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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 29, 2014

Check out my 2014 girls tennis finals predictions

I spent far too much time breaking down the brackets in all four divisions these past couple nights. Here's a look at what I came up with. As always, your thoughts are welcomed. Though, remember, these predictions are just that, predictions, not personal attacks on anyone. I've been known to be spot on at times, and off as well.

Grosse Pointe South 26, Clarkston 24, Bloomfield Hills 20, Northville 19, Midland Dow 16, Port Huron Northern 16, Traverse City Central 14, West Bloomfield 13, Ann Arbor Pioneer 10, Novi 9, Troy 8, Farmington Hills Mercy 6, Hudsonville 6, Ann Arbor Skyline 4, Utica 4, Ann Arbor Huron 3, Utica Eisenhower 2, Livonia Stevenson 2, Walled Lake Northern 1, Rockford 0, Grand Ledge 0

Flight Finalists
1S — Lexi Baylis (Clarkston) d. Davina Nguyen (Utica)
2S — Caroline Dzabo (Midland Dow) d. Isabella Spindler (Clarkston)
3S — Dana Olsen (Clarkston) d. Afua Ofori-Darko (Midland Dow)
4S — Elaina Parrillo (Midland Dow) d. Paige Olsen (Clarkston)
1D — Wirtz-Basha (PH Northern) d. Meyers-Cahn (West Bloomfield)
2D — Tseng-Bacheller (PH Northern) d. Dotterrer-Palisin (Traverse City Central)
3D — Kalogeridis-Moy (GP South) d. Hermiz-Jeannotte (Northville)
4D — Hayden-Beardslee (GP South) d. Quinn-Page (Northville)

My thoughts
Division 1 can be a crapshoot. So much talent. So deep. It's hard to predict. Grosse Pointe South is the best team - top to bottom - in the field. The Blue Devils are as deep as they come. Clarkston is as talented as they come. So it's an interesting tournament, to say the least. If Clarkston maximizes its opportunities, it can win its second title in four years. Singles will do its part once again. And as much as I'd like to say the doubles lineup is the key - which it is A key - having the singles lineup perform beyond expectations is just as important. The No. 1 singles draw is loaded. Mollie Fox (Bloomfield Hills) and Paige Cooley (TC Central) in a quarterfinal is intriguing. Lexi Baylis will be awaiting the winner. On the bottom half of the draw, Utica's Davina Nguyen, who won this flight two years ago, will be playing the winner of Christina Jordan (West Bloomfield) and Raven Neeley (GPS). That pairing is another great quarter. The winner better get her rest before Saturday morning.

Birmingham Seaholm 31, GR Forest Hills Northern 30, Birmingham Marian 28, East Grand Rapids 20, Okemos 17, Portage Central 15, North Farmington 10, East Lansing 9, Fenton 6, Battle Creek Lakeview 5, Mason 4, Allen Park 3, Holly 2, Farmington 2, Farmington Hills Harrison 2, Riverview 2, Grosse Pointe North 2, Royal Oak 1, Grand Rapids Northview 1, Port Huron 0, Richland Gull Lake 0, Wyandotte-Roosevelt 0

Flight Finalists
1S — Labina Petrovska (Seaholm) d. Abby Perkins (Mason)
2S — Madeline Bissett (Forest Hills Northern) d. Carly Pratt (Portage Central)
3S — Catherine Wingrove (Okemos) d. Claire Markley (Seaholm)
4S — Sydney Whitfield (Forest Hills Northern) d. Sophia Balardo (Marian)
1D — Minzlaff-Stevens (Forest Hills Northern) d. Dadabbo-Emde (Marian)
2D — MacEachern-Landis (Marian) d. Jones-Nguyen (Forest Hills Northern)
3D — McDermott-Flynn (Seaholm) d. Hudson-Cibulas (Marian)
4D — Dixon-Johnston (Seaholm) d. Champion-Colosimo (Marian)

My thoughts  
If you went by the seeds alone, Seaholm would walk away with its second title in three years. The Maples are everyone's favorites heading in. To combat the pressure, coach Scott Ransome has downplayed that fact. Marian has won two championships in the past four years and Forest Hills Northern has won eight championships since 2002. That's what I'd be telling my team if it was a favorite heading into this weekend. All three teams will be ready to play - that's for sure. My projections show a much closer chase for the championship. The difference very well may be Seaholm's balance from top to bottom. It's got the best player in the tournament, as well as the best 3-4 doubles teams. Can the rest of the Maples' singles lineup step it up and score the way the rest of the state expect them to? We shall see. I've got Seaholm advancing to the semifinals in all eight flights. And I've got Forest Hills Northern and Marian advancing in seven. That very well might be the difference.

