10 to Remember: Spring 2013

June 25, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Nine teams won their first MHSAA championships this spring. Birmingham Brother Rice's boys lacrosse team won its ninth in a row. 

And those are only among the toppers of the long list that made memorable moments during this season's Finals, which finished up the school year two weekends ago.

Locking down the 10 most significant performances is impossible. But endeavoring to do so, here are one person's guess at those that will continue to be discussed most in the years to come. 

Among those that just missed this list: Brother Rice boys lacrosse, St. Ignace's girls track and field team after winning its fourth straight team title, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett's baseball team after its extra-innings Final win over Beal City, Grandville Calvin Christian's girls soccer team after winning a rematch of last season's Division 4 Final and Port Huron Northern's girls tennis team after it emerged from a loaded field to win the Lower Peninsula Division 1 title.

Sami Michell Shines Once More

In her final high school meet, Reed City senior Sami Michell won four more MHSAA Finals individual titles to finish her career with 12 – two more than the previous Lower Peninsula record. A year after becoming the second female to win four events at one Finals meet, she did so again by finishing first in the 100 and 300-meter hurdles, the 200 dash and the long jump. She scored 40 points to claim the team runner-up trophy for her school. Click to read more.

Best Class of All-Time?

That could be the argument for this season’s girls track and field seniors, as twins Hannah and Haley Meier and Erin Finn joined Sami Michell, Detroit Country Day's Kendall Baisden and a host of others in finishing their careers. The Meiers already are members of a national record-holding relay (which set its milestone in 2012), and Hannah won two more Division 1 individual titles (setting all-Finals records) while Haley placed in the same two races and joined her sister on two winning relays. West Bloomfield’s Finn, considered as well one of the nation’s top high school distance runners, finished third to the Meiers in the Division 1 1,600 before cutting nine seconds off her 2012 time in setting an all-Finals record in the 3,200. Click to read more.

Warriors Earn First Title for Winning Coach

Bay City Western’s baseball team strung together two 1-0 shutouts by pitchers Brett Adcock and then Connor Foley to claim its first MHSAA baseball championship – and the first to go with coach Tim McDonald’s other 563 wins over the last 21 seasons. The 1-0 championship game victory over Brother Rice was Western's 35th straight of the season; Western finished 42-2. Click to read more.

Gull Lake Soccer Makes Mark

Richland Gull Lake hadn’t played in a girls soccer Final since 1999, but survived two overtimes against reigning champion Bloomfield Hills Marian to win the Division 2 championship game 1-0. The title was Gull Lake’s first since 1992 and came against a program that not only won in 2012, but three of the last five Division 2 championships. Click to read more.

Upper Peninsula Ace Shoots Record Round

Snow and rain put a damper on a good portion of the girls golf season in the Upper Peninsula this spring. But no U.P. female golfer has ever finished as strongly as Marquette’s Avery Rochester. She claimed her second straight individual Finals championship with a U.P. Finals-record 69, which was three under par at Portage Lake Golf Course in Houghton. Her score also was just one more stroke than the all-Finals record of 68 shot by Grandville’s Stacy Snider in 1998. Click to read more.

7 ... 2 ... 1 ... Champion Tecumseh

Tecumseh entered the MHSAA Tournament after finishing the regular season an honorable mention in the Division 2 softball coaches poll. But the Indians defeated No. 1 Stevensville Lakeshore in the Quarterfinal, reigning champion and No. 2 Livonia Ladywood in the Semifinal and No. 7 Saginaw Swan Valley in the Final to claim their first championship since 2008. Click to read more.

Bishop Foley Sets Baseball Bar

Madison Heights Bishop Foley claimed its third straight Division 3 baseball championship to become the first in MHSAA baseball history to win that many consecutive titles. Bishop Foley is 112-8-1 over the last three seasons and finished 35-2-1 this spring. The Ventures outscored their Bailey Park competition by a combined 18-5 over Finals weekend – getting junior Garrett Schilling to 15-0 for this season and 31-0 for his career with a 6-0 Semifinal win. Click to read more.

Done Deal for Dundee

The Dundee softball team eliminated two-time reigning champion Clinton on the way to Bailey Park this spring, and then beat three-time champion Unionville-Sebewaing in the Division 3 Final to claim its first MHSAA championship in the sport. In the process, Dundee finished 45-1 – setting an MHSAA record for wins in a softball season. Click to read more.

Troy Moves Up to No. 1

After two-straight Division 1 runner-up finishes, Troy earned its first girls soccer championship since 2003 with a 2-1 Final win over Grandville. The Colts had been outscored a combined 3-0 in the last two MHSAA Division 1 Finals, and began this season 3-6-2 before rattling off 15 wins and a tie on the way to claiming the championship. Click to read more.

Tie-Breaker After Heart-Breaker

The Battle Creek Lakeview boys golf team had finished one stroke behind Birmingham Brother Rice at the 2012 Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final, and found itself tied with Plymouth this month after the final round was complete. But thanks to a fifth-player tie-breaker, Lakeview claimed its first MHSAA championship since 2008. Click to read more.

