Rugged match ends in 1-0 win for hosts
Photos and story by Tara Hefferan
The championship game in the CSAA Conference Tournament took place Friday night, with the Newaygo Lions traveling to face the Big Rapids Cardinals on their home turf. The Lions and Cardinals had tied in their previous match up and also shared first place standing at the end of the CSAA regular season. This latest meeting between the two teams promised to be an exciting one, answering the question of who finally would emerge on top.
The match began under drizzling rain and high winds, giving the ball an unpredictability. The Cardinals dominated early possession, putting several shots on target but also finding the ball blown out of bounds by the wind. Lion Keeper Barbara Toth made a number of impressive stops, including diving to the feet of the Big Rapids attack before shots could be taken. The Cardinals used their speed to intercept Lion passes and goal kicks, which often hung in the air due to the wind. The Lions and Cardinals battled hard despite the conditions, ending the first half in a 0-0 tie.
When the teams took to the field in the second half, the winds had died down. The Lions started with good passing and pressure. It looked like Newaygo might break the scoring drought, when in the thirteenth minute Grace Painter blasted by the last Cardinal defender and found herself one versus one against the keeper. Newaygo’s best chance of the game was denied, however, when the speedy Cardinal defense closed in right before the shot could be fired. This near goal seemed to energize the Cardinals, who reversed the momentum to their advantage. In the fourteenth minute, Big Rapids Julia Waltz sent a long ball to Kyra Couch, who netted the first and only goal of the match.
The Cardinals continued pressuring the ball, sending another nine shots to Lion Keeper Toth. The Lions were not able to answer, however, and in the end, fell to the Cardinals 0-1
Captain Jaxi Long said “We worked hard, got some passes going. It’s a little disappointing that we lost, but we’re looking forward to Districts. We had a really good season, ended up second in the conference. It was a really good accomplishment. We work really well together.”
From Coach Painter:
“When we took 2nd place in conference last year, I felt that BR was the better team. This season was different. We believed that we had every right to the conference title and we were going to make BR take it away from us. I am so proud of our girls for making the Big Rapids squad have to scrape and claw through every single minute of last night’s game to get that win from us. It was a great back and forth game from start to finish. We had quality shots that missed by what seemed like inches…maybe the wind had something to do with that! Either way, Big Rapids is a good team. Our Newaygo girls are a great team. I feel very privileged to get the honor of coaching such an amazing group of young ladies. One loss does not define us! We can’t wait for Districts to start next week!”
The Lions are entering Districts with a 13-3-1 record. They have scored 59 goals this season, while allowing only 12 against them. The Lions are back in action at 4:30 on Wednesday, May 25 at home in a District match against Manistee.
Co-Champs go at it again in title tilt
By Ken DeLaat, N3 Sports
Tonight (Friday) Newaygo at Big Rapids 5p.m.
It looks to be one of Those games.
A match that seemed predestined before the tournament began.
After all, co-champs Big Rapids and Newaygo were seeded as they should have been. Each marched through those first 2 games to get here because each team knew they had unfinished business with the other squad.
The last time they met on the field of play the Cards were enjoying a state ranking, were on a 4 game win streak having outscored opponents 21-1 and had already scored more than 7 goals 4 times.
The Lions had a bit of a streak going as well. After being stunned in an early season match with a strong and seasoned Sparta squad Coach Matt Painter’s crew spun off 7 straight with a 25-1 edge in scoring in those matches.
This was the one that would likely decide who would wear the conference crown.
And they fought to a epic 1-1 draw..
The onslaught of attacks by the Cards were repelled again and again in the scoreless second half as the Lion defenders along with some crucial saves by their keeper held their ground and forged a tie
And now the rematch.
BR slammed down a 9-1 win over Fremont to get here.
Newaygo defeated Tri County 3-1. In the regular season the Vikes lost by a single goal to each of the co-champs, their only losses in conference play.