Cranbrook Kingswood 36, Allegan 27, Detroit Country Day 25, Grand Rapids Christian 19, St. Clair 15, Forest Hills Eastern 13, Williamston 12, Holland Christian 12, Haslett 10, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 9, Spring Lake 6, Cadillac 6, Armada 5, Trenton 3, Vicksburg 3, Parma Western 2, Niles 1, Carleton Airport 0, Chelsea 0, Hamilton 0, Battle Creek Harper Creek 0

Flight Finalists
1S — Alexandria Najarian (Cranbrook) d. Sara Daavettila (Williamston)
2S — Anna Short (Cranbrook) d. Abbey Dekkinga (Allegan)
3S — Madelyn Karoub (Country Day) d. Claire Brooks (St. Clair)
4S — Jazz Teste (Cranbrook) d. Karlie Wells (Allegan)
1D — Phyle-Simmons (Cranbrook) d. Boniface-Boniface (Notre Dame Prep)
2D — Vanklompenberg-Orr (Allegan) d. DeVos-Heule (Grand Rapids Christian)
3D — Lanzon-Beckett (Cranbrook) d. Hopkins-Rizgallah (Allegan)
4D — Du-Wysocki (Cranbrook) d. Harkema-Koopman (Grand Rapids Christian)

My thoughts
About a week before regionals, I was certain about two things as the state tournament approached: Cranbrook was sure of a fourth straight Division 3 state championship; and senior Alex Najarian would finish her high school career as an unbeaten, four-time state champion herself. Three weeks later, I feel those same two things will happen. But after finding out Williamston's Sara Daavettila, a Blue Chip sophomore, is in the draw, it made things very much more interesting. Daavettila is the real deal. She and Najarian played twice out of season last June. Najarian won both times, but needed three sets the second time. Since then, Daavettila is 33-2 playing some of the top USTA competition in the country. If I wasn't committed to attending the Division 1 finals in Midland, I would be in Kalamazoo on Saturday afternoon, watching that match. It's clearly the match of the season - for all of high school tennis in Michigan. As for the team, Cranbrook is clearly the team to beat and I think the Cranes will win championships at all six flights they are seed #1 at. Ann Short is a lock at 2-singles. And Cranbrook's doubles lineup is stacked. Country Day's Madelyn Karoub is a lock at No. 3 singles as well.

Grosse Ile 32, Portland 20, BH Sacred Heart 17, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 17, Lansing Catholic 16, Ludington 15, Traverse City St. Francis 14, Kalamazoo Christian 14, Berrien Springs 11, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 11, North Muskegon 9, Grandville Calvin Christian 8, Niles Brandywine 7, Jackson Lumen-Christi 6, Liggett 5, Imlay City 2, NorthPointe Christian 1, Clarkston Everest Collegiate-WOLL 1, Saginaw Nouvel 1, Flint Powers 0, Frankenmuth 0, Paw Paw 0

Flight Finalists
1S — Colleen O'Brien (AA Gabriel Richard) d. Arien Kissinger (Berrien Springs)
2S — Maddy Szuba (AA Gabriel Richard) d. Julia Formentin (Grosse Ile)
3S — Audrey Bouma (Kalamazoo Christian) d. Ola Latala (Grosse Ile)
4S — Kennedy Quinn (Grosse Ile) d. Sydni Greenhoe (Portland)
1D — Kelly-Kelly (Ludington) d. Lemon-Spangler (Sacred Heart)
2D — Laman-Schneider (Ludington) d. Kvasnitova-Formentin (Grosse Ile)
3D — Kuzmiak-Terauchi (Grosse Ile) d. Bonn-Dorshimer (Portland)
4D — Tucker-Guthrie (Grosse Ile) d. Butterfield-Wittkopp (Portland)

My thoughts 
Well, for the first time in three years, there will be a team other than Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart winning the Division 4 state title. The Gazelles are a good team. But Grosse Ile is a great team. The Red Devils finished runner-up to Sacred Heart last year. This season, they are a very deep team. I've predicted them to reach six flight championships, winning three. They will pull away from the field - take it to the bank. Sacred Heart is seeded at six flights. That's enough to keep the team in contention after Day 1. If the team can outperform expectations - many of those seeds are 3-4-5-6 - they can push for a top-3 finish. It's been a remarkable run for coach Judy Hehs' bunch.

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