Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Recruiting Recap: May

In what should be the busiest month of Oakland County recruiting, the University of Michigan football team is heading into June with a particularly good feeling about it’s future.
After Farmington Hills Harrison tight end Devin Funchess made a verbal commitment to play for the Wolverines, he started what turned out to be an impressive string of commitments for the folks in Ann Arbor. Teammate defensive lineman Mario Ojemudia later decided on playing for Michigan, but not before Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s linebacker James Ross made his decision as well, setting up the potential to have a very intimidating defense in the next few seasons.
A few days later, Ojemudia already had a running mate to play next to on the defensive line, Novi Detroit Catholic Central lineman Mathew Godin decided on Michigan as well giving the Wolverine defense a whole new look for 2012 and beyond.
There is still one gem for the County’s 2012 class, Harrison’s Aaron Burbridge. As far as the state’s recruiting game is concerned, Michigan could use him to make it a virtual clean sweep of the county. Michigan State NEEDS Burbridge to salvage what has been a disappointing start to the recruitment of Oakland County.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where We Stand: Baseball and Softball pre-district rankings

With Playoffs getting under way next week here are my top five rankings for Baseball and Softball

1. Walled Lake Northern - The Knights seem to be putting it all together in the late stages, grabbing a share of the KLAA North division title and then grabbing the KLAA Lakes conference crown with a win over Hartland. Northern will play Northville on Wednesday in a make-up game for the Association title.

2. Lakeland - The Eagles have had yet another impressive regular season, racking up 30 wins and head into the Hartland with an intriguing potential match-up with Hartland.

3. North Farmington - The Raiders have had a memorable season, and there’s no reason to believe that it will end any time soon.

4. Clarkston - The Wolves have been one of the most balanced teams in the county all season long and that should go a long way in the playoffs.

5. A. Farmington Hills Mercy - Will play for the Catholic league title and will have to immediately turn their attention to a showdown with North Farmington.

5.B. Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes - One of the most consistent teams around all season long and that should spell trouble for opposing teams in the playoffs.

1. Birmingham Groves - By far the hottest team in Oakland County right now, looking almost unbeatable at times. Pair that with a weak district next week, and you find a pretty good recipe for success. Look for the Falcons to go a long way in the playoffs.

2. Madison Heights Bishop Foley - The Ventures have been the most impressive team this year from start to finish and there is no reason why they shouldn’t advance past the district round.

3. A. Stoney Creek - The Cougars continue to surprise everyone this season. There is no question anymore, this squad is for real.

3. B. Lake Orion - The Dragons have consistently been able to put up solid numbers offensively and continue to shut down teams in the field.

4. A. Walled Lake Central - There aren’t many teams that have been swinging the bats as well as the Vikings have this season.

4.B. Troy Athens - Possibly the best defensive team in the county will more than likely be facing off with Utica Eisenhower in the district final next week barring an upset.

5. Madison Heights Lamphere - The Rams still look like the favorite in their district, but don’t count out an upset by Birmingham Detroit Country Day in the final.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where We Stand: Boys Baseball

