Rockford Finishes Unforgettable Run

June 8, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

ROCKFORD – Erika Neumen was a freshman the last time Rockford won an MHSAA girls lacrosse championship. She scored three goals in that 2010 Finals win over Brighton – but said she doesn’t remember much about it. 

She’ll never forget Saturday. 

Neumen scored this Division 1 Final’s first goal 24 seconds in and added three more and an assist as the Rams claimed their second girls lacrosse championship and she finished her high school career with a 16-7 win over Bloomfield Hills United. 

“This moment, when we won the state championship; we’ve been talking about it all season, and now it’s become a reality,” Neumen said. “I think that’s what is going to be most memorable. From day one, we’ve been focusing on this one goal.” 

Rockford (21-5), No. 1 in the computer rankings heading into the postseason, had fallen by a goal in the Semifinals in each of the last two years. Beating Bloomfield Hills, ranked No. 4 at the end of the regular season, gave the Rams wins over all of the other four teams ranked among the top five in Division 1 at the tournament's start. 

Coach Mike Emery has led his team to a 103-28-5 record and six Semifinals appearances during his six seasons. As he and an assistant coach worked the scorer’s table at last spring’s Final, they said “there was no way we were doing that again.” 

He and his staff designed this season’s training to point toward peaking during the playoffs. He took the team on a preseason retreat, and then took his seniors to lunch this week. The juniors already are asking where they’ll be going to lunch before the 2014 Finals. 

“The kids responded all year,” Emery said. “This is the hardest-working team I’ve ever had. It didn’t matter what we asked them to do; they did it. Bloomfield played a great game, but my kids were a little faster, played a little harder and came through for a victory.” 

Five more Rams joined Neumen in scoring Saturday. Junior Kyleigh Egnatuk scored five goals and had two assists, and junior Kendall Short had two goals and three assists among the team’s highest statistical contributors. 

Bloomfield Hills senior Margaret Metzger – who will play next season at University of Michigan – found the net four times in her final high school game to finish with a season total of 90 goals, which unofficially places her 11th in the MHSAA record book for scores in a season. 

“I’ve said it before: If she’s not an All-American, I don’t know what an All-American is. I’ll put Margaret up against anyone in this state,” BlackHawks coach Andy Reed said. “She’s a real leader. She played hurt today, got hurt in the first half, and it didn’t even seem to slow her down.”

The BlackHawks made history despite the loss – the Finals appearance was the program’s first and came after the team fell in a pre-Regional game in 2012. Bloomfield Hills finished 19-6 after eliminating four ranked teams on the way to Rockford, including No. 3 Ann Arbor Pioneer.  

Emery noticed Rockford’s history sitting in the stands, as a number of former players cheered on their high school team Saturday. 

The 2010 championship game was played at Troy Athens. That “upbeat” atmosphere of winning on the Rams' home turf is something else Neumen said she’ll surely remember as she goes on to play next season at Hofstra University. 

As one of only three seniors, she very well could be cheering on these teammates as they play for a repeat title in 2014. 

“I’m really glad this group of girls was able to stick together and win this together,” Neumen said. “We had better chemistry, and we were able to stick together better. This year you could just tell the girls really wanted it more. 

“We’ve been playing pretty good the last couple of games, and it was fun to see the girls really want it.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Rockford junior Molly Simmet (12) charges forward as Bloomfield Hills’ Paige Tornow (3) and Maria D’Angelo close on the ball. (Middle) Bloomfield Hills junior Christina Arens prepares to launch a shot that ended up in the back of Rockford’s net.

Representative Council Approves Limited Regional Seeding in Girls Lacrosse at Fall Meeting

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 9, 2022

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.