Last Year's Runners-Up Take Next Step

November 22, 2014

By Bill Khan
Special to Second Half

ROCHESTER — Emily Converse, Gabby Higgins, Rileigh Eding and Riley Kishman all had a year to replay the races in their minds.

A fraction of a second here, an extra lean there — that's all that stood between them and individual championships at the 2013 MHSAA Division 3 Lower Peninsula Swimming and Diving Finals.

Given an opportunity to take one last step to the top spot on the awards podium, all four succeeded to win individual titles on Saturday at Oakland University.

Five of the eight individual swimming events were won by last year's runners-up.

The team championship, however, remained once again in the hands of East Grand Rapids. The Pioneers repeated as Division 3 champions, winning their 19th MHSAA title in the last 36 years by a 424.5 to 267 score over Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

"You don't ever go in absolutely expecting it," said Milton Briggs, who has won 29 total MHSAA titles coaching the boys and girls teams at East Grand Rapids. "You know you've got some good kids and you know they've been working hard, so you hope for the best."

Higgins, a sophomore at East Grand Rapids, had to ponder two second-place finishes from her freshman year. She was second in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races to Hamilton's Stephanie Johnston, who returned Saturday to defend her titles.

Higgins won the 50 in 23.54 seconds, while Johnston and East Grand Rapids sophomore Lexus VanHoven tied for second in 23.92. Higgins won the 100 in 51.80.

"It's really motivated me to work on the little things," said Higgins, who was also on two winning relay teams Saturday. "It's really good to have someone like (Johnston) to push me. We do a good job of pushing each other."

It also helps to have some of the best swimmers in the state to train with and race against on a daily basis.

"It's really awesome," Higgins said. "It really helps to push each other and work on our races. We're really supportive of each other."

Converse, a junior at East Grand Rapids, was second in the 200 freestyle last year before getting redemption with a victory in the 500 freestyle. She got the sweep this season, taking the 200 in 1:53.37 and the 500 in 5:06.85.

"Last year I went into the (200) finals seeded first and got touched out at the end," Converse said. "I didn't want history to repeat itself. I was really motivated today. I was very focused."

Converse pulled off a difficult double, taking the meet's longest event and returning to swim the third leg of the next event, the 200 freestyle relay.

East Grand Rapids was in second place when Converse hit the water in that relay, but was in first place to stay after she swam a 24.24-second leg.

"It's kind of like an adrenaline rush," Converse said. "The 500 is a distance event, so 50 (in the relay) isn't that much more. We're trained to do that. It's always a fun thing to do."

Like Higgins, Converse also won four events.

Eding, a junior at Hamilton, was second to a senior last year in the 100 backstroke. Returning as the favorite, Eding won by 1.38 seconds in 56.26.

"Last year I was the No. 1 seed going in," Eding said. "A senior came in and won it. I just had to believe in myself. I knew I could do it. I had to dig deep."

Kishman, a sophomore at Grand Rapids Catholic Central, won the 200 individual medley last year, but settled for second in the 100 breaststroke.

She came away with both championships on Saturday, taking the 200 IM in 2:09.23 and the breaststroke by more than two seconds in 1:05.71.

Kishman was also on a winning relay team and a second-place relay team.

"The person who beat me last year graduated, but I knew it would still be tough this year," Kishman said. "There were some good freshmen."

The top freshman of the meet is a teammate of Kishman's, Susan LaGrand. LaGrand swam the first leg on the winning 200 medley relay team before winning the 100 butterfly in 57.44.

"It's a dream come true to just be able to come here with a great team that supports me and a great group of people," LaGrand said.

East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Catholic Central combined to win 10 of the 12 events. Besides Eding, the only other champion not from those schools was Milan junior Taylor Hosein, who repeated as the diving champion. 

"I didn't want to let anyone steal my state title from me," said Hosein, who scored 449.80 points to win by 15.75.

The runner-up team finish was the best ever for Grand Rapids Catholic Central, eclipsing last year's sixth-place finish. The Cougars have been in the top 10 only six times, compared to 39 top-10s for East Grand Rapids. 

"It's going to be a good rivalry," Briggs said. "This year they took a huge step forward."

