6 Flight Champs Key Westwood 4-Peat

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

October 2, 2019

KINGSFORD — Ishpeming Westwood continued its stranglehold on the Upper Peninsula Division 2 girls tennis championship Wednesday, winning for the fourth straight season.

Westwood, which gained at least a share of title for also the 10th time in 11 years, posted 22 points and was followed by West Iron County with 15 and Iron Mountain with 11.

“This is an exciting day for the girls,” said Westwood coach Sarah Massie. “One of our goals was definitely to win the M-PCs (Mid-Peninsula Conference). After a big win over Negaunee, we were ready to go. We didn’t have a dual meet with West Iron because it got rained out. We didn’t play them until today. The girls just had to play their game, and it worked out for them.”

The Patriots won 6-of-8 flights, including all four singles on this cloudy, chilly and windy day.

Senior Madelyn Koski became a two-time Finals champion by taking a 6-1, 6-0 decision from Iron Mountain’s Macy McCormick at No. 1 singles. She previously was part of a No. 3 doubles winner in 2016 and was runner-up at No. 1 singles in 2018.

“I’m pretty happy,” said Koski. “Every team I’ve been on worked pretty hard. It has really been fun to be on these teams. I’m pretty sad to see it end.

“This is probably the best I played in the U.P. Finals. I just learned as I went on. It was definitely a little windy, and I had to adjust my game – although, I’m used to the wind.”

Classmate Tessa Leece won for the fourth consecutive Finals, topping Iron Mountain’s Claire Mongrain 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2 singles. Leece teamed with Koski in 2016, won No. 4 singles as a sophomore and No. 2 also as a junior. 

“I just focused on hitting good shots and tried to be patient,” said Leece, who also runs on the school’s cross country team. “I knew what to expect, which comes with experience.

“This feels so good. We worked so hard for it. We wanted to end on a good note.”

Jillian Koski added a 6-0, 6-4 triumph over Iron Mountain junior Arianna Morel in No. 3 singles, and Jenna Wealton defeated West Iron’s Olivia Mazurek 6-1, 6-4 at No. 4. Koski had won No. 4 singles last season. 

“I was excited to get to the finals,” said Morel. “She was very consistent, and her groundstrokes were working pretty well. She hit the ball right to me, and I had to play it on the run.”

Westwood juniors Avery Mariuzzo and Emily Nelson outlasted West Iron sophomores Madison Berutti and Aurora Dahl 6-0, 6-7 (3-7), 6-0 for their first No. 3 doubles championship.

“It feels like it was a reset,” said Mariuzzo, who helped the Patriots’ duo regain control with three quick overhand taps in the third set. “I think those shots set the tone. Those definitely gave us a lot of momentum. We just had to refocus.”

Nelson also had some success with overhand taps.

“Once we hit the reset button, we didn’t want to lose again,” she said. “We work real well together. We had been competing with Negaunee and Marquette all year, which prepared us well.”

Westwood junior Claire Gilles and sophomore Natalie Prophet won No. 4 doubles in a 6-0, 6-2 finales over West Iron’s Alyssa Dominicci and Katarina Hemeleski.

“Natalie finishes every play at the net,” said Gilles, who became a two-time champion. “Communication is key. We made sure we switched when the ball went to the other side of the court. We felt we had everything pretty much under control. I definitely wanted to win again. There was a lot of pressure coming in.”

West Iron took the remaining flights, with junior Tori Bociek and senior Eden Golliher defeating Westwood’s Katelyn Antilla and Karlie Patron 6-4, 6-3 to repeat at No. 1 doubles. Emily Nelson and Anna Malmquist dispatched Ellie Miller and Meghan Johnson 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2.

“We hit the angles pretty good,” said Bociek. “Our overhand shots were working pretty good. This is the third U.P. title for both of us. We just tried to play this like any other match. I think this will be a pretty big motivator for next year.”

Iron Mountain matched expectations, according to coach Sharon Ducat.

“We took third place today, and that’s about where I expected we would be,” she said. “Macy, Claire and Arianna made to the finals in singles and played well. Our doubles teams improved upon their results from earlier in the year, and I was happy with their performance. It was a fun and enjoyable season, one which the girls should be proud of.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Westwood's Madelyn Koski returns a volley during her championship match at No. 1 singles Wednesday. (Middle) West Iron's Livea Mazurek returns a shot during a match also at No. 1 singles. (Photos by Matt McCarthy.)

