A day after blanking Kenowa Hills 7-0 in their opener the Lions were stymied by the visiting Spartans by the same 7-0 score.
Coach Painter: “"We faced a tough, experienced Sparta squad last night who came out fast and strong right off the initial whistle. Our girls were a bit shell-shocked as Sparta put up 4 goals on us within the first 15 minutes. However, one of our team values is that 'we give our best no matter the circumstances.'
“We made a couple minor adjustments and then our girls just kept fighting. We started to get used to the speed, began stringing together passes, and put a few shots at the keeper even putting one off the post that somehow tiptoed along the line but didn't go in! I was proud of our girls' grit, how they slowly improved throughout the game, and how they never, ever gave up!"
The team has a couple of weeks off before returning with a trio of road matches as they visit Chip Hills (4-13), Shelby (4-14) and Lakeview (4-18) before hosting Reed City (4-20).
Painter collects hat trick plus 2
Photos by Tara Hefferan
Despite temperatures that remained below freezing the Lions heated things up on the field blitzing the nets with 7 unanswered goals in their season opener at Kenowa Hills while their defense kept the Knights from mounting any scoring threats at the other end.
Grace Painter found the back of the net 5 times and added an assist while Jaxi Long pounded in a pair while twice sending passes to Painter that resulted in goals. Lynnea Briones, Connelly Hefferan-Nordlund, and Belen Torres each added an assist.
Coach Painter “We lost 5 starters from last year either due to graduating or deciding to pursue other interests this spring. So we had to look for some girls to fill big shoes following our successful season last year. We have some freshman who are working hard to step up as well a couple new sophomores who are filling in some minutes for us.
“I was pleased with our girls’ performance in their first game of the season. They passed the ball well and worked well as a full team. “
The Lions are scheduled to play their home opener today (Tuesday) when Sparta comes to town for a 4:30pm match.
Packer teams compete in Laker Challenge indoor meet
The girls did a great job in their first track meet of the season. Erica Maddox(Sr) jumped her Personal Record in the high jump, 4’10”, placing 6th and earning a medal. Kennedy Christoffersen(Sr) ran her PR in the 60-meter hurdles, 10.21 finishing 8th and earning a medal. Olivia Stroven(Fr) ran a solid 400, Adrianna Cushman(Fr) was our top in shot put, and both relay teams finished faster than expected. We are excited for the rest of the season.
Taking advantage of the ideal weather indoors the boys turned in some great performances at the Laker Challenge, running on Grand Valleys 300 meter indoor track.
We had a mix of some upperclassmen and many first timers, and they all competed well. They had a great attitude of have fun while putting in a hard effort. None of our first timers were intimidated, they just went out and competed.
In a great showing we had several athletes post lifetime PRs in their first meet of the season.
Two of our throwers, Andrew Steger (So) and Briar Hambrock (Jr) both Pr’d. Seniors Conner Roesler and Gabe Whittle Pr’d in the 200, while Conor Somers Pr’d in the 1600 missing Nathan Walkers school record by less than a second. Sophomore Connor Pettis had a Pr jump in the long jump. Daniel Romero (So) looked good in the 60 hurdles, while first year track athlete Michael Romero (Jr) gained good experience in the 60 H and 60 dash. Another first time athlete Garrett Hanshue (Jr) who only had one day of practice on the high jump was able to clear the first two heights today jumping 5’4” and turning in a solid leg on the 4x300.
Fremont, Holton Bowlers make their mark
Fremont’s Andrew Lyon, Gabe Van Vleet, and Aston Yuhasz were named to the CSAA Gold All Conference Boys Bowling Teams. Lyon and VanVleet landed on the first team with Yuhasz joining them as Honorable Mention.
Packers Makayla Johnson, Rhiannon Ziebke and Amelia Foster found places on the Gold All Conference Girls Bowling Team as Johnson secured a spot on the first team while Foster and Ziebke were named Honorable Mention.
The Packer Boys won Gold title with a 7-1 mark while the girls team placed 3rd finishing at an even 4-4 conference record. Central Montcalm went undefeated in Girls Gold to take the title.
