Collegiate Corner

Published April 26, 2016

Another successful year.

That’s how Michigan High School  Athletic Association Communications  Director John Johnson characterized the 2016 girls and boys basketball semifinals and finals at the Breslin Center on the campus Michigan State University.

Now, as he stressed, the goal is to make sure that remains the case for the foreseeable future.

“We’d love to stay in East Lansing for the finals as long as we possibly can,” Johnson said last week. “And we know the university would like that to happen as well.”

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Published April 22, 2016

DETROIT — The University of Detroit Mercy introduced Bacari Alexander as the new head coach of the men’s basketball program at a press conference at Calihan Hall April 22.

Alexander, who played for the Titans from 1997-99, most recently served as an assistant coach at the University of Michigan from 2010-16.

Aside from suiting up for UDM as a player, Alexander was also an assistant coach with the program from 2001-07.

He was asked what it means to come back where it all started.

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Published April 21, 2016

ROCHESTER — For the most part, the Metro Series rivalry between the athletic teams from the University of Detroit Mercy and Oakland University has gone the Golden Grizzlies’ way, but UDM’s softball team helped to curb some of Oakland’s momentum by winning two games of a three-game series that took place April 18-19 at Oakland Softball Field in Rochester.

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Published April 15, 2016

Oakland University’s softball team is in a position it hasn’t been in a long time — defending a league championship.

After being picked to finish seventh out of eight teams in a preseason poll, Oakland went on to win the 2015 Horizon League regular-season and tournament championships, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Prior to that accomplishment, Oakland hadn’t advanced to the NCAA Tournament since 2003, when the program competed in the Mid-Continent Conference.

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Published April 14, 2016

C&G Newspapers

The University of Detroit Mercy women’s basketball team recently completed a season in which it finished fourth in the Horizon League standings and was knocked out in the first round of the league’s postseason tournament.

While at first glance that may not seem all that impressive, the circumstances the Titans had to deal with during the season can put things in a different light.

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Published April 7, 2016

Oakland University’s Division III hockey club team capped off its 2015-16 campaign with the first American Collegiate Hockey Association national championship in program history with a 5-3 win against Aquinas College March 12 at Southside Ice Arena in Byron Center, Michigan.

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Published March 29, 2016

FARMINGTON HILLS — North Farmington High graduate Karrington Seals recently made history for Wayne State University’s women’s indoor track and field program, as she became the first Warrior to achieve All-American status after finishing eighth in the 60-meter hurdles finals at the 2016 NCAA Division II Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships March 12 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

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Published March 14, 2016

The 2016 Little Caesars Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship, also known as “Motor City Madness,” is now in the books.

This year was the first of a five-year agreement between the Horizon League and Olympia Entertainment, with this season’s tournament, played from March 5-8, taking place at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The tournament will be played at JLA again next year, before moving to the Detroit Events Center for the remainder of the agreement.

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Published March 4, 2016

ROCHESTER — Times have been good for the Oakland University athletics department over the past year, as the school has had eight of its sports programs win league championships during that time span.

The most recent teams to accomplish the feat were the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, as well as the women’s track and field squad.

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Published February 26, 2016

After being a part of what is arguably one of the most prestigious high school football programs in the state of Michigan, Warren De La Salle graduate Andrew DiFranco earned the opportunity to extend his career even further, as he was offered the chance to play for Albion College, which competes at the NCAA Division III level.

DiFranco, an offensive lineman from Warren, completed his junior season at Albion this past fall, where his accomplishments include being selected All-MIAA first and second team in the last two seasons, respectively.

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Published February 18, 2016

Despite leading lives in which they have to balance NCAA Division I athletics with an academic workload, two basketball players from the University of Detroit Mercy have taken the time to try to help those affected by the lead contamination water crisis in Flint.

Anton Wilson of the Titans’ men’s team and Chea Taylor from the women’s team have teamed up to bring attention to a GoFundMe website page designed to raise money to purchase water for the residents of Flint.

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Published February 15, 2016

ROCHESTER HILLS — Oakland University’s club hockey program has had plenty to celebrate over the course of its history.

Chief among the program’s accomplishments are three American Collegiate Hockey Association national championships, with two of them coming at the Division II level in 2004 and 2006, and the other at Division I in 2007.

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Published February 8, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A group of 11 student-athletes from Utica Eisenhower signed their letters of intent to play sports in college on Feb. 3.

In boys soccer, there were five Eisenhower athletes who committed to playing at the next level. The Campbell twins, Ben and Jacob, highlighted the group.

“It’s kind of a strange feeling, but it’s an honor for both of us to make it this far and sign together,” Jacob said.

Ben will be heading to Northwood University, while Jacob will be going to Concordia University.

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Published January 28, 2016

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse softball coach Lisa Downey has seen a lot in her 18 years leading the program.

She’s won league and postseason titles. She’s had players sign to play at the NCAA level in Division 2, Division 3 and the NAIA.

Downey, though, never had a player sign to play with a D-1 program right out of high school.

Until now.

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Published January 25, 2016

It has been quite an eventful period in the life of former Shelby Township resident Kyle Connor, as aside from being in his freshman season with the University of Michigan hockey team, he was also selected 17th in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets.

While Connor — who moved to Youngstown, Ohio, after ninth grade — is going to have to wait for his opportunity to play in the NHL as he continues to develop his game, he does get to play for the school he grew up rooting for.

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Published January 21, 2016

DETROIT — Wayne State University men’s and women’s swimming and diving head coach Sean Peters described his 2015-16 team as one that is a little bit younger and rawer.

And while the “newbies” on the squad have already become well aware of all the success the program has had in recent years, it is one thing to have knowledge of it and another to actually become a part of a program where the expectations have become so high.

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Published January 16, 2016

DETROIT — Oakland University’s men’s basketball team became just the second team this season to defeat the University of Detroit Mercy on its home court, as the Golden Grizzlies came away with an 86-82 victory in a Metro Series Rivalry game Jan. 16 at Calihan Hall.

After Detroit took a 60-59 lead in the second half, Oakland went on a 12-0 run to take a 71-60 lead with approximately 11:20 remaining in the contest.

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Published January 7, 2016

DETROIT — In recent years, the accomplishments of Wayne State University’s women’s basketball program include making it to the Division II NCAA Tournament three times, finishing in the top 16 in two of those appearances, and winning 20-plus games three of the last four seasons.

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Published January 5, 2016

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Brian and Sam Blanzy have been playing football together since they were children.

The twin brothers played youth football for the Grosse Pointe Red Barons before eventually moving on to play together at Grosse Pointe South.

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Published December 11, 2015

The Macomb County Wrestling Tournament typically recognizes one champion per weight class.

This year, the tournament plans to recognize more than 100 champions.

Keith Weiand, secretary of the Macomb County Wrestling Coaches Association and co-planner of the Macomb County Wrestling Tournament, said the tournament intends to recognize each winning weight class champion since its inaugural year in 1973.

Former champions will be brought to the center of the floor and recognized during the tournament finals on Dec. 19 at Warren Fitzgerald.

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