Preview: Boys Lacrosse Eyes on Detroit

June 6, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Some things change. Others stay the same. 

For the first time in the decade of MHSAA Lacrosse Finals, all four boys teams playing for championships are from the Detroit area. 

But Birmingham Brother Rice, despite losing its first in-state game this spring since lacrosse became an MHSAA sport in 2005, is back in the Division 1 championship game. The Warriors have won all nine Division 1 boys lacrosse titles.

The Division 2 Final begins at 2 p.m. at Troy Athens, followed by the Division 1 Final at 4:30. Click for more information including all results from this season's tournament. Both finals also will be streamed live on MHSAA.TV and broadcast on

Here's a brief look at the four teams vying for titles (player statistics do not include Semifinals): 

Division 1

Record/rank: 18-4, No. 2 at end of regular-season
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic High School League Division I
Coach: Ajay Chawla, first season (18-4) 
Championship history: Nine MHSAA championships (most recent 2013). 
Best wins: 11-6 over No. 8 Brighton (Regional Semifinal), 16-4 over No. 6 Troy (Regional Final), 12-3 over No. 9 Birmingham United, 15-9 and 12-8 over No. 4 Detroit Catholic Central, 8-7 over Division 2 No. 1 Detroit Country Day, 20-8 over Division 2 No. 5 Cranbrook-Kingswood.
Players to watch: Jason Alessi, sr. M (65 goals, 37 assists); Joe Dudley, sr. A (57 goals, 19 assists); Reid Fisher, sr. M (45 goals, 17 assists).
Outlook: On one hand, Brother Rice fell to a Michigan team, 11-9 to Detroit Country Day. On the other, Brother Rice had already beaten Country Day once and won both meetings with Catholic League rival Detroit Catholic Central, Saturday’s opponent. The Warriors had a new look this spring with a first-year coach and a number of new contributors filling in for graduated all-staters. But Alessi will finish his career as one of the leading scorers in MHSAA history, Chawla coached the junior varsity team previously, and Brother Rice always has plenty of talent to fill in the lineup. Sophomore Morgan Macko and junior John Lockwood had 29 and 28 goals, respectively, heading into this week.

Record/rank: 15-5, No. 4 at end of regular season
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic High School League Division I
Coach: Dave Wilson, ninth season (116-60) 
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2010, 2007 and 2006.
Best wins: 15-14 (OT) over No. 1 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern (Semifinal), 18-11 (Regional Final) and 11-9 over No. 3 Clarkston, 21-7 over No. 8 Brighton, 14-13 over Division 2 No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, 14-9 over Division 2 No. 4 East Grand Rapids.  
Players to watch: Jack Van Acker, sr. A; Connor Holton, sr. D (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: Despite two losses to Brother Rice this season, DCC gave the Warriors a run in the Catholic League championship game, falling just 12-8, and beat the best of the rest to advance to this weekend. In fact, the Shamrocks fell by 10 to Forest Hills Northern in the regular-season finale before avenging that loss in the Semifinal. Van Acker and Holton both earned all-state honors last season as the Shamrocks won their first Regional title since 2010.

Division 2

Record/rank: 12-8, No. 5 at end of regular season
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic High School League Division II 
Coach: Mat Wilson, third season (42-21) 
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2013 and 2006, runner-up 2007. 
Best wins: 13-9 and 11-10 (OT, Semifinal) over No. 2 Forest Hills Central, 14-12 over No. 4 East Grand Rapids, 17-10 over No. 9 Warren DeLaSalle, 18-7 over No. 7 Haslett/Williamston (Regional Final), 21-8 over No. 8 Rochester Adams (Regional Semifinal), 16-11 over Division 1 No. 4 Detroit Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Matthew Giampetroni, sr. M/A; Taylor Ghesquiere, sr. M/A; Johnny Wagner, jr. A; Michael Langdon, jr. D; Jack Blumberg, jr. D (Statistics not submitted.).
Outlook: Don’t be fooled by Cranbrook-Kingswood’s seemingly middling record. The Cranes went 11-4 in-state with wins over five of the top-10 Division 2 teams at the end of the regular season, and the lineup is stacked with standouts from last year’s championship run. Five starters – including attacks Giampetroni, Ghesquiere and Wagner – earned all-state honors last season.  

Record/rank: 16-6, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Michael Cappelletti, first season (16-6)
Championship history: Division 2 champions 2011 and 2005; runner-up 2012. 
Best wins: 11-8 over No. 4 East Grand Rapids (Semifinal), 16-3 over No. 9 Warren DeLaSalle (Regional Final), 22-1 over No. 10 Tecumseh (Regional Semifinal), 11-3 over No. 7 Haslett/Williamston, 21-14 over No. 5 Cranbrook-Kingswood, 8-7 over Division 1 No. 2 Birmingham Brother Rice, 18-9 over Division 1 No. 3 Clarkston, 12-5 over Division 1 No. 9 Brimingham United.
Players to watch: Nick Martin, jr. M; Jackson White, soph. G; Jack Bergmann, sr. A; David Pohl, sr. M (Statistics not submitted.).
Outlook: Country Day achieved the major accomplishment of becoming the first in-state team to defeat Brother Rice since the MHSAA began sponsoring lacrosse in 2005. And the Yellowjackets appear primed to finish with the one victory that arguably would be more significant from a statewide view. Martin, White, Bergmann and Pohl all earned all-state recognition last season, and White has been an absolute stopper in goal. Country Day has given up only 14 goals combined in four tournament games and gave up 10 or more only four times during the regular season.

PHOTO: Birmingham Brother Rice’s Jason Alessi will finish his career Saturday as one of the top scorers in MHSAA boys lacrosse history.

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.