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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, August 29, 2013

Country Day vs. Novi (Part 1)

Novi sophomore Koushik Kondapi.
Though some teams kicked off their seasons this past weekend, participating in a handful of tournaments, the season officially kicks off Thursday (at least in my competitive mind) when Novi and Country Day - perhaps the two best teams in Oakland County - take part in the Ann Arbor Pioneer Quad. The host Pioneers and Troy Athens will also be there.
It's the first of what should be three meetings between the two schools. Country Day won its second-straight Division 3 state championship last year. Novi finished runner-up (along with Brother Rice) at the Division 1 Finals. This year they'll both be in the title hunt.
I visited Country Day on the first day of practice two weeks ago. On Wednesday, I was out at Novi. Both teams look stacked. Though Thursday's format will not be an actual dual, the teams will meet at all flights.
Country Day sophomore Jakob Gahn.

Novi sports what I feel may be the best 1-2-3 singles punch in the state. Tim Wang is a legit state contender at No. 1 for the Wildcats. Andre Liu returns at No. 2, and Koushik Kondapi finished with just one loss last year at No. 3 - in the state championship match. Coach Jim Hanson's team also has a rock-solid No. 1 doubles team in Andrew Ying and Michael Chang. Ying (at 1-dubs) and Chang (at 2-dubs) were state finalists a year ago.
Country Day has one of the most balanced and deepest lineups in the state. Rishi Patel is at 1-singles after winning it all at No. 3 last year. Noah Karoub, Jakob Gahn and Davis Wong play 2-3-4 for the Yellowjackets. They're all new to the starting lineup. But they're all good.
Blake Burstein and Damian Runkle lead the doubles lineup. It's a step up for Burstein, who played 3-doubles last year and Runkle, who was a talented reserve for coach Josh Molino's team. Three more players return from doubles. Country Day is very balanced.
So I was asked Wednesday who I thought would win this match. It's really tough to say. I'm not sure if either coach has his lineup set quite yet, so I'm not 100 percent sure about the matchups. But it should be close.
My gut tells me Novi is better at the top and deep enough to give Country Day fits. I like Novi to win three of four singles and split the doubles. MY PREDICTION: Novi 5, Country Day 3

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

who won this match?

September 1, 2013 at 9:43 PM 
Blogger Jason Schmitt said...

Country Day won the match, 6-2. Novi won at 1-singles (Wang) and 3-singles (Kondapi).

September 2, 2013 at 3:31 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Jason, Country Day must be looking to make a similar run as they did last year.

September 2, 2013 at 8:02 AM 
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