It should be a tough one for the Lions and the game is on the road to boot, despite Newaygo having a better overall record I might add.
Waltz, Allers and Tucci will be looking to find net for the hosts while Painter, Long, Hefferan Nordlund and Haavisto have been the primary scoring threats for the Lions.
But the game is going to rest heavily on the ability of the Lion defense to contain an aggressive Cardinal team that just outshot the Packers 33-3 in their semifinal match. Briggs, Briones, Welch & Co. will be called on to limit the acrobatic saves likely to be needed by Toth.
With Districts coming next week the season won’t be over for either of these teams after this one.
But some serious bragging rights, a conference tourney crown and a good bit of momentum heading into post season play will be on the line tonight.
And despite the potent offense of the Cards and their heady state rankings, this Lion team is made up of warriors.
Warriors with talent.
Kennedy Christoffersen hurdles to a new school record
This spring there has suddenly been a bit of a run on some long held records at Fremont High School. Marks set by student athletes from the previous century whose feats have held a spot in the record books for three decades.
On May 6th at the Lake City Invitational Kennedy Christoffersen not only added to the number of first place finishes she has notched this season in the 100m Hurdles but broke the school record with an even 16 second performance that shattered the previous mark of 16.14 set just a mere 3 decades ago by Joy Witte Bullis who could be attending a 30 year class reunion soon.
Coach Leslie Hamilton: “Kennedy has had a great season and has worked hard to beat the record. I am proud of her and very excited for her!”
Ms. Bullis who cleared the hurdles in a time that held up these 30 years also had praise for the performance of Christoffersen: "Good for her, records are made to be broken! Good luck to her the rest of her season."
N3 caught up with Kennedy as she prepared for the Regional Meet this Friday (May 20) to be held at Zeeland East High School.
N3- How long have you been doing hurdles? What got you started?
I have been doing hurdles for 6 years. I was a former gymnast and it seemed to fit my style.
N3-You also do long jump and relays and recently set a PR in the jump. Three different types of events. Got a favorite one?
Hurdles are my favorite. because it gets me first place most of the time.
N3-Were you aware of what the record was?
Yes, I was aware of the middle school 55m hurdle record on the wall and broke that record my 8th grade year, so going into high school, I knew what the high school record was. I have been trying for 4 years now to break the high school record and finally broke it my senior year.
N3-You have been generally finishing first with times around the low to mid 17’s most of the year. You must have known you had a good race. What was going on that allowed you to shave more than a second off your time?
I knew I had a good run at the meet, but did not know the time until the next day. I was low to the hurdles and did not have any twisting - it was my smoothest run and I could feel it. I felt good - finally that I accomplished that I work so hard for.
N3You ran another sub 17 at the makeup meet ending the season. Does the progress made this year help you feel confident going into Regionals?
Yes, but I have my work cut out for me because this season at the meets I do not have anyone pushing me and at regionals I will face 3 other girls running my same time and only top two move on to the state meet.
N3-You’re a senior. College plans?
Planning to go to MCC to begin with and wanting to become a certified nurse midwife
N3-What would you tell younger athletes who are considering T&F?
Work hard if you want to set a goal and accomplish something and have fun while your doing it. I would also say to the younger kids to give Track and Field a try - its more fun than you think or have heard. You are part of a team but also can set your own individual goals.
Title game Friday features rematch of conference co-champs
Story and photos by Tara Hefferan
Newaygo Lions soccer is moving on to the CSAA Championships following a 3-1 win over Tri County on Wednesday night. Playing at home, the Lions began the match a bit sluggish, giving up an early goal that was called back for being offside. The tone had been set, though, putting the Lions on notice that the Vikings were in town to play. The Vikings were speedy and aggressive, and Lion Keeper Barbara Toth stopped another three shots before Newaygo fully found its stride. With just seven minutes left in the half, the Lions finally got on the board, when Grace Painter sent a cross into Jaxi Long, who blasted the ball into the upper right corner of the net. The score was 1-0.
