Marquette Boys Extend Title Streak to 7

February 25, 2019

By Chris Dobrowolski
Special for Second Half

BELLAIRE — The dynasty of the Marquette boys skiing team is alive and well.

The Redmen captured their seventh consecutive MHSAA Division 1 championship Monday at Schuss Mountain, and their 14th overall, when they finished 27 points ahead of runner-up Traverse City West, 65-92, to take a convincing victory. Brighton took third with 111 points.

Marquette had the top two finishers in the giant slalom, with Hayden Kauppila finishing first in 47.25 seconds and Aaron Grzelak taking second in 47.54, and had three finishers among the top 10. The Redmen were able to overcome two skiers going down in the slalom by getting four across the finish line in the top 25.

“It feels pretty good for all the work we put in, and it finally pays off,” said Grzelak. “I think it feels pretty cool. All clean runs and a lot of people finishing. We are pretty excited.”

Kauppila led the way as the sophomore posted the top Marquette time in both disciplines, coming in second in the slalom in 1:00.58.

“It’s an awesome experience,” Kauppila said of winning another championship. “I thought I did a great job, personally. I’ve had a pretty good season.”

Keaton Jones, the lone senior among Marquette’s contributors, also recorded a top-10 finish in the slalom, taking ninth in 1:05.11. Logan Audette was 15th in the giant slalom (50.48) and 17th in the slalom (1:07.55), Truman Durand took 10th in the giant slalom (50.07) and Drake Scheidt was 25th in the slalom (1:09.52).

Head coach Dan Menze, who had been in charge of the last three championships for the Redmen, said his team definitely feels some pressure with the bulls-eye on its back each season. But he said his skiers are able to rise above it and perform at a high level.

“It helps because we’ve been there before,” he said. “Most of the teams racing here have some experience, but we’ve got a lot of experience with kids who have raced at this race before or races just as big. So, the nerves for the boys aren’t really much of a factor. It helps them with being calm and being ready to race. There’s definitely pressure to try and produce. We have a lot of great skiers up there. They’re used to it. It’s easier on them than it is myself. I get a little nervous at times.”

Rockford’s Nick Rupert, who won the Division 1 giant slalom a year ago, captured the slalom this season after recording the only time under one minute with a 59.9 to edge Kauppila by just over a half of a second.

Marquette could become the third boys ski team in MHSAA history to win eight championships in a row — joining Traverse City from 1988-95 and Petoskey from 2011-18 — if it wins another title in 2020. With three juniors (Grzelak, Durand and Scheidt) and two sophomores (Kauppila and Audette) eligible to return, the Redmen don’t appear to be going away any time soon.

“I’m very fortunate to have a great program up in Marquette that kind of feeds the high school and makes my job a lot easier,” said Menze.

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PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette's Hayden Kauppila races downhill during a slalom run Monday at Schuss Mountain. (Middle) Rockford's Nick Rupert speeds toward the Division 1 slalom championship. (Photos by Jake Atnip. For more from Monday's Finals, see Sports in Motion.)

MHSAA Winter Sports Start with Extended Basketball Schedules, New Wrestling Weights

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 13, 2022

The addition of two games to basketball regular-season schedules and a new series of wrestling weight classes are likely the most noticeable Winter 2022-23 changes as an estimated 65,000 athletes statewide take part in 13 sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.

Girls gymnastics and boys ice hockey teams were able to begin practice Oct. 31, with the rest of those sports beginning in November – including also girls and boys basketball, girls and boys bowling, girls competitive cheer, girls and boys skiing, Upper Peninsula girls and boys and Lower Peninsula boys swimming & diving, and girls and boys wrestling.

A variety of changes are in effect for winter sports this season, including a several that will be noteworthy and noticeable to teams and spectators alike.

Basketball remains the most-participated winter sport for MHSAA member schools with 33,000 athletes taking part last season, and for the first time, basketball teams may play up to 22 regular-season games. This increase from the previous 20-game schedule allows more games for teams at every high school level – varsity, junior varsity and freshman.

Another significant change has been made in wrestling, as the majority of boys wrestling weight classes have been adjusted for this season in anticipation of a national change coming in 2023-24. The updated boys weight classes are 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 144, 150, 157, 165, 175, 190, 215 and 285 pounds. Only 215 and 285 remain from the previous lineup. There is also one change to girls weight classes, with the 255 class replaced by 235 to also align with national high school standards.

A series of notable changes will affect how competition takes place at the MHSAA Tournament levels. In hockey, in addition to a new classification process that spread cooperative and single-school programs evenly throughout the three playoff divisions, the MHSAA Tournament will employ two changes. The Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) will be used to seed the entire Regional round, not just the top two teams, and prior to the start of Semifinals, a seeding committee will reseed the remaining four teams in each division with the top seed in each then facing the No. 4 seed, and the No. 2 seed facing No. 3.

Bowling also will see an MHSAA Tournament change, as the Team Regional format will mirror the long-standing Team Final with teams playing eight Baker games and two regular games at both levels.  And as also applied during the fall girls season, there is a new qualification process for divers seeking to advance to Lower Peninsula Boys Swimming & Diving Finals. In each of the three divisions, each Regional will be guaranteed 10 qualifiers for the Finals, with six more “floating” qualifier entries to be distributed to the Regionals that have one of the previous year’s top six returning Finals divers in their fields. If a team changes division from the previous season, any floating top-six spots are added to the six already allowed in the school’s new division.

A gymnastics rules change provides an opportunity for additional scoring during the floor exercise. A dance passage requirement was added in place of the former dance series requirement to encourage creativity and a more artistic use of dance. The dance passage requires gymnasts to include two Group 1 elements – one a leap with legs in cross or side split position, the other a superior element.

In competitive cheer, the penalty for going over the time limit in each round was adjusted to one penalty point for every second over the time limit, not to exceed 15 points. The new time limit rule is more lenient than the past penalty, which subtracted points based on ranges of time over the limit.

The 2022-23 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving Finals on Feb. 18 and wraps up with the Boys Basketball Finals on March 25. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Boys Basketball
Districts – March 6, 8, 10
Regionals – March 13, 15
Quarterfinals – March 21
Semifinals – March 23-24
Finals – March 25

Girls Basketball
Districts – Feb. 27, March 1, 3
Regionals – March 7, 9
Quarterfinals – March 14
Semifinals – March 16-17
Finals – March 18

Regionals – Feb. 24-25
Finals – March 3-4

Competitive Cheer
District – Feb. 17-18
Regionals – Feb. 25
Finals – March 2-3

Regionals – March 4
Finals – March 10-11

Ice Hockey
Regionals – Feb. 20-March 1
Quarterfinals – March 4
Semifinals – March 9-10
Finals – March 11

Regionals – Feb. 13-17
Finals – Feb. 27

Swimming & Diving
Upper Peninsula Girls/Boys Finals – Feb. 18
Lower Peninsula Boys Diving Regionals – March 2
Lower Peninsula Boys Finals – March 10-11

Wrestling – Team
Districts – Feb. 8-9
Regionals – Feb. 15
Finals – Feb. 24-25

Wrestling – Individual
Districts – Feb. 11
Regionals – Feb. 18
Finals – March 3-4

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.