1. Birmingham Groves - Nobody's playing better than the Falcons who have won 16 straight games, including 11 straight in the OAA Blue. On top of that senior Jake Balicki is playing as well as anyone, throwing a no-hitter and hitting a grand-slam in recent weeks.
2. Madison Heights Bishop Foley - The Ventures have just been punishing teams all season long, often putting up double digit run totals and only allowing more than four runs just once this season. Bishop Foley has been as good as advertised all season long.
3.A. Lake Orion - Has the look of a true state title contender all the way around. Even though they dropped a game to Stoney Creek earlier this week, the Dragons are still the team to beat in the OAA Red
3.B.Stoney Creek - Much like Groves, the Cougars have continued to find ways to win as of late, continuing to keep pace with Lake Orion, and Troy Athens.
4. Troy Athens - The best defensive team in the county matched up with one of the deepest rotations around should translate into playoff wins. Look for the Red Hawks to take care of business and bring home a district title next week.
5. Birmingham Brother Rice - The Warriors may be young, but they are as consistent as anybody, if they can keep on their current track, the Warriors should go far in the playoffs.
6. Madison Heights Lamphere - Greg Fettes and Jake Baldwin are as dangerous a duo as there is in the state, and are about to show the state of Michigan just that when the playoffs get under way.
7. Clarkston - The Wolves need to shake off a pair of losses to Stoney Creek on Tuesday. The Wolves will be set if they can muster up just a bit more consistency.
8. Walled Lake Central - Swinging the bats better than anyone around and that trend should carry into next week's district playoffs.
9. Birmingham Seaholm - The Maples have been solid all the way around this season behind first year head coach Dan Drapal finding a balance on both ends that has them near the top of the OAA Blue.
10. Novi Detroit Catholic Central - The Shamrocks have been able to put together some magic throughout much of this season and there's no reason to believe that it's going to stop any time soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday's Finest: Track and Field Edition (continued with Saturday's results)

At Friday's Ortonville Brandon Regional, Lake Orion’s Alexandria Johnson took first in the 100 hurdles (14.1) and the 1200 dash (25.2) and added a third place in the 400.
Rochester Adams Gabrielle Thivierge took a pair of second place finishes in the 1600 and 3200 runs.
Angela Bursey from Pontiac easily wrapped up the shot put title with a throw of 41-4 while Lake Orion’s Linnea Berriman won the discus (120-9).
On the boys end, Oxford’s Aaron Stuk dominated the hurdles, winning the 110’s in a blistering 14.4 and in the 300’s (38.2). Stuk was also apart of the first place 1600 relay team.
Darren Lumpkin, also from Oxford took the 200 title (21.9) and was also on the 1600 relay team as well as the first place 800 relay team.
Rochester Adam’s Aaron Moore and Clarkston’s C.J. Gozdor were apart of a three way tie for first in the high jump.
Pontiac’s duo of Terry Douglas and Jeffrey Johnson were less than a tenth of a second off of the first place pace in the 100 meter dash, finishing in third and fourth respectively.

In the West Bloomfield regional on Saturday, West Bloomfield’s Phillip Washington was his usual dominant self, winning the 200 dash in a blistering 21.87 and won the 400 as well with a blazing time of 47.9 as well as running a leg on the first place 800 relay team.
Farmington’s D’Marco Mills took the 300 hurdles title (39.84) and took third in the 110 hurdles. North Farmington’s Shammah Carter took first in the 110’s (14.98) and third in the 300’s.
Brian Beecher finished the 800 run in just under two minutes for first place for Rochester.
For the girls, West Bloomfield’s Taylor Gunn continued her impressive season in the throwing events, taking first place in the shot put (40-1) and winning the discus by nearly 30 feet (143-1).
Southfield’s Latipha Cross, had four first places on the day, grabbing the 200 (25.36) and the 400 (56.5). Cross also ran the anchor legs on the 800 and 1600 relays.
Farmington Hills Harrison's Laticia Sims swept the hurdle events, taking the 100’s with ease (14.33) and took care of the 300’s as well (43.51).
West Bloomfield’s Erinn Finn blew away the rest of the field, winning the 3200 run by over one minute (10:33.72) and took second in the 1600.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday's Finest: Track and Field Edition

