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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.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Feeling the Red, White and Blue

Rochester's boys tennis team.
The drought(s) are over
Unbeknownst to me, the two best teams in the OAA White snapped extensive league championship droughts on Thursday. I don't have a list of OAA league champions (in any of the three divisions) in front of me, but you'd have had a hard time getting me to believe it had been 12 years since Clarkston had last won a league championship - or 32 for Rochester.
Both of those winless streaks ended as the two teams split the OAA White title - Clarkston winning the regular-season portion, while Rochester took home the tourney title yesterday. Two good teams, both deserving of what they earned this season.
Clarkston dominated singles play in both the regular season and the tournament, while Rochester handled its business in doubles. Two key turning points on Thursday were at 1-singles and 2-doubles, where Rochester avenged losses to the Wolves - from their league match. Nicholas Ang proved the third time was the charm, as he finally beat Alex Matisse to win the No. 1 singles championship. Matt Randall and Scott Schlagel - who lost to Clarkston's Brendan Greenlee and Mitch Rogowski a few weeks back - came through in the 2-doubles final Thursday.
I don't necessarily want to get into regional talk, just yet, but these two teams will certainly have their work cut out for themselves at next week's Division 1 regional tournament at Clarkston. Those two, along with Rochester Adams, Bloomfield Hills and West Bloomfield will all battle it out for a chance to get to the state tournament. I had a talk with a couple coaches Thursday, regarding the stacked draw at Clarkston. It's unfortunate that so many quality teams will have to beat each other up and a few miss out on qualifying for states. Hopefully this is a one-year thing and the MHSAA will wise up and split this region up.

Troy once again tops 'em all in the Red
For the third-straight year, Troy High took home the OAA Red championship. Two years ago the Colts edged out Andover for the title. Last year, Troy beat out Rochester Adams. That was the case again on Tuesday. The Colts won all their first-round matches and had five flights reach the finals. Sachin Ketkar and Vincent Thieu (2-dubs) and Kevin Fietsam and Mark Elinski (4-dubs) came away winners. Congrats to Troy. And a big congrats must go out to Troy Athens' Richard Zhang, who beat Adams' Justin Hyman in three sets to take home the No. 1 singles title. That's a big win in a match between two players who certainly deserve seeds at the state tournament. We'll see if that match plays a part when the seeds are figured out in a few weeks.

Avondale best in the Blue
Auburn Hills Avondale and Farmington Hills Harrison ran away from the field Tuesday, with the Yellow Jackets proving to have just too much talent. Avondale won six of the eight flight championships. Harrison won one flight, as did Southfield-Lathrup. That came from Donovan Luttrell, who won his second-straight league title at No. 1 singles. He joined former Charger, Edwin Peart, as the last two players to win back-to-back titles at the top flight.

Holly still the king of the FML
Holly won another FML title on Tuesday.
Talking about dominance. Try Holly's performance at Tuesday's Flint Metro League on for size. The Bronchos scored 45 out of a possible 48 points, claiming six flight championships while finishing runner-up and third place in the other two.
Jeff Sophiea (first) and Will Moller (fourth) both won singles titles, while the doubles lineup swept.  Craig Richards and Parker Rowse, Parker Cuthbert and Taylor Mills, Dillon Sink and Zac Goodrich and Aaron Vergith and Morgan Baylis all won in straight sets in their finals matches. Sophiea's win was his first in four finals appearances at No. 1 singles. The victory - coupled with older brother and coach Will Sophiea's FML title - made them the first siblings to win league No. 1 singles titles.

Catholic League and KLAA up next
The Catholic League Tournament will be held Saturday - hosted by Pontiac Notre Dame Prep. Avondale High School will be a second site for the tournament. Brother Rice will be the overwhelming favorite to win another league title. The field is loaded, with Detroit U-D Jesuit, Catholic Central, De La Salle and Notre Dame Prep all competing.
The KLAA Association tournaments, both the upper and lower tiers, will also take place Saturday. The upper tier tournament will be held at Novi (Middle School). Novi and Northville will once again be the favorites. The top three teams in each of the four divisions will be at Novi. The Wildcats won the Central Division, while Grand Blanc (West), Plymouth (South) and Walled Lake Western, Walled Lake Northern and Walled Lake Central (all 4-1 in the North) enter the tournament as division champions. Also competing at Novi will be Canton, Livonia Franklin, Northville, Livonia Stevenson, Brighton and Howell.
Waterford Mott, Waterford Kettering, Lakeland, South Lyon, South Lyon East and Milford will be among the Oakland County teams participating in the lower-tiered tournament, being held at Canton.

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