Skyline Soars to 1st Finals Championship

March 10, 2018

By Jason Schmitt
Special for Second Half

YPSILANTI – The groundwork was laid Friday.

But the celebration was years in the making.

At the conclusion of the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Boys Swimming & Diving Finals at Eastern Michigan University, Ann Arbor Skyline coach Mo-Jo Isaac performed a near-perfect back flip off the 3-meter diving board – something she’s been doing for years when her teams accomplish something special.

The occasion certainly called for the coach to take a dip in Jones Natatorium Saturday afternoon. The Hawks cruised past the competition, scoring 274 team points to top the field and bring home the first MHSAA championship in program history.

“Whenever my girls teams (at Skyline) would accomplish a milestone, or something big would happen, that’s kind of what we do,” said Isaac, who’s in her second year coaching the boys program. “Today, I had kind of forgotten about it, but a bunch of our girls were here to cheer on the guys and they were like, ‘No, Coach Mo-Jo, you’ve got to jump.’ ”

Skyline picked up wins in five of the meet’s 12 events, with senior David Cleason leading the way with a pair of individual titles. He was tops in the 200-yard individual medley, winning in a time of 1:49.81. He also bested the field in the 500 freestyle, where he edged out Livonia Stevenson’s Ben Rojewski with a time of 4:30.50.

Cleason’s teammate, Michael MacGillivray, was second in the 200 IM, while winning a title of his own in the 100 breaststroke (55.01). Both Cleason and MacGillivray were members of the team’s winning 400 freestyle relay, with senior Samuel Jyawook and junior Kyle Tschannen. Their winning time was 3:04.99, beating out runner-up Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central and third-place Harrison-Farmington Unified.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Cleason, who accounted for 40 points by himself and helped his team earn 50 more in the two relay events he swam. “Me and Michael (MacGillivray) have been dreaming about winning that 4x100 free relay and winning the team title for so long and now that we’re seniors, doing it and winning it in our last swim meet, it’s perfect.”

Skyline’s final individual event championship came in the 1-meter diving event. Junior Henry Schirmer repeated as champion, scoring 503.85 points to outdistance runner-up Cade Hammond of Brighton, who scored 448.45.

“I feel like we won the meet yesterday, even though no one scored a point,” Isaac said. “We talked about doing it as a team, and we couldn’t do it if everyone wasn’t there for each other. We were on fire yesterday and we qualified really well.”

Holland West Ottawa, which entered the Finals ranked No. 2 in the state behind Skyline, lived up to its ranking by finishing second with 207 points. The Panthers won two of the three relays and saw junior Derek Maas capture the 100 backstroke title. Maas, who finished runner-up in the event a year ago, left nothing to chance Saturday, winning in a time of 50.23, better than a second ahead of runner-up Parker Wasielewski of Livonia Stevenson.

Maas joined teammates Julian Barrios, Ryan Langdon and Khadin Soto on the Panthers’ winning 200 medley relay team (1:31.91). Langdon, Barrios, Jacob Boersema and Sam Smith took top honors in the 200 freestyle relay in a time of 1:24.54.

Forest Hills Central junior Henry Schutte repeated as champion in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events. His time of 20.01 in the preliminary Friday set an all-Division MHSAA Finals record in the 50. He nearly duplicated the feat Saturday, finishing with a winning time of 20.04. Zeeland’s Austin Mills was second in the 50, while Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Adam Orringer-Hau was runner-up to Schutte in the 100.

“I am beyond happy with everything I did today,” said Schutte, who helped his team to a fourth-place finish. “I have to thank my coaches, my family, my teammates, shoot, even the people in my races. We’re all pushing each other to do our best, and every race is so fun. I love it.”

Orringer-Hau, the top seed in the 200 freestyle, won the event in a time of 1:38.66. He was third at last year’s Finals.

Four-time reigning team champion Birmingham Brother Rice had its streak end, but not without a fight. The Warriors finished third, behind Skyline and West Ottawa, with 154 points. Senior Alex Margherio captured the lone individual title for Rice, winning the 100 butterfly in a time of 48.43. Howell’s Henry Bauer was second in a time of 50.09.

Northville finished fifth overall with 141 team points, with Ann Arbor Pioneer (131), Detroit Catholic Central (127), Saline (116), Zeeland (100) and Harrison-Farmington (81) rounding out the top 10.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Skyline's Henry Schirmer rotates through one of his dives on the way to repeating as LP Division 1 champion Saturday. (Middle) Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central's Henry Schutte looks to the scoreboard as the other competitors in the 50 finish their sprints. (Click for more from

Picking Up Seconds All Over, Cranbrook Picks Up Points to Climb Podium

By Jason Schmitt
Special for

March 11, 2023

ROCHESTER — Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood edged top-seeded East Grand Rapids by one hundredth of a second Saturday in the 200-yard medley relay at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals at Oakland University.

The Cranes celebrated their victory in the meet’s first event like they had just won the state championship. Little did everyone in attendance know that when all was said and done, that razor-thin margin would in fact be the difference, as Cranbrook captured its first Finals title since 2017. The Cranes totaled 271 team points, beating out the two-time reigning champion Pioneers (259) by 12 points. 

