Sault Claims 1st Title with Record-Setting Performances

By Ryan Stieg
Special for Second Half

March 13, 2021

MARQUETTE – To get its first Upper Peninsula Finals championship, the Sault Ste. Marie girls swimming & diving team needed to be at its best Saturday afternoon. 

In the end, the Blue Devils also set a few U.P. records while outlasting Marquette 347-313 to claim the title and end the Redettes’ two-year winning streak.

“It’s history,” Blue Devils head coach Steve Habusta said. “We’ve never done it. It’s history for these kids to be able to be part of it and say that they’ve done it. It’s a special day, a special feeling and this is all about the kids. They did a fantastic job today, really put in the work all season.”

The Blue Devils ended up setting four meet records, as senior Aliah Robertson broke her own marks in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. Robertson was also part of the record-setting 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays. Joanne Arbic was also on both and won two more events, the 50 and 100 freestyles. 

Kingsford swimmingEven though they ended up coming up short in their quest for a third-straight title, the Redettes still had a successful day. They won the 200 free relay and took three individual events with Lexi LaCombe winning the 200 free, Grace Sobczak finishing first in the 500 free and Haddie Ketzenberger coming out on top in the 1-meter diving competition on Friday. 

“They showed up too; they were amazing,” Marquette head coach Nathan McFarren said. “Lexi was seeded second and ended up winning the 200 free. She had a personal best in her 100, her 50 free split. We had Grace, pretty special as a freshman to runner-up (200 IM) and win her individual in the 500 and the relay. And then our diving. That started us out with a 1, 3, and 8 finish. That was pretty special too. We can’t hang our heads. We just didn’t have the depth this year.”

Kingsford’s Adelaide McRoberts was the other individual champion as she set a meet record in the 100 butterfly and also won the 100 backstroke.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Sault Ste. Marie's Joanne Arbic celebrates her win in the 50 freestyle Saturday at Marquette High School. (Middle) Kingsford's Adelaide McRoberts, middle, launches at the start of the backstroke final. (Photos by Daryl Jarvinen.)

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.