MHSAA Announces Sites, Schedule Details for Winter Indoor Sports Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 10, 2021

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has confirmed sites for its indoor Winter sports championship rounds, including an adjustment for the Individual Wrestling Finals that will allow more fans to attend that event after an increase in spectators limits was put into effect March 5 by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

The Individual Wrestling Finals previously were announced to be competed in full at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. However, a change moving two divisions to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids will allow for more fans, primarily immediate family, to attend. Previously, wrestlers were to be limited to one spectator per participant; with multiple sites, wrestlers will be allowed multiple spectators each.

Similarly, Van Andel and the Breslin Center in East Lansing will host additional events to allow more fans to attend championship rounds in competitive cheer and girls and boys basketball. Both facilities have capacities of more than 10,000 spectators and may host up to 750 per MDHHS guidelines. 

The Competitive Cheer Finals will move to Breslin Center to allow more fans to attend compared to other venues that were being considered. Semifinals in girls and boys basketball will be split by divisions between Breslin Center and Van Andel Arena, in part to provide for greater attendance and also to keep those rounds scheduled to just two locations instead of spreading games across a number of others.

The following are sites and schedules for Finals weekends for the remaining MHSAA Tournaments this winter, with further updates to be posted to the MHSAA Website:

Girls Basketball
Where:
Division 1 and 3 Semifinals at Breslin Center in East Lansing. Division 2 and 4 Semifinals at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. All four Finals will be played at Breslin Center.
When: Semifinals are April 7, with Divisions 3 and 4 beginning at 10 a.m. at their respective sites followed by Divisions 1 and 2 at 3:30 p.m. Finals on April 9 will be played at 10 a.m. (D4), 12:30 p.m. (D1), 3 p.m. (D3) and 5:30 p.m. (D2).

Boys Basketball
Where:
Division 1 and 3 Semifinals at Breslin Center in East Lansing. Division 2 and 4 Semifinals at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. All four Finals will be played at Breslin Center.
When: Semifinals are April 8, with Divisions 3 and 4 beginning at 10 a.m. at their respective sites followed by Divisions 1 and 2 at 3:30 p.m. Finals on April 10 will be played at 10 a.m. (D4), 12:30 p.m. (D1), 3 p.m. (D3) and 5:30 p.m. (D2).

Girls & Boys Bowling
Where:
Division 1 at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Division 2 at Century Bowl in Waterford, Division 3 at Jax 60 in Jackson and Division 4 at Super Bowl in Canton.
When: Team Finals are Friday, March 26, and Singles Finals are March 27. Both events begin at 8 a.m.

Competitive Cheer
Where:
Breslin Center, East Lansing
When: Friday, March 26 – Division 3 at 10 a.m., Division 1 at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 27 – Division 2 at 10 a.m., Division 4 at 3 p.m.

Gymnastics
Where:
Rockford High School
When: Team Finals on Friday, March 26, beginning at 2 p.m. Individual Finals on March 27, beginning at noon.

Ice Hockey
Where: USA Hockey Arena
When: Semifinals on Thursday, March 25, for Division 2 beginning at 4:30 p.m., and March 26 for Divisions 1 and 3 with first games for those divisions beginning at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively. All three Finals will be played March 27, at 11 a.m. (D2), 3 p.m. (D3) and 7 p.m. (D1).

Boys Swimming & Diving – Lower Peninsula
Where:
Division 1 at Hudsonville High School, Division 2 at Jenison High School, Division 3 at Hamilton High School (diving) and Holland Aquatic Center (swimming).
When: Diving on Friday, March 26, and all swimming Finals are March 27. Start times are being determined.

Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving – Upper Peninsula
Where:
Marquette High School
When: Diving this Friday, March 12, 2:35 p.m. Swimming is Saturday, March 13, beginning at 11:05 a.m.

Wrestling – Team
Where:
Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, Divisions 2 and 4 in the Arena and Divisions 1 and 3 in the Valley for pre-Finals rounds. All Finals in the Arena.
When: March 30. Quarterfinals will be followed by Semifinals and Finals, with start times to be determined.

Wrestling – Individual
Where:
Divisions 1 and 3 at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. Divisions 2 and 4 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
When: Divisions 2 and 3 on Friday, April 2. Divisions 1 and 4 on Saturday, April 3. Starts times are being determined.

Lowell Enters Another Elite Group of Champs with 11th-Straight Finals Win

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

February 24, 2024

KALAMAZOO – There’s nothing quite like the roar of a crowd after your team has clinched an MHSAA Team Wrestling Finals title.