The Lions had four more solid chances before halftime. Tri County also was working to generate chances, and it looked like they might have a possibility to equalize after a Viking player broke away up field. But, the advance was stopped by Bella Welch and Sofia Briggs before a shot could be fired.
After halftime, Newaygo took to the field strong, dominating possession with four early shots on goal. The pressure finally bore fruit, when Laura Haavisto found the back of the net, after chain passing from Painter to Connelly Hefferan Nordlund to Haavisto. The score was now 2-0 with 24 minutes left in the match. In the 22nd minute, Tri County got on the board with a short-distance shot in front of the Lion net. The Lions answered the challenge quickly, as Hefferan Nordlund found Long, who located the back of the net a second time. The score was now 3-1.
With thirteen minutes remaining, the Vikings made space to rocket another shot toward goal. It rebounded off the cross bar, but a Viking player immediately sent it back toward the net. Defender Welch was well positioned, however, making an impressive goal line save, her second of the season. The Vikings scoring chance was denied.
As the second half came to a close, the Vikings continued to pressure the Lions, once again bringing the ball toward goal. Madi Couch stopped the attack, sending the ball out for a Viking corner kick. The Vikings put a shot on target from the left, but Keeper Toth stopped it. The Lions had three more strong attempts on goal before the game ended with a 3-1 final score.
In post-game analysis, Captain Sofia Briggs said, “We started off the game a little rocky, and we were a little slow. Eventually, we found our touch.” Captain Grace Painter continued “And then we were able to pass better and work as a team, and that led to our shots. It wasn’t a single player but a team effort.”
The Lions will play again on Friday against Big Rapids, with whom they tied for first place in the CSAA regular season. Details on the time and place will be available soon.
Win streak ends at 9 in nightcap
Photos By Bobbie Cruzan
On Tuesday night the Indians traveled to Davenport University to take on the League leading Kent City Eagles. The Indians upped their winning streak to 9 games with a 16-13 win in an entertaining game #1. The streak would come to an end in a hard fought 9-6 loss in game #2.
In Game #1 - KJ Strait started off the game with a line shot double into the left field corner, after a line drive by Alex Cruzan that was caught by the left fielder, Landyn McGowen was hit by a pitch, Tayler Bode then drove in the first run of the game with a single. After a strikeout, Christian Ringler smashed a hard grounder through the hole between first and second to drive in 2 runs. The Indians took a 3-0 lead after their first at bat.
After keeping the lead through 4 innings, the Eagles would erupt for 5 runs in the 5th inning, to take a 7-5 lead after 5 innings, but the Indians would fight back as they would score 2 more runs in the 6th inning, aided by a 2 run double by McGowen, to tie the score at 7-7.
In the Eagles half of the 6th inning, they would score another 3 runs, aided by an error, to take a 10-7 lead.
The Indians would not rollover and came out fighting in the 7th inning. with the bottom of the batting order coming up huge. Ringler started the inning off with a single to right, followed by singles from Jacob Francis and William Ferhlen, and a fielder's choice play that scored the first run of the inning. Strait laced an RBI single, Alex Cruzan walked, McGowen walked to drive in another run, Bode singled in a run, Mason Cruzan singled in a run then, after a strikeout, Francis blasted a bases loaded triple down the right field line, then scored on a wild pitch. The Indians would score 9 runs in the inning to take a commanding 16-10 lead.
The Eagles would threaten in their half of the 7th inning by scoring 3 runs before Bode came in to shut them down.
For the game, McGowen had 3 hits, scored 3 runs, and drove in 3 runs. Bode had 3 hits, and drove in 2 runs. Francis had 3 hits, and drove in 3 runs. Strait, Alex Cruzan, Mason Cruzan, Ringler and Fehrlen contributed 2 hits each.
