By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The favorites will be familiar and the challengers are on their way heading into Saturday’s Girls Lacrosse Finals at Novi High School.
Division 1 top-ranked Rockford and Division 2 top-ranked East Grand Rapids have won a combined 12 MHSAA Finals titles, and even shared their league championship this spring. But Brighton will play in its fourth Division 1 championship game, and second straight, while Marian is back on the final day of the season for the third time.
The Division 2 Final will be played at 2 p.m., followed by Division 1 at 4:30. Both will be broadcast on MHSAA.tv, available with subscription, with audio available on MHSAANetwork.com. Click for more information, including all tournament results.
Below is a look at all four contenders, with player statistics through Regional Finals unless noted.
Record/rank: 16-7-1, No. 4 at end of regular season
League finish: Third in Kensington Lakes Activities Association
Coach: Ashton Peters, second season (24-7-1)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2011, runner-up 2018 and 2010.
Best wins: 12-10 over No. 3 Hartland in Semifinal, 21-4 (Regional Semifinal) and 17-10 over No. 10 Novi, 14-7 over No. 7 Northville, 15-10 over No. 6 Birmingham United, 11-10 (Regional Final) and 12-9 over No. 5 Ann Arbor Pioneer.
Players to watch: Riley Browne, jr. M/D; Cat Kophcia, jr A; Jenna Miodonski, sr. G. (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: Brighton certainly earned its way back to the championship game, defeating a number of opponents ranked just below it throughout the season and then avenging two earlier losses with the Semifinal win over Hartland. The Bulldogs have given up single-digit goals in 12 games, and Brown recently was name all-state first team with Kophcia making the second.
Record/rank: 14-5-1, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: Tied for first in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier 1
Coach: Mike Emery, 12th season (214-48-7)
Championship history: Division 1 champions 2010, 2013-18.
Best wins: 20-6 (Semifinal) and 20-3 over No. 6 Birmingham United, 16-8 (Regional Final), 15-5 and 13-8 over No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills United, 13-12 over Division 2 No. 1 East Grand Rapids.
Players to watch: Karrington Vander Molen, sr. A/M (34 goals, 7 assists); Sydney Zimmerman, jr. M (43 goals, 16 assists); Isabelle Holmes, sr. A (24 goals, 34 assists); Madelyn Yakes, jr. G (.429 save percentage); Madison Kleefisch, jr. D/M (17 goals, 3 assists). (Statistics through 15 games.)
Outlook: The Rams will play for their seventh consecutive Division 1 championship with a number of familiar faces from title runs of the recent past. Vander Molen, Zimmerman, Holmes, Yakes and Kleefisch have made the all-state first team, while senior defenders Anna Glynn and Shae Strehl made the second and junior defender Bailey Banfield made the second team in 2018. Rockford also has given up single-digit goals in 12 games, including all four of the postseason. Four of the losses and the tie came to teams from Illinois or Ohio.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS MARIAN
Record/rank: 20-1, No. 2 at end of regular season
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League
Coach: Sherry Elliott, third season (48-10)
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2009 and 2015.
Best wins: 15-13 over No. 4 Okemos in Semifinal, 17-16 (OT) over No. 8 Farmington in Regional Final, 18-9 (Regional Quarterfinal) and 18-14 over No. 3 Detroit Country Day, 16-13 and 12-10 over No. 6 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, 20-10 over No. 10 Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 11-10 over Division 1 No. 6 Birmingham United, 15-12 over Division 1 No. 5 Ann Arbor Pioneer, 16-6 over Division 1 No. 4 Brighton, 15-13 and 18-2 over Division 1 No. 9 Troy.
Players to watch: Mia Hannawa, jr. M (54 goals, 4 assists); Amanda Timmis, jr. M (37 goals, 13 assists), Coco Chinonis, soph. A (77 goals, 13 assists); Anna Reaume, sr. D; Eliana Delusky, soph. G (.460 save percentage).
Outlook: Marian made it into the season’s final week for the first time since its 2015 runner-up season, its only loss this spring in the second of a three-game series with Cranbrook and by just one goal. Hannawa and Reaume recently were named to the all-state first team, while Delusky and Timmis made the second and Chinonis earned honorable mention. Marian has shown it can pull out a close game, going 8-1 in those decided by four goals or fewer. Junior attack Tessy Klein had added another 43 goals and 12 assists entering the week.
EAST GRAND RAPIDS
Record/rank: 23-2, No. 1 at end of regular season
League finish: Tied for first in Ottawa-Kent Conference Tier 1
Coach: Rich Axtell, 10th season (195-33)
Championship history: Division 2 champions 2012-16, runner-up 2017.
