Usually when the sports staff reveals our top 16 polls for each school year, we take our time presenting a handful of teams each edition.
We do this for a couple of reasons. First off, it allows us to give each team a little more press when broken up into three or four stories over the course of a month. Second, it creates some suspense. There are other reasons, but these are the two biggies.
For the 2019-20 school year, we’ve taken this theory to a super extreme, letting the list extend into September. With the COVID-19 epidemic, it allowed us to make sure we had positive local content in the paper at a time when there wasn’t a great deal of positive stories happening.
But by doing it this way, the sports staff realizes we still have our top three teams to reveal in our 2019-20 Tri-County Top 16 Sports Team Poll. So with this being our last pretty decent break in the prep sports season coming up for awhile (yes, fall prep sports are back), we figured we better get this poll done in this edition.
No. 3 - Fenton varsity girls swimming and diving team: The Fenton girls have been in all but one of our top 16 polls during the 12 years we’ve been presenting the list.
Here’s the amazing part, the girls weren’t only No. 3 in our end-of-the-school-year-poll but the Tigers were the third-ranked team in the 2019 fall top 12 list. That tells everyone how strong the fall sports season traditionally is in the tri-county area.
The Fenton girls have always been a strong team within the tri-county area, but they improved upon the squad’s state standards last fall. The Tigers dominated the Flint Metro League season with a 6-0 mark and crushed the rest of the league in the league meet by scoring 688 points, almost 300 points ahead of second-place Owosso (395). The Tigers also won a key dual meet against Grand Blanc during the regular season.
The squad had a strong showing at the state meet as well. Gracie Olsen won state championships in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly while placing 11th overall in the team standings. The girls should remain a team to watch out for this fall as well.
No. 2 - Fenton girls golf team: During the 2018-19 school year, the Fenton varsity girls golf team was our No. 1 squad in our poll. The Tigers made a great chase to defend their title last school year.
The strange thing about our No. 2 team is that the Tigers didn’t win the Flint Metro League championship, something most would automatically assume would be the case for the No. 2 squad in our poll. The Tigers dominated the dual season of the Metro year, going 9-0, but lost to Goodrich by six strokes at the league meet, earning the Martians the overall title.
But the Tigers didn’t let that bother them. Led by Brook Herbstreit, the Tigers had a strong postseason. Fenton qualified for the state meet by placing third in a strong regional meet with a team score of 362. Once at the D2 state meet, the Tigers finished in a tie for fifth at the two-day, 36-hole tournament with a score of 375-357-732. Meanwhile, Herbstreit placed in a tie for sixth individually with a score of 82-80-162.
No. 1 - Fenton boys soccer team: The Tigers don’t have a great history of finishing very high on our list. In fact, this is only the fourth time in the 12 years we’ve had our top 16 poll, and have finished in the top 10 only once. But that changed in 2019. The Tigers had an outstanding regular season, finishing in a three-way tie with Linden and Goodrich for the Flint Metro League championship.
Once the postseason started, the Tigers became an even stronger squad. The Tigers won a district title by beating Owosso 5-0 and then by beating the Linden Eagles 2-1 in a thrilling shootout in the district title. In regional action, the Tigers hosted the tournament and beat Madison Heights Lamphere 7-3 in the semifinal and then defeated Detroit Country Day 2-1 in the title match, earning a trip to the D2 state semifinal contest. While there, the Tigers faced Melvindale and were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation during a game played in the rain. However, Melvindale scored three goals in overtime, ending the Tigers’ season one game short of the state title contest. The Tigers finished the season with a 16-6-1 overall record.