Finals Preview: History in the Making

November 14, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Ten of 16 teams traveling to this weekend's Volleyball Semifinals are seeking their first MHSAA championships. Nine are hoping to advance to Saturday's title games for the first time.

And only Kellogg Arena regular Battle Creek St. Philip returns from last season's winners. But although the Tigers aren't among those going for first-time stardom, they're looking to make a little history as well; a seventh straight Class D title would be the second-longest such streak in any class in MHSAA volleyball history. 

Below is a look at all 16 teams playing this weekend. Class B and C Semifinals are Thursday, with Class A and D on Friday and all four Finals on Saturday. All four Semifinals and Finals will be streamed live and then archived at MHSAA.tvClick here for a full schedule of this weekend's games, plus links to brackets from every round of the tournament.

Tickets cost $6 for Semifinals and $7 for Finals, with a Semifinal-Final ticket available for $15.

(NOTE: Rankings are those published by the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association. Player statistics are through Regional Finals.)

Class A

44-16-1, No. 8
Coach: Aaron Smaka, sixth season (206-101-3)
League finish: First in O-K Red
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-0 over Rockford, 3-1 over honorable mention Grand Rapids Christian (Quarterfinal).
Players to watch: Abby Cole 6-5 sr. MH (567 kills, 176 blocks, .455 hitting %) Krysteena Davis, 6-0 jr. MH (364 kills, 108 blocks), Jami Hogoboom 5-10 jr. S (1,506 assists, 322 digs).
Finals forecast: Grand Haven is coming off its first Regional championship and didn't give up a game in the tournament until allowing Grand Rapids Christian one in the Quarterfinal. Cole, also a standout on the Buccaneers’ Class A basketball champion team in March, was the runner-up for the Miss Volleyball award and has committed to the University of Michigan.  

57-5, No. 3
Coach: Tracie Ferguson, fifth season (166-79-12)
League finish: First in Macomb Area Conference Red
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-1, 2-1, 2-0 and 2-0 over No. 10 Lake Orion, 2-0 over No. 4 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-0 over No. 6 East Grand Rapids, 2-1 over honorable mention Farmington Hills Mercy, 2-0 over Class B No. 2 North Branch, 3-0 over Class B No. 5 Marysville.
Players to watch: Carli Snyder, 6-1 jr. OH (863 kills, .405 hitting %, 615 digs, 174 aces), Megan Manierski, 5-11 jr. S (1,396 assists, 96 aces), Megan Downey, 5-8 sr. OH (269 kills, 496 digs).
Finals forecast: Macomb Dakota has beaten a number of the best teams in Michigan this fall, and earned four victories against Lake Orion – which beat Dakota 3-2 in last season’s Quarterfinal. Snyder is a two-time all-stater and has committed already to sign with the University of Florida. She and three other junior starters will likely make the Cougars the favorite for the 2013 championship as well.  

49-3-4, honorable mention
Coach: Amanda Yaklin, fourth season (132-61-20)
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association Central
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-1, 3-0 and 3-1 (District Final) over honorable mention Novi, 3-2 over No. 9 Livonia Churchill, 2-1 over Dearborn Divine Child.
Players to watch: Symone Abbott, 6-0 jr. OH (565 kills), Rebecca Martin, 5-10 sr. S (181 kills, 1,280 assists, 108 blocks, 280 digs).
Finals forecast: Northville steadily has improved under Yaklin from a team that went just 16-23-6 in her first season of 2009 to one that has reached 40 wins the last two seasons. The Mustangs also won the KLAA Kensington Conference (made up of the Central and South divisions) before falling to Novi for the overall league championship – although they then beat Novi in the District.