Ferndale’s Jamarius and Jamael McTear dominated the sprint events in Bloomfield Hills Lahser’s division II regional track meet.
Jamarius won the 100 meter dash in a blistering 10.33 seconds, and followed with an equally impressive performance in the 200 meter dash where he crossed the finish line in 22.02. Later on Jamarius ran the anchor leg on the first place 400 meter relay team.
Jamael took first place in the 400 dash, outlasting Avondale’s Trevon Salter with a time of 48.73, then anchored the first place 1600 meter relay team. Both Jamael and Jamarius were on the first place 800 relay team as well.
Country Day’s Dartis Willis was his usual self, taking first in the high jump (6-10) and the long jump (22-11¼) besting the rest of the field by over a foot.
 Brittney Mann from Country Day continued to dominate the rest of the field, taking first place in discus (149-7), leaving the rest of the field over 40 feet behind her winning throw, then took first place in shot put (41-4).
Kendall Baisden, also from Country Day, dominated the sprinting events, with first places in the 100 (11.63), the 200 (24.8) as well as the 400 dash (55.6)
The day’s middle distance events seemingly belonged to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Sara Barron who took first with relative ease in the 800 (2:20.2) in the 1600 run, she blew away the rest of the field by over 21 seconds crossing the finish line in 5:06.73. Barron also ran the opening leg of the 1600 meter relay for Notre Dame Prep which finished first.

At Milford, Waterford Mott’s Shannon Osika set a new track record in the 1600 run (4:52.9). Osika later grabbed another first place in the 800 run (2:15.2).
Novi’s Kelley McCloskey took first place in the 300 hurdles (44.6) and took second in the 110 hurdles behind Mott’s Allyson Goff, who finished second in the 300’s.
McCloskey was also apart of the first place 1600 meter relay team.
Lakeland’s Stephanie Lock took first in the discus (113’1) and beat the rest of the field by nearly two feet for first place in shot put (36’5.05)
On the boys side, Walled Lake Central dominated the throwing events, Travis Harris took first in the shot put (56’00.5) while teammate Cullen Prena took first in discus (154’10).
In the 1600 run, the meet had 16 competitors qualify for the state meet and 18 more qualified in the 3200.
Catholic Central’s Jake Spuller took first in the 200 (21.7) and ran the final leg of the 1600 relay team and moved up three spots on his leg to take first.

*More to come tomorrow*

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Where we Stand: Girls Soccer

Novi - The Wildcats continue to find ways to win, and have clinched at the very least a share of the KLAA Central division title. The Wildcats have yet to lose a game to this point this year, sitting with a 11-0-2 record, thanks in large part to outstanding play from goalkeeper Gabby Garuder.

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes - Finishing off Catholic League play unbeaten is no easy task, and now Lake will be playing for the C-D league title.

Troy Athens - The Red Hawks, 12-1 this season have an opportunity to clinch the OAA Red title on Thursday after three straight shutout wins last week.

Troy - The Colts have been as consistent as any team in the county all season long and have been one of the most balanced teams all season long.

Walled Lake Western - The Warriors clinched the KLAA North division title, which turns out to be their first title in almost 25 years. The duo of Jenny Shaba and Rachel Good are as good as any.

Birmingham Marian - Unbeaten in their last 10 games (9-0-1) the Mustangs are heading into the postseason as hot as any team in the county.

Rochester Adams - Defense and goalkeeping is the key for the Highlanders, and there’s not reason for that to change as the season heads down to the wire.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Taking a Look at Where Harrison's Burbridge Could Land

With some of Oakland County’s top football players quickly making their decisions on where they will be playing in 2012, leaving the top offensive football recruit in the state, Farmington Hills Harrison’s Aaron Burbridge as the most coveted player in the county still in the process of making his decision. Here’s a quick look at where Burbridge could be playing in 2012.

The Frontrunners: Michigan after grabbing Burbridge’s teammates, tight end Devin Funchess and Defensive Lineman Mario Ojemudia, Michigan should be looking more and more favorable for Burbridge. Also, Brady Hoke seems to be recruiting the county harder than anyone, along with getting Funchess and Ojemudia, Hoke has already lured in Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s linebacker James Ross and Novi Detroit Catholic Central defensive lineman Matt Godin, so he will be looking to add to the recent list of Oakland County’s best to add to his roster.

Don’t Count Out: Michigan State, the Spartans remain a strong possibility because of their past success of landing Harrison’s top football recruits, that include current Detroit Lions quarterback Drew Stanton and more recently standout receiver Mark Dell. Head Coach Mark Dantonio could use Burbridge to replace Dell who graduated after the 2010 season and B.J. Cunningham who is set to graduate after the 2011 season.

