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Jason Schmitt is the editor of, 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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Did the MHSTeCA get it right?

Quite often when organizations hand out awards, or name honor teams, there may be a bit of ... well ... I don't want to say controversy, at least not in this case. But I would say the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches' Association had a tough decision to make when nominating the finalist for the Miss Tennis award in Division 1.
There were really just two candidates worthy of consideration Grand Ledge's Hailey Barrett and Clarkston's Katie Brozovich. The Division 1 coaches decided to give Barrett the nod. She went on to unanimously win Miss Tennis over the finalists from Divisions 2-3-4.
Now I made it a point to try and talk to some tennis coaches to try and understand what coaches are looking for when selecting a finalist. The award is truly a career achievement looking at what a player has done over the course of her high school career. Now both Barrett and Brozovich have achieved a lot in their four years. Both have tremendous career records word has it Barrett has lost less than 10 matches, while Brozovich has lost just four.
Now I was told that a couple of the distinguishing factors that gave Barrett the edge included the fact that she played No. 1 singles all four years at Grand Ledge which plays out of the Capital Area Activities Conference-Blue division. The Comets face the likes of Okemos, East Lansing and Mason.
Another factor was that Barrett reached at least the Division 1 semifinals in each of her four years - making it to the title match in 2010 as a sophomore. I looked into this and she did reach the semifinals in 2009, 2010 and 2012, but lost in the quarterfinals last year.
Clarkston senior Katie Brozovich
Those were the two things that the coaches felt gave Barrett the edge over Brozovich, who played No. 3 singles her freshman and junior years, No. 2 singles as a sophomore and No. 1 this year.
Now I have to admit, reaching the semifinals three times is impressive. And it does warrant serious consideration for the nomination. Brozovich reached the championship match in each of her last three seasons (at No. 2-3-1 singles). She won the state title at No. 3 in 2011.
This year she finished 26-1 and was the state runner-up at No. 1 singles. She beat Barrett in the semifinals. That was their only head-to-head matchup in high school play.
Going back to the fact that Barrett played No. 1 all four years at Grand Ledge. Nice, but Grand Ledge is no Clarkston. I know you can't do this, and some would argue that it really isn't a valid point, but if Barrett went to Clarkston High School, not only would she play a far superior schedule, she would not have played No. 1 singles all four years.
She lost to Clarkston's No. 1, Nicole Janek, her freshman year at the state finals, 6-3, 6-3. So she wouldn't have played No. 1 that year (Brozovich was No. 3 that season). It's conceivable to think she would have beaten Gabby Spindler and Brozovich out in 2010 (she beat Spindler soundly in the state finals that year).
But these last two years, who knows. Spindler crushed the same girl that beat Barrett at the state finals (Midland Dow's Daniella Patton) in 2011. And this year, well, Brozovich beat Barrett head-to-head.
Again, it's impossible to predict how the lineups would have shaken out had a player like Barrett played at a school like Clarkston, which has made a name for itself these past couple years. And it's not up to the coaches to think like I do.
But I did take the time to think about these things. In the end, I cannot disagree with the committee's decision to select Barrett as the finalist in Division 1. She is a deserving young lady.
But I at least wanted to point out that Brozovich was equally deserving. Let's not forget that.

  • OK, I'm wrapping up my all-county tennis teams and hope to run them in The Oakland Press this weekend and on MIPrepZone as well. They'll probably appear online the night before they appear in the paper. I'll try to let all the coaches know a day in advance of when they'll run in the paper, so everyone interested can go out and pick up a copy for grandma and grandpa.
  • Also, if you didn't see my writeup on the all-state selections, please do HERE. It was another great year for county players, as 36 players/teams received all-state first-team honors.

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