Game, Set, Gurnee

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 16, 2011

The highlight of Jonathan Gurnee's tennis season, without question, was helping Midland Dow to a third-straight MHSAA Division 2 championship.
But setting the state record for career singles wins was a close second.

Playing the No. 2 singles slot in Dow’s lineup, Gurnee tied another state record with 41 victories on the way to winning the Division 2 championship at his flight. He finished his final high school season with 141 wins, topping the previous leaders by 15.
Gurnee found out at the end of his junior season how many wins he needed to break the record. By midway through this fall, his teammates were asking regularly how many more it would take.
“It was nice because I could tell the team cared. But it’s just another record to go down for Dow High,” Gurnee said. “The whole thing was really the team, I think. I just enjoyed the team record. I did win individually. But really, over everything, (the team Finals win) was the greatest accomplishment.”

Gurnee played No. 4 singles his first two seasons of high school before moving to No. 3 as a junior and No. 2 this fall. He also won an MHSAA championship at No. 4 as a sophomore, while finishing runner-up in his flights the other two seasons. He was 32-6 as a freshman, followed by 36-2, 32-2 and then 41-1 this season for a career record of 141-11.
Gurnee credited Dow coach Terry Schwartzkopf for not only scheduling a full load over the last four years, but also a strong group of opponents. Dow regularly plays many of the state’s elite.
And Gurnee’s improvements on the court came parallel to steps he was taking within the structure of the team. He went from talking mostly to classmate Santi Guerra the first season to being named co-captain with Guerra this fall.
“I started as a freshman, and I was pretty quiet on the team. My brother (JP) was on the team as a junior, and he led the path for me,” Jonathan Gurnee said. “As the years progressed, I became more open to everybody, more into the positive camaraderie, and my junior and senior years I started leading the team in conditioning.
“It was an evolution, but probably a maturing thing too. I got some great leadership opportunities."
That showed through at the start of this season when Gurnee challenged for the No. 1 singles spot.
An elite and deep team like Dow generally has a few players who could occupy No. 1 singles for many teams. Gurnee challenged for Dow’s top position and lost a tight match to junior John Templeman. Because the score was so close, Gurnee could’ve asked for a rematch. He did not, feeling Templeman at No. 1 was the best situation for all involved.
And Gurnee still made the Michigan Interscholastic Tennis Coaches Association all-state team, one of three Dow singles players picked for the top 10 spots in Division 2.

"Jonathan is the All-American kid who fought for the success of his team. Along the way, he broke a few records," Dow coach Terry Schwartzkopf said. "Of course, we will miss his ability next year. But what I am going to miss most is his presence. He led by action and deed. He was the consummate captain. He epitomized Dow High tennis."

Gurnee also finished his career with 32 tournament championships, tops on that list, and 35 shutouts, second on the MHSAA list.
He is one of 11 Dow players whose accomplishments this season have been added to the MHSAA record book. Click to check out the full listings and directions for submitting others.

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