Favorites Marian, Fox Finish First

June 1, 2013

By Bill Khan
Special to Second Half

GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP — Athletes sometimes have a mantra they repeat to get through tough patches in the heat of competition.

Power-packed words like “compete,” “strong” and “courage” often provide a mental boost to the struggling athlete.

So, what went through the mind of Bloomfield Hills Lahser junior Mollie Fox with the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 No. 1 singles championship on the line?

“‘Angry bubbles and elephants,’” she said. “Those are the words I repeat to myself to laugh and keep things more lighthearted, just when things start to get close.”

There were plenty of tense moments for the top-seeded Fox, who was pushed to a rare three-set match before emerging victorious by a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 score over previously unbeaten senior Sara Remynse of Richland Gull Lake on Saturday at Genesys Athletic Club.

Fox broke Remynse’s serve in the third set to take a 4-2 lead. A break by Remynse closed the deficit to 5-4 before Fox closed it out on her opponent’s serve.

After taking a 4-1 lead in the first set, it was a battle all the way for Fox, who was upset in last year’s semifinals after also coming in with a No. 1 seed.

A relaxed approach helped Fox overcome the burden of high expectations.

“I went in with a little less pressure than before, knowing it’s a game and whatever happens will happen,” Fox said.

Remynse was the Division 3 runner-up as a freshman in 2010. She didn’t play high school tennis the last two seasons, focusing on United States Tennis Association tournaments. After signing with the University of Michigan in the fall, she decided it would be fun to play high school tennis as a senior.

Remynse beat Fox in a USTA tournament last summer, but wound up on the short end of a highly competitive match on Saturday.

“She’s a really good player,” Remynse said. “She deserved to win. She was the better player in the third set. I can’t be mad.”

Birmingham Marian, a powerhouse in Division 2, added a second MHSAA championship to its string of 19 consecutive top-10 finishes. Marian beat Birmingham Seaholm, 27-23. Ada Forest Hills Eastern finished among the top three for the 11th straight year, placing third with 21 points.

“People didn’t think we were going to be as good as what we were,” Marian coach Lincoln Wirgau said. “We have 14 girls on our team, myself and my assistant. We circled up after our team was set, and it was us 16 against everybody else; we were fine with that. I like our odds with those girls and our six seniors.”

A common thread for this year’s team and Marian’s 2010 squad is the presence of a Lunghamer sister.

Kelly Lunghamer was the No. 3 singles champion, and Kristin Lunghamer made the No. 1 doubles semifinals in 2010. This year, freshman Breann Lunghamer matched Kelly’s feat by winning No. 3 singles.

After winning a marathon 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 semifinal over Mason’s Samantha Perkins, Lunghamer won the title with a 6-3, 6-2 decision over Claire Markley of Seaholm.

“I always saw them winning state titles and never knew what a state title was like,” Lunghamer said. “I always watched them being excited and happy about it. It’s pretty cool.”

Lunghamer was Marian’s only singles champion. The Mustangs also had champions at No. 2 doubles, with first-time finalists Tatyanna Dadabbo and Sally Thorensen winning.

Okemos sophomore Emily Struble repeated as No. 2 singles champion in dominant fashion, winning 48 games and losing only five in four matches. She led 5-0 in the first set of the finals against Lauren Dietz of Marian, then lost two games in a row before regrouping for a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

The No. 1 doubles championship duo of senior Nancy Benda and junior Jackie Meier of Seaholm never played together before this year.

Benda was a successful singles player, losing in the semifinals in 2011 and the second round last season in the No. 1 flight. Because of a wrist injury, it was determined that playing doubles would be best for her.

“It was definitely a different game,” Benda said. “I wasn’t used to doubles at the beginning of the season. It was an adjustment period, but Jackie and I came together. It was mostly getting used to the court and having two girls on the other side of the net. There’s more strategy involved.”

Meier was on the championship No. 3 doubles team last year before making the leap in competition to No. 1 doubles.

“At No. 1 doubles, every single team comes out to play so hard,” Meier said.

Lahser won half of the singles titles, with Meryl Reams taking the No. 4 flight with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Catherine Yaldoo of Marian.

Forest Hills Northern’s Stephanie Nguyen and Sarayna Sundaram won No. 3 doubles by beating Kyra Fitz and Danny Harro of East Grand Rapids, 6-2, 6-0.

Seaholm’s Lauren Benderoff and Sam Lareau won No. 4 doubles by a 6-2, 6-1 score over Charlotte Garrison and Madison Lorenz of Bloomfield Hills Andover.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Birmingham Marian's Sally Thorensen returns a shot during Saturday's LP Division 2 Finals. She and partner Tatyanna Dadabbo won the No. 2 doubles flight. (Middle) Lahser's Mollie Fox won the No. 1 singles championship, taking the final match in three sets. (Below) Birmingham Seaholm's Nancy Benda and Jackie Meier (left) shake hands with Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern's Victoria Minzlaff and Shelby Moored after winning the No. 1 doubles final. (Click to see more at HighSchoolsSportsScene.com.) 

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