64-12-3, unranked
Coach: Jodi Manore, 28th season (1,677-281-48)
League finish: First in Southeastern Conference
Championship game history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2005), four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 2-0 over No. 9 Livonia Churchill, 2-0 over No. 4 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 3-1 over honorable mention Farmington Hills Mercy (Quarterfinal), 2-1 over Class C No. 1 Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Ellen Hays, 5-7 sr. L (1,208 digs), Taylor Foster, 5-10 sr. RH (379 kills, .305 hitting %, 143 blocks), Mackenzie Andrews, 5-7 jr. S (1,309 assists), Nicole Rightnowar 5-10 soph. MH (371 kills, 177 blocks).
Finals forecast: Bedford was unranked at the end of the regular season, but that’s obviously deceiving. The Kicking Mules pushed as high as No. 6 but finished with three losses over their final four matches while facing top competition. Manore is the second-winningest coach in MHSAA volleyball history, and has two more hitters who also put down more than 350 kills this fall. Hays was a Miss Volleyball finalist and has committed to Toledo. 

Class B

27-9-1, unranked
Coach: Sarah Schmitt, third season (47-25-1)
League finish: Tied for first in Detroit Catholic League AA
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-2 over honorable mention Pontiac Notre Dame, 3-1 over New Boston Huron (Regional Final), 3-1 over Haslett (Quarterfinal).
Players to watch: Christina Porada, 5-6 jr. L (717 digs), Megan Marcini, 5-3 sr. S (146 kills, 683 assists, .356 hitting %, 444 digs), Morgan Blair, 5-10 sr. OH (275 kills, 324 digs).
Finals forecast: Divine Child prepared for its tournament run by facing a number of tough teams – its losses were to Class A powers Lake Orion, Farmington Hills Mercy, Northville and Bloomfield Hills Marian, plus Class B Semifinalist Whitehall and Pontiac Notre Dame (in their first of two matches), among others. The Falcons are 23-4-1 since seeing some of those at the start of the fall, and boast an all-state second teamer from last season in Porada and an honorable mention in Marcini.

50-4, No. 1
Coach: Kellie Rowland, 15th season (785-115)
League finish: First in Capital Area Activities Conference White
Championship game history: Class B runner-up in 1995.
Best wins: 2-0 over No. 8 Cadillac, 3-1 over No. 6 Wayland (District Semifinal), 3-2 over No. 7 Holland Christian (Regional Semifinal), 3-2 over No. 3 Ada Forest Hills Eastern (Regional Final), 2-1 and 2-0 over Class C No. 2 St. Louis, 3-0 and 2-0 over Class A No. 8 Grand Haven, 2-0 over Class A honorable mention Grand Rapids Christian, 2-1 over Class A No. 7 Mattawan.
Players to watch: Emily Kutch, 6-0 sr. OH (611 kills, .404 hitting %, 101 blocks), Brooke Wieland, 5-6 sr. S (309 kills, 1,117 assists, 78 blocks), Olivia Davis, 6-1 sr. OH (363 kills, 73 aces).
Finals forecast: The Vikings have won eight Regional championships during two tenures under Rowland, who stepped away from the program from 2002-09. Like most of her teams over the years, the Vikings loaded up with tough competition from the west side of the state, and also beat Class C No. 9 Morley Stanwood in tournament play. Kutch was an all-state third teamer last season and along with Wieland and Davis have been varsity standouts all four years of high school.

67-7-1, No. 2
Coach: James Fish, 13th season (739-125-37)
League finish: First in Tri-Valley Conference East
Championship game history: Class B champion 2009, two runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 5 Marysville (Regional Semifinal), 2-0 and 3-0 (Regional Final) over honorable mention Mount Morris, 3-0 over honorable mention Pontiac Notre Dame (Quarterfinal), 2-0 over Class A honorable mention Farmington Hills Mercy, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class A No. 4 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-0 over Temperance Bedford, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class C No. 2 St. Louis.
Players to watch: Laura Wilson, 6-0 soph. OH (652 kills, .397 hitting %, 131 aces), Micaela Deshetsky, 5-10 sr. MH (549 kills, .326 hitting %, 104 blocks), Rachel Fish, 5-7 sr. L (113 aces, 808 digs).
Finals forecast: North Branch has made three championship game appearances over the last six seasons, and both Deshetsky and Rachel Fish were contributors on the 2010 team that finished runner-up to Fruitport. Fish also earned all-state honorable mention last season. The Broncos are 33-2 over their last 35 matches, and all seven losses were to Class A teams. They run through two setters, senior Ally Ruhlman and junior Jamie Barrows, who combine for nearly 10 assists per game.