Lacrosse Finals Move to U-M Among Headlines as Spring Sports Ramp Up

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

April 9, 2024

The Girls & Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played at University of Michigan Lacrosse Stadium for the first time, one of the most notable changes for this season as sports ramp up for more than 100,000 athletes anticipated to participate this spring for Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools.

The MHSAA sponsors postseason competition each spring in baseball, girls and boys lacrosse, girls soccer, softball, girls and boys track & field, boys golf (Lower and Upper Peninsula) and girls golf (UP), and girls (LP) and boys (UP) tennis.

The U-M Lacrosse Stadium opened for competition in 2018 and seats 2,000 spectators. The Girls Lacrosse Finals will be played Friday, June 7, with Division 1 at 4 p.m. and Division 2 at 7 p.m. The Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played the following day, June 8, with Division 2 at 11 a.m. and Division 1 at 2 p.m.

Girls lacrosse also has a significant format adjustment this season, as games will be played with four 12-minutes quarters instead of the previous two halves, in part to allow coaches more opportunities to provide direct instruction during a game. Two more rules changes are expected to improve flow of play – players awarded a free position outside of the critical scoring area no longer must come to a stop and settled stance before self-starting, and false start penalties outside the critical scoring area have been eliminated.

Several more rules changes will be noticeable this spring:

In boys lacrosse, a change was made to enhance player safety. Play will stop immediately any time a player’s helmet comes off, and that player may not return until the next dead ball after play continues.

Fair and legal starts are a continued emphasis for track & field, and a rule change will allow for movement before the start of the race as long as a competitor does not leave their mark with a hand or a foot after the “set” command, or make forward motion before the starting device is activated.

A significant rule change in softball alters pitch delivery mechanics. The pitcher may now have both feet off the ground at the same time when releasing the ball as long as both feet remain within the 24-inch width of a pitching plate and the pitcher does not replant the pivot foot before delivering the pitch.

Another change in softball requires that a playbook/playcard be worn on the wrist or kept in a back pocket to reduce distractions. If worn by the pitcher, the equipment must be worn on the non-pitching arm. Similarly in baseball, a wristband with plays or instructions will be permitted but must be a single, solid color, and for pitchers may not contain the colors white or gray or be otherwise distracting. Baseball players must wear this wristband on the wrist or forearm, and pitchers may wear one only on their non-pitching arm.

Also in baseball, a rule change allows for one-way communication devices worn by the catcher to receive instructions from the dugout while on defense, for the purpose of calling pitches. The coach must be inside the dugout/bench area to use the communication device.

Golfers now are required to participate in at least four competitions for the high school team prior to representing that school team in an MHSAA Regional or Final. Those four regular-season competitions may be 9 or 18-hole events.

In tennis, for the first time in Lower Peninsula play, a No. 1 doubles flight from a non-qualifying team will be able to advance from its Regional to Finals competition. To do so, that No. 1 doubles flight must finish first or second at its Regional, and the No. 1 singles player from that team also must have qualified for the Finals individually by finishing first or second in Regional play.

On the soccer pitch, two officiating-related changes will be especially noticeable. Officials now may stop the clock to check on an injured player without that player being required to leave the match – previously that player would have to sub out. Also, categories for fouls have been redefined: careless (which is a foul but does not receive a card), reckless (a foul with a yellow card) and excessive force (foul with red card). 

The 2023-24 Spring campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Golf and Boys Tennis Finals during the week of May 27 and wraps up with Girls Soccer, Baseball and Softball Finals on June 15. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regional Semifinals – June 5
Regional Finals, Quarterfinals – June 8
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Boys Regionals – May 28-June 1
UP Girls & Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Boys Finals – June 7-8

Boys Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 10-15
Regionals – May 16-29
Quarterfinals – May 31 or June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 8

Girls Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 16-18, or May 20
Regionals – May 22-June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 7

Girls Soccer
Districts – May 22-June 1
Regionals – June 4-8
Semifinals – June 11-12
Finals – June 14-15

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regionals – June 8
Quarterfinals – June 11
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Girls Regionals – May 15-18
UP Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Girls Finals – May 31-June 1

Track & Field
Regionals – May 16-18
Finals – June 1