In the Silver Division Chase Albright led a trio of Red Devils making the Boys All Conference Team finishing on the first team. Sophomores Bo Larabee and Tuff Scott captured Honorable Mention. Katie Peterson was named Honorable Mention on the Girls All Conference Team.
Holton boys placed second in the Silver with a 4-2 record while the Red Devil girls also finished second in a tie with Lakeview with both teams finishing with a 3-3 conference mark. Kent City won both titles in the Silver.
CSAA Wrestling All-Conference 2021-22
1st Place: Killian Prewitt (10) Fremont
2nd Place: Carson Gorton (10) Kent City
3rd Place: Stephen Priese (10) Hesperia
4th Place: Joe Perez (11)
1st Place: Alex Russo (9) Grant
2nd Place: Zane Kik (11) Kent City
3rd Place: Blake Sayer (9) Hesperia
4th Place: Hayden Figley (12) Tri-County
1st Place: RJ Thome (12) Fremont
2nd Place: Logan Goguen (10) Kent City
3rd Place: Alex Sayer (11) Hesperia
4th Place: Tony Baker (10) Holton
1st Place: Tee Ward (10) Fremont
2nd Place: Dawson Kilpatrick (10) Big Rapids
3rd Place: Myles McCarthy (9) Reed City
4th Place: Wyatt Roberson (10) Hesperia
1st Place: Ian Boden (11) Tri-County
2nd Place: Gabe Rusnell (10) Kent City
3rd Place: Daniel Romero (10) Fremont
4th Place: Skylar Stalbaum (9) Hesperia
1st Place: River Roberson (12) Hesperia
2nd Place: Tyler Geer (10) Chippewa Hills
3rd Place: Brayden Armstrong (11) Kent City
4th Place: Dawson Langworthy (11) Big Rapids
1st Place: Jon Koepf (9) Chippewa Hills
2nd Place: Scott Quinn (11) Hesperia
3rd Place: Jaykob Downer (12) Tri-County
4th Place: Izaiah Lentz (10) Reed City
1st Place: Trey Meyers (10) Fremont
2nd Place: Angel Tello (12) Grant
3rd Place: Alexander Andrus (11) Reed City
4th Place: Seth Weaver (9) Chippewa Hills
1st Place: Brandon Quinn (12) Hesperia
2nd Place: Alex Gleason (11) Fremont
3rd Place: Brady Jacobs (12) Grant
4th Place: Jayden Joseph (12) Newaygo
1st Place: Trent Behrenwald (11) Tri-County
2nd Place: Rice Robins (12) Holton
3rd Place: Deagan Klaus (11) Hesperia
4th Place: Hadden McGuire Central Montcalm
1st Place: Bryson Hughes (11) Reed City
2nd Place: Austin Humphrey (9) Chippewa Hills
3rd Place: James Farrington (12) Kent City
4th Place: Coy Hall (10) Tri-County
1st Place: Michael Romero (11) Fremont
2nd Place: CJ Copeland (9) Lakeview
3rd Place: Noah Morgan (11) Reed City
4th Place: Pedro Diaz-Charles (11) Kent City
1st Place: Wyatt Spalo (9) Reed City
2nd Place: Nolan Corvers (12) Grant
3rd Place: Joe Anderson (12) Kent City
4th Place: Aiden DeWeerdt (10) Fremont
1st Place: Briar Hambrock (11) Fremont
2nd Place: Waylon Lingeman () Central Montcalm
3rd Place: Logan McVicker (12) Kent City
4th Place: Gordon Kenney (11) Lakeview
Last week we featured the scholar athletes from our coverage schools who earned a spot on the CSAA All Conference Girls Teams. This week we turn to the Boys AC Squads and again, share the words of their coaches. Some are seniors and have played their last game for their school. Some will be returning for another season or two to compete in the high school battles that fill the gyms during the lengthy Michigan winters. Either way we congratulate them for being selected to represent their schools as the premier players on the court this season.
