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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.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The seeds are there for Oakland County teams

When I opened up the state tennis draws this afternoon, my mind immediately began to go to work. Oakland County received 61 seeds in the four divisions, including 19 top-seeds (of the 32 awarded).
Though I plan on breaking down the draws and making my predictions next week, here are some early observations after glancing up and down the draws:

Division 1
  • Not excited for Clarkston that Lexi Baylis and Utica's Davina Nguyen are the 2-3 seeds in the No. 1 singles draw. In my honest opinion, this potential semifinal matchup should be the state final. No disrespect to top-seeded Mary Hanna (who earned the top seed with a three-set win over Baylis a few weeks back), but Nguyen - the defending state champion - should be on the top-line. BUT, because of this, we have two potential tremendous semifinal matchups, as Hanna may now have to face West Bloomfield's Raven Neely in the top half of the draw. Neely is playing well right now. Upset alert?
  • Clarkston's Isabella Spindler earned the top-seed at No. 2 singles, where she's on a collision course to meet West Bloomfield's Aerielle Pendleton (#2) in the finals. Spindler beat Pendelton in the dual, Pendleton won in the OAA Red finals, while Spindler won the rubber match at the regional last week.
  • Farmington Hills Mercy grabbed more seeds (6) than any county team. Jessie Guindi (#2) at No. 4 singles leads the way. The potential is there for the Marlins to surprise some people. A couple upsets and they could find their way into the top-3.
  • Clarkston is currently ranked No. 2 in Division 1 - behind Port Huron Northern. For the Wolves to have a chance at winning a second state title in three years, three things have to happen. 1) Their big guns must come to play. Baylis, Spindler, Dana Olsen, and the No. 1 doubles team of Paige Olsen and Alex Whall have the potential to score 16-19 points. 2) The other four flights must do their part. Katie Hubregsen earned the No. 5 seed at 4-singles. She has the potential to really help her team score a few big points. Nos. 2-3-4 doubles all have an opportunity to score. They must. 3) And finally, the team will need help from others to deny PHN and Grosse Pointe North points. Funny enough, some of Clarkston's rivals (Mercy, Troy and West Bloomfield) are in a position to do so, at 2-3 singles and 1-3-4 doubles.
Division 2
  • Marian and Seaholm are seeded right where they need to be to bring home a second-straight D2 state championship to Oakland County. Each received seven seeds. Each received three top seeds. But I think Marian has the slight edge when you break down all the flights. The Mustangs have a distinct advantage at No. 2 singles and No. 3 doubles. Yes, Seaholm (Labina Petrovska) got the 3-seed at No. 1 singles, and I don't like unseeded Elaine Apaza's draw - Lahser's Mollie Fox (#1) - in the second round, but Petrovska drew defending state champion Abby Perkins of Mason in her quarter of the draw. That's a huge match for the Maples now. Huge. 
  • The state did a nice job - unintentionally of course - of splitting up Seaholm and Marian in the draws. They are on the opposite sides of the draw at all eight flights. So each has a fighting chance to make their way through the brackets - void of each other.
  • Andover did very well for itself, garnering seven seeds. Shouldn't come as a suprise. The Barons are ranked No. 4. It's just easy to forget them when you've got Seaholm and Marian competing less than five miles down the road.
  • Intriguing draw at No. 1 singles. Fox is the top-seed, as warranted with a 21-2 record this year - both losses coming to Baylis in OAA Red play. She's on course to face future teammate Kerry Hu (Andover) in the semifinals. If she can beat her rival, she'll face the winner of Petrovska, Perkins or Richland Gull Lake's Sara Remynse, the No. 1 ranked senior in the state (
Division 3
  •  When freshmen Anna Short and Allison Motea decided to make Cranbrook their home this past fall, it kind of took the fun out of Division 3. The only question is whether the Cranes can sweep all flight championships. They're top seeds at all singles flights - with Alex Najarian leading the way at No. 1. Their 3-4 doubles teams are No. 1 seeds as well. Something tells me Alissa Rowens and Meg Phyle (#3 at No. 1 doubles) and Kendra Sweet and Christina Roualet (#2 at No. 2 doubles) have something to prove in Holland.
  • Country Day is ranked No. 2 in the division, but will have to play well if it hopes to finish that high. Forest Hills Eastern and Allegan are seeded well and any of the three could finish 2-3-4. Country Day's singles (Marina Selenica, Madelyn Karoub, Haley Mullins and Sarah Carroll must all score well.
Division 4
  • Much like Cranbrook in Division 3, Sacred Heart is the favorite to win a second-straight Division 4 state championship. The Gazelles are positioned well - four top seeds, including three in doubles. Their depth is key. They won three of the four doubles championships this year. They have a chance to sweep in 2013. But coaches Judy Hehs and Jim Slaughter are not taking anything for granted.
  • Grosse Ile - ranked No. 2 - is the wild card. Not much is known about it, which concerns Hehs and Slaughter. Sacred Heart's Tyler Papazian and Grosse Ile's Mary-Kate Mcshane will square off in a first-round matchup at No. 1 singles. Guess both schools will learn a lot about each other right away. Seed-wise, these two schools seem to be the teams to beat.
I will have predictions - and may add to this particular blog after talking to a coach or two - coming up, so check back often.

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