By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Birch Run, Detroit Edison Public School Academy, Plymouth Christian Academy and Zeeland East celebrated their first Michigan High School Athletic Association team championships this school year, as 97 schools total won one or more of the 129 Finals titles awarded during 2016-17.
Teams earning the first MHSAA championship in any sport for their schools were Birch Run in girls bowling, Detroit Edison PSA in girls basketball, Plymouth Christian in girls volleyball and Zeeland East in boys track & field.
A total of 31 teams won first MHSAA titles in their respective sports. A total of 54 champions were repeat winners from 2015-16 – and 28 of those won for at least the third straight season, while 14 extended title streaks to at least four consecutive years.
The Birmingham Brother Rice boys lacrosse team has the longest title streak of 13 seasons, while the Petoskey boys skiing team and Marquette girls track & field team share the second-longest streak at seven straight championships.
Marquette claimed the most MHSAA team titles, five, winning in Division 1 boys skiing and Division 1 girls skiing, Upper Peninsula boys swimming & diving, and Upper Peninsula Division 1 boys track & field and girls track & field. All five were repeat championship wins. No other school won four or more titles, but six more schools won three: Birmingham Brother Rice, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, East Grand Rapids, Midland Dow, Negaunee and Rockford.
Also claiming multiple championships were Detroit Catholic Central, Detroit Country Day, East Kentwood, Escanaba, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, Ishpeming, Ishpeming Westwood, Jackson Lumen Christi, Lowell, Munising, Pewamo-Westphalia, Powers North Central, Rochester, St. Ignace and Vandercook Lake.
Sixteen of the MHSAA's 28 championship tournaments are unified, involving teams from the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, while separate competition to determine titlists in both Peninsulas is conducted in remaining sports.
For a sport-by-sport listing of MHSAA champions for 2016-17: Click Here.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,400 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.
PHOTO: The Saline baseball team celebrates its first MHSAA championship Saturday at Michigan State University.