It’s been a mostly uphill journey, but it’s proved worthwhile.
At least that’s the case for seniors Katelyn Meck and Lindsey Kreichelt, who were co-captains on the girls hockey team this year.
In the four years the girls have been playing, this was the furthest the Mustangs got, having reached the semifinals of the division 1 state tournament.
Northville lost in the semifinals to , which went on to win its third state title in four years on March 13.
It’s not the loss to the Blue Devils that left the most lasting impression on Meck and Kreichelt, but rather it was beating Cranbrook to get there.
“We were all pumped before the game,” Meck said. “It was a great effort. ... We haven’t beaten Cranbrook the last few years and since it’s my senior year it really felt really good to be able to beat them finally.”
Bill Holden, who has coached the team since the program began nine years ago, said his team is usually the fourth or fifth best in the league. The Mustangs have reached the semifinals in the past, but never gotten to the finals.
“We usually watch Grosse Pointe South and Cranbrook battle it out for the title,” he said.
“Last year we got knocked out in the first round,” Kreichelt said. “This year, we were really excited to get this far."
She added, "It was amazing. It brought the team closer together. It was a great bonding experience. It was especially cool being my senior year.”
The Mustangs play in the Michigan Metro Girls High School Hockey League, which features eight division 1 teams and six division 2 teams.
For their efforts, several of the Mustangs received postseason awards. Forward was named all-state first team and plans to play hockey at either Michigan or Michigan State; Allison Holden, , Kreichelt and Meck were named all-state honorable mention; and Natalie DeMuro was named all-league.
“I don’t think a lot of us were expecting it, to get a lot of people from Northville, so it was good," Meck said.
Meck, who plays defense, has been on the varsity team since she was a freshman. Kreichelt, on the other hand, didn’t start playing hockey until she was a freshman.
“I had played roller hockey with my brother and his friends, but I had never played ice hockey before,” Kreichelt said. “We played street hockey and some roller hockey at Total Sports in Wixom. It was nice my brother included me in that.”
Kreichelt’s older brother, Andrew, and her older sister, Emily, both run track at Hope College.
“I loved (hockey) so much and I want to thank my brother and his friends,” Kreichelt said. “When the opportunity (to play in high school) came, I took it. I didn’t want later to regret letting the opportunity slip by.”
Kreichelt earned an academic scholarship to Ohio State, where she plans to play club hockey and study toward a degree in veterinary medicine.
Meck is going to attend Grand Valley State University, where she plans to play hockey as well.
Holden said Northville has one of the largest programs in the state.
“We have 40-45 players and we carry two teams, a varsity and a (junior varsity),” he said. “And four to five of the best kids in the state were on our team.”