Seniors Lead Forest Hills Central Back to #1

June 8, 2019

By Jeff Bleiler
Special for Second Half

HOWELL – The Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central boys lacrosse seniors played in the Division 2 championship game all four years of their high school careers.

Safe to say, Saturday’s capper was tops.

Senior Tate Hallock scored five goals and assisted on four others, and fellow senior Luke Majick added five goals and three assists as the Rangers overwhelmed a young Ada Forest Hills Eastern squad 20-4 on Saturday at Parker Field in Howell.

The championship was the fourth in program history, joining one in 2016 when this year’s seniors were freshmen. The past two years, the Rangers fell short to East Grand Rapids – by two goals two years ago and by one in double overtime last year.

“It feels amazing,” Hallock said. “Obviously, sophomore and junior year we didn’t get it, and freshman year we got it but I wasn’t able to play. So just taking it all in, and it’s amazing that I finally played, got some goals and was able to contribute.”

The Rangers finished the year 22-1, their lone loss to Division 1 champion Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice. The Hawks went 16-7 in their first season under coach Zack Grusell, who served as an offensive coordinator for Central in 2015.

“It’s amazing,” Central coach Andy Shira said. “These guys, especially this group of seniors, I’ve been coaching since they were 11 years old. So to see them go out this way is truly special. It’s sad to see it end, but it’s ending in the best way possible for them.”

In six MHSAA Tournament games, Central held each opponent to five goals or fewer and never scored fewer than 17 goals.

“Our senior class has been here four years,” Hallock said. “Eastern is a great team, they’re young, they’ll be here the next couple years too against us probably. But yeah, we’ve been a powerhouse with our senior class.”

After a first quarter that saw both teams kind of feel each other out – despite being familiar with one another after a 17-4 Central victory over Eastern in April – the Rangers opened the scoring gates in the second quarter and never looked back. Sophomore Carson Deines and Hallock both scored in the opening quarter to give Central a 2-0 lead that grew to seven by the 4:28 mark of the second quarter. Majick scored goals 13 seconds apart in the second, and his third of the quarter put Central ahead 7-0.

Sam Bowen and Kaden Dietrich – two of eight sophomores in the Eastern starting lineup – put the Hawks on the board in the second quarter, which ended with Central going ahead 9-2 on a Hallock goal with 19 seconds to play.

Central outscored Eastern 11-2 in the second half, with a running clock for much of the fourth quarter. Senior Evan Matej finished with four goals and an assist, Deines had three goals and two assists, junior Jackson Clay had two goals and two assists and junior Hayden Sarjeant scored a goal for the Rangers.

The 16-goal margin of victory was the widest in a Division 2 Finals game, with the previous high being eight.

It didn’t help matters that Eastern was without sophomore John Morgan, who had a 120-point season end when he broke his foot in a Semifinal victory over East Grand Rapids. But Grusell wasn’t about to use that as an excuse.

“It’s been an awesome season,” he said. “We’re a young team, and it’s been phenomenal to see these guys get to where they are. We scheduled some of the toughest teams in the state of Michigan this year, and they kind of got punched in the mouth earlier this year and had to do a bit of growing up.

“I can’t give a big enough shout-out to seniors Patterson Alward, Brandon Pham, Isaac Wittlinger and all of our seniors, really. They built this program and got us here. We certainly plan on getting another shot at it, so we’ll try to get back here. It’s been one fun run.”

Bowen finished with two goals for Eastern, and sophomore Kevin Sprague scored the Hawks’ other goal.

Click for the full scoring summary.

PHOTOS: (Top) Forest Hills Central’s Jackson Clay (1) makes a move in front of Forest Hills Eastern’s goal during Saturday’s Division 2 Final. (Middle) Forest Hills Eastern’s David Charron (7) gets physical in the midfield.

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.