High 5s: 5/8/12

May 8, 2012

We're a week away from our first MHSAA spring postseason events, and these contenders -- all reigning MHSAA champions -- have been playing at that elite level all season.

Katie Brozovich
Clarkston senior

Brozovich, a Division 1 all-state selection and MHSAA champion at No. 3 singles in 2011, is playing the top spot this season and continuing to shine. She downed Port Huron Northern No. 1 Taylor Sweeney 6-4, 6-1 in the championship match of Saturday's Holly Red and White Invitational, and Clarkston tied for first as a team. Brozovich has signed with Bowling Green State University and is 15-0. She comes from a tennis family -- her grandfather, father and aunt all play, and cousins Lizzie and Rae Brozovich won Nos. 3 and 4 singles for Port Huron Northern at Holly.

Secret to my success: “I condition a lot. I don’t get tired. I can run all day. I can just get to everything. I can keep pressure on opponents. What I’m working on too is every shot getting something on the ball. I try to work really hard on the court.”

I learned the most about tennis from: "My grandpa (Richard Brozovich) drilled me on the court. He knows so much about the game, and we play each other a couple times a week. He helps me condition. ... My coach Joe (Stafford, from Deer Lake Athletic Club) is really good with strokes. He knows my game inside an out."

I look up to: "My aunt Sue Kaleel (formerly Brozovich, Kaleel won four championships at Miami (Ohio) and has competed internationally). I model (my game) after her. She's extremely consistent, but also puts a lot of pressure on her opponent. That's what I want my game to be."

Dream match: "I would like to see (Pete) Sampras play (Roger) Federer right now. Just to know how the old game comes to play against the new style of play. The old strokes against the new."

Up next: Brozovich will study psychology at Bowling Green and hopes to eventually become a psychiatrist. Studies of the mind have always interested her, and like tennis run in the family -- her grandfather and uncle both work in the field.

(Click to read more)

Mike Nagy
Manistique senior

Nagy, a two-time Upper Peninsula MHSAA individual champion (2009 and 2011; he lost a two-hole tie-breaker at the 2010 Final), shot a pair of 36s to finish first at two recent home matches. He's signed with the University of Tennessee, and according to multiple reports will be only the second Manistique High grad to play any sport at the Division I college level since 1963. He owns his school's record of a 31 in a nine-hole match, shot when he was a sophomore, and he fired an 18-hole 66 at last spring's league tournament. Nagy also played basketball, and set a school record with six 3-pointers in a game this season.

Golf is my game: "I really enjoy the individual part of it. I would say ball-striking (is my strength), with my irons."

I learned the most about golf from: "Probably just on my own. I like to watch a lot of golf, lots of video. (My parents) like to watch it a lot more than they used to." 

I'd like to play like: "I'm a big Adam Scott fan. He has a really nice swing."

If I could pick three more for a foursome: "Adam Scott. And then between Annika (Sorenstam), Tiger (Woods) and Jack Nicklaus. I really liked watching Annika play. She made it look so simple. Tiger, obviously because of what he's accomplished. I'd like to see how he handles it up there." 

Up next: Nagy is considering a major in business. He's hoping to crack the Volunteers' lineup in his first season; there are eight players on the team, and five travel.

(Click to read more.)

Grosse Pointe South girls track and field

The Blue Devils are the reigning Division 1 MHSAA champion and again are led by distance runner Hannah Meier, who set the all-Finals records in the 1,600 and 800 meters last spring. But more is ahead for Meier and especially teammates Haley Meier, Ersula Farrow and Kelsie Schwartz; they've run in the 3,200 relay in 8:59.69, which would crush the MHSAA Finals record if they can do the same next month. (Click to read more.)

This spring's previous honorees

Team of the Month: Negaunee Girls Tennis

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

October 21, 2022

The Negaunee girls tennis team’s Upper Peninsula Division 1 Finals championship won Sept. 28 was its seventh over the last 10 seasons, to go with runner-up finishes the three seasons the Miners didn’t win it all during that time. 

So when coach Kyle Saari says this year’s team stands out among them, that’s actually saying quite a lot.

And what all of it says about his program is pretty defining as well. 

Negaunee is the fifth-biggest tennis school in the Upper Peninsula, but with an enrollment count of 414 has about 700 fewer students than Marquette and even about 235 fewer than the second-biggest tennis school, Escanaba.

And yet, the program may be on its way to getting even stronger coming off this season’s championship, won with 19 points and flight championships at Nos. 3 and 4 singles and Nos. 2 and 3 doubles and earning Negaunee tennis the MHSAA/Applebee’s “Team of the Month” honor for September. 

“We’ve been fortunate, really beyond the (last) decade, to just get solid groups of athletes out that want to compete. I think what happened, on the girls side anyway, is when we won our first Division 1 title in 2012, the next group that comes in wants to leave their mark and wants to do a little more,” Saari said. “When you have a solid group of leaders throughout the course of the last decade, it’s contagious with the freshmen and even trickles down to the middle school too.”

That might sound like an understatement given the success of the middle school tennis program last year, it’s first. More than 100 students attended, and the middle school has only about 450-500. The tennis program was for only sixth, seventh and eighth graders – so it’s fair to put an estimate at roughly 25 percent of the community’s middle schoolers had a racket in their hands.

They have plenty of standouts to look up to, as both Finals singles champions were freshmen and both doubles pairs finished the fall undefeated. Together, those six players are among 10 total starters who should be back next season. Negaunee will graduate only No. 1 singles Jordan Enright and No. 1 doubles Stella Harris.

Harris and sophomore Madison Frustaglio finished runner-up at the Final, and with No. 2 champs Olivia Lunseth and Sage Juntti and No. 3 winners Kallen Schultz and Madalynn Peters gave the Miners a comfortable predicament in August as Saari believed all six were capable of playing the No. 1 flight. As they powered to titles, Paytin Brunette and Autumn Ring finished out the strong doubles lineup with a runner-up Finals finish at No. 4. 

On the singles side, the freshmen pair of Rheana Nelson at No. 3 and Lilliana Saunders at No. 4 anchored like veterans, joining No. 2 singles runner-up Aubrey Johnson and Enright at the top as all eight flights scored at least one point at the championship tournament. 

Negaunee finished 13-0-1 in dual matches this fall, that lone tie coming midway through the season against more experienced Iron Mountain. The Mountaineers were on the cusp of victory when Nelson stepped in to seize the tie-saving point. 

She and Saunders, because of their inexperience, carried some uncertainty entering this season. They also ended up major reasons why this championship team will continue to stick out among the many the program has celebrated.  

“We felt pretty good about two freshmen stepping into our singles lineup. We knew they were athletic, and we knew they were high-character kids,” Saari said. “But at the same time, under pressure at the end of the year, you don’t know how they’re going to react. 

“Those are two (singles) titles, as time has really went on, it’s put into perspective how special those two flights were for us.”