On the hill, Alex Cruzan gave up 4 hits, 4 walks and fanned 3, while allowing 7 runs. 3 earned in 4 2/3 innings. Mason Cruzan picked up the win with 1 2/3 innings of work, allowing 3 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 6 runs with only 1 earned run. Bode picked up the save while getting both batters he faced out, one with a strikeout to end the game.
In Game #2 - The Indians offense continued its hot hitting in the 1st inning, after an out to start the game, Alex Cruzan ripped a triple, followed by a McGowen RBI single, then McGowen scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead.
On the defensive side, the Indians struggled to make plays allowing the Eagles to score numerous unearned runs.
Alex Cruzan and McGowen finished the game with 3 hits each, with Bode adding 2 hits.
On the mound, Bode continued with his dominance, striking out 7, walking only 2, allowing 7 hits, and 1 earned run in 5 innings of work.
The Indians record now stands at 12-10, with a conference record of 10-8. They return to the diamond with a Monday road doubleheader against Muskegon Catholic Central.
Story and photos by Tara Hefferan
The Newaygo Lions are off to a strong start in the CSAA conference tournament, with an 8-0 mercy win over the Lakeview Wildcats.
Just ten minutes into the match, Grace Painter netted a low corner goal after chain passing from Connelly Hefferan Nordlund and Belen Torres. Shortly thereafter Jaxi Long scored, followed again by Painter. Laura Haavisto assisted both goals, as well as the next, which was a Lakeview own goal after a Wildcat defender tried to clear the ball but put it into the net instead. Painter scored an additional goal off an assist from Long, and Hefferan Nordlund also put a point on the scoreboard. The Lions were ahead by six goals just 30 minutes into the match.
With the lead secure, the Lions had every player getting quality minutes against the Wildcats. The match ended toward the end of the second half, after two additional goals by Painter. The first came from a rebound, after Long fired a stinger that bounced off the post back to Painter, who slotted it in. The second came from an indirect kick, which also rebounded back for a Painter finish.
While the Lions dominated possession, Lakeview was able to get off a few quality shots against Lion Keeper Barbara Toth. Toth was fearless, using the full 18-yard box to stop oncoming attacks from advancing to goal. Center back Sofia Briggs with outside backs Bella Welch and Madi Couch once again effectively used speed and agility to outmaneuver the Wildcats, working with defensive midfielder Lynnea Briones to build the attack from the back. In the end, the Lions prevailed in an 8-0 win over the Cats.
Coach Painter: “Our girls came out strong and aggressive today. They maintained possession and worked the ball around to find good opportunities to score. We are looking forward to our next match up on Wednesday!”
The Lions will play at home in the CSAA semi-final match against Tri County Wednesday at 4:30.
Somers Soars into Record Books
For anyone who pays any attention to the sport of running, it is a well-known fact that Fremont has a long standing tradition of greatness, especially in their distance teams. Year after year Coach Cliff Somers has produced quality caliber athletes who very often go on to post-secondary schools to continue their running careers.
Coach Somers follows in a long line of phenomenal coaches who have built the cross country and track and field programs: Rich Thompkins for both cross country and track from 1969 until 1997; Herb Lindsey until 1999 when Somers took over both programs (Tom Elmer did take over for track for a handful of years in the mid-2000s with Somers as his assistant). This long history of consistent, knowledgeable coaching has transferred into consistent, outstanding performances from many runners.
The most recent mark of greatness came on Tuesday, May 10 when senior Conor Somers crossed the finish line well ahead of his CSAA Gold competitors with a flourish of excitement: he had just broken the 800 meter school record previously held by Dan Radar.
According to Coach Somers, Dan graduated in 1993 and ran cross country and track for Fremont. He was part of 2 State Championship teams, ran on a State Championship 4x800 relay, and was the 1993 800 meter State Champion where he set the (previous) school record of 1:56.0.
