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University Liggett, Greenhills to join Catholic League in 2017

By: Tom Markowski, May 4, 2016, 4:36 pm

The Detroit Catholic League will add two members effective the 2017-18 school year and there could be more added later.

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett and Ann Arbor Greenhills are the schools that will join the Catholic League, State Champs has learned.

University Liggett is currently a member of the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference. Greenhills has no league affiliation.

These additions will likely have no bearing on the Central Division of the Catholic League in the sport of football. Greenhills does not sponsor football. University Liggett has an enrollment of approximately 280 and will likely be placed in the Intersectional 2 with teams with similar enrollment like Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes and Royal Oak Shrine.

Where University Liggett could make an impact is in baseball. The Knights are a strong contender in Division 3 and have won state titles in Division 3 (2014) and in Division 4 (2011, 2013). The school has petitioned the Michigan High School Athletic Association to compete in Division 1 beginning with the 2016-17 school year. The Knights, according to MHSAA rules, must remain in Division 1 for two seasons.

Coach Dan Cimini consistently schedules games against Division 1 opponents. This season they are scheduled to play Division 1 powers such as Rockford and Detroit Catholic Central, among others. The point here is that University Liggett should request competing in the Central Division for baseball. It would benefit the school and the teams in the division like C.C., Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Birmingham Brother Rice, Warren De La Salle and Dearborn Divine Child.

The girls basketball program at university Liggett is also strong. This program would not be overwhelmed should it be placed in the AA Division with teams like Allen Park Cabrini and Macomb Lutheran North.

The boys and girls soccer programs at Greenhills are particularly strong. Twice the boys team reach the Division 4 final. The girls have made it to the state finals three times.

Here’s the kicker. Other schools might be tempted to follow Greenhills and University Liggett and join a new league. Take Southfield Christian as one example. Christian, like University Liggett, is a member of the MIAC. It’s football program will enter its 11th season in the fall and although Christian’s football team has never seriously challenged for a state title it is competitive and could easily compete with Catholic League schools like Madison Heights Bishop Foley and Royal Oak Shrine (Christian defeated Bishop Foley in the 2013 Division 7 playoffs).

But Christian’s impact would be in boys basketball. Christian won the Class D titles in 2012, 2013 and 2014. This past season it lost to Flint Beecher, the eventual champion, in a Class C regional final, 78-65. The Central Division of the Catholic League will be enhanced should Southfield Christian join the Catholic League and compete in the Central Division for boys basketball.