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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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

State tennis finals - Divisions 2-3

Sorry it's taken me a couple days to catch up. Didn't want anyone to think I had forgotten how our Division 2 and 3 teams did this past weekend.
Country Day took care of business in Holland, tallying 39 team points to finish what it started at the beginning of the season. They Yellowjackets beat everyone this past year.
They beat four of the top five teams in Division 1 (Huron, Brother Rice, Novi and Troy - didn't play Northville). They beat three of the top four teams in Division 2 (Midland Dow, Forest Hills Central and Northern). They topped the top two teams in Division 4 (Greenhills and Liggett) and crushed everyone in Division 3.
On Saturday, Country Day had everyone reach the finals, with seven of eight flights capturing state titles. Max Fliegner capped off a brilliant first season on the courts with a state title at No. 1 singles. He beat Plainwell's Jan Krakora 7-5, 6-4 in the championship match. His teammates, Sven Kranz (No. 2) and Rishi Patel (No. 3) lost a combined eight games in eight matches to dominate their flights.
The doubles were equally impressive, winning everything in straight sets the entire weekend. Alex Gruskin and Patrick Adams dropped just three games before beating 2-seeded Mike Kincaid and Matt VanWinkle of St. Joseph, 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the final. Max Lee and Lorenz Gahn (at No. 2) lost no more than five games in a match all day, beating St. Joe's Ryan Teich and Jared Kuntz in their final. Blake Burstein and Rishab Nayak mirrored Lee and Gahn's feat, dropping no more than five games in any one match before beating St. Joe's Sam Singler and Ed Nieh in the finals at No. 3.
It was a remarkable run for the Yellowjackets, which graduate six players from this lineup.
Cranbrook put forth a great tournament as well, finishing a spot ahead of their state ranking - third overall. Matthew McCormick, Mark Sable, Will Dube' and Nithin Davuluri all reached at least the semifinals in singles, while the doubles teams of Alex David-Taylor Ghesquiere, Wyatt Kayne-Stephane Teste, Joe Cavataio-Russell Lee and Chase Ghesquiere-Nolan Trepeck all made the final four as well.
My predictions weren't too far off this year. But Division 3 is a little easier to predict.

No. 1 singles
My prediction: Max Fliegner (DCD) over Jake Stants (SJ)
Actual: Max Fliegner (DCD) over Jan Krakora (PL)

No. 2 singles
My prediction: Sven Kranz (DCD) over Thomas Bellio (SJ)
Actual: Sven Kranz (DCD) over Thomas Bellio (SJ)

No. 3 singles
My Prediction: Rishi Patel (DCD) over Jesper Ke (SJ)
Actual: Rishi Patel (DCD) over Will Dube (CK)

No. 4 singles
My Prediction: Nithin Davuluri (CK) over Max Shanbrom (DCD)
Actual: Kenny Garstecki (SJ) over Max Shanbrom (DCD)

No. 1 doubles
My Prediction: Alex Gruskin-Patrick Adams (DCD) over Mike Kincaid-Matt VanWinkle (SJ)
Actual: Alex Gruskin-Patrick Adams (DCD) over Mike Kincaid-Matt VanWinkle (SJ)

No. 2 doubles
My Prediction: Max Lee-Lorenz Gahn (DCD) over Ryan Teich-Jared Kuntz (SJ)
Actual: Max Lee-Lorenz Gahn (DCD) over Ryan Teich-Jared Kuntz (SJ)

No. 3 doubles
My Prediction: Blake Burstein-Rishab Nayak (DCD) over Sam Singler-Ed Nieh (SJ)
Actual: Blake Burstein-Rishab Nayak (DCD) over Sam Singler-Ed Nieh (SJ)

No. 4 doubles
My Prediction: Matt Stebbins-D.J. Bailey (DCD) over Eric Miller-Nick Stants (SJ)
Actual: Matt Stebbins-D.J. Bailey (DCD) over Eric Miller-Nick Stants (SJ)


