Country Day Wins Close to Close Title Run

June 7, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

TROY – Detroit Country Day this spring earned one of the most notable wins in Michigan boys lacrosse history.

But despite handing Birmingham Brother Rice its first in-state loss since 2002, by a score of 8-7, the Yellowjackets also lost four one-goal games – and coach Michael Cappelletti wasn’t sure how his team would respond when Saturday’s MHSAA Division 2 Final began to play out in a similarly low-scoring way.

Reigning champion Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood pulled within two of Country Day’s lead just 12 seconds into the fourth period. But this time the Yellowjackets finished like champions and hoisted their third MHSAA championship trophy after a 12-8 win.

Country Day didn’t allow another goal over the final 11:48, and only two shots with a chance before the Cranes fired off a quick volley during the final minute.

“It’s the hardest-working group of kids I’ve been around in my life, the best team I’ve coached in my life,” said Cappelletti, who took over the program this year after previously coaching in North Carolina and Rhode Island. “They’re together, from the kid who knows he’s not going in ever to the kid who had the best game, which I can’t tell you who that is right now – which is the best part about coaching this team.”

Country Day previously had won Division 2 championships in 2011 and 2005 and finished runner-up in 2012. Cappelletti is the team’s third coach in three seasons, but inherited what he called a “lunch pail and hard hat group.”

The Yellowjackets (17-6) were disappointed to fall in the rematch to Brother Rice, 11-9, and then by a goal apiece to Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central and East Grand Rapids. But they gave the history-making win over the Warriors even more merit by finishing off an impressive tournament run that included wins over four top-10 teams, including 11-8 over East Grand Rapids when they met again in the Semifinal.

“Brother Rice was a huge win. … We’ve been rivals with them since sixth, seventh, eighth grade, and we knew this year we had a chance to beat them,” Country Day junior Devon Callaghan said. “We just seized that opportunity.

“(But) this was always our main goal, the state championship game.”

Country Day and Cranbrook-Kingswood had combined for 35 goals during the regular season when Country Day earned a 21-14 victory. 

The low-scoring rematch might not have played to the fast-strike Yellowjackets’ best-known strengths. But while offense often gets headlines in lacrosse, Country Day’s defense was just as impressive.

Cranbrook-Kingswood’s eight goals tied its second-lowest output of the season – and came despite five from senior Matthew Giampetroni, who will join NCAA champion Duke next season. 

The Yellowjackets were keyed on their side of the field by a trio of sophomores. Defenders Matt Dolan and Jonathon Boos were assigned to Giampetroni and junior all-state attack Johnny Wagner, who was held scoreless. Sophomore goalie Jackson White had 16 saves including a handful from close range.

“(Bowes and Dolan) have never been in a game like this, and we just said, ‘Hey guys, you’re on an island, limit their touches. … You take care of you, on them,’” Cappelletti said. “It was nothing fancy. Those kids are just tough kids.” 

Six players scored for Country Day, including five who scored twice. Junior attack Emilio Sosa netted three goals.

Despite drawing even three times, Cranbrook-Kingswood never led and trailed by as many as five goals, five minutes into the third period. 

“We got down, and it’s hard to use a lot of energy coming back,” Giampetroni said. “Then we had some bad turnovers later, and they had the ball the last 10, eight minutes. It’s hard to score when you don’t have the ball.”

Junior goalie Ryan Rosenthal, however, was up to the task of facing plenty of shots, stopping 26 in a gallant effort. 

Cranbrook-Kingswood finished 12-9, but 11-5 against in-state opponents.

“The fact that we made it to this point is a testament to the seniors. They were great leaders,” Cranes coach Mat Wilson said. “The good news is we’ve got a ton of juniors coming back, and the future is very bright.” 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Country Day celebrates one of its goals during Saturday’s Division 2 Final. (Middle) Country Day’s Nick Martin (6) looks to get past Cranbrook-Kingswood’s Michael Langdon.

Representative Council Approves Limited Regional Seeding in Girls Lacrosse at Fall Meeting

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 9, 2022

The addition of limited seeding at the Regional level of the Girls Lacrosse Tournament headlined actions taken by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its Fall Meeting on Dec. 2 in East Lansing.

Generally, the Council takes only a few actions during its Fall Meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and action during its meetings in winter and spring. This Fall Meeting saw the Council take only three actions, with additional discussion centered on topics expected to receive more specific consideration at MHSAA sport committee meetings this winter and the Council’s meetings in March and May.

The Council approved a Girls Lacrosse Committee proposal to seed the top two teams in every Regional, and place those top seeds on opposite sides of the bracket beginning with the 2023 season. The two teams to be seeded will be determined by using the MHSAA’s Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) formula, which takes into account success and strength of schedule and is used currently to provide seeding information in boys lacrosse, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys soccer, and ice hockey. Only the top two teams in girls lacrosse will be seeded and separated; the other teams in each Regional will be placed on their brackets by random draw.

The Council also approved a Boys Lacrosse Committee recommendation that will allow athletes to participate in up to five quarters per day between teams at multiple levels – for example, varsity and junior varsity – also beginning with the 2023 season. For boys lacrosse multi-team tournaments, if two school teams (for example, the varsity and junior varsity) are at the same event, athletes may play in no more halves or quarters than what is being played by the school’s highest-level team that day. (Example: if the varsity team is playing three 30-minute half games for a total of six halves, a player playing both varsity and JV on the same day can play in six total halves that day.) The “fifth quarter” rule, by allowing athletes to compete on two levels on the same day, is intended to help programs that are otherwise lacking enough participants to field teams at multiple levels.

Taking into account the wintery weather conditions experienced by athletes during the MHSAA alpine ski season, the Council approved a Sports Medicine Advisory Committee recommendation to adopt the “MHSAA Competition and Practice Guidelines for Cold Weather,” which are specific to alpine skiing. The guidelines include a windchill chart and cold standards for ambient temperature. This proposal also was supported by the Ski Committee and will go into effect for the 2022-23 season.

Remaining discussions focused on results from this fall’s Update Meeting survey completed by administrators during the MHSAA’s annual presentations across the state. The Council considered survey data including on questions related to the out-of-season travel rule. The Council also discussed results of a fall survey completed by member school athletic directors and head varsity football coaches concerning ongoing conversations about scheduling and playoff format. Following the Football Committee meeting in January 2023, an ad hoc committee comprised of members of the MHSAA staff, Representative Council, Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) and Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) will be convened for further discussion on these topics, with their report to be provided to the Council during its March 2023 meeting.

The Fall Meeting saw the appointment of Westland John Glenn athletic director Jason Malloy for a first-two-year term to the 19-person Council, and the re-appointment of Bay City Western principal Judy Cox for a second two-year term. Malloy previously was appointed to finish a partial term as one of the two representatives of member junior high/middle schools.

The Council reelected Scott Grimes, superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, as its president; and Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as secretary-treasurer. Brighton High School athletic director John Thompson was elected Council vice president.

The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.