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Members of East Grand Rapids' 200 freestyle relay watch as the final leg finishes their meet record swim Saturday. (Middle) Milan's Taylor Hosein repeated as LP Division 3 diving champion. (Click to see more from

MHSAA Winter Sports Start with Extended Basketball Schedules, New Wrestling Weights

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 13, 2022

The addition of two games to basketball regular-season schedules and a new series of wrestling weight classes are likely the most noticeable Winter 2022-23 changes as an estimated 65,000 athletes statewide take part in 13 sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.

Girls gymnastics and boys ice hockey teams were able to begin practice Oct. 31, with the rest of those sports beginning in November – including also girls and boys basketball, girls and boys bowling, girls competitive cheer, girls and boys skiing, Upper Peninsula girls and boys and Lower Peninsula boys swimming & diving, and girls and boys wrestling.

A variety of changes are in effect for winter sports this season, including a several that will be noteworthy and noticeable to teams and spectators alike.

Basketball remains the most-participated winter sport for MHSAA member schools with 33,000 athletes taking part last season, and for the first time, basketball teams may play up to 22 regular-season games. This increase from the previous 20-game schedule allows more games for teams at every high school level – varsity, junior varsity and freshman.

Another significant change has been made in wrestling, as the majority of boys wrestling weight classes have been adjusted for this season in anticipation of a national change coming in 2023-24. The updated boys weight classes are 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 144, 150, 157, 165, 175, 190, 215 and 285 pounds. Only 215 and 285 remain from the previous lineup. There is also one change to girls weight classes, with the 255 class replaced by 235 to also align with national high school standards.

A series of notable changes will affect how competition takes place at the MHSAA Tournament levels. In hockey, in addition to a new classification process that spread cooperative and single-school programs evenly throughout the three playoff divisions, the MHSAA Tournament will employ two changes. The Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) will be used to seed the entire Regional round, not just the top two teams, and prior to the start of Semifinals, a seeding committee will reseed the remaining four teams in each division with the top seed in each then facing the No. 4 seed, and the No. 2 seed facing No. 3.

Bowling also will see an MHSAA Tournament change, as the Team Regional format will mirror the long-standing Team Final with teams playing eight Baker games and two regular games at both levels.  And as also applied during the fall girls season, there is a new qualification process for divers seeking to advance to Lower Peninsula Boys Swimming & Diving Finals. In each of the three divisions, each Regional will be guaranteed 10 qualifiers for the Finals, with six more “floating” qualifier entries to be distributed to the Regionals that have one of the previous year’s top six returning Finals divers in their fields. If a team changes division from the previous season, any floating top-six spots are added to the six already allowed in the school’s new division.

A gymnastics rules change provides an opportunity for additional scoring during the floor exercise. A dance passage requirement was added in place of the former dance series requirement to encourage creativity and a more artistic use of dance. The dance passage requires gymnasts to include two Group 1 elements – one a leap with legs in cross or side split position, the other a superior element.

In competitive cheer, the penalty for going over the time limit in each round was adjusted to one penalty point for every second over the time limit, not to exceed 15 points. The new time limit rule is more lenient than the past penalty, which subtracted points based on ranges of time over the limit.

The 2022-23 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving Finals on Feb. 18 and wraps up with the Boys Basketball Finals on March 25. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Boys Basketball
Districts – March 6, 8, 10
Regionals – March 13, 15
Quarterfinals – March 21
Semifinals – March 23-24
Finals – March 25

Girls Basketball
Districts – Feb. 27, March 1, 3
Regionals – March 7, 9
Quarterfinals – March 14
Semifinals – March 16-17
Finals – March 18

Regionals – Feb. 24-25
Finals – March 3-4

Competitive Cheer
District – Feb. 17-18
Regionals – Feb. 25
Finals – March 2-3

Regionals – March 4
Finals – March 10-11

Ice Hockey
Regionals – Feb. 20-March 1
Quarterfinals – March 4
Semifinals – March 9-10
Finals – March 11

Regionals – Feb. 13-17
Finals – Feb. 27

Swimming & Diving
Upper Peninsula Girls/Boys Finals – Feb. 18
Lower Peninsula Boys Diving Regionals – March 2
Lower Peninsula Boys Finals – March 10-11

Wrestling – Team
Districts – Feb. 8-9
Regionals – Feb. 15
Finals – Feb. 24-25

Wrestling – Individual
Districts – Feb. 11
Regionals – Feb. 18
Finals – March 3-4

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.