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Introducing the STATE CHAMPS! All-Junior Team for the fall 2019 season

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, December 20, 2019, 12:06 pm

We’ve introduced a new awards program here at STATE CHAMPS! called the All-Junior Team, a program in which the best of the best of the junior class participants in each sport will be honored with inclusion on the list. Throughout each season, we establish a watch list of probable winners, eventually pare that list down to a final four, then pick the winner from that elite group. At the end of each season, the full list of winners is unveiled.

This is the list of winners for the fall season. Congrats to all!

FOOTBALL — Brendan Sullivan, QB, Davison

A first-year signal-caller, Sullivan completed 67 percent of his passes on the season, his 290-yard performance in the D1 title game putting him over the 3,000-yard threshold for the season. He added a pair of rushing touchdowns in the 35-25 win — the first title in Davison history — giving him 11 scores on the ground for the season. His 3,044 yards rank in the top 25 in state history coming into the year.

VOLLEYBALL — Julia Bishop, S, Farmington Hills Mercy

There’s a large reason that the Marlins lost one match all season, and dropped three of 27 total sets in the postseason, hitting .336 as a team in the semifinals and finals: Bishop feeding the Mercy hitters in the right spots. The Michigan State committed junior had 97 assists, six kills, 14 digs and four block-assists in the final two rounds of the tournament.

BOYS CROSS COUNTRY — Nathan Walker, Fremont

Walker’s 14:52.8 at regionals was the third-fastest boys time of the season, regardless of division, and he followed that up with a 15:23.9 at the state meet, finishing fourth in the D2 race — posting the best time of any junior in the state. Despite being edged by two tenths of a second for third place, Walker led Fremont to a 68-point performance (five scorers in the top 28), good for a 108-point margin of victory, as Fremont won its eighth title, and its first since 2015.

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY — Karsyn Stewart, Bridgman

Finished 18th a year ago, as a sophomore, but shaved 46 seconds off last year’s time at this fall’s D4 finals, finishing third among placers with a 19:38.9. Not only did it break her own pre-existing school record by 19 seconds — she’s dropped the record by 37 seconds over the past two seasons — but it paced the Bees contingent that won the school’s first state championship in any sport. Bridgman hadn’t even won a regional until this year, finishing 16 points ahead of a Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart program that was going for its state-record-tying fifth consecutive state title.

GIRLS GOLF — Shannon Kennedy, Birmingham Marian

Kennedy shot a 143 — the lowest two-round score of any golfer this weekend — to lead Birmingham Marian to the D3 title. She’s one of four juniors to score for the Mustangs

Kennedy shot a 146 to medal at the D2 meet as a freshman, and tied for third on the D3 leaderboard as a sophomore. A total of 17 juniors finished in the top 10s in their respective divisions at this fall’s girls golf state finals, with a pair of juniors taking home individual titles.

BOYS SOCCER — Shion Soga, M, Novi

Scored 18 goals on the season, four of them in the postseason to go with four assists, as the Wildcats made it all the way to the semifinals, becoming the third team in program history to make the final four. Soga was one of just two juniors named to the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association’s Dream Team, and one of 19 juniors (and one of seven Michiganders in all) named to the 96-member All-Great Lakes Region team by United Soccer Coaches.

BOYS TENNIS — Nathaniel Webster, Mattawan

The top seed in No. 1 singles flight in Division 2, Webster beat upset-minded junior Adnan Alousi of Berkley in the title match. The No. 6 seed coming in, Alousi beat No. 3 seed Anish Middha of Midland Dow and No. 2 seed Alex Wootten of Portage Northern to get to the flight finals. Named to the MHSTeCA all-state team for the third straight season, Webster was the runner-up at D2 No. 1 singles a year ago as a sophomore.   

GIRLS SWIMMING — Justine Murdock, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood

Contributed 58.5 points to the Cranes’ second-place finish, earning a berth on the MISCA Dream Team in the 100 backstroke, where she defended her title from a season ago, and set a new Division 3 record. She also won the 200 individual medley, swam the lead leg of the second-place 200 medley relay, and the third leg of Cranbrook’s winning 400 freestyle relay, earning MISCA Division 3 swimmer of the year honors.