After hearing of Conor’s breaking the record, Radar drove up from Grand Rapids and surprised Conor with flowers and congratulations for beating his record.
The meet on Tuesday was a delayed start due to a pop up storm that hung over the area, causing the 4:00 start to be pushed back more than an hour. Fremont’s boys team didn’t let this stop them as they mentally dialed in and ended up winning the Conference Championship after going undefeated in the league.
Coach Somers gave the play-by-play that “Conor hit the 200 in about 28 flat and the 400 in 56.45. He really stayed in his rhythm through the next 200. With about 100 to go he was starting to try to force it and needed a reminder to stay smooth. He relaxed and finished in a new school record of 1:54.81 which is also the fastest time in the state currently.” (Editor’s note: this mark was bested on Friday, May 13 by Brady McArdle at the Davison Twilight Classic and a time of 1:54.18)
Near North Now had the opportunity to talk to Conor and ask him a few questions about this great accomplishment.
What do you think about being the one who currently holds the state fastest time* in the 800? “To be honest it doesn’t feel any different, I still have other things that I want to accomplish this track season but having that time definitely checks something off the list.
Fremont has a long standing tradition of impressive runners who have set school records. What does it mean to you to be a part of this tradition?
Means a lot to be part of a long legacy of success here at Fremont and it feels amazing to have my name alongside so many other legends.
Have you always had your mind set on the 800 record or has that developed this year?
My mind was not necessarily set on only the 800 meter record; I was also chasing the 1600 m record.
What drives you to continue putting in the miles and dialing in on your speed?
The hunger to be great is probably the main reason. Though I do enjoy running in general so it’s easy to train.
When at the level you’re running, improvement can be by tenths of a second or even hundredths. How do you set new goals now that you have reached this big one?
I don’t think that I’ve hit a level where I’m only improving by tenths of a second I think that I have a lot of room left to improve and I think that when you do reach that level you still have one common goal, and that’s just to get faster, no matter the margin.
We saw that you attended the elite 2 mile race in Farmington last week. How did you focus on recovery after that to come back with such a quick turnaround?
I didn’t really do anything special. I just took my runs extra easy in order to prepare for not only our Homie but our conference champ meet that was on Monday.
Coach Somers said about his son and athlete’s accomplishment: “It was really exciting for him to be able to perform like that in front of some of the old legends in attendance; Don Klingel and Dan Price (both former school record holders at the 800), Jim and James Lanciaux, and others.”
The Packers will have the next opportunity to show what they’ve got at their Division 2 Regional at Zeeland East on Friday, May 20th.
Reeve collects conference record and 2 first place finishes
The girls’ track team finished second in the CSAA Silver Division Conference Championship meet Friday afternoon with a total of 120 points.
Leading the team was Gaby Reeve who placed first in both the discus(117’1”) and the shot put (31’11”). Gaby now holds the CSAA discus record.
Eight athletes were named to the All Conference Team: Carsyn Scarlavai, Gaby Reeve , Shantel Palmer, Grace Richards, Jaden Gomez, Annie Feldpausch, Ryleigh Balke, and Mariah Edwards.
Congratulations to these athletes.
High Jump: 2nd Annie Feldpausch 4’10”, 6th Brooklyn Foondle 4’2” Long Jump: 2nd Jaden Gomez 15’2”, 4th Annie Feldpausch 14’10.25”
Pole Vault: 4th Carsyn Scarlavai 7’6”
Shot Put: 4th Kendalin Trapp 28’7.5
400 Relay: 1st Carsyn Scarlavai, Mariah Edwards, Shantel Palmer, Carsyn Scarlavai 54.16
800 Relay: 3rd Ryleigh Balke, Chesney Kooman, Brooke Ringler, Shantel Palmer 2:04.71
1600 Relay: Carsyn Scarlavai, Mariah Edwards, Grace Richards, Jaden Gomez 4:39.72
3200 Relay: 3rd Sam Kukal, Isabella Shockley, Brooklyn Foondle, Jolena Deaton 12:04.68
100 Hurdles: 1st Ryleigh Balke 18.56 4th Chesney Kooman 20.6 6th Grace Richards 20.97
300 Hurdles: 2nd Ryleigh Balke 55.0 4th Grace Richards 59.42 200 Meters: 6th Jaden Gomez 29.71
1600 Meters: 5th Annie Feldpausch 6:25.93 6th Brooklyn Foondle 6:41.16
3200 Meters: 3rd Annie Feldpausch 14:09.49 5th Brooklyn Foondle 15:00.16
Regional competition will be Saturday at Brethren High School.
