Cranbrook Kingswood Wins 6 Flights to Regain LPD3 Championship Reign

By Scott Hassinger
Special for

October 22, 2023

KALAMAZOO – By winning six of the eight flights, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood can once again call itself the Michigan Lower Peninsula Division 3 boys tennis champion.

One year after relinquishing its title to Ann Arbor Greenhills, Cranbrook totaled 37 points to finish first Saturday in completing the two-day tournament at Kalamazoo College.

Detroit Country Day took the runner-up honor with 28 followed by East Grand Rapids (20), Holland Christian (17) and St. Joseph (15) to round out the top five.

The top-ranked Cranes earned titles at Nos. 2, 3 and 4 singles and won three of the four doubles flights to clinch their second team championship in three seasons.

"Last year's Finals came down to the wire, and Greenhills ended up getting us by a point. That was an absolute gut-wrencher,” said Cranbrook head coach Steve Herdoiza. “All the flights we lost last year were ones we came back and won this time. I'm really proud of our boys. All of them found a way to play their best tennis on the last day of the season when it mattered the most."

After Friday's matches were suspended around midnight, play resumed at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with No. 3 and No. 4 singles at the Portage YMCA and a few doubles matches at Stowe Stadium on the K-College campus.

Rain, however, chased all those flights playing outdoors back inside shortly after to the Markin Racquet Center for the remainder of the day.

Play in all four singles flights picked up again Saturday in the quarterfinal round.  

Top-seeded Saahitth Reddy, Detroit Country Day's junior and No. 1 singles player, outlasted Cranbrook junior Ryan Michaels 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in the finals.

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett tennisThe match fell just a few minutes short of taking three hours to complete.

Reddy also defeated Michaels in straight sets in a regular-season dual between the two schools this fall.

Cranbrook won that match with Country Day 5-3.

There were moments in Saturday's match when it looked like Michaels would best Reddy this time around.

"Saahitth is a such a great player. You do what you can to win, and sometimes it just doesn't work out for you," Michaels said.

Michaels held a 4-1 lead at one point during the second set.

"I should've won that set comfortably. We were holding serve and then I broke to love. A real turning point for him in the third was when he broke me and then he had serve after going up 4-3," Michaels added.

Reddy said it was the emotional support of his teammates during the match that carried him through.

"I just didn't want to give up. When my teammates started cheering me on, I kind've got emotional and that usually helps me. My forehand and down-the-line shots are my biggest weapons. (Michaels) was playing really well in that third set, so I just had to stick it out," Reddy said.

Herdoiza commended Michaels for his effort.

"The heart and tenacity that he showed is Ryan in a nutshell. You are never going to find an ounce of effort missing from that young man's game. It's all just will power and desire," Herdoiza said.

Cranbrook senior Caden Che defeated top-seeded Dan Marin from Country Day 6-4, 6-4, at No. 2.

Top-seeded Jace Bernard from Cranbrook lived up to his pre-tournament seed with a 6-3, 6-4, win over East Grand Rapids' Mikey Beusse in the No. 3 finale. 

No. 1 seeded junior Amaan Khan from Cranbrook downed St. Joseph freshman Eeshaan Ale 6-2, 6-1 in the final at No. 4 singles.

Herdoiza also praised Khan's performance.

"I haven't seen Amaan's stats or anything yet, but he might've had one of the more dominant seasons. He wasn't just winning matches, but in some of those he was giving up only 10 points or less. That's real dominance," Herdoiza said.

Devin Kozal and Jace Konwinski from Ada Forest Hills Eastern defeated Country Day's No. 1 doubles unit of Achyut Reddy and Charlie Khaghany 6-3, 6-3.

"Country Day had good ground strokes and are kind've shifty, but Devin and I stuck together and got it done," Konwinski said.

Kozal and Konwinksi, who are cousins and live next door to one another, controlled the net throughout the match.

"We do drills in practice where our No. 1 and No. 2 singles players hit with us, and that really helps us prepare for matches like these," Kozal said.

Cranbrook sophomores Cole Kirschenbaum and Kenneth Hu pulled off a 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 finals win over East Grand Rapids' No. 2 tandem of Charlie Lentz and Luke Lentz. The Cranes' No. 3 doubles unit of freshman Ryan VanDyke and senior Ben Stevenson were champions at No. 3 doubles. Stevenson and VanDyke were victorious over Country Day's Thomas Bresson and John McKany 6-1, 6-3.

"In the first set we played very smart by getting to short balls, the net and by finishing off points," Stevenson said.