43-11-2, No. 4
Coach: Ted Edsall, 16th season (526-264-29)
League finish: First in West Michigan Conference
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-0 over Dearborn Divine Child, 2-0 and 2-0 over Fruitport, 3-2 over No. 8 Cadillac (Quarterfinal), 2-0 over Class C No. 9 Morley Stanwood.
Players to watch: Autumn Christenson, 6-4 sr. MH (390 kills, .431 hitting %, 140 blocks, 300 digs, 90 aces), Hope Rillema, 5-9 sr. OH (200 kills, .340 hitting %, 402 digs), Alyssa Myers, 5-9 fr. S (990 assists, 90 aces).
Finals forecast: Like Divine Child – which Whitehall defeated earlier this season – the Vikings gained plenty of experience against tough teams despite taking a few losses including two from Grand Haven and one each from East Grand Rapids and Holland Christian. Rillema made the all-state first team last season and Christenson made the second, and they’re joined by 5-9 senior Bailey Seeger – the second-leading hitter this fall with 220 kills plus a team-high 120 aces. 

Class C

57-6-2, No. 3
Coach: Kathy Lehman, ninth season (325-125-31)
League finish: First in Big 8 Conference
Championship game history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 1992).
Best wins: 2-0, 2-0, 2-0 and 3-1 (Regional Semifinal) over No. 8 Bronson, 2-0 over No. 6 Pewamo-Westphalia, 2-0 over Class D No. 3 Beal City.
Players to watch: Maycee Brigham, 5-9 sr. OH (525 kills, .322 hitting %, 107 aces, 506 digs); Andrea Brigham, 5-10 sr. OH (573 kills, 441 digs), Julayne Brigham, 5-8 sr. S (1,323 assists); Sydney Martines, 5-10 sr. MB (334 kills, 134 aces, 123 blocks).
Finals forecast: Concord has given up just one game during the tournament so far and won 11 straight matches led in large part by the talented Brigham cousins. Andrea Brigham made the all-state first team last season and Maycee made the third, and those three plus senior defensive specialist Megan Redman also started on Concord's Class C semifinalist basketball team in March. All but eight of Concord’s wins this fall have been sweeps.

47-6, No. 1
Coach: Diane E. Tuller, 15th season (496-177-50)
League finish: First in Huron League
Championship game history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2010), two runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 5 Manchester (Regional Semifinal), 2-0 and 2-1 over Temperance Bedford, 3-1 and 3-1 over New Boston Huron.
Players to watch: Alexis Thompson, 5-8 sr. L/RH (117 kills, 96 blocks, 236 digs); Cassandra Haut, 6-2 soph. MH (438 kills, .377 hitting %, 241 blocks); Clare McMillan, 5-5 sr. S (889 assists), Taylor Vuich, 6-0 sr. MH (371 kills, 119 blocks).
Finals forecast: The Kestrels have made at least the Semifinals seven of the last eight seasons and finished runners-up last season after losing in five games to Morley-Stanwood. Thompson made the all-state first team as a libero after that run, and McMillan and Haut both earned honorable mentions. Although St. Mary has just one win over a ranked Class C team, that’s in large part because it played almost all Class A and B teams this fall – half of the Kestrels' losses came either to Class A No. 4 Bloomfield Hills Marian or No. 10 Lake Orion.

41-7-3, No. 10
Co-coaches: Heather Simpson and Rita Jones, first seasons (40-7-3)
League finish: First in Lake Michigan Conference
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 4 Calumet (Quarterfinal), 2-0, 3-0 and 3-1 over Charlevoix, 2-0 over Class D No. 3 Beal City, 2-0 over Class D No. 4 Leland.
Players to watch: Bridget Bussell, 6-1 sr. OH/MH (517 kills, .370 hitting %, 110 aces), Kaitlyn Hegawald, 5-10 sr. S (957 assists, 120 aces).
Finals forecast: Calumet in the Quarterfinal broke an 11-match sweep streak by the Gladiators, who have surged under Simpson and Jones. They were hired in July after coaching the junior varsity the last two seasons, an inherited all-state second teamer Bussell and third-teamer Hegawald. They are two of only three seniors on a team that could be back over the next few seasons – the second and third-leading hitters are among six underclassmen on the roster.

