Cranbrook-Kingswood Near-Perfect Again

June 1, 2013

By Alan Babbitt
Special to Second Half

HOLLAND – Alexandria Najarian and the Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood girls tennis team are a nearly unbeatable combination.

Najarian, a junior, served up her third individual flight title with a third unblemished season Saturday at Hope College, helping Cranbrook-Kingswood complete a near-perfect run to the team Lower Peninsula Division 3 title.

Cranbrook-Kingswood won seven of eight flights for 39 points — one point from perfection. The Cranes finished comfortably ahead of runner-up Allegan (23).

It was a satisfying conclusion to a season that started slowly, Najarian said.

“We took a Florida trip at the beginning of the year for spring break, and we were down there for a week. We all were really frustrated with our play at the beginning because we were working so hard. We felt like nothing was coming together,” Najarian said. “Today it finally came together. This is a really happy moment.”

Cranbrook-Kingswood earned a three-peat of team titles with its fifth consecutive top-two finish.

 “We came in favored, but all year our girls worked really hard,” said Cranbrook-Kingswood coach Jeff Etterbeek, a Holland native. “They came out here in some tough, windy conditions and kept their composure. They played one point at a time and did a great job. I’m really proud of all of them. They really came through.”

Najarian contributed by taking first at No. 1 singles.

In Saturday’s final, she defeated a familiar foe — second-seeded Sydney Liggins of Grand Rapids Catholic Central — 6-1, 6-4. It was a rematch of the 2012 title match.

“She’s been my biggest competitor the past few years. She’s played so well,” Najarian said. “She came out a little nervous. Usually it’s the opposite. I got a better head start. Last year, I went down 0-4 and had to fight back. This year it was the opposite. She put up a great fight. It means a lot I could pull through again.”

Cranbrook-Kingswood swept the rest of singles play and won three doubles flights.

Detroit Country Day took third with 19 points, while Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern (17) and St. Clair (16) rounded out the top five.

Allegan spoiled Cranbrook-Kingswood’s bid for a perfection.

Allegan’s top-seeded No. 1 doubles team of seniors Christin Drozd and Kaycee Harness outlasted Cranbrook-Kingswood’s third-seeded pair of Alissa Rowens and Meg Phyle 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in the championship match.

It was the first MHSAA doubles title together for Drozd and Harness, who went unbeaten. Drozd earned one title as a freshman at No. 2 doubles before finishing Finals runner-up the past two seasons at No. 1, including 2012 with Harness.

“To finish my senior year undefeated, state champs, is absolutely amazing,” Drozd said.

Harness moved from No. 3 singles after her sophomore season to play with Drozd.

“When her partner graduated, I wanted to jump in. We’ve been such good friends,” Harness said. “I think the fact we lost (in the finals) last year made us want that much more this year. We were motivated and worked hard all season.”

In other flights, No. 2 singles top seed Anna Short of Cranbrook-Kingswood defeated third-seeded Madeline Bissett of Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern 6-1, 6-0 in the championship match.

At No. 3 singles, top-seeded Allison Motea of Cranbrook-Kingswood beat second-seeded Haley Mullins of Detroit Country Day 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

At No. 4 singles, Cranbrook-Kingswood’s Sarah Lipworth held her No. 1 seed, scoring a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (5) win in the title match against third-seeded Sarah Carroll of Detroit Country Day.

In doubles play, Cranbrook-Kingswood’s second-seeded No. 2 pairing of Kendra Sweet and Christina Roualet won by knocking off top-seed Blake Day and Emmarie Gorby of Allegan 6-4, 7-5 in the finals.

At No. 3 doubles, Cranbrook-Kingswood’s No. 1-seeded duo of Briana Latica and Holly Meers defeated sixth-seeded Taylor Orr and Carlie VanKlompenberg 6-0, 6-1 for the championship.

At No. 4 doubles, Cranbrook-Kingswood’s top-seeded pair of Lauren Lanzon and Emily Harvey beat second-seeded Anna Bosgraaf and Lisa Busscher in the final 6-2, 6-1.

Najarian now has her sights set on a rare four-peat of MHSAA Finals flight championships.

“I hope so,” she said. “I worked a lot over the summer. Staying healthy and not getting injured is important. (Liggins) won’t be back, but there’s still some good competition to get used to. I got used to her.”

Etterbeek is confident Najarian will be in the hunt again next spring.

“She has a lot of variety in her game. She can beat you in so many different ways” Etterbeek said. “She’s just a smart experienced player. She is such a great competitor. She’s going to figure a way to beat you when she’s not playing her best.

“That’s certainly proven so far because she’s never lost a match. It doesn’t always go perfect. She’s had some close matches this year, and she came through every one of them. She’s a great leader on our team. We’re so happy to have her, obviously.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Cranbrook-Kingswood's Alexandria Najarian sends a shot during a No. 1 singles match; she won the flight for the third straight season. (Middle) Allegan's Christin Drozd, together with partner Kaycee Harness, won the No. 1 doubles championship. (Click to see more at

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

By Geoff Kimmerly 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