The Other Contenders: Notre Dame: With second year head coach Brian Kelly’s pass oriented style of offense, Burbridge could see play time from day one in 2012 in South Bend.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes are traditionally one of the top recruiting schools in the nation year in year out, but recent trouble that could land the school on probation by the NCAA could keep Burbridge from taking a serious look at the school.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Another Oakland County Football Player Heading to Michigan

It seems as if Brady Hoke has dropped a net around Oakland County during the past month and no other college program is allowed in.

First it was Devin Funchess. Then it was James Ross. After that it was Mario Ojemudia. Now, it’s Matt Godin from Novi Detroit Catholic Central.

Godin regarded as one of the top defensive lineman in the state of Michigan is the fourth top Oakland County recruit in the past month to make the University of Michigan his destination for the 2012 year.

Godin passed up offers from Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn State, Vanderbilt as well as a handful of other top Division I schools.

After being suspect for the past couple of years, Michigan’s defense for 2012 and beyond is looking better and better by the day now that the Wolverines will have Godin lined up next to Ojemudia with Ross playing linebacker for years to come.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ojemudia joining Funchess at Michigan

Chalk up another stud Oakland County recruit for Michigan. Mario Ojemudia made the announcement on Saturday that he will be joining Farmington Hills Harrison teammate Devin Funchess to play for the University Michigan.

The senior-to-be, 6-foot-3 215 pound defensive lineman, had nearly 130 tackles and 12 sacks as a junior last season, and is widely considered as the top defensive line prospect in the state for next season. Ojemudia will now pair with Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s linebacker James Ross on the defensive side for 2012.

Before making his verbal commitment, Ojemudia was mulling offers from Michigan State, Stanford, Missouri and Syracuse as well as a number of other Division I schools.

Of the Harrison “Big Three” there is only one yet to commit, Aaron Burbridge, and Michigan should be looking more and more enticing to Burbridge, now that both Ojemudia and Funchess have signed on with Brady Hoke and Company.

Burbridge still has plenty of time to make his commitment, but has received offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State.

- SIDE NOTE:A couple of weeks ago, Prescott Line from Oxford made his commitment to play for Southern Methodist University. Line will be joining his older brother, Zach, who is the starting running back for Southern Methodist.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Girls Softball: Where they Stand

1. Walled Lake Northern - The Knights still have plenty to prove, but their doubleheader sweep of Lakeland has them seated at the top of the rankings.

2. Lakeland - The Eagles should have no problem bouncing back from their losses to Northern, still displaying one of the deepest teems around.

3. Waterford Our Lady Of The Lakes - A 15-1 start in the CHSL thanks in part to an outstanding start offensively, the Lakers are as dangerous as any team right now.

4. North Farmington - Katie Severson is playing as well as anyone right now for the Raiders who are off to a 15-2 start.

5. Clarkston - The Wolves have been one of the most balanced teams around this season.

6. Farmington - It’s tough to get a good read on the Falcons who had yet to play five games heading into the weekend, but early signs are that Farmington is on the right track

7. Southfield Christian - Maria Varano, Maria Provost and Christina Guerra just might be the best offensive trio in the County.

Monday, May 2, 2011

OLSM's James Ross commits to Michigan for 2012

Brady Hoke has added another Oakland County standout to his 2012 recruiting class, Orchard Lake Saint Mary's linebacker James Ross. Ross, widely regarded as the top linebacker in the state of Michgan, recieved plenty of offers from big time schools, including Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State as well as USC along with other schools from BCS conferences.

According to, the 6 foot tall, 210 pound Ross is listed as a four star recruit and is their number two inside linebacker in the nation. Ross figures to be a nice building block on the Michigan defense for years to come.

The soon to be senior made 95 tackles to go with six sacks and five fumble recoveries for the Division III state runners up last season. Ross is the second Oakland County football player in the last month to make his commitment to the University of Michigan.