Lions plate 2 dozen in twinbill
Story by Hudson Harkness
Photos by Jaime Harkness
Game 1: Newaygo Takes Game 1 Over Rival, Grant, in High Scorer
Runs were aplenty in Game 1, as Newaygo defeated Grant 11-6.
Grant put one up on the board in the top of the first. In the bottom half of the inning, Josiah Long drew a bases loaded walk to tie the game.
In the bottom of the 4th, the Lions would bat around to cross the plate eight more times. Heading to the top half of the 6th, the Lions led 10-3, when Chapin, of Grant, hit a solo shot to give the Tigers another run.
Starting game one on the bump for the Lions was Seth McGowen who got the win to improve to 4-2 on the season. The Lion senior sat down six, walked one, and allowed five runs, and four runs. Glenn Toth and Remy Wells relieved McGowen. Wells ended up recording the save, his first of the season.
Wells led Newaygo at the plate going 2-3 while also drawing a walk. The Lions produced seven hits and reached on a free pass eleven times.
Game 2: Newaygo Starts Hot to Sweep Grant
Newaygo claimed the 13-3 victory despite Grant heating up in the final inning.
The Lions scored 11 runs in the first inning. G. Toth, McGowen, R. Toth, Bazzett, Christensen, and Wells each had RBIs in the frame. Two runs crossed to start the game after the Glenn Toth single. From that point, it was hit after hit for the Lions.
The Lions remained at eleven until the 4th inning where they had two more come in after the Wells single.
The Tigers went on a late push. They scored three in the top of the 5th, but it was too little too late as Grant Harkness came in relief to shut the Tigers down.
Russell Toth got the win for Newaygo to stay a perfect 3-0 on the season. Toth went 4.2 innings, allowing four hits and three runs while striking three out. Harkness came in to shut down the Tiger attack.
Newaygo racked up 14 hits. The Toth brothers, Wells, and Long all managed to get multiple hits in game two.
Newaygo moves to 15-4 on the season and makes it seven wins in a row. Newaygo is back on the diamond on Saturday, May 14, to face Shepard in a doubleheader.
Win in regular season finale brings a share of the title
Story and photos by Tara Hefferan
With a 7-1 win over Chippewa Hills on Friday evening, Newaygo Lions soccer finished the regular conference season undefeated, sitting atop of the CSAA standings tied for first place with Big Rapids. Overall, the Lions have a 7-0-1 conference record, conceding just four goals during conference play, while scoring twenty-six goals against their opponents.
Friday night’s match in Remus was a scorcher, under full sun and with 85 degree heat. Both teams played hard, despite the difficult conditions. The first goal came in the first three minutes, with Laura Haavisto finding the back of the net. Haavisto scored three additional goals before the final whistle. Also getting on the board, Grace Painter netted two goals, and Jaxi Long scored off a corner kick.
Coach Painter: “We ended a successful regular season of conference play with a solid all around game against Chip Hills. I’m proud of our girls for how they have worked together, supported each other, and stepped into new or different roles when the need arose. We are planning to continue our success thus far as we head into the conference tournament! I am hopeful we end the week with sole possession of the conference title!"
The Lions begin the CSAA conference tournament at home on Monday at 4:30 PM against Lakeview.