Novi, Bloomfield Hills Tie to Top D1

October 17, 2015

By Scott Keyes
Special for Second Half

MIDLAND – The unexpected snow squall that hovered over the Greater Midland Tennis Center during Saturday afternoon couldn't stand in the way of the Novi boys tennis team staking a claim to the Lower Peninsula Division 1 championship. 

Novi repeated as champion, tying Bloomfield Hills with 26 points to win the title. First day co-leaders Ann Arbor Huron and Ann Arbor Pioneer finished out the top four.

"This is one of those days that you won't forget," said Novi coach Jim Hanson. "We came into the season with a lot of high expectations, but when you lose one of the top players in the state to graduation you put a lot of focus on getting better. The guys got better all year long and we were able to hang on in the end. It's wasn't easy, to say the least." 

Friday's action was indoors at the Greater Midland Tennis Center. Once Saturday's finals came around, not only did the players have to battle their opponents, they had to battle the elements as well.

After the majority of players started the day outdoors, the weather forced the remaining players indoors for a second straight day. 

"The only good thing about the weather Saturday was that it wasn't windy," Hanson said. "The guys are out their moving around. It's tough for both players in a match. It's Michigan. You never know what you are going to get weather-wise so you have to be prepared at what Mother Nature throws at you."

Ann Arbor Huron coach Stefan Welch agrees with Hanson's assessment. 

"Everyone who stepped on the court today faced the same elements. We just tried to get their mindset on what they were about to face," Welch said. "They know the ball bounces differently outdoors than indoors. It was a cold one for sure, but I think our kids were prepared for what they endured."

In singles action Northville's Connor Johnston finally broke through at No. 1 singles. 

The top-seeded Mustangs standout finished his high school career with titles as a freshman (at No. 2 singles) and senior, with  a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Bloomfield Hills’ second-seeded Josh Mukherjee to claim the No. 1 singles championship. Johnston lost to Novi's Tim Wang in No. 1 finals the previous two seasons.

Johnston fell behind, 3-4, then won the next three games to take the first set. Riding the momentum, Johnston broke Mukherjee to start the second set, firing a fist-pump at his teammates. He closed out the match by winning the final nine games. 

By the time the snow came and forced the action indoors, Johnston had won seven straight games.

“I thought it was funny playing tennis in the snow,” Johnston said. “Worst possible timing. Never done that before. It was a good match to remember." 

Novi sophomore Alex Wen fought through an illness that caused him to put down his racket for five months. A champion as a freshman at No. 3 singles, he moved up and won No. 2 singles, 6-4, 7-5, against Bloomfield Hills freshman Andrew Zhang.

Zhang’s teammate, Constantine Hemmich, won No. 3 singles, 6-2, 6-3, over Novi freshman Sid Amarnath. 

The team title came down to the No. 4 singles match between previously unbeaten Brad Silverman of Bloomfield Hills and Chris Chio of Huron.

Silverman won the first set, but lost the final two, 3-6, 3-6. The result meant that Novi and Bloomfield Hills tied at 26 and shared the title.

Birmingham Brother Rice’s No. 1 doubles team of freshman Jarreau Campbell and senior Sean Abelarde won the flight over Troy’s Sai Kagithala and Kevin Fietsam, 6-3, 6-2.

Huron’s No. 2 doubles team of Austin Choi and Robert Dong beat rival Pioneer in the final, 6-3, 6-4, against Sayhann Goraya and Nico Figueroa.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Novi poses with a championship trophy after winning a share of the Lower Peninsula Division 1 title, its second straight. (Middle) Bloomfield Hills also won a share of the title, its first since the school was created from a merger of Lahser and Andover. (Below) Northville’s Connor Johnston won No. 1 singles after finishing runner-up the last two seasons. (Click for 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