D1 Preview: Adams Leads Field of Hopefuls
D1 Preview: Adams Leads Field of Hopefuls
Cheer
Posted Friday, March 6, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Rochester Hills has regained its status as the hub for Division 1 competitive cheer, with Stoney Creek and Rochester High combining to win three of the last four Finals championships.

Rochester Adams hopes to join its neighbors Friday night with its first title after finishing runner at the Grand Rapids Delta Plex the last two seasons. But the Highlanders hardly are alone in that pursuit – seven of tonight’s eight contenders will be competing to win their first championship at this highest level.

Below are glances at all eight teams. Round 1 begins at 6 p.m. and the event in its entirety will be broadcast live on MHSAA.tv and viewable on a subscription basis. Click here for the Finals rotation schedule and other important information.

BRIGHTON
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West
Coach: Christina Wilson, eighth season
Championship history: Class A runner-up 1999.
Top score: 788.44.
Team composition: 22 total (six seniors, six juniors, eight sophomores, two freshmen)
Outlook: The Bulldogs are looking to build on last season’s fourth-place finish and have finished first or second in all of their events this season except the Regional, where they came in fourth. Brighton scored 784.06 to win a fifth-straight District title, and the team has gone over 780 five times. Seniors Lexi Maximoff and Yale Zultowski both earned all-state honorable mentions last season.

GRAND BLANC
League finish: First in Saginaw Valley League
Coach: Christina Swansey, ninth season
Championship history: Seeking first MHSAA Finals top-two finish.
Top score: 792.12.
Team composition: 28 total (eight seniors, eight juniors, nine sophomores, three freshmen)
Outlook: The Bobcats have finished fifth and fourth at the Finals the last two seasons and enter as one of the favorites this weekend. Grand Blanc has the highest average total score (785.1) in Division 1 and all three rounds rank fourth or higher with its top Round 2 (233.0) also best in the division. The Bobcats have won five straight competitions, including their league, District and Regional meets. Senior Jacquelyn Engel made the all-state second team last season, and seniors LaNya Bates and Kalyn Olson earned honorable mentions.

HARTLAND
League finish: Second in KLAA West
Coach: Candace Fahr, third season
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2013.
Top score: 780.86.
Team composition: 20 total (four seniors, two juniors, 10 sophomores, four freshmen)
Outlook: Hartland returned to the Finals last season after three away and finished eighth, and they’re surging at the right time with two of their top three scores this season coming over their last three meets. The Eagles are loaded with underclassmen, so Friday could provide another block on a growing foundation. Hartland is especially strong at Round 3, where its best score is 319.2.

LAKE ORION
League finish: Fourth in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Nicole Hills, sixth season
Championship history: Seeking first MHSAA Finals top-two finish.
Top score: 784.06 at the District.
Team composition: 30 total (six seniors, eight juniors, 10 sophomores, six freshmen)
Outlook: The Dragons are back at the Finals after a season away, having finished second at their District and Regional with their two highest overall scores of this season. They too are especially strong in Round 3, where their top score of 319.6 ranks eighth in Division 1 this season. Senior Kaitlin Dolland and junior Tara Koncelik made the all-District first team in 2019.

PLYMOUTH
League finish: First in KLAA East and overall
Coach: Samantha Koehler, fifth season
Championship history: Seeking first MHSAA Finals top-two finish.
Top score: 791.98 at the Regional.
Team composition: 26 total (nine seniors, four juniors, nine sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Plymouth is headed to the Finals for the first time, adding to an impressive run that also has included the overall KLAA title ahead of two more teams competing in Division 1 this weekend. The Wildcats finished second at their Regional to Rochester Adams by just 14 hundredths of a point. Plymouth has the second-highest Round 3 score (322.3) in its division, and its Regional overall score was third-highest in all of Division 1 for this season. Senior Allison Stepek made the all-District first team in 2019.

ROCHESTER
League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Susan Wood, 39
th season
Championship history: Fourteen MHSAA titles (most recent 2017) 
Top score: 791.34 at the Regional (and OAA Red final).
Team composition: 28 total (seven seniors, 10 juniors, six sophomores, five freshmen)
Outlook: Rochester had a rare season not making the Finals in 2019, but the Falcons have stormed back posting their four highest overall scores of the season over their last four meets. They’re capable of big things – Rochester’s best Round 1 score (239.2) ranks first in Division 1, while its best Round 2 (232.6) ranks second and best Round 3 (321.9) ranks third. The Falcons finished third overall at their most recent Finals two years ago.

ROCHESTER ADAMS
League finish: Third in OAA Red
Coach: Brooke Miller, sixth season
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2018 and 2019, Class A runner-up 1996. 
Top score: 793.78 at the District.
Team composition: 27 total (four seniors, six juniors, nine sophomores, eight freshmen).
Outlook: Adams has been on the verge of a first title with two straight runner-up finishes, last season scoring 788.89 to finish behind only Stoney Creek. After placing third in one of the state’s strongest leagues, the Highlanders won both their District and Regional with their two highest overall scores of the season. Their best Round 3 (322.5) and overall scores are the best in Division 1 this winter. Standout veterans lead the way: seniors Delaney Crowe, Katie Crowe and Lyndi Harmon made the all-state second team last season, and juniors Claire Crutchfield and Olivia Ris earned honorable mention.

UTICA EISENHOWER
League finish: First in MAC Red
Coach: Kristy Potance, second season
Championship history: Seeking first MHSAA Finals top-two finish.
Top score: 791.82 at the Regional.
Team composition: 25 total (10 seniors, nine juniors, five sophomores, one freshman)
Outlook: After making the Finals for the first time last season – and placing seventh – Eisenhower is making the trip again. The Eagles graduated 10 seniors last spring but bring back 10 more plus nine juniors. Their top round scores all rank among the top five in Division 1 this season, led by a third-best Round 2 (232.6). Aside from a third place at the Regional, Eisenhower has finished first or second in all of its competitions. Seniors Julia Milke and Christian Milosavljevic and junior Alexis Mitchell all earned all-Regional recognition in 2019.

PHOTO: Rochester Adams performs its routine during its Regional championship run at Troy Athens. (Photo courtesy of C&G Newspapers.)


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