Rockford Holds Off Brighton Charge to Add to Title Streak

By Perry A. Farrell
Special for

June 12, 2021

NOVI – Overcoming a canceled season in 2020, Rockford made it eight straight Division 1 lacrosse titles with a 19-16 victory over Brighton on Saturday at Novi High School.

Only last’s year break due to COVID-19 has interrupted the Rams’ near decade-long dominance – although the Bulldogs made a strong attempt as the teams met in the championship game for the third-straight season.

“This is just a special group of young ladies,’’ said Rockford coach Mike Emery. “They’ve been through so much with the off-field stuff, COVID and the protocols. We lost our season last year. To be able to finish our season this year is just incredible.

"We’ve had a lot of great teams, and this team stacks right up there with them. This is one of my most rewarding seasons.”

Rockford (14-4) also had defeated Brighton (18-6-1) during the regular season 19-5.

“We had a lot of players under quarantine back then,’’ said Brighton coach Ashton Peters.

“I think they started to get a run on us in the beginning (this time). We came back and made it close, we just didn’t have enough time. I truly believe we could have won, but they scored five straight points and we couldn’t get back in it.’’

Rockford got on the board early on a goal by Chloe Dunham, who scored six goals total, with an assist from Mackenzie Delacher. Seconds later Isabelle Osborn, who tallied five goals, scored for the Rams to make it 2-0.

Osborn made it 3-0 less than one minute later with her second goal.

Brighton lacrosseBrighton finally got on the board with a goal by Gabby Mainhardt. But Sydney Walsh made it 4-1 for the Rams, and seconds later Chloe Holmes tacked on another to make it 5-1.

Mainhardt scored her second to cut the deficit to 5-2.

Holmes scored her second for Rockford to make it 6-2. Ella Boose became the second player to score for Brighton to trim the deficit to 6-3.

Osborn scored her third goal of the game to make it 7-3, and Katherine Rodriguez scored seconds later to make it 8-3.

Sophie Mondro ended the streak for Brighton to reduce the lead to 8-4. Rodriguez scored her second for Rockford for a 9-4 lead.

Dunham scored her second as Rockford reached double figures, 10-5.

“We didn’t really know what to expect this year, and it kind of gave us a new perspective as far as what a privilege it is to be out here, and we love the game,’’ Dunham said. “We played that way today. We have a lot of balance and we trusted each other.’’

Mainhardt scored her third for the Bulldogs to make it 10-6. Osborn’s fourth gave Rockford an 11-6 lead, but Kaia Malachino closed the first half with a goal for Brighton.

After trailing 11-7 at halftime, Amanda Granader scored her second goal of the game to get Brighton within 11-8 early in the second half.

Walsh helped stem the tide with her second goal to make it 12-8.

Rodriguez scored her third to increase the Rams lead to 13-8. Dunham made it three straight goals for the Rams to extend the lead to 14-8.

Dunham’s fourth made 15-8 as Brighton’s offense wilted until Mainhardt scored back-to-back goals to make it 15-10. She finished with five goals. Dunham added her fifth with an assist from Osborn to put Rockford up six.

Dunham tacked on her sixth to increase the lead to 17-10 and Osborn’s fifth made it 18-10.

Two goals by Amaria Whitby got the Bulldogs to within five goals, 15-13.

With 1:09 left, the Bulldogs had cut the lead to 19-16 on Boose’s second goal as Rockford’s offense became turnover prone. But the Rams were able to hang on for the final minute-plus to close out the championship.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Rockford’s Isabelle Osborn (15) considers her next move Saturday while Brighton’s Olivia Groce guards her. (Middle) Abbie Chaka (15) and Kelley Elizabeth (26) defend the Bulldogs’ goal.

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.