10 to Remember from 2011-12

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

July 11, 2012

Second Half's mission in this, its first school year, was to tell the best stories behind the scores and highlights of MHSAA competition.

Of course, every score and especially every championship has a story behind it. The MHSAA awarded 127 team and many more individual championships in 2011-12. Obviously we can't reflect on them all. But these 10 performances were loaded with prestige, drama and accomplishment that made them incredible stories for high school sports fans regardless of hometown or allegiance.

10. Grand Ledge gymnasts earn No. 5

The Comets had to fend off a charge by Canton, but won their fifth-straight MHSAA team title by 0.825 of a point with a final score of 149.400. The fifth-straight title tied the record set by Ludington from 1975-79 and extended Grand Ledge's first-place streak to 75 consecutive events. The next day, senior Christine Wilson and junior Sara Peltier swept the Division 1 and 2 individual titles, respectively.

9. West Bloomfield's Erin Finn joins elite

The Lakers junior said after her Division 1 cross country win that she'd dreamt of winning that title since she learned how to walk. She finished fourth as a sophomore before winning the championship by a little more than a second. After establishing herself as one of the top distance runners in the country in competitions over the winter, Finn finished the school year by winning the 3,200-meter run at the Division 1 Track and Field Final.

8. More and more Morley Stanwood

The Mohawks girls pulled off a rare feat this school year -- after winning their second MHSAA volleyball title in the fall, they added a first-ever girls basketball championship. Both efforts were keyed by seniors Alexis Huntey and Bailey Cairnduf, who had the most and second-most kills in the Class C Volleyball Final and then combined for 45 points and 25 rebounds in the basketball championship game.

7. One of the best ever?

That argument was made after Lansing Sexton claimed its second-straight Class B boys basketball championship in dominant fashion. The Big Reds finished 27-1, their only loss by a point to Detroit Pershing, and have won 74 games over the last three seasons -- tied for sixth-most in MHSAA history for that long of a stretch. Guards Denzel Valentine (Michigan State), Anthony Clemmons (Iowa) and Bryn Forbes (Cleveland State) all signed to play at Division I colleges this fall, with junior Jalen Hayes and freshman Trevor Manuel likely joining them in a few years.

6. Reed City's rocket

Coyotes junior Sami Michell established herself as one of the top hurdlers in MHSAA history at the Division 3 Final by becoming the first Lower Peninsula girl to win four events at a championship meet since Mason County Eastern’s Maria Shoup in 1979. She set Division 3 records in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jump, and her 300 time also was the best in MHSAA Finals history, regardless of division or class. She also won the 200.

5. Coast-to-Coast comeback

Top-ranked Grand Haven's latest run at an MHSAA championship seemed all but over when Grosse Pointe South led the Class A final by 18 points with just under 10 minutes to play. But Shar'Rae Davis' fullcourt sprint and score that began with 12 seconds to play gave the Buccaneers a 54-53 win and their first title. It was the third-longest comeback in MHSAA Girls Basketball Finals history.

4. Leading Lady(wood)

Livonia Ladywood had been a favorite to win its first MHSAA title all season -- with four-year pitcher Briana Combs in the circle. But when Combs couldn't finish the Semifinal because of an injury, rarely-thrown sophomore Lauren Hayes stepped in. All she did was finish that game and throw a three-hitter against Saginaw Swan Valley in the Final, while also getting three hits and driving in two of the team's four runs in the championship win.

3. A-Massa-ed much

St. Johns senior Taylor Massa finished off one of the most celebrated careers in MHSAA wrestling history with his fourth championship and not one loss during his high school career. Massa claimed the title at 171 pounds this year to go with others at 145, 152 and 160. He became the 15th in MHSAA history to win four titles, ranks 20th with 221 wins and seventh in the national record book for consecutive victories.

2. GPS goes national

Grosse Pointe South's girls running teams had arguably the most dominant school year in MHSAA history, first winning the Division 1 cross country title before doing the same this spring in track and field. And the Blue Devils did it with mostly the same nucleus contributing to both -- particularly juniors Hannah and Haley Meier, sophomore Kelsie Schwartz and freshman Ersula Farrow. Those four combined to run a national record time of 8:48.29 in the 3,200 relay at the Division 1 Final this spring.

1. Short walk, championship run

Second Half was created as a place to tell great stories, Cass Tech made it easy on the first day of the Football Finals. The Technicians arrived at Ford Field after a short walk from their school. They had never played in a Final before and were unranked entering the postseason. They arrived with a strong group of seniors, but also a freshman quarterback named Jayru Campbell who ended up throwing five touchdown passes in a 49-13 win over No. 2 and perennial powerhouse Detroit Catholic Central.

PHOTO: The Morley Stanwood girls basketball team prepares to celebrate as the final seconds tick off in the Mohawks' Class C Final win. (Click to see more photos from High School Sports Scene.)

Hollenbaugh Surpasses Older Sister to Net Quincy's Goal-Scoring Record

By Scott Hassinger
Special for MHSAA.com

May 28, 2024

QUINCY – Sami Hollenbaugh aspires to become a successful realtor one day, and has the next steps toward that goal mapped out.

Southwest CorridorBut she already has made a big impact in the world of high school girls soccer as Quincy's striker the last four years.

