they’ve had fun telling stories about Coach VanDyke.”
Spring Lake won the Division 3 tournament with a 659 overall.