The Michigan boys lacrosse season kicks off Monday, March 13th. Before we preview the 2023 season, let’s wind back nine months to see where we left off.
The defending state champions in Division 1 and Division 2 are both public schools for the first time since the state started sanctioning lacrosse.
Brother Rice is a powerhouse in Michigan and in the midwest. They have 26 state championships and are loaded this season. The Warriors are considered to be the top team year in and year out in Michigan. It wasn’t the case in 2022. Hartland High School knocked off Brother Rice in overtime to become the first public high school to capture the D1 championship.
Forest Hills Central is located on the west side of Michigan in the Grand Rapids area. Forrest Hills has captured five state championships in the last twelve years. The Rangers were undefeated in 2022 and started the season by knocking off Indiana powerhouses Hamilton Southeastern and Carmel. The Rangers will be led this year by Michigan commit Crandall Quinn ’23.
What can we expect from 2023? We solicited coaches around the state for their program updates and also to provide their own preseason rankings. One thing that got some coaches excited and others frustrated was the announcement of a new state championship venue.
A New Finals Venue
This year the finals will be held on the west side of the state for the first time in 10 years. East Grand Rapids High School will host on June 10th. Many coaches, fans, and players advocated for the finals to be held at the UofM Lacrosse Stadium in Ann Arbor. A great facility to show off the state’s best players. East Grand Rapids has an updated and one of the nicest facilities in the state. It’s about time the state rotated to the west side, especially with bringing programs like East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills Central, and Forest Hills Eastern all making and/or winning state final appearances.
We asked the coaches to rank the teams that were in the state pre-season seedings that were released in October. In addition, the coaches were asked to select a team that could play its way into the seeding in May. Here are the results of the coach’s poll, preseason seedings are in parentheses.
- Brother Rice (1)
- Hartland (2)
- Detroit Catholic Central (3)
- Clarkston (4)
- Brighton (6)
- Lake Orion (8)
- Grand Ledge (7)
Rice was the clear favorite in D1 with six D1 commits coming back for the 2023 season. Hartland and Detroit Catholic Central were neck-and-neck for the 2nd and 3rd spots. Those three teams are semifinal staples and are looking for others to challenge them for the top.
Clarkston and Grandville received the same number of votes. The two met in the quarterfinals last year, with Grandville coming out on top. Lake Orion and Grand Ledge swapped positions in the coach’s rankings.
Team to watch: Rockford, Saline, and South Lyon all earned high praise from their fellow coaches. They will have an opportunity to have a strong 2023 season to get into the Top 8.
- Forest Hills Central (1)
- East Grand Rapids (3)
- Detroit Country Day (2)
- Grand Rapids Catholic Central (4)
- Haslett (5)
- Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (7)
- Okemos (8)
- Portage Northern (6)
Forest Hills Central was the clear favorite in D2. East Grand Rapids made a jump up from 3 to 2. Both FHC and EGR have won a combined 11 state championships.
Detroit Country Day, the 2022 runner up, fell one spot but has a talented roster returning. Portage Northern fell two spots allowing both Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and Okemos to move up two spots.
Teams to watch: Byron Center, Cranbrook, and Forest Hills Eastern all have multiple coaches’ attention heading into the 2023 season.
We asked the coaches to give us a preview of their upcoming season. Here are a select few of them.
Forest Hills Central
We have put together probably the toughest schedule top to bottom that we’ve ever had in our program. We’ve added some additional out of state games against Ohio (Hudson and St. Xavier) powerhouses, on top of the Indiana teams (Carmel and HSE) we historically play. Put those together with the in-state competition we face this year with traditionally talented teams like Brother Rice, Hartland, DCC, EGR, and DCD, there’s probably not many teams facing tougher teams week in and week out. One of the things we pride ourselves in is scheduling the toughest we can to prepare our boys for May/June.– Andy Shira
Detroit Catholic Central
We really amped up our schedule so we may be better prepared for the playoffs. HSE and Carmel in Indiana, two in Pittsburgh (Shady Side Academy and Peter’s Township), our Canadian friends (St. Michael’s College School and Upper Canada College), St. Xavier (Cincinnati) and Cathedral (Indianapolis) on top of our CHSL and yearly Grand Rapids foes (Forest Hills Central and East Grand Rapids).– Dave Wilson
Detroit Country Day
We will make a concerted effort to play our best when it matters the most at the end of the year.– Chris Garland
Zaiden Green at attack should be fun to watch. He is a 4-year player, big, smart, and does not make a lot of mistakes.-Brian Kaminskas
We will be younger this year, but I don’t think we will take a huge step back, we have some amazing talent at in our 2024-2026 classes. Our systems are unique and allow us to punch above our weight class just as we did last year.– Jeremy Strunk
We’ll have a big mix of veterans and rookies this season so one of the keys is everyone figuring out their roles and how to play with each other. We’ve got a strong non-conference schedule that should allow us to grow throughout the season. Thank you to all of the coaches who took the time to respond. Good luck this season.Mike Van Antwerp
Grand Rapids Catholic Central
During the offseason, we provide our guys with opportunities for stick skills and 4 man position training. We also have them in our weightlifting program. Players are encouraged to be multisport athletes, so we have a lot of kids in fall and winter sports as well.– Don Boyer
Coming off a great 2022 campaign, the focus has been finding a new identity and not chasing what last year’s team accomplished, but forging a new path forward for Haslett lacrosse. We are definitely excited about our schedule this year, having new teams such as Northville, University of Detroit Jesuit and Vicksburg on the schedule, as well as having the opportunity to play Detroit Country Day.– Adam Zarotney
We have only six returning players so we’ll need to fill some holes with underclassman. We continue to play a strong schedule and have been able to get some work in over the winter in 4 man development sessions. We are looking for big years from third year starting goalie Ridge Boehmer.– Jim Carl
Thank you to all of the coaches that responded.
Good luck in 2023!
See you in East Grand Rapids!
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