Northview Returning Champ Looking to Build on Stellar Finals Debut

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

September 24, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS – Addy Forbes made a splash in her debut at last year’s Lower Peninsula Division 2 Swimming & Diving Finals.

The Northview sophomore standout will not go unnoticed this year.

In her first trip to the Finals, Forbes won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 56.15 seconds.

“She’s currently following the plan similar to last year, but she’s not going to come out of nowhere so we have to do the work,” Wildcats swimming & diving coach Rob Damuth said. “She’s a highly-driven kid, like a lot of our top swimmers are, and she’s just relentless in practice. She had a great taper, and our goal this year is to progress.”

Last season’s Finals weren’t held until mid-January due to a pause from the pandemic.

The chaos of the season didn’t affect Forbes’ performance.

“I kind of hoped that I would get first, but it was still surprising,” Forbes said. “I train in the offseason, so it was a pretty big drop from my last meet because of COVID and the break. It was just amazing to drop that much time and place the way I did.”

Forbes also finished fourth in the 200 individual medley at the Finals while helping a pair of relay teams (200 medley and 400 free) place among the top five at the championship meet.

While the backstroke is her strongest event, Forbes is consistently working to improve in others.

“We’ve focused on her off events, the 200 free and 100 fly, and she really likes swimming the fly,” Damuth said. “We need to improve her under water a bit for that event, but those are things we are focusing on other than the IM and back.

“Her bread and butter has been the backstroke, and her breaststroke is improving. Her IM is going to improve, too, and as she comes along with three years left she’s really going to pop in the IM. As she starts looking to swim in college, she has got to have events other than just in back.” 

Forbes is looking forward to becoming more versatile and swimming faster times with all of her strokes.

Northview swimming“My 200 IM is my next best event, and I think I'm a little bit off of my USA cut so I would like to see that and just keep improving with every swim that I do,” Forbes said. “It would be awesome if I could do that and hopefully drop times in the other events.”

Forbes also has begun weight training three times a week.

“It’s very important for athletes if they are old enough to do weight training, and it's definitely a huge change from swimming,” she said. “I like swimming more, but it’s important for me to build the muscles outside of the pool because you can't really do that with just swimming.”

Damuth said the weight training can affect times, but will pay off down the road.

“Her body is beat down a little bit now, but she’s going to be stronger and her times are going to come down,” he said. “I think she’s going to have a great state meet, but it’s just getting through these dog days of September and early October where they are kind of beat down and not necessarily swimming that fast.”

Forbes, who comes from a swim family, knows the season is a marathon and not a sprint.

“It’s pretty early, but the entire team has been working their butts off to get that base for the season,” Forbes said. “I haven’t hit all my times, but I’m more focused on the process and doing well in my form, my turns and my breathing pattern.”

Forbes enjoys the camaraderie of swimming in the relays with her teammates.

“I definitely like relays better, and I just love the bonding and the connection between the team that you have in the relays where everybody needs to know when they are going and where they are,” Forbes said. “It’s awesome just to be able to finish and know that I did well for my team and I get to see those ladies pushing their hardest to try and do the best we can.”

While expectations will be increased, Forbes is taking them in stride.

“It’s definitely a little more nerve-wracking because people expect me to get first again,” Forbes said. “I hope to do that, but there is more pressure and I just want to keep improving in my other races and maybe get a few more records.” 

Northview placed third as a team at last year’s Division 2 Finals, and with the plethora of returning talent, hopes to place among the top teams again in November.

“We returned everybody except for our diver, so we have a hole there, but we have all of our swimmers back and we gained a freshman sprinter that already qualified in the 50 so we have an added piece there,” Damuth said. “Division 2 is really deep this year, but we’re excited to get to the state meet and see what we can do.”

Forbes also is thrilled about the potential of this year’s team.

“I’m super excited because last year’s state finals team were juniors or underclassmen, so this year we have everyone back,” she said. “We’re definitely going to get more girls qualified for the state team, which will help build our numbers. We have some pretty awesome relays this year that I think are going to be pretty impressive.”

The Wildcats return the following swimmers who helped score points at last year’s Division 2 Finals: Jamie Forbes (200 and 500 freestyle), Peyton Oade (200 freestyle), Hasten Horling (50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke), Maddie Tay (50 freestyle) and Evan Arnold (100 freestyle).

Joining Addy Forbes with Finals cuts already this season are Jamie Forbes, Horling, Danika Fesseden and Lily Lindower.

Dean Holzwarth has covered primarily high school sports for Grand Rapids-based WOOD-TV for four years after serving at the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years along with shorter stints at the Ionia Sentinel and WZZM. Contact him at with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Grand Rapids Northview’s Addy Forbes prepares to launch into the backstroke. (Middle) Forbes is a returning LPD2 Finals champion. (Photos courtesy of the Grand Rapids Northview athletic department.)

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.