38-8-4, honorable mention
Coach: Teresa Rose, fifth season (155-52-26)
League finish: Tied for first in the Greater Thumb Conference West
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 2 St. Louis (Regional Final), 3-1 over No. 6 Pewamo-Westphalia (Quarterfinal). Players to watch: Miranda Fuerst, 6-1 sr. MH (404 kills, .399 hitting %, 128 blocks), Erica Treiber, 6-1 soph. MH (280 kills, 128 blocks, 233 digs, 87 aces), Chelsey Bitzer, 5-6 sr. S (843 assists, 186 digs).
Finals forecast: Four seniors anchor a lineup that won its second Regional title in five seasons, but was 15-21-6 only three seasons ago. USA has won 15 straight matches on the way to tying its longest run ever – the 2008 Regional title was the only other one in program history, but both have come under Rose. Fuerst made the all-state third team in 2011. 

Class D

71-2-1, No. 1
Coach: Vicky Groat, 15th season (843-170-74)
League finish: First in Southern Central Athletic Association
Championship game history: 17 MHSAA titles (most recent 2011), eight runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 4 Leland (Quarterfinal), 3-0 over No. 6 Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (Regional Semifinal), 2-0 over No. 10 Waterford Our Lady, 2-0 over No. 2 Mendon, 2-0 over Class A No. 1 Richland Gull Lake, 2-0 over Class B No. 8 Cadillac, 2-0 over Class B No. 6 Wayland, 2-0 over Class B No. 9 Grand Rapids South Christian, 2-0 over Class C No. 3 Concord.
Players to watch: Lenae Lesiow, 5-6 sr. S (1,193 assists, 237 digs); Amanda McKinzie, 6-0 sr. OH (700 kills, 429 digs, 130 aces, .360 hitting %); Sierra Hubbard-Neil, 5-9 jr. OH (535 kills, .360 hitting %, 524 digs, 90 aces).
Finals forecast: The Tigers have won the last six MHSAA Class D championships, and with another this weekend can pull within one of Marysville’s record eight titles in a row from 1997-2004. Two more wins also would give them the 10th most for one season in MHSAA volleyball history. And this is a history-making sort of team. McKinzie – who has committed to Virginia Tech – was named Miss Volleyball on Monday and will rank high in a number of all-time hitting categories, and Hubbard-Neil also made the all-state first team last season with Lesiow making the second. They and two more of this weekend’s starters also started in last season’s Final.  

44-10-1, No. 3
Coach: Kelly David, first season (44-10-1)
League finish: First in Highland Conference
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 10 Waterford Our Lady (Quarterfinal), 2-0 over Class C No. 2 St. Louis, 2-1 over Class C No. 6 Pewamo-Westphalia.
Players to watch: Addie Schumacher, 6-0 jr. MB (442 kills, .370 hitting %, 144 blocks, 389 digs); Monica David, 5-8 sr. MB (229 kills, .330 hitting %, 427 assists, 95 blocks, 345 digs); Jade Kennedy, 5-5 sr. S (768 assists).
Finals forecast: Three seasons ago, Kelly David set the Aggies into the Class D Semifinals with sister Monica and Kennedy on the bench as freshman call-ups to varsity. Now they’ll try to take the program into its first championship game. Coach David can call on a number of players to contribute, with six totaling at least 100 kills and sophomore Jordan Schneider joining two others with at least 90 blocks. Junior hitter Melanie Schafer has been a defensive ace with 673 digs.  