Entering last week's 8-0 Division 3 District Quarterfinal win over Springport, Hollenbaugh had scored a school-record 89 career goals. Sami's older sister Emily Hollenbaugh, a 2020 graduate, previously held the mark.

Hollenbaugh's exposure to soccer began as a 5-year-old in the local AYSO programs in Quincy and Coldwater. A year ago, Sami joined the Jackson Jaguars, a travel soccer team, to prepare for her senior year.

"My mom put all us kids into AYSO when I was younger. That's where it all started, and I was also playing softball back then. After a while, I decided just to play soccer, and I've stuck with it ever since,” Sami Hollenbaugh said. “I just like scoring goals,"

Another of her favorite aspects is getting her teammates involved.

"I enjoy other girls who don't have as many opportunities to get chances to shoot and score. I just always want to do what's best for my team," Hollenbaugh said.

Hollenbaugh's two biggest influences are her older sister and her mother Melanie Hollenbaugh.

Hollenbaugh (1) brings the ball upfield during a match."In my freshman and sophomore years, I compared myself a lot to Emily, but then I realized I didn't have to do (that) and just went out to be as competitive as I could,” Sami Hollenbaugh said. “My mom also keeps our stat book, and she's real good about keeping me upbeat and not letting me get down on myself during a match.”

Quincy (14-4-1) won the Independent Soccer League and looks to capture a second-straight District championship later this week. The Orioles' 2023 season ended with a 7-0 loss to Williamston in the Regional Semifinals.  

Hollenbaugh is one of four seniors on an 18-player roster dominated by underclassmen. Piper Eby, Grace Lindsley and Tessa Henry are the Orioles' other seniors.

"This year we have a lot of juniors, new girls and freshmen. It took us a little while to get where we are now, and we've improved a lot,” Hollenbaugh said. “Our midfield is very strong, and offensively we're getting more free balls. We spend an incredible amount of time working on shooting at the goal. I try to get as many reps at practice and at home as possible.”

After graduation, Hollenbaugh plans to study interior design at Michigan State University. Collegiate soccer is not on the radar, but she does plan on playing at the intramural level.

The real estate field has always interested her.

"I've just always enjoyed looking at homes. I go on the Zillow app a lot and have always pictured my family or myself living in a particular home," Hollenbaugh said.

Outside of soccer, Hollenbaugh is involved with National Honor Society, student council and is a member of Quincy's Varsity Club.

Olivet (14-3-3) squares off against Battle Creek Pennfield (13-5-1) in Thursday's other District Semifinal match. Winners will meet in Saturday's 10 a.m. title game with the champion advancing to the Williamston Regional.

"We had some early struggles while some of our younger players learned our system. If we can clean a few things up, I feel we have a good shot to keep advancing," said Quincy's eighth-year head coach Ivan Swift, who had been Hollenbaugh's only coach since she began playing the sport.

Eighth-year Quincy varsity girls soccer coach Ivan Swift has been Hollenbaugh's coach since she began playing soccer at age 5. "I started coaching AYSO soccer and have been Sami's coach through the various levels. About a year ago, I reached out and suggested to her that she should play travel soccer to get another coach's perspective. That experience has really helped her grow as a player. You can really see the improvement she's made this spring.”

Andy Hosmer, also head women's coach at Jackson Community College and Brooklyn Columbia Central, coached Hollenbaugh with the Jackson Jaguars.

"Sami is a very driven person. Records are meant to be broken, and I've tried to let her know all season just where she is at to accomplish those,” Swift said. “After she has graduated, I'll do the same for the other girls. Those kinds of situations help motivate your players to improve.”

Even a leg injury hasn't deterred Hollenbaugh from reaching her goals.

"Sami has battled a pulled right quad most of this season, but has only missed one match. It’s benefited her because now she's developed a good shot with her left leg when she needs to and continues to score. I think that just shows her level of determination," Swift said.

Freshman forward/midfield Laura Bostic is second in scoring for the Orioles with 22 goals, to go with 10 assists. "Laura will be a bright spot for years to come," Swift said.

Makenzie Maynard has 13 goals and four assists, Abby Hinds has nine goals and eight assists, and Sade Harges has scored six goals with three assists. Other Quincy standouts include Mackenzie Maynard, Ciaira Paul, Claire Robertson, Danica Swift, Adriana Welch and Ella Bartell.

"We call Abby 'Big Time' because she's got a real strong leg and distributes the ball very well. She takes most of our free and corner kicks and is kind've our point guard in the middle of the field," Ivan Swift said.

The Orioles are experienced on the defensive backline with three juniors playing key roles. Danica Swift, daughter of the head coach, is in her third varsity season as Quincy's starting goalkeeper.

Quincy's biggest wins this season came over Adrian Lenawee Christian 3-1 in conference play, along with a 4-1 victory over Brooklyn Columbia Central.

Scott HassingerScott Hassinger is a contributing sportswriter for Leader Publications and previously served as the sports editor for the Three Rivers Commercial-News from 1994-2022. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Quincy senior striker Sami Hollenbaugh, far right, celebrates with a teammate after scoring this season. (Middle) Hollenbaugh (1) brings the ball upfield during a match. (Below) Eighth-year Quincy varsity girls soccer coach Ivan Swift has been Hollenbaugh's coach since she began playing soccer at age 5. (Action photos by Troy Tennyson/Coldwater Daily Reporter; Swift headshot by Scott Hassinger.)