High-SchoolMichigan: ESPNHS Magazine

Saline swimmers looking for repeat state title

November, 29, 2011
This story originally appeared in the Holiday issue of ESPNHS magazine’s Michigan edition.

The key to winning each and every year is keeping your athletes motivated. And as Saline swimming coach Todd Brunty will tell you, that’s not always easy after you win in dominating fashion like his team did last winter.

“These guys, just like with any athletes, really need a challenge,” Brunty says. “We’re not super confident we’re going to repeat or anything, but we think we’ll be pretty strong.”

Some of the swimmers on this team have already accomplished quite a bit, so the goals must be high. Junior ADAM WHITENER is the reigning champ in both the 100 free and 200 free.

“He’s one of our best big-meet guys,” Brunty says. “He has his own heavy metal band, too. He’s supremely talented in a lot of different areas of his life.”

Junior DAVID BOLAND won titles in the 100 free and 200 IM last winter.

“He’s our student-of-the-game swimmer,” Brunty says. “He really works on his technique and his training outside the pool, and he’s got really high goals in terms of what he wants to do.”

Junior JOSH EHRMAN is one of the team’s hardest workers and is joining Whitener and Boland in their attempts to make it through the Olympic Trials. And swimmers such as senior JAMES FISHER add to the team’s impressive depth. But this team isn’t as focused on the state meet as some others may be; in fact, Brunty says the team will be more focused on national accolades.

“We started looking at state records, all-class records and trying to get into the national title picture,” he says. “We have a few national records we’re going to try to go after. I might swim some guys in some other events, and if another team has us on depth, we might lose the state meet in favor of another goal. With these opportunities, you don’t get them all the time.”

Christopher Parish is an associate editor with ESPNHS magazine. You can reach him on Twitter @CParishESPNHS.

Spartans signee Matt Costello is the state's top recruit

November, 15, 2011
Matt CostelloScott Stewart/ESPNHSBay City Western's Matt Costello, a Michigan State recruit, is currently rated as the state's top senior and the nation's No. 85 recruit in the ESPNU 100. Now he's hoping to lead his school to a state title.
This story originally appeared in the Holiday issue of ESPNHS magazine’s Michigan edition.

Every day after school, Matt Costello would head to the gym with his teammates on the Bay City Western freshman basketball team. They’d run through a typical practice, running plays, working on fundamentals and scrimmaging.

And Costello would dominate.

After that practice was over, Costello would head over to the varsity practice and do it all over again. He’d bang inside with players every bit as tall and often 30 to 40 pounds heavier. They were older, stronger and more experienced.

And Costello would dominate again.

“His work ethic and his determination are like nothing else I’ve ever seen before,” says varsity coach Chris Watz.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound senior forward is the nation’s No. 85 player in the ESPNU 100, he’s the reigning Gatorade State Player of the Year and he’s signed with Michigan State.

How did a scrawny kid from Bay City become a major basketball star? By taking everything one step at a time.

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From the Mag: Michigan’s All-State soccer team

September, 27, 2011
The Michigan All-State soccer team will be unveiled in our October issue of the magazine. But if you haven't seen it yet, here's who we picked as the top players in the state.

