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Jason Schmitt is the editor of MIPrepZone.com, the high school sports website for The Oakland Press. He has served as the sports editor for a number of newspapers, including the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak and the Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens. In his time in the industry, he has covered every high school sport and has served a a beat writer for boys and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, hockey, wrestling, bowling and cross country.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Great start to the girls tennis season

OK, I've got to admit, it's been a great start to the 2012 season. As always, all of the county's best teams do not shy away from great competition. And so far, we've seen some big early-season matches.
But what I've been bummed out about is the fact that some county team's have endured some early-season injuries and illnesses. I feel bad for the girls, and their teams. Seaholm suffered a big blow when junior No. 1 Nancy Benda went down with a stress fracture in her left foot. It's yet to be seen if she'll make it back before the state tournament rolls around. Let's hope she heals quickly, but not so quick as she re-aggravates it.
Cranbrook, a team I consider the favorite to win a Division 3 state title, has had to play the early portion of its schedule without sophomore No. 1 Alexandria Najarian - the defending state champion at her flight. She's been battling a stomach illness and is in the recovery stage. Her coaches are hoping she begins to feel better and thinks she might return to the court as soon as next week.
Clarkston had to play a couple matches without sophomore No. 2 Lexi Baylis, who was battling an illness herself. The Wolves, who lost their first two matches of the season, have fought back to beat Rochester and West Bloomfield to right their ship.

Like I said we've seen some great matchups so far. Seaholm looked great in a 6-3 win over Clarkston last week. Marian beat six-time defending Division 2 state champion Forest Hills Northern at their own tournament last weekend - although I think the Huskies surprised a lot of people by finishing just a point behind the Mustangs.
And in what might come as the biggest surprise to me so far was Andover's 7-2 win over Seaholm Tuesday in what might go down as the match that determined the regular-season champion in the OAA Red. Coach Josh Molino's team dominated the singles, dropping just 15 combined games. Kerry Hu looked great at No. 1, as did Kristen Law, Erin Weingarten and Stephanie Podolsky at 2-3-4. The Barons also won three of five doubles matches against the Maples.
I jumped Andover six spots in my latest county rankings, up to No. 2. I wanted to move them to No. 1, but figured they'll be facing No. 1 Marian this next Wednesday. Can't wait for that match.

I'll be doing a tennis feature every Friday for The Oakland Press and MIPrepZone.com. This week I went out to Farmington Hills Mercy to do a story on senior Margaux Kabodian. Check it out if you get a chance. Our latest county rankings are at the bottom of the story.

To all the tennis coaches who have called in results to The Oakland Press so far this season, thank you so much. I've noticed an increase in the amount of scores called in. But we've always got room for more, and I want every girl and team to get their results published. So please let me know if there's anything I can do to help you submit your scores.
Our phone line is (248) 745-4775 and our email is prepsports@oakpress.com. If you want to cc me on the email, jason.schmitt@oakpress.com, that's great. That way I can make sure it is forwarded to the proper people.

I'll be back with another blog early next week, so stay tuned. And I encourage all coaches to keep in touch with me if you have anything you'd like me to know about your team and players. I think it's great to give them all the exposure we can. And I'm always looking for story ideas, so please email me and we'll see what we can do.

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