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Introducing the STATE CHAMPS! All-Junior Team for the winter 2019-20 season

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, May 1, 2020, 2:15 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.

Below is the list of winners for the winter season. Congrats to all!

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STATE CHAMPS! ALL-JUNIOR TEAM — Winter 2019-20

GIRLS SKIING — Jenna Grzelak, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern

A first-team D1 all-stater in the slalom a year ago, Grzelak finished third in the slalom (87.38) and fourth in the giant slalom (61.95), helping FHNE to a second-place finish.

First-team D1 all-state in slalom and giant slalom again. 

Final four candidates: CLICK HERE

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WRESTLING — Alex Facundo, Davison

The defending D1 champion at 160 (he won 152 in 2018), Facundo won his third straight D1 individual title, beating Grandville’s Josh Kenny in a major decision (13-5) at 171. Was 35-2 entering the finals. 

Final four candidates: CLICK HERE

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BOYS SKIING — Zeke King, Rochester Adams

Second-team D1 all-state in slalom and first-team D1 all-state in GS. Was third in the giant slalom (60.13) and seventh in the slalom (88.07), helping lead Adams to a third-place finish at the D1 meet. He was a D2 all-stater a year ago. 

Final four candidates: CLICK HERE

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

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HOCKEY —Tanner Rowe, Calumet

The only junior among the final four in the STATE CHAMPS! Michigan High School Hockey Player of the Year contest, Rowe finished second in the fan voting (6,165), behind eventual award winner Joey Cormier. Rowe finished the season with 22 goals and 27 assists, helping lead the Copper Kings to the Division 3 semifinals.

Final five candidates: CLICK HERE

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BOYS BOWLING —  Noah Tafanelli, Warren Woods Tower

A second-team D2 all-stater as a sophomore, when he finished 11th, Tafanelli rolled a 1,360 qualifying block to go into match play as the No. 1 seed, and cruised from there, winning each of his four matches by 46 or more pins, en route to the D2 individual state title. He beat Grand Rapids Northview senior Dan Frey, 494-410 in the finals. First team D2 MHSIBCA all-state.

Final four candidates: CLICK HERE

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GIRLS BOWLING — Megan Timm, Flint Kearsley

The No. 15 seed (out of 16) after an 1,123 qualifying block, Timm made the most of her slot in D2 match play, beating the No. 2 seed and defending D2 champ, Cedar Springs’ Omani Morales (the eventual Miss Bowling), by 28 pins in her first match, then winning her next three by 14, 27 and 21 to win the D2 title. Timm beat Carleton Airport freshman Ryan Giese in the championship match, 374-353. First-team D2 MHSIBCA all-state.

Final four candidates: CLICK HERE

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BOYS BASKETBALL — Pierre Brooks II, Detroit Douglass

Averaged 23.2 points, 7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.7 steals as a junior, helping lead the Hurricanes to the PSL championship game. He earned first-team Division 2 all-state from the Associated Press. D2 BCAM’s Best as a sophomore, when he averaged 23.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists. Recently committed to Michigan State.

Final five candidates: CLICK HERE

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GIRLS BASKETBALL — Jillian Brown, East Grand Rapids

Averaged 22.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 3.0 steals and shot 35 percent from 3-point range, scoring her 1,000th career point this season, leading EGR to a 22-1 record. Recently committed to Northwestern, then was named MLive Player of the Year for Grand Rapids. Earned first-team all-state honors from the Associated Press. HM D1 AP all-state as a sophomore, and HM BCAM’s Best.

Final five candidates: CLICK HERE

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GYMNASTICS — Lizzie Maurer, Grand Ledge 

Fifth all-around as a freshman, with top-10 finishes in vault, bars, floor; fourth all-around as a sophomore — 36.375 (10th on vault — 8.950, tied for 10th on uneven bars — 8.750, tied for sixth on beam — 9.275, second on floor — 9.400). Slow start to junior season because of injury, but placed first in all-around in eight of 10 meets, and had 22 individual first-place event finishes and 10 seconds. At the CAAC meet, took first all-around, finishing first on all events but the beam (fourth).

Final four candidates: CLICK HERE

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COMPETITIVE CHEER — Kristi Smith, Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian

All-state as a sophomore, when NorthPointe made its first trip to the state finals, Smith tore ACL after state finals last year, missed eight months, switched positions (flyer to base). Helped NorthPointe to a second-place finish at regionals (727.32), and a seventh-place showing at D4 finals. NorthPointe won a third straight O-K Silver title.

Final four candidates: CLICK HERE

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BOYS SWIMMING — Matthew Segal, Ann Arbor Pioneer

As a junior, Segal won SEC Red titles in 200 freestyle and 200 IM.

Had the state meet happened, Segal was qualified to be part of three Pioneer relays:

• 200 medley relay seeded second in D1

• 200 freestyle relay seeded fifth in D1

• 400 freestyle relay seeded sixth in D1

He was also:

• seeded first in the 100 breaststroke (56.30) — an event in which he took second at USA Swimming Junior National time trials last August (1:04.25)

• seeded 2nd in the 200 IM (1:52.15)

Committed to Wisconsin, Segal is ranked as the No. 1 recruit in Michigan’s Class of 2021 by SwimCloud.com.

Final four candidates: CLICK HERE