At the Division 2 finals, Midland Dow once again proved it had no challengers. It won five flight championships. One flight it did not win was No. 2 doubles. Birmingham Seaholm's Zach Tayler-Griffen Neel capped off a spectacular season, winning the flight championship after beating Midland Dow's David Goslin and Colin Angell. Tayler and Neel did not drop a set in the tournament and helped their team to a Top-5 finish.
Also helping the Maples was the No. 4 doubles team of Alex Cross and Will Geller, who knocked off the 3-seed (Portage Central) on its way to the finals, where they lost to an unseeded Forest Hills Central team. Alec Tropea, at No. 4 singles, was a semifinalist for Seaholm.
Though Dow and a couple of the west side teams made most of the headlines at Holly/Fenton, a couple more county teams made some noise, too. Berkley, really the surprise, underdog team in the tournament, finished a surprising 10th place. Coach Lenny Waldman's team, which finished behind Seaholm and Groves at the regional tournament, took advantage of some nice draws and great play to score eight points on Saturday. Sam Subia, unseeded at No. 4 singles, beat a pair of seeded players to reach the semifinals.
Andover's Danny Harwood and Ethan Beattie gave the county another semifinalist, finishing among the top-four at No. 3 doubles.
Division 2 is always the hardest for me to predict because the competition is very balanced and many of the top teams are a bit unfamiliar to me. The only team I nailed was Forest Hills Northern, though I had them finishing third, not fourth. Here's a look at who I had in the finals at each flight, and what actually happened.

No. 1 singles
My prediction: Billy Heckman (PC) over Davis Crocker (KLN)
Actual: Davis Crocker (KLN) over Billy Heckman (PC)

No. 2 singles
My prediction: Austin Woody (MD) over Rob Stevens (PC)
Actual: Austin Woody (MD) over Rob Stevens (PC)

No. 3 singles
My Prediction: Juli Guerra (MD) over Trevor VanderKlok (PC)
Actual: Juli Guerra (MD) over Trevor VanderKlok (PC)

No. 4 singles
My Prediction: Michael Szabo (MD) over Freddy Heegen (UDJ)
Actual: Michael Szabo (MD) over Justin Minzlaff (FHN)

No. 1 doubles
My Prediction: Jason Chang-Vikram Shanker (MD) over Daichi Hirakawa-Abhiram Krishnan (PC)
Actual: Jason Chang-Vikram Shanker (MD) over Mat Denison-Stan Lassen (BCL)

No. 2 doubles
My Prediction: David Goslin-Colin Angell (MD) over Zach Tayler-Griffen Neel (BS)
Actual: Zach Tayler-Griffen Neel (BS) over David Goslin-Colin Angell (MD)

No. 3 doubles
My Prediction: Patrick Eschbach-Mark Gorte (MD) over Amey Vrudhula-Nico Finelli (FHC)
Actual: Patrick Eschbach-Mark Gorte (MD) over Amey Vrudhula-Nico Finelli (FHC)

No. 4 doubles
My Prediction: Andrew Camp-David Read (MD) over Anirudh Ghantasala-Sam Han (PC)
Actual: Joey McClure-Matt Gebhardt (FHC) over Alex Cross-Will Geller (BS)

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for excellent coverage of the season! All of the players and families really appreciated it! As an aside I wish the division 3 organization could have planned better for the possibility of bad weather. The tournament was played at 4 locations with poor viewing of many matches. Why don't they consider going indoors regardless of the weather and reserving appropriate courts to celebrate and showcase the accomplishments of these fine players?!

October 24, 2012 at 6:03 PM 
Blogger Jason Schmitt said...

Well thank you. I enjoyed it.
As far as the Finals are concerned, unless they can find a venue that gives fans good viewing of the matches - even at one site, Midland couldn't offer that inside - then I much prefer them to be held outside. Midland is a good venue, when the play is outside. Kalamazoo College is great outside too.
I agree, when an individual, or doubles team, makes it that far, they deserve to be showcased. That only happens if one or two flights remain and they let the fans out on the courts to watch.

October 24, 2012 at 11:06 PM 

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