My take on the boys tennis regionals
I cover both boys and girls tennis here at The Oakland Press, as well as high school hockey. As anyone knows, these sports are very prominent at our schools and some of the best teams year in and year out compete for state championships. And boys tennis is no exception. In my blog posting on June 12, I broke down the number of champions and runners-up in all Oakland County sports, and boys tennis was near the top.
The downside of that is that the competition to get to the state finals is fierce. Some of our better teams do not even get a chance to play for a state title. There are a couple instances this fall where that's the case. Here's a little more on each of our regionals:
- It's unfortunate that the Division 1 regional at Rochester is so stacked. Brother Rice is seeded No. 1 at seven of eight flights and will of course make it out. The question is, will the Warriors leave any points on the table for the rest of the field to snatch up? Rochester Adams should have enough to get through as the second automatic qualifier, but the fight for a possible third qualifier (18 or more team points) is a good one. On paper, Stoney Creek - led by senior Nick Fiaschetti - is seeded in the top two at two flights. If the Cougars can avoid any major upsets, they may just earn enough to get through. West Bloomfield might just be on the outside looking in, barring an upset or two on their own part.
- The Novi regional should be an interesting one. Novi - ranked No. 1 in the state, is a shoe-in to get through, as is No. 4 ranked Northville. Catholic Central - led by its No. 1 player, Michael Dube' and No. 2 Michael Trupiano - should score enough points to get through as well. But there's little room for error for the Shamrocks, which are going through a bit of a rebuilding season.
- Over at Grosse Pointe South, there should be enough points available for Troy, Grosse Pointe South and Troy Athens to all get through. Troy is the top seed at every flight. And Athens' singles and GPS's doubles should be strong enough to get them 20-plus points. The only thing here is which team will finish runner-up to the Colts. I think the Blue Devils will prevail by the narrowest of margins.
- In Division 2, Andover will be the favorite at the North Farmington regional. Lahser and North Farmington will battle it out for second. The Knights beat the Raiders 5-4 in the regular season, but the teams were 4-4 through four-doubles. The match was pretty balanced. The difference could be whether North Farmington can get some big points in singles (Griffin Mertz at No. 1 for example) as opposed to Lahser scoring bigger in doubles (Nos. 2-3 for example). I picked Lahser to narrowly edge out the Raiders. But both qualify.
- No drama at all at Groves on Thursday. Both Groves and Seaholm will dominate the field. But for those interested, Groves beat Seaholm 5-4 in the regular season. But the eight-flight score was 5-3 in favor of the Falcons. Groves has a distinct advantage in singles, while Seaholm is slightly better in doubles. All but one match during the teams' first match were won in straight sets. Brandon Hermann and Austin Lessnau needed three sets to beat Seaholm's Alex Cross and Will Geller. Expect it to be a dual in the final. And I'm predicting a 4-4 tie this time around.
- A really competitive regional will take place in Fenton, where a few Flint Metro League teams will battle it out, along with Flushing. Holly, which won its 20th-straight league title two weeks ago, shoudl get through, along with Flushing. From there it's a crap-shoot. Brandon, Fenton and Swartz Creek finished 2-3-4 at the league meet, separated by four points total. Fenton was 5-1 in league play (behind Holly). It'll all come down to matchups, really. I think Fenton and Brandon have enough talent to earn an at-large spot, but will there be enough points? Brandon has Spencer Navarre. His regional championship should give the Blackhawks a leg up at that flight, but they'll have to avoid any early (first or second round) upsets if they want to get through.
- And just like the D-2 regional at Groves, the D-3 regional at Cranbrook will be a two-team dual. Country Day beat Cranbrook 7-1 in the regular season and the No. 1-ranked Yellowjackets are a lock to get back to defend their state championship from a year ago. The only question will be whether or not Country Day's Max Shanbrom can avenge his earlier loss to Cranbrook's Nithin Davuluri at No. 4 singles. If he can, the Yellowjackets might be seeded No. 1 at every flight at states.
- In case you missed it, Ann Arbor Huron beat Brother Rice 5-3 Tuesday. The Warriors had just jumped ahead of Huron in the state rankings this week. The Hurons won three of the singles matchups, which surprised me a bit. They lost all but four players from last year's state championship team, but must be peaking at the right time. The two teams split in doubles, with Huron getting wins a 1-2 and Brother Rice at 3-4.
- In a match that I've been anticipating all year long, Troy's Brett Forman beat Country Day's Max Fliegner 6-3, 6-4. Troy coach Brian Miska said "This is the Brett Forman I've been waiting to see all year long." Forman and Fliegner were 1-2 in my preseason rankings.
- Country Day capped off a perfect regular season this past weekend with an impressive showing at the Midland Dow Quad. The Yellowjackets beat the host Chargers 6-2, Ann Arbor Huron 5-3 and Port Huron 8-0. And they did it without No. 2 Sven Kranz and half of No. 3 doubles, Blake Burstein. Coach Josh Molino's team has now beaten Nos. 1-2-3-5 in Division 1; No. 1 in Division 2; No. 2-3-4 in Division 3; and No. 1-2 in Division 1. That's pretty much everyone. No doubt who the best team in the state is.
Labels: Ann Arbor Huron, Brett Forman, Brothe Rice, Country Day, Griffin Mertz, Max Fliegner, Max Shanbrom, Michael Dube', Michael Trupiano, Nick Fiaschetti, Nithin Davuluri, Novi, Spencer Navarre, Sven Kranz