48-4-3, No. 5
Coach: Steve Watson, 10th season (278-148-43)
League finish: First in Ski Valley Conference
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-0, 3-1 and 3-1 (Regional Semifinal) over No. 8 Pellston, 3-0 over honorable mention Crystal Falls Forest Park (Quarterfinal).
Players to watch: Mariah Ehrke, 5-8 jr. OH (389 kills, 548 digs), Megan Estep, 5-7 sr. S (915 assists, 90 aces, 290 digs), Emily Estep, 5-3 sr. L (333 digs).
Finals forecast: Onaway has won five District titles under Watson, but this will be the first Semifinal appearance in program history – and comes only two seasons after it finished 20-21-6. Ehrke is the team’s tallest player, but the Cardinals are loaded with three more hitters who have at least 190 kills this fall. And a pair of sisters provides plenty of defensive support and setup: Emily Estep made the all-state third team last season and Megan earned honorable mention.

47-6-1, No. 2
Coach: Kathy Trenary, 19th season (675-290-123)
League finish: First in St. Joseph Valley League
Championship game history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2001).
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 7 Ann Arbor Rudolf Steiner (Quarterfinal), 3-0 over No. 9 Adrian Lenawee Christian (Regional Final), 3-1 over Class C No. 8 Bronson, 2-1, 2-0 and 2-0 over Schoolcraft.
Players to watch: Amanda Lovell, 5-9 sr. OH (427 kills, .344 hitting %, 86 aces), Brooke Howard, 5-10 jr. MH (344 kills, .348 hitting %), Loryn Baughman, 5-8 jr. S (1,055 assists).
Finals forecast: Like a number of the other top small-school teams, Mendon played most of its matches against much larger opponents this season, and that competition has paid off with another long run that began with a 12th-straight District title. Lovell made the all-state third team in 2011 and is one of four hitters with at least 200 kills this fall. 

PHOTO: Temperance Bedford's Nicole Rightnowar (5) and Kayla Gwozdz (15) block a kill attempt during their team's 3-0 Class A Regional Final win over Dearborn. (Click to see more from

JoBurg 3-Sport Great Capping Career Filled with All-State Honors, Team Trophies

By Tom Spencer
Special for

April 5, 2024

It won’t be hard for Jayden Marlatt to remember opening day on the softball field from any of her four years at Johannesburg-Lewiston.

Northern Lower PeninsulaAs a freshman, she missed the opener due to needing to quarantine. Her sophomore and junior years started on the road because the Cardinals’ field was under construction.  

This season the Cardinals will open up — weather permitting — on their brand-new field, hosting Mio on Monday, April 8.  Marlatt is slated to be the starting pitcher again and add to her school record collection.

While Johannesburg-Lewiston is looking forward to playing on the new diamond, Marlatt and her teammates have high hopes of finishing the season almost 200 miles south. They’re looking to get back to Michigan State University – the site of the Division 4 Semifinals and Final.

The Cards have had their sites on that goal since they fell 4-2 to Mendon in last year’s Semifinal at Secchia Stadium. The loss ended a 30-4-1 campaign that saw the Cardinals play every game on the road for a second consecutive year, but come up only one victory short of a first championship game appearance.

The trip to East Lansing also came after the Cards won the program’s first District title since 2008 and advanced to the Semifinals for the first time since 1981.

“It has been a long two seasons on the road,” said eighth-year head coach Kim Marlatt, noting the team utilized a Little League field for practices during the stretch. “They’ve been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, so it is excited to get going.”

Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. The new field isn’t the only new things this spring. The Cardinals will have a junior varsity team for the first time during the Marlatt’s tenure. The JV squad is coached by Ryan Marlatt, who has been serving the program the past eight years as assistant coach. He also has been the head girls basketball coach at JoBurg the past two seasons.

The Marlatt coaches are the proud parents of Jayden, who continues to garner recognition as perhaps the greatest athlete in Johannesburg-Lewiston’s history. 

The three-sport star had a huge hand in all that JoBurg accomplished last season leading the team in batting average (.670), home runs (13) and runs batted in (61). As the team’s ace pitcher, she collected 249 strikeouts and compiled a 1.32 ERA.

“Jayden has put in the hard work,” Kim pointed out.  “She is a very humble athlete. ‘She doesn’t like to talk about herself. She likes to compete, and she likes to be on the top of her game for her teammates.”

