#TBT: Before They Were Olympians

August 25, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Michigan athletes enjoyed another banner showing at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro that wrapped up Sunday. We cheered for them all – but paid special attention to a handful who previously competed in MHSAA sports before achieving more at the international level.

Much of the following was taken from a recent series of MHSAA Instagram posts that highlighted our state’s Olympians with MHSAA ties. Athletes are listed with high school and graduation year. 

Men’s Basketball

Draymond Green, Saginaw, 2008 – Green got a taste for championships in leading Saginaw to back-to-back Class A titles in 2007 and 2008 before starring for Michigan State University and now for the Golden State Warriors. He averaged nearly 10 minutes per game off the bench for the U.S. team, playing in all eight games during the undefeated gold medal march.

Women’s Swimming & Diving

Allison Schmitt, Canton, 2008 – Schmitt won the 200 and 500-yard freestyle championships at the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals in both 2006 and 2007 and continues to hold the all-Finals records in both events; she then went on to shine at University of Georgia. She helped the U.S. 800-meter freestyle relay to gold and the 400 freestyle relay to silver, bringing her personal medal count to eight over the last three Olympics.

Women’s Crew

Grace Latz, Jackson Northwest, 2006 – Latz played volleyball during her high school career at Northwest. She took up rowing at University of Wisconsin and helped her quadruple sculls team to a fifth-place finish in Rio.

Grace Luczak, Ann Arbor Pioneer, 2007 – Luczak also was a high school volleyball player and rowed on Pioneer’s team (although crew is not an MHSAA-sponsored tournament sport, some schools have teams) before going on to University of Michigan and then Stanford University. She finished fourth in the pair at Rio.

Ellen Tomek, Flint Powers Catholic, 2002 – Tomek played basketball and softball for the Chargers and also made the Olympics in 2008 after taking up rowing at Michigan. She finished in sixth place this time in doubles sculls after finishing fifth in Beijing.

Men’s Track & Field - Discus

Andrew Evans, Portage Northern, 2009 – Evans played football, ice hockey and participated in track & field for the Huskies, winning discus at the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals in 2008 and 2009. He finished 16th in qualifying at Rio, just missing the top 12 who advanced to the final competition.

Women’s Volleyball

Alisha Glass, Leland, 2007 – Glass remains arguably the top player in MHSAA volleyball history with records still for career kills, single-season aces and career aces (accomplished during the rally scoring era beginning in 2004). She led Leland to the Class D title in 2006 and then played at Penn State University – and this month set the U.S. team to a bronze medal in Rio.

Lauren Paolini, Saline, 2005 – Paolini was both a volleyball and basketball standout for Saline before moving on to the University of Texas. She served as an alternate for this Olympic team.

Additional Olympians with MHSAA ties

Cindy Ofili, Ann Arbor Huron, 2012, Great Britain – Ofili won three LP Division 1 championships and was on a winning relay in 2012 before going on to run at Michigan. She took fourth in the 100 hurdles in Rio.

Tiffany (Ofili) Porter, Ypsilanti, 2005, Great Britain – Porter still owns MHSAA LP Division 2 Finals records in the 100 and 300 hurdles and shares the record in long jump after winning six individual Finals championships over her four-year varsity career. Porter finished seventh in the 100 hurdles in Rio and also ran in the 2012 Olympics. She also attended Michigan.

Alex Rose, Ogemaw Heights, 2009, Samoa – Rose was the 2009 LP Division 2 champion in shot put before also competing at Central Michigan University. Like Evans, he also threw discus in Rio but did not qualify for the final with his top throw coming in 29th.

PHOTOS: (Clockwise from left): Allison Schmitt waves to the crowd during her last MHSAA Finals; Draymond Green is introduced before a Class A Final at the Breslin Center; Alisha Glass confers with a teammate during a Class D Volleyball Final; Portage Northern grad Andrew Evans.

MHSAA Winter Sports Start with Extended Basketball Schedules, New Wrestling Weights

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

December 13, 2022

The addition of two games to basketball regular-season schedules and a new series of wrestling weight classes are likely the most noticeable Winter 2022-23 changes as an estimated 65,000 athletes statewide take part in 13 sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.

