Titles for Three at UP Tennis Finals
October 4, 2012
One of this season’s MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 1 girls tennis champions is used to finishing at the top. The other found itself in that favorable spot Wednesday for the first time in 25 years.
Kingsford and Negaunee split this season’s title, each scoring 14 points at Marquette High School. The Finals win was the first for Kingsford since the end of a four-year championship run in 2009. Negaunee celebrated its first championship since winning Class C-D in 1987, and after just missing with a runner-up finish in 2010.
Kingsford advanced players into all four singles and two doubles championship matches, with No. 4 singles Santina Bianco and No. 2 doubles Janay Walters and Ali VanRemortel claiming their flights. Negaunee advanced to five championship matches and had three winners – Allison Carlson at No. 2 singles, Kayla Hakala at No. 3 and Kylee Taavola and Jordyn LaFreniere at No. 3 doubles.
Escanaba senior Codi Jenshak won her second-straight championship at No. 1 singles, and third MHSAA singles title overall, with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Kingsford’s Sam Fleming. Jenshak also defeated Fleming in the 2011 championship match.
Her Escanaba teammates Braedyn Bosilovatz and Cathryn Wood won the No. 1 doubles championship.
Click for full championship match results and semifinalists.
Division 2 at Ishpeming Westwood
Westwood won its fourth straight MHSAA championship and fifth in six seasons, scoring 16 points to edge runner-up Iron Mountain by two.
The Patriots won four flights, led at No. 1 doubles by Kara Harrington and Alexis Forchini, who won at No. 3 in 2011. Taryn Moyle and Katie Rankinen won at No. 2 and Rachel Anderson and Shana Caliguri won at No. 4. Courtney Beauchamp won the team’s lone singles championship, at No. 4.
Iron River West Iron County’s Kylee Erickson repeated as the No. 1 singles champion, beating Westwood’s Sarah Massie in the final for the second straight season.
Cranbrook Enjoys Slight Edge This Time in Rematch of Frequent Contenders
By Tim Robinson
Special for MHSAA.com
June 3, 2023
ANN ARBOR — There’s not a lot of difference between the tennis teams from Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood and Detroit Country Day.
Certainly not on the scoreboard; the teams tied for the Regional title last month, and Cranbrook edged Country Day 33-31 on Saturday to repeat as Lower Peninsula Division 3 champion at the University of Michigan.
And there’s also little difference in the minds of Cranbrook coach Grant Asher and Country Day mentor Jessica Stencel.
“We deserved second today," Stencel said. “They were definitely the mentally-tougher team. And maybe if the tournament was held tomorrow, it might have been different. But it really came down to if we would have taken one different flight, then it would have been a tie. We just had too many loose spots we couldn’t figure out.”
And the Cranes made the most of those opportunities.
“We knew it was going to be really tough,” Asher said. “We were evenly matched, but the girls played the big points really well and handled the pressure of the state championship really well.”
Among the flight winners for Cranbrook were Sienna Ilitch and Olivia Zhang, who repeated as champions at Nos. 3 and No. 4 singles, respectively.
“I think it had to be a little harder (to repeat),” said Ilitch, who was the top seed going into the tournament. “I had a tough match in the semifinals, and I had another tough match in the finals against (Melanie Bandara of) Country Day. She really stepped up and played hard. It was a good, competitive match.”
Ilitch and Zhang, both juniors, were in finals for the third consecutive year. For Ilitch, her victory Saturday helped ease the pain of her loss at the 2021 tournament.
“It might have been more exciting because my freshman year I lost in the final match of the day and we finished second,” she said. “This year, I ended up (clinching) the title for us.”
For one of Cranbrook’s seniors, Saturday’s final was all about nerves and keeping her teammates focused.
Inijie Gazayerli, one of Cranbrook’s co-captains, cheered on her team despite being sidelined by a recent case of mononucleosis.
“It’s surreal,” she said. “I mean, last season seems like yesterday, and I’m so proud of this team and what we've been able to accomplish.”
Grand Rapids Christian finished third with 23 points, led by Brynn Uchmann, who defeated Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Julia Gurne 6-1, 6-1 to take the No. 1 singles title.
Saturday’s Final marked the 12th year in a row either Cranbrook or Country Day hoisted the championship trophy.
In the end, it came down to the mental aspect.
“I’m usually able to keep calm, and I think that really helps me through really tough matches,” Zhang said.
PHOTOS by High School Sports Scene.