Jayden has been named all-conference and all-state in softball, basketball and volleyball nearly every season over her four years at JoBurg. She’s led her teams to Ski Valley Conference, District and Regional titles along the way.

She’s also been named Player of the Year by multiple publications. And she’s a front runner to be voted the Most Valuable Player of the Ski Valley Conference in softball. Earlier this year, league coaches voted her the MVP for both basketball and volleyball.  

“The Ski Valley never used to vote on an MVP,” Ryan Marlatt said. “Hopefully she can add the triple crown and get softball this year.”

Jayden Marlatt, who has played all three sports all four years, acknowledged softball is perhaps her most treasured, and she’ll continue in that sport at Ferris State. Her career total of more than 500 strikeouts, and her 14 home runs last season, are both JoBurg school records. "I like them all but probably softball,” she confirmed when asked to name her favorite sport.

She averaged 12 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and four steals per game this winter helping the Cards basketball team to a conference runner-up finish. She was key to JoBurg's ability to put a 12-game winning streak together, and she topped the 1,000-point career mark along the way.

Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season.Her outstanding senior year on the basketball court and this spring’s possibilities nearly vanished as the volleyball season ended.

She suffered what looked to be a serious lower-leg injury in the final game of the JoBurg volleyball season. “She finished in the emergency room,” Kim Marlatt said.  

Diagnosed a high ankle sprain, it was an aggravation to an injury from her junior year in basketball. She wasn’t quite at 100 percent on the basketball court this season until the holiday break. She’s starting the softball season healthy, though.

Before the injury, Jayden led the Cards to their third volleyball conference championship over the last four years. After becoming JoBurg's all-time kills leader during her junior season, and with many of her teammates from her first three seasons graduating, Jayden had to fill a variety of roles while anchoring the offense from her outside hitter spot.

She ended up leading the team in both kills with 421 and digs, with 431, in her final season on the volleyball court. And she is listed among MHSAA’s all-time leaders in kills for a single match and career.

It’s more than Marlatt’s stats that stand out for Kristine Peppin, the school’s volleyball coach the past 15 years.

“It is not about the size of the school or the size of the player, it’s the heart that they have inside,” she proclaimed. “This girl would be a successful player on whatever team she was on. 

“Yes we’re a small school, small town,” she continued. “That kind of leadership and heart and drive to be the best is what’s given her that success.”

Marlatt’s work ethic is second to none, Peppin noted. She never saw Jayden give less than a “1,000” percent in practice or games in her career. 

Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt.“She’s a super hard worker and extremely modest for the kind of skill she possesses and the success she’s had,” Peppin said. “Her teammates think it’s amazing to be on her team.”

Marlatt’s volleyball skills caught the eye of at least one of her conference opponents’ coaches back in junior high. Ron Stremlow was performing one of his many coaching duties for Fife Lake Forest Area when he first saw Jayden on the volleyball court.

“I could tell then this girl was somebody special,” said Stremlow, who became one of the winningest coaches in state volleyball history with the Warriors. “When she got in high school, it just took off.

“She puts the time into it, and she works hard,” Stremlow continued. “Kids like that get what they deserve – they work for it.”

Stremlow, now retired, also acknowledged he’s enjoyed being able to watch the hard-throwing Marlatt on the softball field the last couple of seasons as Forest Area hosted the Cardinals consecutively due to JoBurg’s lack of a home field.

It’s something he’ll have to travel to do this year though, as JoBurg is scheduled to host the Warriors on April 15.

The Cardinals also will host a Regional on their new field June 8. The winners of District play at Rogers City, Harbor Springs, St. Ignace and Gaylord St. Mary will participate.

To play in the Regional, the Cards will have to emerge from the Rogers City District featuring the host Hurons, Atlanta, Hillman, Onaway, and Posen.

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Jayden Marlatt drives a pitch during softball season. (2) Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. (3) Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season. (4) Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt. (Action shots by Dylan Jespersen/Petoskey News-Review; family photo by Breya Domke.)