That’s true whether it’s for title No. 1, or, in the case of Casey Engle and his Lowell teammates Saturday, for their program’s 11th-straight Division 2 championship.

“It’s unreal,” Engle said. “It’s something I look forward to every year.”

Lowell extended its record run of wrestling team titles by defeating Freeland 49-21 in the Division 2 Final at Wings Events Center.

The Red Arrows joined the Grosse Pointe South (1976-86) and Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (1980-90) girls tennis programs in winning 11 straight Finals titles. Only East Grand Rapids boys swimming & diving, winning 15 straight from 1948-62, and Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice boys lacrosse – with 13 straight from 2005-17 – have longer Finals championship streaks in Lower Peninsula or statewide competition.

“I mean, it’s possible (to reach 15),” said sophomore Jarrett Smith, whose pin at 106 pounds clinched the title. “It’s hard to predict that far, four years into the future. We’re losing some key guys, but we graduated 14 last year, five this year, so we’re returning some firepower.”

Lowell is always returning firepower, and it’s consistently adding it, too, giving new waves of Red Arrows the chance to raise a wooden mitten. 

That’s why for coach RJ Boudro, each title remains just as sweet as the last.

“Why would it get old?” said Boudro, who has been in charge for 10 of those titles. “Look at the crowd. When I first walked in here, I looked up, and you see that we have more fans here than anybody else, and that’s what it’s about. Next year will be fun, too. When you can still bring crowds in and you can do it 11 years in a row, there’s more to that than just winning. If it was just about winning, why else would they come? They would probably think it was a foregone conclusion. They love the kids; they love the community.”

One could forgive an outsider for believing it’s a foregone conclusion when Lowell takes the mat for the Division 2 postseason, as it’s won the Final by more than 20 points in each of the past five seasons and in seven of its 11 straight championship victories.

The Falcons’ Elijah Murphy, left, locks up Lowell’s Ari McFarland at 215. So to avoid that feeling creeping into his wrestling room, Boudro makes it clear the Red Arrows’ responsibility isn’t just to win on the mat, but to strive for something bigger.

“We’re not doing it to just win state championships,” Boudro said. “We’re trying to find out who we are, we’re trying to be better men, better women, better coaches. So, it’s not just about winning, it’s about being a better person. Whether I’m a coach or a kid, just trying to find a way to be better. When you’re doing that all the time, you get better, but you feel like you have a purpose. Every single guy on the team feels like they have a purpose, and that’s really important.”

Just 14 wrestlers can step onto the mat in a single dual, and the same number is the max a team can enter into the individual postseason, so accomplishing that can sometimes be as tough as anything else for Lowell wrestlers, and certainly helps motivate them throughout the season – foregone conclusions or not.

“One of our signs up there I saw, it says, ‘Tradition never graduates,’ and it’s true,” Smith said. “We just keep the kids coming. Even our B Team, C Team are competing at the highest level. At the beginning of Districts, we had 17 ranked guys, and you can only send 14. So we have just great partners all around.”

Freeland, meanwhile, was making its first appearance in a Final, after getting to the Quarterfinals for the third time in program history. 

“Outstanding. Outstanding. They’ve been giving their all every match,” Freeland coach Scott VanLuven said. “They’ve been doing it all year. We beat Brighton, we weren’t supposed to. We beat (Bay City) John Glenn in our conference, then we had to beat them again in our District Final when we weren’t supposed to. No one gave us really a chance down here, I think. But they believed, and they did well.”

The Falcons (25-3) still had a shot with three matches to go, trailing 31-21. But Smith put a quick end to that with his pin at 106, and that was followed by a pair of pins from Cole and Carter Cichocki at 113 and 120, respectively.

Of the Arrows’ nine wins in the dual, eight came by either pin or technical fall, as Jackson Blum (138), Jared Boone (165) and Engle (190) also won by pinfall. Logan Dawson (132) and Owen Segorski (144) each won by tech. Cody Foss (126) opened the dual with a win by decision for Lowell (22-3).

Fabian Facundo (150) and Bringham Smith (285) each won by pin for Freeland, while Noah Graham (157), Gibson Shepard (175) and Elijah Murphy (215) all won by decision.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Lowell’s Cole Cichocki, left, lines up against Freeland’s Michael Wilson at 113 pounds Saturday. (Middle) The Falcons’ Elijah Murphy, left, locks up Lowell’s Ari McFarland at 215. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)