VanDyke felt it was him and Stevenson's aggression from the onset of the match that was the difference.

"I thought we attacked early and asserted our dominance at the net," VanDyke said.

Cranbrook seniors Ketan Swami and Kevin Guo defeated Joe Mulder and Tommy Rosmarin from East Grand Rapids 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 doubles.

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Lacrosse Finals Move to U-M Among Headlines as Spring Sports Ramp Up

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 9, 2024

The Girls & Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played at University of Michigan Lacrosse Stadium for the first time, one of the most notable changes for this season as sports ramp up for more than 100,000 athletes anticipated to participate this spring for Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools.

The MHSAA sponsors postseason competition each spring in baseball, girls and boys lacrosse, girls soccer, softball, girls and boys track & field, boys golf (Lower and Upper Peninsula) and girls golf (UP), and girls (LP) and boys (UP) tennis.

The U-M Lacrosse Stadium opened for competition in 2018 and seats 2,000 spectators. The Girls Lacrosse Finals will be played Friday, June 7, with Division 1 at 4 p.m. and Division 2 at 7 p.m. The Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played the following day, June 8, with Division 2 at 11 a.m. and Division 1 at 2 p.m.

Girls lacrosse also has a significant format adjustment this season, as games will be played with four 12-minutes quarters instead of the previous two halves, in part to allow coaches more opportunities to provide direct instruction during a game. Two more rules changes are expected to improve flow of play – players awarded a free position outside of the critical scoring area no longer must come to a stop and settled stance before self-starting, and false start penalties outside the critical scoring area have been eliminated.

Several more rules changes will be noticeable this spring:

In boys lacrosse, a change was made to enhance player safety. Play will stop immediately any time a player’s helmet comes off, and that player may not return until the next dead ball after play continues.

Fair and legal starts are a continued emphasis for track & field, and a rule change will allow for movement before the start of the race as long as a competitor does not leave their mark with a hand or a foot after the “set” command, or make forward motion before the starting device is activated.

A significant rule change in softball alters pitch delivery mechanics. The pitcher may now have both feet off the ground at the same time when releasing the ball as long as both feet remain within the 24-inch width of a pitching plate and the pitcher does not replant the pivot foot before delivering the pitch.

Another change in softball requires that a playbook/playcard be worn on the wrist or kept in a back pocket to reduce distractions. If worn by the pitcher, the equipment must be worn on the non-pitching arm. Similarly in baseball, a wristband with plays or instructions will be permitted but must be a single, solid color, and for pitchers may not contain the colors white or gray or be otherwise distracting. Baseball players must wear this wristband on the wrist or forearm, and pitchers may wear one only on their non-pitching arm.

Also in baseball, a rule change allows for one-way communication devices worn by the catcher to receive instructions from the dugout while on defense, for the purpose of calling pitches. The coach must be inside the dugout/bench area to use the communication device.

Golfers now are required to participate in at least four competitions for the high school team prior to representing that school team in an MHSAA Regional or Final. Those four regular-season competitions may be 9 or 18-hole events.

In tennis, for the first time in Lower Peninsula play, a No. 1 doubles flight from a non-qualifying team will be able to advance from its Regional to Finals competition. To do so, that No. 1 doubles flight must finish first or second at its Regional, and the No. 1 singles player from that team also must have qualified for the Finals individually by finishing first or second in Regional play.

On the soccer pitch, two officiating-related changes will be especially noticeable. Officials now may stop the clock to check on an injured player without that player being required to leave the match – previously that player would have to sub out. Also, categories for fouls have been redefined: careless (which is a foul but does not receive a card), reckless (a foul with a yellow card) and excessive force (foul with red card). 

The 2023-24 Spring campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Golf and Boys Tennis Finals during the week of May 27 and wraps up with Girls Soccer, Baseball and Softball Finals on June 15. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regional Semifinals – June 5
Regional Finals, Quarterfinals – June 8
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Boys Regionals – May 28-June 1
UP Girls & Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Boys Finals – June 7-8

Boys Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 10-15
Regionals – May 16-29
Quarterfinals – May 31 or June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 8

Girls Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 16-18, or May 20
Regionals – May 22-June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 7

Girls Soccer
Districts – May 22-June 1
Regionals – June 4-8
Semifinals – June 11-12
Finals – June 14-15

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regionals – June 8
Quarterfinals – June 11
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Girls Regionals – May 15-18
UP Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Girls Finals – May 31-June 1

Track & Field
Regionals – May 16-18
Finals – June 1