Preview: Opportunities to Capitalize

June 7, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

We entered last season’s Boys Lacrosse Finals with a familiar scenario – both championship games were rematches – and we finished the day with Detroit Catholic Central breaking new ground with its first Division 1 title.

With a Semifinal win earlier this week over reigning Division 2 champ East Grand Rapids, could Ada Forest Hills Eastern become the next to end the spring as a first-time champion?

That’s a possibility in Division 2 on Saturday as the Hawks will make their first Finals appearance as a stand-alone program. Meanwhile, Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice will be looking to take Division 1 back from the Shamrocks, and Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central stands in the way of FHE as it hopes to rise after two straight runner-up finishes.

The Division 1 game leads off this year’s series at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by the Division 2 game at 4:30. Both Finals at Howell’s Parker Middle School will be broadcast on, available with subscription, with audio available on Click for more information, including all tournament results.

Below is a look at all four contenders, with player statistics through Regional Finals unless noted.

Division 1

Record/rank: 21-0, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic High School League
Coach: Ajay Chawla, sixth season (106-20) 
Championship history: 13 MHSAA championships (most recent 2017), runner-up 2018. 
Best wins: 18-4 over No. 5 Rockford in Semifinal, 16-12 and 16-5 over No. 2 Detroit Catholic Central, 19-0 over Division 2 No. 2 East Grand Rapids, 16-10 over Division 2 No. 1 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central.
Players to watch: Justin Glod, sr. A (80 goals, 36 assists); Jordan Hyde, jr. M (50 goals, 34 assists); Patrick O’Hara, sr. M/A (72 goals, 33 assists); Michael Cosgrove, sr. M (25 goals, 38 assists); Jack Crosby, sr. LSM; James Donaldson, sr. D. (Stats through 21 games.)
Outlook: Brother Rice saw its string of 13 straight MHSAA Division 1 championships come to an end in last season’s Final, and the Warriors have responded with a perfect run through this spring. A number of last year’s standouts have led the way – Cosgrove, O’Hara, Donaldson and Crosby made the all-state first team in 2018, and Glod made the second. Seven players have scored at least 23 goals, and those seven also all have at least 23 assists. Only five wins have come by fewer than 10 goals.

Record/rank: 19-3, No. 2 at end of regular season
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic High School League
Coach: Dave Wilson, 14th season (203-82) 
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2018, runner-up seven times.
Best wins: 14-13 (OT) over No. 6 Lake Orion in Semifinal, 12-3 over No. 8 Clarkston in Regional Final, 23-10 (Regional Semifinal) and 18-8 over No. 7 South Lyon, 17-9 over No. 5 Rockford, 22-6 over Division 2 No. 3 Ada Forest Hills Eastern, 12-3 over Division 2 No. 2 East Grand Rapids.
Players to watch:
 Joey Kamish, sr. A; Ryan Sullivan, jr. A; Justin Petouhoff, sr. LSM; Kyle Love, sr. M; Connor Beals, sr. M; Jakob Hemme, jr. G; Ryan Birney, sr. M. (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: Last season belonged to the Shamrocks, as they finally broke through to defeat Brother Rice both during the regular season and in the championship game. The Warriors won the first meeting this season by 11 but the second by only four goals, and DCC should have plenty of confidence for this final rematch. Kamish, Love and Beals all made the all-state first team last season, while Sullivan, Petouhoff, Hemme and Birney made the second team. The only other defeat this spring came in the regular-season finale to Division 2 top-ranked Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, by three.

Division 2

16-6, No. 3 at end of regular season
League finish: Third in O-K Conference Tier 1
Coach: Zack Grusell, first season (16-6)
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2011 and 2013 as part of Forest Hills Eastern/Northern. 
Best wins: 9-6 over No. 2 East Grand Rapids in Semifinal, 15-5 over No. 4 Spring Lake, 16-7 over No. 9 Flint Powers Catholic, 9-8 over No. 5 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern.
Players to watch: Brandon Pham, sr. G (8.4 goals-against average, .500 save percentage); John Morgan, soph. A (69 goals, 34 assists); Sam Bowen, soph. A (43 goals, 28 assists); Kevin Sprague, soph. A (33 goals, 15 assists); Ethan Johns, soph. M (30 goals, 21 assists).
Outlook: Forest Hills Eastern avenged a one-goal regular-season loss to East Grand Rapids to earn a spot in the championship game, and the Hawks have to be excited about Saturday and the future given the relative youth of their leading scorers this spring. Tough losses midseason to Detroit Catholic Central, Rockford, FHC, Hartland and EGR over an eight-game span no doubt helped prepare Forest Hills Eastern for this run, and the Hawks have given up a combined 27 goals over their last seven games. Grusell was one of the state’s all-time leading scorers while starring for Portage Central until graduating in 2011, and he moved up from assistant this season after also spending a season as an assistant at Forest Hills Central.

Record/rank: 20-1, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier 1
Coach: Andy Shira, second season (40-3) 
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2016), four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 20-5 (Semifinal) and 16-2 over No. 6 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 17-4 (Regional Final) and 19-2 over No. 5 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, 20-8 over No. 7 Detroit Country Day, 17-4 over No. 3 Ada Forest Hills Eastern, 17-5 over No. 2 East Grand Rapids, 12-9 over Division 1 No. 2 Detroit Catholic Central, 16-8 over Division 1 No. 5 Rockford, 14-2 over Division 1 No. 4 Northville, 17-15 over Division 1 No. 3 Hartland, 20-12 over Division 1 No. 10 Saline.
Players to watch: Jackson Clay, jr. A (87 goals, 55 assists); Tate Hallock, sr. M (57 goals, 35 assists); Jack Nolan, sr. G (7.4 goals-against average, .520 save percentage); Luke Majick, sr. M (56 goals, 33 assists); Cam Deines, sr. D; Logan Wedder, sr. FOGO.
Outlook: Forest Hills Central finished runner-up the last two seasons but finds itself the favorite again and despite graduating some serious star power last spring. That’s not to say the Rangers aren’t still loaded – Hallock and Majick were all-state first team last season as was Wedder as a top face-off specialist, and Deines and Nolan made the second team. Joining the scoring leaders this spring has been Clay and also senior attack Evan Metaj (48 goals, 16 assists) and sophomore attack Carson Deines (45 goals, 31 assists). FHC has played nearly all of the best in Michigan, and its only defeat was by six to Brother Rice.

PHOTO: Detroit Catholic Central goalie Jakob Hemme prepares for a Brother Rice shot during last season’s Division 1 Final.

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.