Top 5 Teams to Watch Out for
Coming off a 7th overall finish at states a year ago, the FHC equestrian team continued its trend towards a state title when they finished fifth overall at states this year. Next year’s team will bring back a load of experienced talent like their highest scorer of 2020, junior Claire Richardson, and their main source of jumping points, sophomore Abby Satterthwaite. Along with these two stalwarts, both state qualifiers sophomore Masyn Cole and freshman Meghan Bonney are expected to return as well. Yes, next year will prove to be another go-around against Michigan’s finest equestrian programs; yet, head coach Stacie Bernendsbode and her 2021 equestrian team are on the cusp of what once was thought to be a dream late at night: an equestrian State Championship.
“We hope to continue our trend of going to states, and we are excited to see what 2021 brings,” Claire said.
Boys varsity tennis
After a third overall finish at the Division 2 State Championship tournament, the boys varsity tennis team has the bitter taste of losing and coming up short on the biggest stage salivating their mouth. The boys’ outstanding performance in the regular season was obviously not the issue, but their inability to find a way over the hump was. Just like this year’s team, next year’s team will be bringing back a few grizzled seniors to make a run towards states. Juniors Cully Herbert, Nick Yasenchak, and Walker Sjolin look forward to filling the shoes of seniors on their way out. Not only will the 2021 team inherit a solid senior class, but they will bring back sophomore and singles extraordinaire Sammy Yin who single-handedly defeated Forest Hills Northern and Mona Shores opponents in late sets. With all of those puzzle pieces in place, soon-to-be senior captain Cully Herbert rightfully bears a positive outlook on next year.
“We will be solid next year, and we should win states if we can push past teams like Northern,” Cully said.
Varsity field hockey
Rivalry games speak for themselves; that same adage translates to the Forest Hills varsity field hockey team and the aspirations for next year. Even though the sole veteran on the team, Amber DeJonge, is departing for new levels of life beyond the turf, the team still will be returning key players such as sophomore Brooke Toigo, sophomore Shannon Murphy, freshman Maddie Shaner, and junior Sophie Hartl. All in all, the varsity field hockey team understands that the 2021 calendar can potentially be filled with more W’s than L’s if they can hone in on focusing on the team’s chemistry.
“I don’t think we had the best season this year, but we had a really young team and only graduated one senior so next year, because we will have almost our full team returning, I am hopeful that the team will be able to be more successful because we have already played with everyone and know each others’ playing styles,” Sophie said.
After suffering a heartbreaking loss to Lowell in districts, the varsity volleyball team finished the season 11-6. The Rangers graduate five seniors who were very crucial playmakers for the team. Included in the five seniors that graduated was Robert Morris signee Tatum Otolski and backcourt star Morghan Tilton. Likewise, the Rangers return a very stout junior class. This class contains Clemson commit Brooklyn Conner, Sophia Galan, Grace Hudkins, and Sophie Shields. These four girls will look to cap off their careers with a state championship.
“[Winning a trophy] is honestly crucial, it’s been long overdue since we’ve had one and all of the girls have worked really hard for it,” Grace said.
It seems even more likely because of the vigorous sophomore class that will join the varsity rank next season. Although Sarah Dunn was the only Sophomore on the team this year, JV powerhouses like Kate Hotaling, Emma Costello, Ally Werkema, and Averie Zaschak are all likely candidates to be a part of the team next year. These four girls carried the JV volleyball team to an 8-1 record and an OK White conference championship. Freshman Avery Weslow had a breakout year this season on varsity, and look for her to be an All-Conference candidate next season as her role will likely grow drastically. The future looks very promising for the Rangers, and the whole team is very excited to see what the future holds for them.
“I am excited about next year’s school volleyball season because I know it is going to be a good season,” Sophia said. “There have been many girls that have played together for a while now, and I know we will have great connections on and off the court.” Hopefully, the seniors can finish on a high note.
Boys varsity soccer
Losing your goalkeeper and star defenders hurts, it hurts real bad. But, only losing three seniors is something to be happy about. Seniors Matthew Mahoney and Mason Corcoran’s production will be very hard to replace as these two consistently dealt with the opposing team’s top forwards and chipped in offensive production too, distributing the ball and getting chances on net. In net, senior Jaden Talley led the team in saves last season, so this will be another spot for the Rangers to have to fill next season. On the bright side, the team returns 17 out of its 20 players, which includes 10 underclassmen. Juniors Jayden Savin, Ryan Fitzgerald, Ben Taylor, Sam Yeager, Arash Kordbacheh, and Sam Kelley are all great players who can try to make up for the lost production that was made by Mahoney and Corcoran. Arash seemed very adamant about the positives of having the number of underclassmen that will return on to the pitch next season, saying “100% it will,” when asked if it will make a difference having these underclassmen return. These juniors will also have help from sophomores Omar Hadzimujic and Noah Gleason who both had remarkable years.
“They both showed a lot of quality this year, and Omar’s ability to dictate a game and show up when we needed him most just as a sophomore isn’t something you always see with a kid his age. Noah was a go-to goalscorer, and I expect him to have even more of a break out year next year,” said captain Matthew Mahoney when talking about the impact of these two sophomores. “They’ll continue to grow and improve as players, and they’re both going to be leaders and a massive part of the team next year.”
In my eyes, I can see this team flying under the radar and blowing past many big opponents which will lead to a deep playoff run.