“I’m one of those coaches, I score out the psych sheet, I score out the entries and EGR was 11 points up on us coming into today,” Cranbrook head coach Paul Ellis said. “(Winning) that first relay, that was a 12-point swing. That got the snowball rolling, and we continued to feed off that and go fast.”

Freshman A.J. Farner, senior Ethan Schwab and sophomores Sean Lu and Joe Wiater got the win for Ellis’s team. Schwab and Wiater swam the top splits in their legs, with Wiater rallying his team to victory in the final freestyle leg.

“That win by one one-hundredth really set the tone for the meet,” Schwab said. “It was great to come out with my team and have fun in the first relay and then bring the energy into the next event.”

Adrian’s London Rising celebrates his victory in the 200 freestyle. Schwab brought the energy to all four of his swims at the Finals. The Michigan-bound Schwab won three of the races he entered and set LP Division 3 Finals records in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke this weekend. His time of 1:48.23 in Saturday’s IM beat the record he set just a day earlier in the prelims. He then finished with a 54.31 in the 100 breaststroke, beating out Wayland’s Zachery Jenison by more than two seconds but falling just short of his record-setting time of 54.04, set in Friday’s preliminary round.

Schwab was named Swimmer of the Meet by the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association for his efforts, which also included a runner-up finish as part of the 400 freestyle relay.

Cranbrook’s 200 freestyle relay team of sophomore Robbie Sarle, senior Christos Tzoumakas, Wiater and junior Will Farner beat out top-seeded and 2022 event champion Grand Rapids Christian for the win. It was one of four victories for the Cranes.

“It was just a phenomenal team effort from top to bottom,” Ellis said. “Everyone did their part. Everyone nickel and dimed their way into the top 16 and nickel and dimed their way by moving up a little bit in each final swim that we had.

“We had huge swims from Will Farner, A.J. Farner and Sean Lu. Joe Wiater was injured last year. He came back and was consolation in the 50 and top eight in the breaststroke. It was a whole bunch of guys from all different classes that did it for us. I’m thrilled with everything they did.”

East Grand Rapids, which came in having won the Division 3 title in both 2021 and 2022, actually took slim leads over Cranbrook after eight events and again after 10. Junior Carter Kegle won the 500 freestyle for the second-straight year, beating out Plainwell freshman Sam Harper by five seconds. The win helped his team take a 10-point lead over Cranbrook. Kegle would finish second in the 200 freestyle and helped his Pioneers win the 400 freestyle relay to end the day. Junior Micah Spitzley and seniors Ted Turnage and Logan McCahill joined Kegle on the winning relay.

“We swam great. We broke three or four school records, and we were in the hunt,” East Grand Rapids head coach Milton Briggs said. “Give credit to Cranbrook. They beat us in that (medley) relay and they won the 200 free relay, which they weren’t supposed to. They had a great second day. They swam out of their minds. They’re a very, very good team.”

Chelsea’s Mitch Brown completes a dive on the way to claiming the title in that event. Grand Rapids Christian junior Ben Sytsma won the 50 freestyle and finished runner-up in the 100 freestyle. He won the 50 in a time of 20.57 seconds, edging Manistee junior Alec Lampen by three tenths of a second. 

Lampen rebounded to win the 100 backstroke in a time of 50.30 seconds. 

Chelsea’s Mitch Brown rolled to victory in the 1-meter diving competition. The junior scored 522.25, outdistancing second-place Gryffin Porter of Haslett (428.75). DeWitt freshman Carson Reynolds was third with 419.65 points.

Fremont senior Matheus Garcia won the 100 freestyle, touching the wall in a time of 44.75 seconds. He beat out Sytsma (44.96) and McCahill (45.20).

The state saw a glimpse of the future, as a pair of freshmen walked away with championships. Otsego’s Liam Smith won the 100 butterfly, and Adrian’s London Rising was tops in the 200 freestyle. Smith entered the weekend with the top-seeded time but was second after Friday’s preliminaries to Holland senior James Baer.

“I always put pressure on myself,” said Smith, who won the final with a time of 49.74. “I came in as the 1-seed so I felt like I had to finish as the 1-seed. But at the same time, I have three more years to come in and do it all over again. It feels awesome.”

Rising, who was second to Kegle after the prelims, said he was stressing out heading into the prelims and all night Friday. 

“All night, I was just visualizing my race,” said Rising, who also finished third in the 100 butterfly. “When I came back, I was more nervous than excited but after I won, it was a big weight lifted off my shoulders. Today, I just focused on myself and didn’t underestimate anybody. I thought it was going to be a good race, and it was.”

Holland Christian finished third with 161 points, and Adrian (135) and Grand Rapids Christian (110) rounded out the top five.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS Cranbrook Kingswood’s Ethan Schwab launches into one of his races Saturday at Oakland University. (Middle) Adrian’s London Rising celebrates his victory in the 200 freestyle. (Below) Chelsea’s Mitch Brown completes a dive on the way to claiming the title in that event. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)