Preview: Returning Champions Set to Build on Past Seasons' Successes

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 30, 2024

A blend of strong seeds and substantial postseason experience could make catching three of last year’s champions difficult as those teams again pursue repeat titles at this weekend’s Lower Peninsula Girls Tennis Finals.

But the race for the Division 1 championship might be one of the most intriguing in some time.

While Birmingham Seaholm in Division 2, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood in Division 3 and Ann Arbor Greenhills in Division 4 remain the teams to chase in those respective brackets, Clarkston should give Ann Arbor Pioneer a mighty challenge as the latter pursues a fourth-straight Finals title.

All four divisions again will be played Friday and Saturday over multiple locations, with semifinals and finals to be played at the first sites listed below in each division. Play begins between 8:15-8:30 each morning.

Below is a glance at the highest-ranked teams in each division and additional No. 1 singles players expected to be in contention. Click for full brackets and more from

LP Division 1 at Midland Tennis Center

Top-ranked: 1. Clarkston, 2. Ann Arbor Pioneer, 3. Novi.

Clarkston: The Wolves finished third a year ago and are seeking their second team championship to go with the Division 1 title won in 2011. All eight flights are seeded, including four top seeds – freshman Sydney Geisz at No. 2 singles, freshman Kayla Lemke at No. 3, junior Charlotte Partchenko at No. 4, and senior Katarina Fisher and junior Ava Henkel at No. 2 doubles. A flight champion would be the team’s first since 2014. Partchenko finished No. 4 singles runner-up last season, and Henkel and now-sophomore Lana Sloan reached the semifinals at No. 3 doubles; Sloan and senior Lauren Sielinski are the second seed at that flight this weekend.

Ann Arbor Pioneer: The Pioneers have won the last three Division 1 championships (sharing with Bloomfield Hills in 2021), and the majority of Finals experience returns in doubles or with doubles players from 2023. Senior Noa Gluskin and sophomore Jessica Primus are the fifth seed at No. 2 after winning the No. 4 doubles title a year ago, and senior Casey Roe and junior Natalie Guo are the second seed at No. 1 with Roe having been part of last season’s runner-up at No. 2 and Guo half of a semifinalist at the top flight. Junior Arella He was part of the runner-up at No. 3 doubles in 2023 and this time is seeded third at No. 4 singles, and senior Eleanor Vogel teamed with Roe last year and this weekend is seeded third at No. 3 singles.

Novi: The Wildcats have never won or finished runner-up at the Finals, but did tie for fourth a year ago and enter this weekend with six seeded flights and especially strong points potential in doubles. Seniors Haruka Ishibashi and Arushi Singh are the top seed at No. 3 doubles, and sophomores Samaara George and Kyra Thomas are second-seeded at No. 4. George played No. 1 singles last season, and Ishibashi played No. 3. Singh was part of the runner-up at No. 4 doubles in 2023.

Gabrielle Sadkowski, Utica Eisenhower sophomore: Top seed Sadkowski’s only loss over two years of high school tennis was last season to eventual LPD1 No. 1 singles champion Sari Woo from Ann Arbor Skyline. Sadkowski is 11-0 this spring.

Nicole Fu, Rochester Adams junior: Fu has finished No. 1 singles runner-up the last two seasons, and she’s the second seed this weekend entering at 16-0 this year.

Brooke Nicholson & Alexis Gabriel, Utica Eisenhower senior/sophomore: This pair entered last season’s No. 1 doubles bracket as the fifth seed and reached the quarterfinals. They’re the top seed this time and 28-2 this spring.

Other returning 2023 flight champions: Troy seniors Hannah Lee & Michelle Baik (No. 3 doubles last season, No. 1 doubles this weekend).

LP Division 2 at Byron Center West Sports Complex & Grand Rapids South Christian

Top-ranked: 1. Birmingham Seaholm, 2. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, 3. Farmington Hills Mercy.

Birmingham Seaholm: The Maples jumped past Forest Hills Northern into the top spot in the final coaches poll of the regular season, and the reigning LPD2 champion has finished first or second at this tournament nine times beginning in 2011. All eight flights are seeded this time, but the greatest scoring potential is in doubles with junior Jordyn Lusky and sophomore Lucy Jen seeded first at No. 3 and sophomore Anna Olekszyk and freshman Katie Joyce top-seeded at No. 4. Lusky and Jen were part of championship pairs at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, last season, and seniors Katie Slazinski and Jenna Ting were champions at No. 2 and are the second seed this weekend at No. 1. Senior Stella North won with Jen a year ago and is seeded fifth this time at No. 2 doubles with freshman Sophia Arndt. Senior Courtney Marcum is seeded fourth at No. 1 singles after winning No. 2 a year ago, and sophomore Jada Josifovski is seeded third at No. 2 coming off a No. 3 runner-up finish as a freshman.

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern: Although only five flights are seeded, three are top-seeded as FHN looks to bump up from last year’s tie for second place and claim a third championship over the last four seasons. Seniors Ryan Morey and Paige McKenzie at No. 1 doubles and junior Lauren Jaklitsch and Morgan McKenzie at No. 2 carry those top seeds, with Morey and Paige McKenzie the reigning champs at the top flight and Jaklitsch part of last year’s runner-up at No. 2. Morey also was part of No. 2 doubles flight championships as both a freshman and a sophomore. Junior Andrea Wang adds another top seed at No. 2 singles, and sophomore Harriet Ogilvie is the fourth seed at No. 3 singles after winning No. 4 in 2023.

