by Coach Tim Morey
June 3 and 4 the Girls Varsity Tennis Team competed in the 2016 MHSAA State Finals held in Holland, MI. The result was nothing short of historical, raising the bar yet again for future season accomplishments at GRCHS. Members of the team and positions played follow: Leah Newhof – 1 Singles, Anna Asfour – 2 Singles, Emma Greydanus – 3 Singles, Maria Poortenga – 4 Singles. McKenzie Moorhead/Hannah Slenk – 1 Doubles, Olivia DeVos/Caroline Heule – 2 Doubles, Natalie De Boer/Kate Zwiers – 3 Doubles, Emily Schellenboom/Payton Russell – 4 Doubles, and Head Coach Tim Morey and Assistants Dave Hartman, Tim Vandlen, and Betsy Schierbeek.
Heading into the State Finals, the Eagles had already swept their Regional, a threepeat for the squad, winning every flight going 24-0 en route to 32 points and perfect score, a feat never achieved by an Eagle Team. Every Flight on the team earned a top 3 Seed (Draw Position) heading into the State Finals. This was after winning the OK-White Conference Championship during the regular season and also the Tournament.
When the dust settled, the Eagles found themselves in 2nd place for the second straight season to winner Detroit Country Day. The top 3 teams finished within 1 point of each other: Country Day with 32, the Eagles with 31, and Cranbrook with 30. In the second strongest, deepest, and toughest State Finals across all four divisions after Division 1, it came down to the last three matches of the entire tournament, with Country Day barely escaping as the outright champion.
Two flights were crowned STATE CHAMPIONS: Maria Poortenga at 4 Singles and the team of Natalie De Boer/Kate Zwiers at 3 Doubles, respectively. Both are historical achievements at GR Christian. Maria is the first ever Individual Tennis STATE CHAMPION in singles, and De Boer/Zwiers are the first ever BACK TO BACK STATE CHAMPIONS in school history.
The team achievement is historical as well, earning STATE FINALISTS honors 2 years in a row. The Eagles had every single flight make the semi-finals, a feat no other school achieved this year and a feat the Eagles have done back to back as well. Here are the results: Leah Newhof, STATE SEMI-FINALIST, Anna Asfour, STATE SEMI-FINALIST, Emma Greydanus, STATE FINALIST (Notably, only 1 of 3 Christian High players to reach the finals along with Poortenga and Jeff Brink from many years ago), Poortenga, STATE CHAMPION, Moorhead/Slenk, STATE FINALIST, DeVos/Heule, STATE FINALIST (threepeat State Finalists!), De Boer/Zwiers, STATE CHAMPION, and Schellenboom/Russell, STATE SEMI-FINALIST.
This season ends of the run of 7 seniors: Asfour (Captain), Heule (Captain), Greydanus, Slenk, DeVos, De Boer, and Zwiers are 4-year varsity letter winners and one of the winningest groups across any sport over any era of GR Christian Athletics. The Seniors will be missed!
As the final season recap, the team went 20-1-2 over the season with its only loss coming to Midland H.H. Dow HS, the Champion of Division 1. The team won every single tournament they played in, except their Runner-Up State Finals finish, winning the Zeeland East, East Kentwood, Grosse Ile, University Liggett, OK-White, and Regional tournaments. The team had the most semi-finalists at the State Finals and also the most finalists in school history with 5 (Greydanus, Poortenga, Moorhead/Slenk, DeVos/Heule, De Boer/Zwiers). The team has also been named an All-Academic State Team for the 3rd straight year under Morey.