MHSAA Finals primer
December 16, 2011
East Grand Rapids, Holland and Farmington Hills Mercy are among the usual contenders who should again make runs at MHSAA girls swimming and diving championships this weekend.
But competitors from places like Dundee, Walled Lake Western and Waterford will be pushing the annual powers at three Finals located across the Lower Peninsula.
Eastern Michigan University will host the Division 1 Final, with Division 2 at the Holland Aquatics Center and Division 3 at Oakland University. Preliminaries are Friday and championships will be decided Saturday.
Tickets cost $8, and competition begins at noon both days. Saturday’s championship races will be streamed live at FoxSportsDetroit.com and MHSAA.tv. Click for a full schedule and lists of qualifiers, their seed times and diving orders.
Here are some the teams, relays and individuals who could make the biggest waves:
The contending teams haven’t changed much over the last few seasons. Here’s how the annual favorites are stacking up against each other.
Division 1: Saline vs. Farmington Hills Mercy vs. Holland West Ottawa – Saline has claimed the last two MHSAA championships in this division after ending Ann Arbor Pioneer’s nine-year title run, and will have 21 individual entries this weekend. West Ottawa, last season’s runner-up, comes in with 19. But Mercy, which has won the last four Division 2 championships, will bring in 31 individual entries.
Division 2: Birmingham Groves vs. Holland – Mercy moving into Division 1 opens this meet up for a new champion, and Holland brings in 30 individual entries after finishing runner-up each of the last three seasons. But Groves also should be in the mix. The Falcons won four straight from 2003-06 and has 29 individual qualifiers.
Division 3: East Grand Rapids vs. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood – Two-time reigning champion East Grand Rapids is bringing 32 individual entries. But two-time reigning runner-up Cranbrook-Kingswood will try to overtake the Pioneers with its 25.
Pass the baton
At least one relay in each Final has a chance to make a run at a specific meet or overall record.
Hudsonville 200 freestyle – Seniors Michaela Rookus and Audra Thornton, sophomore Makayla Myers and junior Danielle Freeman have nearly a two-second edge coming in with a seed time of 1:35.82. Cutting just 14 hundredths of a second would put them on the record book list with the seventh-fastest Finals time.
Holland 200 medley – Senior Courtney Bartholomew, junior Melissa Vandermeulen, freshman Taylor Garcia and sophomore Molly Horren have swam this race in 1:45.26, which would rank fifth-fastest in MHSAA Finals history.
Holland Christian 200 freestyle – The team of senior Kaylie Wierda, sophomore Ashlee Sall, senior Kelsey Weener and freshman Sydney Asselin posted a seed time of 1:38.73. They’ll need to cut less than a second to beat Marian’s Division 3 meet record of 1:37.87 set in 2008.
Athletes to Watch
Courtney Bartholomew, Holland senior – The standout Dutch swimmer will attempt to add to her three individual MHSAA championships and four as part of relays. She has the top seed time in the 100 backstroke (54.53) and second-best in the 200 individual medley (2:05.13) – the two races she won in 2010. She holds the backstroke overall Finals record of 52.45.
Ines Charles, Bloomfield Hills Lahser sophomore – Is seeded first in Division 3 in both the 100 butterfly (57.36) and 100 backstroke (58.38), and also is part of three Lahser relays all seeded among the top four in her meet.
Brooke Edwards, Dundee senior – Will try to add to last season’s Division 3 championship in the 200 freestyle and fourth-place finish in the 100. She has the third-best seed time in the 200 (1:58.77) and sixth-best in the 100 (54.77) coming into this weekend.
Olivia Kassouni, East Grand Rapids junior – Hopes to defend her Division 3 diving championship after winning by 9.3 points in 2010 with a score of 435.80.
Annie Lazor, Birmingham Groves senior – She’s got the top Division 2 seed time of 1:03.69 in the 100 breaststroke amd will be going for her fourth championship in that race; she also holds the overall Finals record of 1:02.10. She’s also seeded first in the 200 IM (2:03.96) and will attempt to add that title as well after finishing second to Bartholomew last season.
Allie Murphy, Walled Lake Western junior – Is back at the Division 2 Final after winning last season’s diving championship with 410.45 points, three more than the runner-up.
Kylie Powrie, Cranbrook-Kingswood junior – Will try to repeat as the 500 freestyle Division 3 champion and has the top seed time in that event of 5:15.11. Her seed time of 2:00.13 in the 200 freestyle is 10th-best coming in.
Sami Stelpflug, Clarkston sophomore – Posted the top Division 1 seed times in both the 200 IM (2:04.14) and 100 breaststroke (1:04.85).
Anna Stephens, East Grand Rapids sophomore – Posted the top Division 3 seed time in the 100 breakstroke (1:06.40) after winning that race in 2010, and is third in the 200 IM (2:13.36).
Maddie Wright, Waterford United freshman – Enters her first MHSAA Final with the top Division 1 seed times in the 200 freestyle (1:50.26) and 100 butterfly (55.16).
Dive in: Holland senior Nicole Cordero is among those hoping to lead the Dutch to the Division 2 championship. She'll swim the 50 and 100-yard freestyles and on two relays.
Performance of the Week: Marquette's Grace Sobczak
February 24, 2023
Grace Sobczak ♦ Marquette
Junior ♦ Swimming
Marquette’s girls swimming & diving team won its second straight and fourth Upper Peninsula Finals championship in five seasons Saturday, and Sobczak led the charge with championships in the 200-yard individual medley (23.42 seconds) and 500 freestyle (5:35.02) and as part of the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
The individual championships were the third and fourth Finals titles of Sobczak’s career – she won the 500 for the third time in three tries – and the pair of relay wins raised her Finals count to four total in those races as well. The championship capped an undefeated season for the team. While swimming always has been her primary sport, Sobczak played a variety growing up and runs cross country in the fall.
@mhsaasports 🏊♀️POW: Grace Sobczak #performanceoftheweek #swimming #swimmer #statechamp #champions #marquette #congrats #uppower #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok #mistudentaid #fyp ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat
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Feb. 16: Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9: Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2: Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26: Shayne Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19: Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20: Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16: Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9: Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2: Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24: Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17: Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10: Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27: Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20: Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13: Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6: Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30: Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22: Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15: Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8: Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1: Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25: Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report
(Photos by Jonathan Young/Marquette High School.)