Farmington Hills Mercy: The Marlins have been surging with a powerful singles lineup that locked down top seeds at No. 1 with junior Megan Sullivan, No. 3 with sophomore Alexa Dueweke and No. 4 with sophomore Gabby Owens, and a second seed at No. 2 with sophomore Keira Kirkland. Mercy’s only top-two Finals finish was second place in Division 1 in 2013, and the Marlins tied for 11th in Division 1 last season. Two doubles flights also are seeded.

Lily Ohlman, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central senior: The reigning champion at No. 1 singles is 24-2 and seeded second with her most recent loss coming to Sullivan on May 4 by a score of 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 10-8.

LP Division 3 at Kalamazoo College & Western Michigan University

Top-ranked: 1. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, 2. Detroit Country Day, 3. Bloomfield Hills Marian.

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood: The Cranes have won the last two Division 3 titles after three straight runner-up finishes (not counting COVID-canceled 2020). There’s loads of championship experience and every flight is seeded, with four top seeds – junior Chiarra Martella at No. 3 singles, senior Olivia Zhang at No. 4, junior Madeline Day and senior Sanvi Upadhyayala at No. 3 doubles and juniors Michelle Chen and Jessica Hall at No. 4. Zhang has won No. 4 singles the last two seasons, and senior Sienna Ilitch has won No. 3 singles the last two seasons and is seeded eighth at No. 1 this weekend; both also were singles runners-up as freshmen. Martella was the runner-up at No. 2 a year ago. Seniors Daryn Krause and Kayli Lala are the second seed at No. 1 doubles after finishing runner-up last year, winning No. 4 in 2022 and finishing No. 3 runner-up in 2021. Junior Sophia Kouza and senior Grace Zhang are fourth-seeded at No. 2 doubles after winning that flight last year. Day and Upadhyayala were runners-up last spring at No. 3, and Chen and Hall were the runners-up at No. 4. Grace Zhang also was part of the No. 3 doubles champion in 2022 and the No. 4 runner-up in 2021.

Detroit Country Day: The Yellowjackets fell just two points shy of catching Cranbrook a year ago and return significant members of that lineup as well. Junior Sophia Grzesiak is the top seed at No. 1 singles after reaching the semifinals last season, followed by freshman Quinn Norland seeded first at No. 2 and sophomore Helen Benjamin seeded second at No. 3 after finishing runner-up at No. 4 singles in 2023. Seniors Marin Norlander and Peja Liles are the top seed and reigning champs at No. 1 doubles, and Liles also was part of the winning pair in 2022 and runner-up pair in 2021. Sophomore Jiya Gill and senior Becca Borgia are the third seed at No. 3 doubles with Gill coming off a No. 4 doubles championship last year.

Bloomfield Hills Marian: The Mustangs finished fifth last year and were third in Division 2 just three seasons ago. All eight flights are seeded, led by a pair of second-seeded doubles – sophomore Audrey Agbay and freshman Yana Higgins at No. 3 and senior Lauren Higdon and freshman Stella Glorio at No. 4.

Natalie Poortenga, Grand Rapids Christian senior: Last season’s champion at No. 2 singles is the third seed at No. 1 this time, and took Forest Hills Central’s Ohlman to three sets in an April loss.

Lilah Zaskowski, Ada Forest Hills Eastern freshman: She’s 22-3 and the second seed at No. 1 singles heading into her first Finals, with two of her three losses coming over the last two weeks in tune-ups against Ohlman and Forest Hills Northern’s Wang.

Other returning 2023 flight champions: Grand Rapids Christian sophomore Avah Jerke (No. 3 doubles last season, No. 4 singles this weekend).

LP Division 4 at University of Michigan & Ann Arbor Greenhills

Top-ranked: 1. Ann Arbor Greenhills, 2. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 3. Traverse City St. Francis.

Ann Arbor Greenhills: The Gryphons also are seeking their third-straight Finals team championship, and nearly doubled up the next-highest finisher a year ago. Junior Maddie Morgan is the reigning champion at No. 1 singles and seeded second this weekend, while junior Shangyang Xia is the top seed at No. 3 after winning No. 2 in 2023 and sophomore Danica Rakic-Dennis the top seed at No. 4 after winning at No. 3 a year ago. They moved with freshman Ellie Kim is the top seed at No. 2 singles. Greenhills has all four top seeds in doubles as well – sophomore Lauren Ye and freshman Nina Malani at No. 1, juniors Sophie Chen and Sophia Kleer at No. 2, juniors Meera Tewari and Meera Pandey at No. 3, and senior Parini Rao and freshman Alyssa Hong at No. 4. Chen and Ye were runners-up at No. 1 last season, and Pandey and Tewari were the runners-up at No. 3.

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep: The Fighting Irish should provide a nice challenge after finishing fourth in Division 3 last season and with all eight flights seeded fourth or higher. Junior Francheska Daugaru at No. 2 singles and senior Addison Bellows at No. 3 lead with second seeds. Bellows was the Division 3 runner-up at No. 4 singles as a sophomore, and senior Julia Gurne – seeded third at No. 1 singles this weekend – was the Division 3 runner-up at No. 1 as a freshman.

Traverse City St. Francis: The Gladiators were fourth a year ago and have finished runner-up four of the last nine years, most recently in 2021. All but one flight is seeded, and five are seeded fourth or higher led by senior Ava Pomaranski with the second seed at No. 4 singles.

Ayva Johnstone, Elk Rapids senior: She reached the quarterfinals at No. 1 singles as the fourth seed last season and returns this weekend as the top seed and 25-0.

Other returning 2023 flight champions: Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart senior Kayla Nafso (No. 1 doubles last season, No. 1 singles this weekend), Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart senior Maggie Pulte (No. 2 doubles last season and this weekend).

PHOTO Birmingham Seaholm's Jordyn Lusky returns a volley during last season's LPD2 Finals championship match at No. 3 doubles. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

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