Best wins: 24-6 (Semifinal), 25-2 and 19-5 over No. 6 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood; 20-3 (Regional Final), 18-8 and 22-4 over No. 7 Grand Rapids Christian; 25-7 (Regional Semifinal), 24-4 and 16-6 over No. 10 Grand Rapids Catholic Central; 23-9 over No. 5 Mattawan, 12-8 over Division 1 No. 1 Rockford, 20-13 and 15-4 over Division 1 No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills United, 18-7 over Division 1 No. 3 Hartland, 15-6 over Division 1 No. 4 Brighton.
Players to watch: Mary Schumar, sr. A (87 goals, 53 assists); Emily Bergstrom, sr. D; Olivia Grogan, jr. D; Audrey Whiteside, sr. A (131 goals, 52 assists); Lily Kate Rogers, sr. G (5.3 goals-against average, .410 save percentage).
Outlook: After missing the Finals for the first time in six seasons last spring, East Grand Rapids has stormed back with losses this year only to Rockford by a goal (a defeat since avenged) and New Trier, Illinois. Whiteside’s goal total ranks fourth all-time, and she needed just one more goal to tie for third. But she and Schumar hardly are the only offensive stars, with seven players total scoring at least 22 goals entering the week and five tallying at least 13 assists. Junior Anna Knuble is next on the leaderboard in both with 42 goals and 21 assists. Whiteside, Schumar, Grogan and Rogers made the all-state first team, and Bergstrom made the second.
PHOTO: Rockford’s Sydney Zimmerman carries the ball and considers her options during last season’s Division 1 Final win over Brighton.
The addition of limited seeding at the Regional level of the Girls Lacrosse Tournament headlined actions taken by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its Fall Meeting on Dec. 2 in East Lansing.
Generally, the Council takes only a few actions during its Fall Meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and action during its meetings in winter and spring. This Fall Meeting saw the Council take only three actions, with additional discussion centered on topics expected to receive more specific consideration at MHSAA sport committee meetings this winter and the Council’s meetings in March and May.
The Council approved a Girls Lacrosse Committee proposal to seed the top two teams in every Regional, and place those top seeds on opposite sides of the bracket beginning with the 2023 season. The two teams to be seeded will be determined by using the MHSAA’s Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) formula, which takes into account success and strength of schedule and is used currently to provide seeding information in boys lacrosse, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys soccer, and ice hockey. Only the top two teams in girls lacrosse will be seeded and separated; the other teams in each Regional will be placed on their brackets by random draw.
The Council also approved a Boys Lacrosse Committee recommendation that will allow athletes to participate in up to five quarters per day between teams at multiple levels – for example, varsity and junior varsity – also beginning with the 2023 season. For boys lacrosse multi-team tournaments, if two school teams (for example, the varsity and junior varsity) are at the same event, athletes may play in no more halves or quarters than what is being played by the school’s highest-level team that day. (Example: if the varsity team is playing three 30-minute half games for a total of six halves, a player playing both varsity and JV on the same day can play in six total halves that day.) The “fifth quarter” rule, by allowing athletes to compete on two levels on the same day, is intended to help programs that are otherwise lacking enough participants to field teams at multiple levels.
Taking into account the wintery weather conditions experienced by athletes during the MHSAA alpine ski season, the Council approved a Sports Medicine Advisory Committee recommendation to adopt the “MHSAA Competition and Practice Guidelines for Cold Weather,” which are specific to alpine skiing. The guidelines include a windchill chart and cold standards for ambient temperature. This proposal also was supported by the Ski Committee and will go into effect for the 2022-23 season.
Remaining discussions focused on results from this fall’s Update Meeting survey completed by administrators during the MHSAA’s annual presentations across the state. The Council considered survey data including on questions related to the out-of-season travel rule. The Council also discussed results of a fall survey completed by member school athletic directors and head varsity football coaches concerning ongoing conversations about scheduling and playoff format. Following the Football Committee meeting in January 2023, an ad hoc committee comprised of members of the MHSAA staff, Representative Council, Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) and Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) will be convened for further discussion on these topics, with their report to be provided to the Council during its March 2023 meeting.
The Fall Meeting saw the appointment of Westland John Glenn athletic director Jason Malloy for a first-two-year term to the 19-person Council, and the re-appointment of Bay City Western principal Judy Cox for a second two-year term. Malloy previously was appointed to finish a partial term as one of the two representatives of member junior high/middle schools.
The Council reelected Scott Grimes, superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, as its president; and Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as secretary-treasurer. Brighton High School athletic director John Thompson was elected Council vice president.
The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.