Pioneer Piles Up Points From All Over Lineup to Claim 3rd-Straight Title

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

June 3, 2023

HOLLAND – Juliana Pullen made her grandpa proud at Saturday’s Lower Peninsula Girls Tennis Division 1 Final. 

The Ann Arbor Pioneer senior won her first state championship at No. 3 singles with her grandpa and coach, Tom Pullen, looking on.

Her victory helped the Pioneers win their third-straight team title ahead of runner-up Troy at DeWitt Tennis Center.

Ann Arbor Pioneer finished with 32 points, while Troy had 25.

“I'm glad I was able to live up to the expectations because anything could've happened, so I’m just glad things worked out,” Juliana Pullen said. “There was a lot of pressure, especially with our history as a team and being the coach’s granddaughter. A lot of pressure, but I’m glad I was able to pull through.”

Pullen, the top seed and lone senior on the team, closed her season with a perfect record as she ousted Ann Arbor Skyline’s Maddie Slade in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0.

“That was very satisfying since she is my granddaughter,” Tom Pullen said. “It was nice to see her end her career with a state championship.”

Juliana Pullen, who will play at Kalamazoo College, had an impressive comeback in the semifinals after dropping the first set.

Ann Arbor Skyline’s Sari Woo returns a volley during her No. 1 singles match.“Everybody at this tournament are great players,” she said. “The girl I played in the semis was a fantastic player, and the same with the finals. Everyone was playing extremely well, and I’m happy to have pulled through and I’m super proud of my team.”

Tom Pullen said a talented and balanced lineup in both singles and doubles helped the Pioneers prevail.

“It takes effort from every member of the team, and this is what made it possible for us,” he said. “We got points from everybody, and Troy had a couple flights where they couldn't get as many points. We had a team that was strong from top to the bottom, and that’s what it takes to win a state championship.”

Pioneers’ top-seeded freshman Sophia Liang joined Pullen as a flight champion with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Clarkston’s Charlotte Partchenko at No. 4 singles.

Liang also finished the season undefeated.

“Being the No. 1 seed you have some pressure, but have to learn to relax and enjoy it,” she said. “At the end of the day it's all about the work and memories that matter the most.

“I just wanted to come out here and play my game and enjoy it. It feels even better to know that the whole team can come together and win, and it’s a nice feeling that we could keep this going.” 

Ann Arbor Pioneer also claimed a flight title at No. 4 doubles as junior Noa Gluskin and freshmen Jessica Primus, seeded third, rallied to defeat Novi (4-6, 6-4, 6-1).

“I’m so proud of our No. 4 doubles,” Juliana Pullen said. “One is a freshman and the other one was an alternate for two years, so this was their first year on varsity and they won.”

Troy, which finished third a year ago, dominated in doubles as three flights captured championships.

“They played some very high-level tennis today,” Troy’s assistant coach Susie Moceri said. “We asked, and they delivered.

“Our head coach, Brian Miska, is in the hospital with his wife and he could not be here to watch all the work he has put into this team, but in his absence they really delivered.”

Senior Grace Zhu and junior Nika Tananko captured a straight set (6-2, 6-2) win over Bloomfield Hills at No. 1 doubles, while seniors Varsha Penumalee and Vienna Thieu upset the top-seeded Ann Arbor Pioneer tandem 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 at No. 2 doubles. 

Troy’s Grace Zhu sends back a shot at No. 1 doubles.Juniors Hannah Lee and Michelle Baik outlasted Ann Arbor Pioneer’s top-seeded team, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to win at No. 3 doubles.

Ann Arbor Skyline’s Sari Woo won at No. 1 singles with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Rochester Adams’ Nicole Fu.

Woo, a junior, did not drop a set en route to her first championship. She was a finalist as a freshman as well.

“I’m pretty excited,” Woo said. “I was a little stressed out during my match, so I feel relieved right now. She played really well, but this means a lot and I’m grateful for everyone who stayed to watch me.”

Fu, a sophomore, upset two-time No. 2 singles champion Elise Van Wieren of Pioneer in the No. 1 semifinals. 

Bloomfield Hills’ Raegan Tomina made the most of her final high school tournament and won at No. 2 singles as a third seed. She defeated Rochester Adams’ Katie Fu, 7-5, 6-0. 

“It was just an amazing win for me because I’m a senior and this is literally my last competitive match ever,” Tomina said “It just means a lot because I’ve worked so hard.”  

Tomina dropped the first set in her semifinal against Jenison’s Marta Gomez, but rallied to win the final two sets and move on.

“I wasn’t even supposed to win my semifinal match, and after that I went into the finals just to have fun,” Tomina said. “I have nothing to lose, and I just played like that and I played with confidence and that’s what I think helped me.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Ann Arbor Pioneer celebrates its LPD1 team championship Saturday at DeWitt Tennis Center. (Middle) Ann Arbor Skyline’s Sari Woo returns a volley during her No. 1 singles match. (Below) Troy’s Grace Zhu sends back a shot at No. 1 doubles. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)