Taylor Bode, White Cloud
Coach Jones: “Taylor is one of those Seniors you hate to see leave. If we needed a score or a rebound, we looked to Taylor. A great leader on and off the floor. The only thing that tops how good of a Basketball player he is, is how great of a Young Man he has become!!
Carter Brant, Holton
Coach Swanson: “Carter took a giant leap this year. He is a talented kid full of basketball skill and IQ. He led us in assists per game and was our second leading scorer. His progress was a huge factor for our success this season, and is critical for our program going forward.”
Bryce Decker, Newaygo
Coach Long: “Bryce had a very good junior year this season averaging 15 points, more than 10 rebounds and more than 2 blocks per game. He played the back line of our defense altering shots and cleaning up the boards. Bryce worked hard and was not only an inside presence but a good three point shooter as well. Bryce came every day ready to get better and proved himself to be one of the better big guys in the area.”
Joey DeLong, Fremont
Coach Bowen: “Joey really came on in the second half of the season finishing second on the team in scoring at 9 1/2 per game and also 2 steals per game.”
Great leader, worked extremely hard, and always represented our team and our program with class.”
Armando Escobedo, Hesperia
Coach Worcester: “During the 21-22 season Armando was paired with Gabe Gould in the back court where he had major contributions to a dynamic defensive duo. I felt that Armando’s quickness and ability to anticipate passes helped our defense tremendously throughout our season.”
Austin Fowler, Holton
Coach Swanson: “ Austin came off a record setting football season at QB to play a big role for us in the backcourt. He continued to be an incredibly efficient and competitive player for us. Lead us in assist/turnover ratio and 2pt shooting percentage.”
Chase Geers, Grant
Coach Schuitema: “Chase averaged 3 points, 3 rebounds and 1 steal per game. He worked his way into the starting lineup halfway through the season because of his work ethic and defensive prowess.
"Chase has a smile on his face and a kind heart, but you don't want him to guard you. His value to the team didn't always show up in the scorebook. He was charged with the task of guarding the opponent's best player along with making all of the hustle plays."
Gabe Gould, Hesperia
Coach Worcester: “Over the 21-22 season Gabe has proved to be very effective defensively in the back court. His ability to disrupt and cause turnovers helped our team every game. Most coaches chose a player based on offensive production; I chose to reward our defensive standouts.”
Josiah Long, Newaygo
Coach Long: “Josiah averaged over 11 points, 3 assists and more than 4 rebounds per contest during his sophomore year this season. Josiah has a good basketball IQ which enabled him to be used in a lot of different ways. He worked hard and became a multi-threat player this year which not only opened up his game but also opened up his teammates.”
Jordon McDonald, Fremont
Coach Bowen: “Jordon had a fantastic year for us averaging over 20 points per game, 6 1/2 rebounds, and 2 1/2 steals. Great leader, worked extremely hard, and always represented our team and our program with class.”
Wyatt Monette, Holton
Coach Swanson: “Wyatt had an incredible year. We all could see it coming toward the end of last year and through the offseason. He led us in pretty much everything. We asked so much of him every game and he followed through for us and some. Couldn't be prouder of him.”
Logan Nelson, Fremont
Coach Bowen: “Logan was our leader on the floor and averaged almost 5 assists per game along with 6 1/2 points and 2 1/2 steals. Great leader, worked extremely hard, and always represented our team and our program with class.”
Seth Schuitema, Grant
Coach Schuitema: “Seth averaged 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block per game. He was a 4 year starter, 3 time All-Conference player and All-State Honorable Mention player. He concluded his career with 1,371 points, 3rd all-time.
"Seth is calm, cool and collected with a high level of basketball IQ. At 6'6", Seth has great length to go along with his skill set for a combo guard. He can score at all three levels and find the open man."
Jared Watson, White Cloud
Coach Jones: “He's only a sophomore and already a two year starter. He can play any position on the floor. One of those players that can score at will. First in the gym and last to leave. His dedication to the game and the team are matched by few. He's definitely one of those players you're going to want to keep an eye on the next two years.
Local players make All Conference Teams
The CSAA selected their all conference teams last week. The conference will change dramatically next year when Holton, Hesperia and Fremont take to the coast to join the soon to be 2 division West Michigan Conference.
