DCDS Claims D3 in Record-Tying Fashion

October 20, 2012

By Alan Babbitt
Special to Second Half

GRAND RAPIDS - Max Fliegner served up a memorable first experience with high school tennis.

One of the nation's top young players helped Detroit Country Day repeat as MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 3 champion on Saturday, winning his No. 1 singles flight to lead a Yellow Jackets domination of the two-day tournament.

Country Day matched Ann Arbor Pioneer's Michigan High School Athletic Association all-division record (set in 2002) with 39 points. The Yellow Jackets won seven of eight flights and finished eight points ahead of runner-up St. Joseph.

"I've never experienced that before. It's great being on a team," said Fliegner, who was homeschooled before enrolling at Country Day this fall. "I played a ton of USTA tournaments. Nothing I've ever done feels (this) good mainly because of the team atmosphere. Everyone's watching.

"To come through like that, we did great. We've got a ton of good players on one team."

Fliegner, a junior, wrapped up his first high school season by winning his title match 7-5, 6-4 over sixth-seeded Jan Krakora of Plainwell. He entered this fall ranked No. 19 in the United States Tennis Association Under-16 rankings.

Krakora, the lowest seed in the tournament to reach a title match, is an exchange student from the Czech Republic. He enjoyed his first experience with American tennis.

"It is really nice," Krakora said. "I didn't how big the state tournament is. It's really, really good guys. I'm happy I'm runner-up. I think I really played well in the finals. This is a really good experienced for me."

St. Joseph finished team runner-up for the second consecutive season. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood took third with 25 points. East Grand Rapids (18) and Grand Rapids Christian (16) rounded out the top five.

St. Joseph's Kenny Garstecki spoiled Country Day's bid for a perfect tournament by rallying in the No. 4 singles final for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over top-seeded Max Shanbron.

"It means a lot to us," Garstecki said of finishing second. "We would like to win, but at least they didn't sweep."

The third-seeded Garstecki avenged a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Shanbron earlier this season. Garstecki also won a three-setter during the semifinals.

"It feels good, a huge sense of accomplishment," Garstecki said. "I played him in my third match. I thought I could turn that match around, and that's why I did. I improved my ability to push him back, to keep him from being aggressive."

The Yellow Jackets held their top seed in every other flight.

Country Day coach Josh Molino was pleased with how his team handled the tournament moving indoors to Riverview Athletic Center and a 1 p.m. start on Saturday. It moved from Holland Christian High School because of wet playing conditions.

"It's late in the season now. Weather is a big factor," Molino said. "When we got here today, the guys were sitting around a little bit, but with any sport, you've got to be ready to roll with the punches. We understand we're here for one reason - to play tennis - whether it's inside, outside or underground

"We feel if we work hard enough, we can match up pretty well with anybody."

At No. 2 singles, Country Day's seeded Sven Kranz won his flight with a 6-1, 6-3 decision over St. Joseph's Thomas Bellio in the championship match. Kranz, the 2011 state runner-up at No. 1 singles, completed an undefeated season.

At No. 3 singles, Country Day's Rishi Patel repeated as champ in the flight by defeating Cranbrook-Kingswood's Will Dube 6-1, 6-0 in the final.

In doubles play, Country Day won every final in two sets. At No. 1, Alex Gruskin and Patrick Adams recorded a 6-2, 7-6 (5) finals win over St. Joseph's Mike Kincaid and Matt VanWinkle. Gruskin and Adams each won doubles titles last season in different flights.

Country Day's No. 2 doubles team of Max Lee and Lorenz Ghan topped St. Joseph's Ryan Teich and Jared Kuntz 6-3, 6-2 in the championship match. At No. 3, Country Day's Blake Burnstein and Rishabh Nayak defeated St. Joseph's Sam Singler and Ed Nieh 6-3, 6-1. Burnstein won a doubles title with a different partner in 2011.

The No. 4 flight saw Country Day's Matt Stebbins and D.J. Bailey beat St. Joseph's Eric Miller and Nick Stants 6-2, 6-3 for the championship.

Molino said Saturday provided a great cap to his team's awesome season. Country Day went undefeated during the regular season and claimed a Regional title. The YellowJackets also earned their third team MHSAA Finals  championship in four years.

"Our goal at the beginning of the year was to get better each match. We had a lot of guys come through," Molino said. "I was really proud of Max. It was a tough loss - a lot of pressure on him - but he had a great season. The only thing I ask for is to fight for every point, and he did.

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PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Country Day's Lorenz Ghan returns a shot Saturday during a No. 2 doubles match. (Middle) The Yellow Jackets pose with their team championship trophy. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

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

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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