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Grosse Ile dominates en route to state title, looks to next season PHOTO GALLERY

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Although summer is upon us and the 2013-14 high school sports season has drawn to a close, the feeling of winning his first-ever state title with the Grosse Ile girls’ tennis team is still a fresh one for Coach John Shade, one that he hopes to be able to reproduce with next year’s squad.

After realizing a little too late last year that a state championship was in the realm of possibility, the players stormed onto the court in 2014 and were in full throttle in pursuit of the crown.

“The difference from last year to this year is that this year the girls knew from the beginning of the season they could win the title,” said Shade. “Last year was our first year in Division 4 so they didn't know what to expect.”

At the 2013 state tournament, Grosse Ile finished as runner up with 26 points, just behind first-place Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart, which finished with 29 points.

This year the Red Devils’ 26 points were enough to capture the state title, as the team finished five points ahead of second-place Kalamazoo Christian and six ahead of third-place Traverse City St. Francis.

Individual state titles were earned by Kennedy Quinn at No. 4 singles and the team of Rose Tucker and Casey Guthrie at No. 4 doubles, while runner-up finishes came from Ola Latala at No. 3 singles and the duo of Karolina Kvasnikova and Elli Formentin at No. 2 doubles.

Right from the start, it seemed as if all the cards were lined up for Grosse Ile to bring home the title in 2014.

The Devils started the campaign ranked No. 1 in Division 4 and never looked back. Along the way, they regularly knocked off some of the state’s best competition, won the News-Herald “A” Tournament with a sweep of every flight and went 10-0 in Huron League action.

At regionals the team won with 30 points, nine ahead of second-place Ann Arbor Richard, and earned its way to states with six flight championships and two runners-up.

At No. 1 singles, Grosse Ile’s Brianna Riley was regional runner up, at No. 2 singles Julia Formentin was also a runner up, at No. 3 singles Latala was the champ and at No. 4 singles Quinn was also a champ. The doubles sweep was completed by Anna Kaiser and Missy Coolsaet at No. 1 doubles, Kvasnikova and Elli Formentin at No. 2, Katherine Kuzmiak and Luna Terauchi at No. 3 and Tucker and Guthrie an No. 4.

For 2014, Riley, Julia Formentin, Latala, Kaiser, Coolsaet, Elli Formentin and Kvasnikova have all been named to the All-State Team.

“It feels great to finally get a state title with the girls’ team,” said Shade. “I’ve worked hard for a lot of years to get to this point; it’s what every coach hopes for their team.”

Shade took on the girls’ program at the school in 1973, only a year after taking over the boys’ program. He has since won two state titles with the boys.

Now that the girls have reached the top, they won’t be able to relax for too long, as they will be moved up to Division 3 next season.

“Doing a repeat of this year next year will be tough,” said Shade. “We’re being bumped up a division, and it’s going to be difficult to rank in the top three, but we are ready for it.”



Last Updated: 6/22/2014 4:12:20 PM EST

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