Girls gymnastics and boys ice hockey teams were able to begin practice Oct. 31, with the rest of those sports beginning in November – including also girls and boys basketball, girls and boys bowling, girls competitive cheer, girls and boys skiing, Upper Peninsula girls and boys and Lower Peninsula boys swimming & diving, and girls and boys wrestling.

A variety of changes are in effect for winter sports this season, including a several that will be noteworthy and noticeable to teams and spectators alike.

Basketball remains the most-participated winter sport for MHSAA member schools with 33,000 athletes taking part last season, and for the first time, basketball teams may play up to 22 regular-season games. This increase from the previous 20-game schedule allows more games for teams at every high school level – varsity, junior varsity and freshman.

Another significant change has been made in wrestling, as the majority of boys wrestling weight classes have been adjusted for this season in anticipation of a national change coming in 2023-24. The updated boys weight classes are 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 144, 150, 157, 165, 175, 190, 215 and 285 pounds. Only 215 and 285 remain from the previous lineup. There is also one change to girls weight classes, with the 255 class replaced by 235 to also align with national high school standards.

A series of notable changes will affect how competition takes place at the MHSAA Tournament levels. In hockey, in addition to a new classification process that spread cooperative and single-school programs evenly throughout the three playoff divisions, the MHSAA Tournament will employ two changes. The Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) will be used to seed the entire Regional round, not just the top two teams, and prior to the start of Semifinals, a seeding committee will reseed the remaining four teams in each division with the top seed in each then facing the No. 4 seed, and the No. 2 seed facing No. 3.

Bowling also will see an MHSAA Tournament change, as the Team Regional format will mirror the long-standing Team Final with teams playing eight Baker games and two regular games at both levels.  And as also applied during the fall girls season, there is a new qualification process for divers seeking to advance to Lower Peninsula Boys Swimming & Diving Finals. In each of the three divisions, each Regional will be guaranteed 10 qualifiers for the Finals, with six more “floating” qualifier entries to be distributed to the Regionals that have one of the previous year’s top six returning Finals divers in their fields. If a team changes division from the previous season, any floating top-six spots are added to the six already allowed in the school’s new division.

A gymnastics rules change provides an opportunity for additional scoring during the floor exercise. A dance passage requirement was added in place of the former dance series requirement to encourage creativity and a more artistic use of dance. The dance passage requires gymnasts to include two Group 1 elements – one a leap with legs in cross or side split position, the other a superior element.

In competitive cheer, the penalty for going over the time limit in each round was adjusted to one penalty point for every second over the time limit, not to exceed 15 points. The new time limit rule is more lenient than the past penalty, which subtracted points based on ranges of time over the limit.

The 2022-23 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving Finals on Feb. 18 and wraps up with the Boys Basketball Finals on March 25. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Boys Basketball
Districts – March 6, 8, 10
Regionals – March 13, 15
Quarterfinals – March 21
Semifinals – March 23-24
Finals – March 25

Girls Basketball
Districts – Feb. 27, March 1, 3
Regionals – March 7, 9
Quarterfinals – March 14
Semifinals – March 16-17
Finals – March 18

Regionals – Feb. 24-25
Finals – March 3-4

Competitive Cheer
District – Feb. 17-18
Regionals – Feb. 25
Finals – March 2-3

Regionals – March 4
Finals – March 10-11

Ice Hockey
Regionals – Feb. 20-March 1
Quarterfinals – March 4
Semifinals – March 9-10
Finals – March 11

Regionals – Feb. 13-17
Finals – Feb. 27

Swimming & Diving
Upper Peninsula Girls/Boys Finals – Feb. 18
Lower Peninsula Boys Diving Regionals – March 2
Lower Peninsula Boys Finals – March 10-11

Wrestling – Team
Districts – Feb. 8-9
Regionals – Feb. 15
Finals – Feb. 24-25

Wrestling – Individual
Districts – Feb. 11
Regionals – Feb. 18
Finals – March 3-4

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.