On Track to Finish as Rochester's All-Time Best, Anderson Seeking Program 1st

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

October 12, 2023

ROCHESTER HILLS — Sometimes it’s unfair to ask a coach where a particular player ranks in the program history of a sport, mainly because that particular coach simply hasn’t been around the school long enough or record books aren’t up to date.

Greater DetroitBut the question of where senior Clayton Anderson ranks in program history certainly can be a fair one to Rochester High School tennis coach Jerry Murphy.

This fall marks Murphy’s 52nd year coaching tennis at Rochester, so if there is any historical perspective that resonates more than others, it’s his.

Given that, his word is as good as anybody’s as to whether Anderson is the all-time best to play for the school’s boys tennis program.

“When it’s all said and done, I think I’m going to have to say that,” Murphy said.

Murphy said Anderson is approaching 100 career wins and will have the school record for the boys program by the time the season is over. 

Rochester has never had an MHSAA Finals individual champion in boys tennis, but Anderson certainly has come as close as possible the last two years. 

Anderson has advanced to the Lower Peninsula Division 1 championship match at No. 1 singles two years in a row, falling both times to Northville’s Sachiv Kumar. 

After winning a Regional title on Wednesday, Anderson will be back for another crack at next week’s Finals tournament in Midland. 

“I think that my approach to the tournament will be a little different,” Anderson said. “Just take it one match at a time. Try and feel good in the early rounds, and hopefully as I get to the later ones, I’ll be well-adapted to hit the hardest and play my best tennis.”

Anderson’s only loss so far this fall was to Kumar in a dual match, so it’s likely he’ll be the No. 2 seed. 

Anderson gets to a ball along the baseline.Last year, Anderson defeated Kumar in the regular season before Kumar avenged that loss in the championship match, so Anderson will try and do the same this time. 

Murphy said he has noticed a big difference in Anderson’s game since that most recent match against Kumar, saying that it almost “woke him up” a bit. 

In particular, Murphy said there’s one part of Anderson’s game that has noticeably improved. 

“He’s always been a great baseliner,” he said “He loves to sit back and play from the baseline. This year, what he’s added to his game is that his serve has really improved.”

Anderson’s father, Greg, actually was a standout in the 1990s at rival Rochester Adams. 

Clayton Anderson said he started playing competitive tennis when he was 10 years old, and has loved the individual component of the sport his entire life.

“I love competing by myself,” Anderson said. “I think it’s unique. You don’t really get that with other sports you grew up with. You learn values through playing that you would not pick up playing a sport with teammates to rely on.”

Anderson, who will play in college at Cal Poly, might have an immediate threat to any tennis records and accolades he continues to accrue at Rochester.

His younger brother Chad is a sophomore and is in line to take over at No. 1 singles when Clayton is done. 

“I try to give him wisdom and experience that I’ve picked up along the way,” Clayton Anderson said. “I think it’s good, and I think he’s on a good track to be similar to how I am right now.”

Indeed, maybe Murphy in a couple of years will have a debate as to which Anderson was the best to play at Rochester. 

But for the moment, all eyes are on Clayton to see if he can finish a historic career by doing something nobody at his school has done before.

“Maybe he’ll top his older brother,” Murphy said of Chad. “But right now Clayton is the man of the hour in terms of whether he can do it next week and become the first in our history.”

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Rochester's Clayton Anderson returns a volley during last season's Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals. (Middle) Anderson gets to a ball along the baseline. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.) 

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