Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

South is home to more state titles

by Bob St. John Sports Editor

January 03, 2013

Grosse Pointe South enjoyed another fruitful year, which included more state championships and a couple of near misses.

Last winter, it was the girls’ hockey team, under second year head coach Joe Provenzano, which won a state championship. It made it back-to-back titles for Provenzano.

Miss Hockey Claire Boyle led the Blue Devils’ charge as the team beat arch rival Grosse Pointe North 4-1. She muscled through two defenders late in the game to score the final goal of her illustrious high school career.

It was a total team effort as Provenzano watched everyone on the roster contribute in some way.

One of the near misses was provided by Kevin Richards’ girls’ basketball team, which lost by a point in the Class A state championship game at the Breslin Center.

The Blue Devils held a 44-32 lead at the end of the third quarter before Grand Haven used a 22-9 fourth period to win the title.

Another near miss was turned in by Jamie Bufalino’s boys’ hockey team. The Blue Devils powered through a good regular season before turning it on in the state playoffs.

South crushed Hartland 11-6 in the quarterfinals and went overtime to upend Port Huron Northern in the Final Four.

The Blue Devils ended the season with a 4-1 loss to perennial state power Birmingham Brother Rice in the Division 2 title game.

Head coach Dave Grauzer’s basketball team ended its season with a district loss and the wrestling program, under head coach Greg Snider, suffered through low numbers, but remained positive.

The unified gymnastics team, under Courtney Law, enjoyed a fantastic season and a few of the girls made it to the state finals.

The team also made it, which was quite an accomplishment.

Head coach Eric Gunderson’s boys’ swimming and diving team finished in the top 10 and underclassmen Patrick Jackson won a state title in the 100-yard butterfly. His time was 51.75 and the next two swimmers, Josh Boren of Dexter and Adam Marsh of Okemos, posted times of 51.90 and 51.92 in what was a fantastic finish.

The success continued in the spring months as Steve Zaranek’s girls’ track and field team won a Division 1 state championship. The Blue Devils earned 77.50 points, while runner-up Ann Arbor Huron had 64.

State champions were Hannah Meier in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:43.05, following right behind were Haley Meier and Ersula Farrow to give the Blue Devils a sweep of the top three spots in the event.

Hannah Meier was also the state champ in the 800-meter run, turning in a time of 2:08.57, while Haley Meier and Farrow finished third and fourth.

For good measure, the Blue Devils’ 1,600-meter relay team of Caitlin Moore, Farrow, and the Meier sisters won the state title with a time of 3:53.90.

Enjoying a state championship run for the ages was Mark Sobieralski’s girls’ tennis team.

The Blue Devils went into the finals with the hope of finishing in the top four and it looked like a third-place finish was their likely place.

However, Port Huron Northern’s final three flights lost, including Maggie Sweeney’s 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 4 singles semifinals. Sweeney went on to win the flight 6-4, 6-3 over Midland Dow’s Allie Vickery.

Winning the No. 2 doubles flight were Amelia Boccaccio and Carrie Lynch, beating Port Huron Northern’s Maddie Neaton and Jenna Brettschneider 6-1, 2-6, 7-5.

The boys’ squad struggled and had only a few competitors at the state finals.

Head coach Dan Griesbaum’s boys’ baseball team won another district title, beating city rival Grosse Pointe North. Its run in the state playoffs ended with a regional title defeat.

The softball program, under Nicole Crane, enjoyed regular season success, but the season ended in the districts.

Gene Harkins’ girls’ soccer team won a district title, but bowed out of the state tournament in the regionals.

The lacrosse teams didn’t win in the playoffs. Both lost early in the regionals.

South’s boys’ golf team had a solid season, winning a regional championship before settling for seventh place in the final standings.

This fall, Ryan Welser’s girls’ volleyball team picked up steam from the middle of the season to the end of the regular season.

The momentum carried over to the district tournament where the Blue Devils beat nemesis Grosse Pointe North in five games.

South made no mistake which team would win the district championship as it demolished St. Clair Shores Lakeview in three games to move on to the regionals.

The Blue Devils beat Sterling Heights in the regional semifinals before falling to eventual state champ Macomb Dakota in the Sweet 16.

Head coach Tim Brandon’s football team had a fourth consecutive outstanding season, winning another division title and making the state playoffs.

They also lost to the eventual state champ, Detroit Cass Tech, in the first round.

Stefan Harris’ boys’ soccer team also claimed a district title, but ended its season in the regional semifinals, and the boys’ tennis team, under John Willard, had a successful campaign.

The tennis players won a division title and took second in the regionals to make the state finals.

The girls’ golf team didn’t defend its 2011 state title, but the players still shot a respectable 677 to take fourth. Tenley Shield, Lily Pendy, Hannah Buzolits, Kaitlin Dalman and Katherine Motschall competed in the finals.

Both cross-country teams had a lot of success with the girls taking second.

It was a close finish, but in the end, a less-than full strength squad fell short to Birmingham Seaholm.

The boys also made the state finals, but finished in the bottom of the pack. However, the runners on both squads excelled under the tutelage of Zaranek and Mark Sonnenberg.

Finally, Gunderson led the girls’ swimming and diving team to a third-place finish to bring home a trophy.

Catie DeLoof was the state champion in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.66.