Cranes Write Championship Finish Again

October 21, 2017

By Butch Harmon
Special for Second Half

HOLLAND – This year’s MHSAA Division 3 Boys Tennis Finals featured a familiar storyline and an equally familiar ending.

For the third straight season, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood came away with the Lower Peninsula Division 3 title – and for a third straight season the Cranes held off a familiar foe in longtime rival Detroit Country Day.

Led by outstanding singles players and clutch doubles play, top-ranked Cranbrook Kingswood totaled 36 points while Detroit Country Day placed second with 28. East Grand Rapids and Ada Forest Hills Eastern tied for third place with 20 points.

Cranbrook Kingswood did have a twist to this year’s winning plot. The Cranes were led by a new coach this season in Steve Herdoiza. Although in his first season with the boys, Herdoiza is no stranger to the tennis program as he has coached the Cranbrook Kingswood girls team the past four years.

 “With this group of guys, I thought that winning a third state title was very attainable,” Herdoiza said. “I knew a lot of these guys. As a new coach it’s important that everyone buys into the system, and all these boys did. This is a team with a lot of depth and a lot of talent. When you put those two things together, and everyone is working hard, you can accomplish big things.”

Cranbrook Kingswood’s depth and talent proved key. Two years ago, the Cranes won the title by eight points over second-place Country Day, and last year the margin was just one point over the Yellowjackets. At the Regional leading up to this year’s Finals, Cranbrook Kingswood defeated Country Day, ranked second in LPD3, by two points.

Strong play in the singles flights proved a key for Cranbrook Kingswood. At No. 1 singles, senior Benji Jacobson came into the tournament as the top seed. A two-time individual Finals champion and last year’s winner at No. 1 singles, Jacobson claimed this year’s title with a 6-2, 6-4 win against Jack Dausman of Coopersville. Dausman was a familiar foe for Jacobson, as Jacobson defeated Dausman in last year’s semifinals.

After a slow start to the season, Jacobson came into the tournament on a roll the last few weeks.

“At the beginning of the year I struggled a little bit,” Jacobson said. “I changed my grip and it took a while to get used to it. A few weeks ago, it started to click and it made a big difference this year.”

Jacobson, who will continue his tennis career at Tulane University next season, capped his career at Cranbrook Kingswood as a three-time individual and three-time team Finals champion. While the individual titles are nice, the team title is by far more special for Jacobson.

“Winning the team title easily feels better,” Jacobson said. “For the past three months we’ve been on the court grinding and having fun off the court. These guys are like my brothers. We are more like a family, and winning three in a row is unbelievable.”

While Jacobson won his third individual singles title, his teammate, sophomore Lucas Bosch, claimed his first. Seeded first at No. 2 singles, Bosh defeated Ricky Warnicke, the second seed from Detroit Country Day, 6-4, 6-0.

“Words can’t describe this feeling,” Bosch said. “Being here last year helped me because I was not as nervous as last year. Winning the team title is great, especially for our seniors. This was their last matches in high school, and to send them out with a third title is amazing.”

Cranbrook Kingswood also came away with the championship at No. 3 singles. Justin Luo, the top seed, turned in an efficient performance in the finals with a 6-0, 6-0 win against second-seed Kody Harrington of Allegan.

At No. 4 singles, Detroit Country Day senior Eric Wang, the top seed, defeated a familiar foe in Cranbrook Kingswood’s Sohum Archarya. Wang held off Archarya 7-6 (7), 6-2 in a tight match.

“The first set was real close,” Wang said. “It went to a tie breaker and I won it 9-7, so it definitely was real close. It feels good to end my senior year with a win.”

In doubles play, Cranbrook Kingswood won at No. 2 as the top-seeded duo of Joseph Croskey and Nikhil Deenadayalu defeated Connor Smith and Kole Butterer of East Grand Rapids 6-4, 6-2.

Detroit Country Day claimed a pair of titles in double competition. At No. 3, Country Day’s team of Tom Nardicchio and Eric Liu held off Cranbrook Kingswood’s Eshaan Kawira and Jack Trees 7-5, 6-3.

At No. 4 doubles, the Country Day team of junior Nick Sicilia and senior Justin Lee defeated Cranbrook Kingswood’s Hayes Bradley and David Hermelin 7-6 (2), 6-4.

“To win the last match of your high school career is pretty awesome,” Lee said.

“It’s pretty special,” Sicilia said. “This is the third time we beat them this year. The first time it was 6-0, 6-3 and the second time it was 6-4, 6-1. This time the first set went to a tie breaker, so it was closer this time.” 

One of the bigger surprises of the tournament came at No. 1 doubles, where Forest Hills Eastern’s Nick Hakken and Anish Premkumar, the three seed, defeated Cranbrook Kingswood top seeds Andrew Du and Jacob Yellen 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

“To finally win it is amazing,” Premkumar said. “It’s always been a goal of ours to win state.”

The win also helped Eastern finish in third place, the best finish the Hawks have ever posted at the Finals.

“We were just really focused,” Hakken said. “We had Country Day in the semifinals so we had to be real focused for that match also. To help the team to its best finish ever is really cool.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Cranbrook Kingswood celebrates its third straight LPD3 championship. (Middle) Anish Premkumar and Nick Hakken led Forest Hills Eastern to its highest Finals finish. (Click to see more from

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