West Iron Climbs Last Step To D2 Title

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

October 2, 2020


KINGSFORD — The West Iron County girls couldn’t have had a better ending to their tennis season Thursday as they earned their first Upper Peninsula Division 2 championship since 2006.

West Iron scored 13 points, followed by Munising with 12, Iron Mountain 11, Ishpeming nine, Gwinn five, and Norway and Ironwood with one apiece. The Wykons had finished runners-up the last three seasons.

Junior Kali Applin secured the title by taking a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 decision from Iron Mountain senior Arianna Morel at No. 2 singles on a chilly and windy day.

“It was a good match,” said Applin. “Coach (Joe Serbentas) told me we could share the title or be selfish and win it for ourselves. This is a big accomplishment for our team, and it feels great to win it for myself and the team. Dropping the second set was kind of a letdown, but I just tried to stay calm and play one point at a time.”

West Iron senior Tori Bociek became a four-time U.P. champion as she teamed with junior Madison Berutti in a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Iron Mountain sophomore Aziza Burgoon and junior Bella Brown in No. 1 doubles.

“It feels great to be a four-time U.P. champion,” said Bociek, who will be attending classes at Northern Michigan University next fall. “I was confident coming in, knowing we had beaten every team here pretty easily during the regular season. The season went real well. We improved a lot.”

Berutti kept an eye at the net while Bociek was hitting her shots.

“I was playing mostly at the net and let Tori hit the ball,” Berutti said. “Although, I hit some lobs over the net.

“The wind and cold didn’t bother us. We practiced in that every day. There was no need for us to adjust.”

Wykons junior Aurora Dahl was crowned champion in No. 3 singles following a 6-3, 6-0 triumph over Munising’s Jenna Mattson.

“I just wanted to make sure to get most of my shots in,” said Dahl. “I tried to angle my shots and leave the court open which gave me a few more options. The wind affected some of my serves. Otherwise, it wasn’t much of a factor.

“This is my first year playing singles. It was kind of a big adjustment. It was hard to get used to singles at first, but now I enjoy singles more.”

Munising’s lone flight title came at No. 3 doubles where Madeline Cole-Elizabeth Holloway topped Ishpeming’s Ashley Stille-Hailey Hyttinen 6-3, 6-2.

Iron Mountain senior Claire Mongrain gained her first U.P. title with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over West Iron senior Olivia Mazurek at No. 1 singles.

“I was definitely surprised by the margin of victory,” said Mongrain, who plans to attend Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay to major in dental hygiene. “We battled all season and had really close scores. I just tried to play one point at a time.

“The weather seemed to change every five minutes, typical of U.P. weather. I hit the ball long all the time. For that reason I prefer to hit into the wind. I couldn’t think of a better ending. I played great players this year. There were different rules because of the virus (Covid-19), but everybody was real good about it.”

Although disappointed in the outcome, Mazurek was gracious in defeat.

“I just had my head down, although I’m happy with the season we had,” she said. “I’m glad I made it to the championship match. She came out on fire. She was really good. I’m glad we at least got to play. Covid-19 affected everybody.”

Serbentas said the title was a long time coming.

“We had real good senior leaders,” he added. “Olivia has been a great asset to our program, somebody the girls look up to. Even though she didn’t win a championship today, Olivia was a great leader. Our No. 1 doubles were outstanding all season and Aurora made the transition from doubles to singles beautifully. The girls truly deserve to win it. This was a hard year with Covid-19.”

Iron Mountain also won No. 2 doubles with junior Danika Juul and sophomore Natalia Brown taking a 7-5, 6-3 decision from Munising’s Lori Mattson-Peyton Cotey.

“The girls did a great job,” said first-year Mountaineers’ coach Marcus Celello. “We have a lot of sophomores and I was happy to have the senior leadership. It was nice to see Claire come through and get a U.P. title. I didn’t play tennis in high school so this was a big learning experience for me. We can’t overlook how helpful our seniors were in my first year.”

Ishpeming took the remaining championships with Lily Thompson topping Gwinn’s Emma Clairmont 6-3, 6-2 in No. 4 singles and Addison Morton-Jenna Maki defeating West Iron’s Haille Bradshaw-Bailey Hoffart 6-4, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles.

“We had some girls who did very well,” said Gwinn coach Darcia Mattson. “This is the first time we’ve had one of our girls in the finals. Hopefully, we can build on this, and I really think we will. Having new courts in Gwinn and an assistant coach really helps.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) West Iron County’s Olivia Mazurek fires a backhand during a No. 1 singles match Thursday. (Middle) Iron Mountain’s Claire Mongrain sends back a volley at No. 1 singles. (Photos by Theresa Proudfit.)

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