But that’s another story. This story is written to honor the players in our coverage area who landed spots on the aforementioned all-conference teams.
Here are our local scholar/athletes that made the Silver and Gold squads along with a few words from their coaches.
Julie Ashbaugh, Grant
Coach Delamater: Julie could, at times, completely take over a game. She led us in points and rebounds and will be a force once she gets consistent.
Kaitlynn Bennett, Fremont
Coach Zerlaut: Kaitlynn was a third-year varsity player that has dealt with plenty of adversity during her career. Between the loss of an off-season due to COVID restrictions and an ankle injury that required surgery this past off-season, she didn’t get much opportunity to improve outside of the regular season. Then a knee injury this season caused her to lose some more practice time and a couple games, but she just kept bouncing back and working to get better. She led our team in rebounds, improved her shooting touch, and provided solid post defense this season. I felt that she continued to improve her game right up until the end of her high school career.
Abby Derks, White Cloud
Coach Wilk: There were multiple times this year when we needed Abby to be a force in the paint, and she was able to step up. She averaged 8 points a game, and she was a bully in the paint! This team will miss her grit and aggressiveness next year.
Kayla Fisk, Newaygo
Coach Thomasma: 5.5 ppg. 5.1 deflections per game. 3.5 rebounds per game. 2.5 steals per game. Kayla was a three year starter for us. She brought energy and tenacity to our team over the past three worms. Called her the "worm" after Dennis Rodman. She plays the game in a very similar way to him. We will miss her toughness and edge on the court next year.
Abby Fowler, Holton
Coach Jordan: 5.5 ppg 4.5 apg 4.5 spg. Abby is a great athlete and really paced us this year, we tried to have the ball in her hands as much as possible as she has the ability to create for others, she made a ton of great passes this year and set her teammates up game after game with good looks , she was also an active defender. She is only 15 with 2 years starting pg experience at the varsity level. I’m expecting her to make a huge jump in the next few years as well as the game will slow down for her with that type of experience under her belt.
Emmerson Goodin, Newaygo
Coach Thomasma: 15 ppg 8.1 rebounds per game. 4.6 steals per game. Scored 946 points in her career (9th all time in school history). Emmerson was a four year starter for us. Her athleticism and toughness were off the charts. Very good hands in traffic (best I have coached). We will miss her ability to affect games in many different ways (scoring, rebounding, steals, etc...). Great leader. She never wanted to settle to just be good when she easily could have. She worked very hard to make herself a great basketball player.
Emma Joppich, Hesperia
Coach Grodus: Emma was a vital part of our team this year. She was one of our captains and our undisputed leader. Emma played outstanding defense for us. She was our team leader in minutes played.
Jaxi Long, Newaygo
Coach Thomasma: 19.4 ppg. 4.1 steals per game. 3.2 rebounds per game. 3.1 assists per game. 90% FT Shooter (5th all time in MHSAA history). 1,346 points (3rd all time in school history). Jaxi was a four year starter for us. Jaxi has the best basketball IQ I have coached. She is also the best shooter and clutch shooter I've coached (GR Christian and Tri-County buzzer beaters and WMC game this year). We will miss Jaxi's ability to impact the game on both ends of the court. She was a better defender than most people give her credit for. She is the definition of a gym rat. Just loves the game of basketball. Only negative I can say about her is that she is a Duke fan :).
Jaycee Rider, Grant
Coach Delamater: Jaycee was our most consistent player all season. She was second in rebounds, third in points, first in steals and consistently guarded one of the other teams top players.
Ryann Robins, Holton
Coach Jordan: 10.5 ppg 10.1 rpg 44% fg Ryann had several huge games for us this year and was our leading and most consistent scorer on the team, also led the team in rebounds. She gave us an inside presence and we were better as a team when she got post touches. She doesn’t realize how dominant she can be, she is a gentle giant in many ways, but showed physical play at times. When that physical play becomes consistent night in and night out she will be a force to deal with for the next few years
Carsyn Scarlavai, White Cloud
Coach Wilk: Carsyn was able to fill up the stat sheet in multiple ways, but her contribution to our team goes way beyond statistics. She was our leader and a defensive standout for her entire basketball career. I asked Carsyn to step her game up a lot this year, and she exceeded my expectations.
