We had champions upon champions upon champions last week, whether they were winners of MHSAA Finals in cross country and soccer, Districts in volleyball or league champs in swimming and diving.
Girls cross country
Favorites make good: Reigning individual champions Erin Finn of West Bloomfield, Julia Bos of Grand Rapids Christian and Kirsten Olling of Breckenridge all repeated Saturday at Michigan International Speedway, with Macomb Lutheran North's Gina Patterson joining the group. Second Half talked to all four. (Division 1) (Division 2) (Division 3) (Division 4)
Boys cross country
Taking two titles: Highland Milford and Concord won both the MHSAA Lower Peninsula team championships in their respective divisions Saturday and also had the top individuals in those races. Second Half provided same-day coverage from every race. (Division 1) (Division 2) (Division 3) (Division 4)
Headed west: A year after Detroit-area teams claimed all four MHSAA LP boys soccer championships, Grand Rapids area teams took back three. East Kentwood, Hudsonville Unity Christian and Grand Rapids South Christian won titles, while Hamtramck Freedom International kept one on the east side of the state with its first Finals win. Second Half covered them all. (Division 1) (Division 2) (Division 3) (Division 4)
Hang that banner: Bay City John Glenn won its first volleyball District championship in the 47-year history of the school, beating Essexville-Garber in four sets to claim a Class B title. John Glenn had to come back after dropping the first game. (Bay City Times)
Hang that banner, part II: Three Rivers also won its first volleyball District championship, downing Vicksburg in four games to claim the Class B championship. (Sturgis Journal)
Copper Kings, once again: After finding itself only two points from the District championship in 2011, and then giving up the final five to lose it, Calumet defeated rival Houghton in three games to take back the trophy after two straight Houghton wins. The Copper Kings are ranked No. 4 in Class C. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette)
West Iron ends near-decade of dominance: Iron River West Iron County had last won a District title in 2002, before nine straight by rival Iron Mountain. But the Wykons knocked out the Mountaineers in a Semifinal and came back from match point to score the final five and beat Ironwood for a Class C championship. (Escanaba Daily News)
Swimming and Diving
Holland still rules: Coming off their first MHSAA championship in 2011, the Dutch continue to roll and piled up seven O-K Green records in winning that league championship meet. Cassie Misiewicz and Holly Morren each set two individual marks. (Holland Sentinel)
Double Dow: Midland Dow won the Saginaw Valley League championship meet with 638 points, more than double that of the runner-up. The title was Dow's seventh straight. (Midland Daily News)
Longtime Napoleon coach steps down: Todd Anderson announced his resignation after running the program since 1990-91. His father Don Anderson started the program in 1967. (Jackson Citizen-Patriot)
Forman is Mr. Tennis: Troy senior Brett Forman, the MHSAA Division 1 champion at No. 1 singles as a sophomore and runner-up this fall, was named Mr. Tennis by the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association. He finished his career with a 77-8 record. (Oakland Press)
Story of the Week
Kirsten fights on: A little more than a year ago, doctors found cancerous tumors throughout Kirsten Longstreth's body, including multiple in her lungs. But the Beaverton senior had fought back to nearly knock the cancer completely out, and while continuing to play sports including volleyball this fall. (Midland Daily News)
Sophia Wagner ♦ Escanaba
Senior ♦ Gymnastics
In just her team’s second competition this season, Wagner set program records with a 9.8 on floor exercise and 37.380 all-around to finish first in both at the Escanaba Elks Invitational. The floor exercise record topped the previous Escanaba-best 9.7 scored by current senior teammate Sophie Lehto last season.
Escanaba’s gymnastics program has made major statewide strides over the last half-decade, and Wagner reached the Finals podium last season tying for fifth on Division 2 balance beam with a score of 9.025 while also tying for 22nd on vault. The week before, Wagner helped lead Escanaba to a sixth-place Regional finish against a field that included the last two Finals team champions. She also played tennis and was part of the No. 3 doubles runner-up as Escanaba shared the Upper Peninsula Division 1 team title this fall, and she finished second in pole vault and ran on the seventh-place 400-meter relay in the spring as Escanaba finished third at the UPD1 Girls Track & Field Finals.
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Past 2023-24 Honorees
Dec. 1: Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24: Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17: Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10: Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27: Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20: Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13: Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5: Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29: MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22: Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15: Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8: Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1: Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report
(Photos courtesy of Victory Video and Photography.)