Position/Name, School, Year, Club Team

[F] Jeff Adkins, Utica, Senior, Vardar Academy
Butler pledge scored 26 goals and added 12 assists last year
[F] Chase Jabbori, Novi, Senior, Vardar Academy
Scored 17 goals for 20-5 Novi team last season
[F] Michael Leone, De La Salle, Junior, Vardar Academy
Tallied 14 goals and seven assists; led Pilots to Catholic League title
[F] Jason Stacy, Forest Hills Central, Senior, Grand Rapids Juniors
The most dangerous scorer on one of the nation’s top teams
[MF] Sean Conerty, Forest Hills Central, Senior, Grand Rapids Juniors
Led club team to a national championship this summer
[MF] Jerome Cristobal, Sterling Heights Stevenson, Senior, Derby County Wolves
Michigan State recruit scored 17 goals on 127 shots last fall
[MF] Matthew Habrowski, Brother Rice, Junior, Derby County Wolves
Former state champ played with U-17 team in France this summer
[MF] Nathan Rose, Grand Haven, Senior, Grand Rapids Juniors
Oakland University pledge plays on national title-winning club team
[D] Zach Carroll, Grand Blanc, Senior, Vardar Academy
Named the Lansing State Journal Player of the Year last season
[D] Connor Furgason, Plymouth Canton, Senior, Derby County Wolves
Western Michigan recruit led Canton to the D-1 state semifinals
[GK] Matt Smolinski, Troy, Junior, Vardar Academy
Posted 27 shutouts in his first two seasons of play entering this year

Position/Name, School, Year, Club Team

[F] Tyler Jugon, Clawson, Junior, Vardar Academy
Star striker tallied 20 goals, 25 assists last season
[F] Yamann Sahlool, Grand Blanc, Junior, Derby County Wolves
Led talented Grand Blanc team in scoring last season
[F] Joey Serra, Utica Eisenhower, Senior, Waza FC
Showed a knack for scoring and passing with 12 goals, 21 assists
[MF] Tariq Akeel, Detroit Country Day, Senior, Vardar Academy
He’s been the Yellowjackets’ most consistent scorer for three years
[MF] Bobby Budlong, Plymouth Canton, Junior, Derby County Wolves
Out for the season (knee) but still one of the state’s best players
[MF] Dylan Knott, Rochester Adams, Senior, Michigan Wolves
Led the Highlanders in assists last season
[MF] Miguel Polley, Home-Schooled, Junior, Derby County Wolves
Dynamic midfield talent plays in US Soccer Residency Program
[MF] Caleb Postelwaite, Forest Hills Central, Senior, Grand Rapids Juniors
Butler recruit a dominant force in the middle of the pitch
[MF] Greg Timmer, Unity Christian, Senior, Grand Rapids Juniors
Pivotal contributor on club team’s march to national title
[D] Phillip Soong, Novi, Senior, Vardar Academy
At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, he’s one of the state’s most physical players
[GK] Drew Shepherd, Huron, Junior, Michigan Wolves
Named one of the state’s top goalies by Michigan Soccer News

Note: The Starting 11 is comprised of the best players in Michigan who are projected to suit up for their high school teams this year. The Other Top Players are comprised of high school players as well as club-only players.

Harrison’s trio wants another state title

August, 23, 2011
Aaron Burbridge, Devin Funchess and Mario OjemudiaScott Stewart/ESPNHS(From left) Aaron Burbridge, Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia led Harrison to a state title last year.

Harrison (Farmington) went 14-0 last season, narrowly escaping its first-round game before running roughshod over the remaining teams en route to a Division 2 state championship.

Fortunately for the Hawks, the team's three biggest stars are back and hungry for more, and the trio was featured on the cover of the September issue of our ESPNHS Michigan magazine. Seniors Aaron Burbridge, Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia have their sights set on leading Harrison back to the Division 2 title game and ending their prep careers with one more state title.

And after that? All three are staying in-state for college. Funchess and Ojemudia are bound for Michigan, and Burbridge will play at Michigan State next fall.

For more on this outstanding trio, click here.

Cass Tech, Harrison stars dominate All-State football team

August, 22, 2011
Below is our preseason All-State football team for Michigan, as featured in our ESPNHS Michigan magazine, plus an additional 50 top players. The team is based on projected on-field performance and accomplishments, not necessarily recruiting potential. For a list of the top football recruits in the state, click here.

Want to see the All-State teams for the other 49 states? We've got 'em right here.

Think there's someone we're missing? Tell us about him in the comments or reach out on Twitter (@CParishESPNHS).


Brian Blackburn, Crockett Tech, QB, Senior
Dual-threat Toledo recruit combined for more than 3,000 yards

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