Lily Swinehart, Newaygo
Coach Thomasma: Averaged 3.7 ppg. 4.1 rpg Lily was a great teammate and leader. Super coachable. Brought a consistent work ethic to practice and it translated to games. An athlete who worked hard her entire career and she made the most of her Senior year. We'll miss her effort, attitude and toughness next year.
Emmet Tinkham, Hesperia
Coach Grodus: Emmet was an offense and defensive force. She averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds per game. She was a co-captain for this year’s team as well.
Haley Zerlaut, Fremont
Coach Zerlaut: Haley had a very good year. She had to carry a large load for us and came up big in many games. She became a consistent scorer for us, averaging 13.8 points per game, including several games over 20, and twice recording 27 points in games this season. She also improved her defense, leading our team in steals. She made the most of her senior season, her fourth on the varsity team.
Calla Miller part of Jayhawks success
Calla Miller came up to the Fremont Varsity as a freshman, the first of her four years as a selection to the all conference teams. Following graduation she moved on to play with the Muskegon Community College Jayhawks who after a regular stellar season captured the Regional title in a tournament that brought MVP honors to the former Packer who now wears the Jayhawk uniform.
Now the team moves on to the 2022 NJCAA DII National Tournament held in Port Huron.
The 13th seeded Jayhawks, are 24-4 and the Great Lakes District A champions. They will open play on Wednesday, March 16, at 11 a.m. against the 4th seeded Cougars of Illinois Central, which owns a 24-9 record and won the Central District.
The tournament is a grueling one with winners in the 16 team field advancing each day culminating in Saturday’s final.
We caught up with Ms. Miller as she and her team prepared for their upcoming game to pose a few questions.
N3- First of all congrats to you and your team for getting into the National tourney and to you for being named MVP in the Regional tourney.
This is your first year making the significant jump from high school ball to the college game. Can you tell us a little about the learning process in making this transition?
CM-I would say the speed of the game is much faster and the need for building and improving my defensive and offensive concepts. We can all improve our skills with practice and I feel I have improved on both ends from high school.
N3-What has surprised you the most about playing at this level?
CM-Honestly just how fast the game is, it wasn’t the easiest transition but with practice it became normal.
N3-What has been the biggest challenge?
CM-The biggest challenge for me personally was handling the ball at the beginning of the season. I had a lot of turnovers and was in my head. After talking with my coaches and working on my confidence it has improved greatly.
N3-What has been the biggest reward?
CM-The biggest reward so far has been winning regionals as a team and individually winning regional MVP. That was one of our goals from the beginning of the season and just one step closer to our goal of winning Nationals.
N3-You were one of 7 women who were new to the team, each coming from a school where they were likely the driving force for their team. What kind of dynamics created the culture that has led to a winning atmosphere?
CM-Everyone has learned their position and role on this team. It was a struggle at the beginning but we learned people have certain roles to play on this team and now that we know them we simply work together to get the job done.
N3-Some local players you were on the court with last year will be taking their game to the next level as you have. Any advice for them?
CM- Know that the game is different, still extremely fun, but different. You have to be willing to put in time in pre season to be ready for the season. It is definitely a huge time commitment but it’s been worth every second.
N3-Your team is on a 13 game winning streak and begins play Wednesday morning in Port Huron. This tournament is a grind. If you win you play the next day right up to the Saturday finals. Any special preparations?
CM-As a team we are mentally focused and ready to go. Taking care of our bodies is our top priority. We have been having practices and shoot-a-rounds everyday. The atmosphere is electric and very exciting.
David Walls named MIAAA Region 3 Athletic Director of the Year
Michigan’s professional organization of school athletic directors, the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), has selected David Walls of Fremont High School as Regional Athletic Director of the Year for Region 3. One of only fourteen administrators state-wide to be honored by the MIAAA, David will be presented the award in Traverse City on March 20, 2022, at the annual MIAAA Mid-Winter Conference in which over 500 athletic directors participate.
Walls is 1991 graduate of Hartford HS, then went to Saginaw Valley State University receiving his degree in 1996. He started his career at Holton HS in 1997, where he coached middle school girls’ basketball, varsity girls’ basketball and varsity softball, along with serving as athletic director. From 2008 to 2013 Walls served as Dean of Students at Mona Shores HS, while also coaching JV girls’ basketball and varsity girls track. He has been with Fremont Schools since 2013, serving as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and athletic director, since 2016.
David has assisted the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) by serving on the Scholar-athlete judging committee and also being an MHSAA sportsmanship presenter. Fremont athletics recently received the Level 1 Heart Safe Sports Award. David serves the community by serving as youth sports coach, a member of the Lions Club and Knights of Columbus.
Walls also has been instrumental in the off season speed and agility program for Fremont athletes, according to Fremont Public Schools superintendent Ken Haggart.
“David has established Fremont athletics as one of the most successful in West Michigan through starting weight lifting programs, summer workout sessions and year round activities that include parents as well as students. He works with the teaching staff at FHS to ensure students maintain good study habits. :Our coaching staff understands the importance of receiving scholar athlete awards and we have received many team awards under Dave’s leadership.”
“The honor is not an individual honor, but a recognition for the entire staff that I get to work for every day,” said Walls. “From Mrs. Perkins the athletic administrative assistant, to the workers, event staff, and volunteers that help out throughout the entire year. Their help is often goes unnoticed to the public, but greatly appreciated.
“I also work with great coaches, some who have been honored at the state and national level. Every day I get to learn from them as much as they learn from me.
“Finally, there are the student-athletes that strive to excel on the playing field and in the classroom watching them compete and represent Fremont is something that makes me ‘Packer Proud’."
Photos by Mike Gesler
Story by Ken DeLaat
Sparta 53 Fremont 40
The Packers started out hot. Jordon McDonald shoveled a pass to Gavin Richards who converted the layup. After Sparta answered with a Reece Alt bucket McDonald scored again, stole the ball and put two more on the board. Then he rebounded the ball on the Sparta end and found Logan Nelson who hit for 2. Alt split at the line then Blake Hanshue buried one from beyond the arc and it was 11-3 Packers.
Then Sparta called time out to regroup.
And regroup they did. After a Nelson triple made it 14-3, the Spartans led by the offensive clinic put on by Jax Wilson fired back. He canned the next 9 points and a Fremont time out didn’t slow him down. McDonald stopped the bleeding with a basket and was immediately answered by Wilson and the first quarter ended with Fremont still holding a slim 16-14 lead but Sparta in firm grasp of the momentum. Carter Volkers’ three put Sparta in front then the quarter progressed with the lead changing hands 7 times as McDonald, Joey DeLong, Richards and Hanshue contributed. As the half came to an end the Packers couldn’t buy a shot at one point missing three straight 3 point tries. They also began multiplying turnovers and behind Wilson’s 19 point performance the Spartans edged ahead by 5.
Halftime couldn’t come at a better time for the Red and White.
In the third the Packers began running in players with frequency and their tightened defense held the Spartans to just 8 third quarter points.
Unfortunately their shooting woes continued and they only scored 6.
Down 37-30 with a quarter to go the shooting continued to go sour while turnovers were becoming more frequent. Sparta built a 14 point lead with an 8 point run that Nelson halted with a three, but by then the game was well in hand
Coach Bowen: “This was kind of the story of our season. We struggled to make shots. Their pressure bothered us a bit especially in the second when they went on a pretty big run.
“We knew coming in we were going to have to shoot well and at the end of the day we just didn’t make enough shots to win.”
McDonald finished with 14 points and Nelson hit for 11.
Sparta moves on to Regional play at Forest Hills Eastern where they will face Whitehall on Monday.
Fremont finished their season with a record of 14-8.
Several seniors played their final game for the Packers:
Joey DeLong, Logan Nelson, Elijah Shears, Blake Hanshue, Tegan Reinhart-Slater and Chase Rasmussen