Cloud Shines in Elite Meet
Girls finish 4th, Boys take 5th
By Joan Ludtke
White Cloud’s girls and boys track teams both competed in the MITCA (Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association) D4 Team State Meet at Mt. Pleasant High School on Saturday. White Cloud was among 10 teams chosen to compete in this unique meet. Each team can have 3 entries per individual event with each competitor scoring points.
Hillsdale Academy won the girls’ competition with 1083 points with White Cloud totaling 711 for a 4th place finish. The girls were led by throwers Janessa Shepard and Gaby Reeve finishing 1-2 in both the discus (101’2, 99’7”) and shot put (32’9.5”, 30’9”). The 400 meter relay team (Carsyn Scarlavai, Chesney Kooman, Elizabeth Compeau, and Jaden Gomez) also placed first with a time of 54.70.
Hillsdale Academy also won the boys meet totaling 965.5 points to 5th place White Cloud’s 839.5, led by 1st place pole vaulter, Hunter Chiolk (12’6”), Jace Silverthorn, 2nd in the shot put (43’1”), 3rd in the discus (126’0”) and Joel Bradley, 4th in the shot put (41’10”), 4th in the discus (116’4”). Both teams continue to prepare for the MHSAA individual state meet on Saturday at Hudsonville Middle School. The girls have qualified 7 athletes in 7 events and the boys, 6 in 4 events.
A Sports Week in White Cloud
Track, Baseball and Softball
Several members of the girls’ track team competed at the West Michigan All Star Meet at Reeths Puffer HS. Janessa Shepard led the way with two medals in the throws, placing 6th in the shot put (33’6.5” ) and 5th in the discus (107’3”). Jaden Gomez placed 11th in the 200 meters with a personal record of 28.65. Gaby Reeve was 12th in the shot put (29’1/2”). Jaden Gomez finished 10th in the long jump (14’3.5”) while Elizabeth Compeau placed 13th (13’4.25”). Carsyn Scarlavai competed in the pole vault. Both the girls and boys teams will compete in the D4 MITCA Team State Finals on Saturday in Mt. Pleasant. Only 10 teams are chosen for this event.
The Varsity Baseball Team hosted Newaygo Thursday Night and split the double header
In Game #1 - The Team was led in hitting by Taylor Bode, as he smashed 2 big hits. Cam Wolters did a great job pitching, but was plagued by errors behind him. Alex Cruzan came in as relief and struck out 6 batters in just over 3 innings.
In Game #2 - The Indians took an early 1 run lead in the 2nd inning as Sam Venema scored when Christian Ringler was hit with a hard pitch to his side. Cruzan scored a run in the 3rd inning, as the Indians took a 2 run lead in the game. The Indians scored another run in the 5th inning as Cruzan scored on a line drive by KJ Strait. The team was led in hitting by Cruzan, Venema, and KJ Strait, with each collecting 1 hit.
Mason Ruether was in total command of the game on the mound, as he gave up only 4 hits, 3 walks and struck out a whopping 9 batters, as the Indians preserved the victory 3-1.
White Cloud won the game, playing 4 freshmen, 3 sophomores, 1 junior, and 1 senior.
White Cloud's record now stands at 26-8.
Wednesday Softball, Baseball
Reed City 7-5 White Cloud 3-13
The varsity softball team traveled to Reed City yesterday, gaining a split over the Coyotes. In the opener Kara Davis had two singles, Ceara Bode, Emily Hodges and Rylee Hewitt each had one single.
In the nightcap Emily Hodges took to the mound and got the win. Davis, Bode and Lilly Holmes all had one single and Gracy Holmes had a triple.
The White Cloud Varsity Baseball Team traveled to Reed City and dropped their double header, in a pair of 6 inning games.
The highlight of the night - was a first inning triple play turned in by the Indians. With runners on 1st base and 2nd base and no outs, a line drive was hit to 3rd baseman Landyn McGowan, Landyn caught the ball and threw to 2nd baseman Jayson Ruether, then Jayson threw to 1st baseman Alex Cruzan, to complete the Triple Play.There is only a 1 in 1,400 chance of completing a triple play, as both umpires at the game had never seen one in their time of umpiring, with the oldest umpire having been an umpire for 47 years. It was an amazing thing to see!
In The All Time Record Book
Long sisters, Strait crack MHSAA all time performance lists
Second Half is the online publication posted by the MHSAA that provides stories involving high school athletics that go beyond the scores and schedules.
This week’s edition included athletes from throughout the state who found a place in the organization’s all time record-book and featured two local basketball players who helped their team take a trip to the Breslin
Jaylee Long, who has signed with Cornerstone University, made the career list for 3-pointers with 168 over 90 games and four seasons.
Jaxi Long, a junior, was added for 17 free throws against Howard City Tri County on March 24 and a .878 free throw percentage (79 of 90) for the season. Her season percentage is tied for 12th-highest all-time.
The previous edition of Second Half included White Cloud four-year varsity senior Alexis Strait who finished this fall on the career aces list. She totaled 311 over 393 games, and also finished with more than 2,000 assists during her high school career.
Becoming a Jayhawk
Alexis Strait takes her game to the next level
White Cloud Scholar Athlete Alexis Strait recently made it official when she signed a letter of intent to take her substantial volleyball skills to MCC.
With a backdrop of decor celebrating years of competing for the Cloud comingling with some items from the school she'll be attending this fall, Strait posed with family, teammates, and the coaches of both her high school years and her upcoming college years.
The coach from high school also happened to be her Mom.
We asked Coach Desirae Strait about seeing her player/daughter move to the next level and the experience of coaching her.
“As a parent, Alexis has always dreamed of playing volleyball at the collegiate level. She practiced countless hours and was always dedicated to driving hours to games, tournaments and practices. When she decided to play volleyball at MCC, we, her dad and I, were so excited because we could continue to watch her grow!
“As a coach, she was so fun to coach!! Her interest and determination to make her team better was like no other. She was a great leader on the court and will be missed this coming year. She has left a huge impact on White Cloud Volleyball.”
We also were able to catch up with the busy senior to pose a few questions.
What was it about MCC that made it the right choice for you?
I have always been interested in playing volleyball in college, for me it was just about finding the place that made me feel comfortable. MCC is that place- it isn’t far from home, I am familiar with the area, and I know most of the girls on the team pretty well already. Those reasons are why and how I knew MCC was the place for me.
When did you know vball was your sport? How did your interest in the game grow?
I have known volleyball was my sport for a very long time, ever since I was little my goal was to play collegiate volleyball.
With Mom as coach I am certain she has been a big part of your growth as a player. What other mentors have been instrumental in your development?
My mom was by far my biggest mentor throughout my volleyball journey. She is the reason I started playing in the first place. My mom had coached JV when I was a little girl and ever since, my love for volleyball has just been increasingly stronger. I have had a few club coaches that have helped my game tremendously. Ted Edsall and Shane Balcom have been very important to my volleyball career as well.
You’ve had some memorable matches in your hs career. Any that stand out?
One match that I will never forget was Districts this year. We played Hesperia in the finals, and I can honestly say that going into that game we had a huge chip on our shoulders. My freshman year we lost to Hesperia in District finals, so when we beat them this year it was the best feeling ever. I have never experienced winning a district title and it is by far the best feeling!
You have been a force on the basketball team as well as on the vball court. What will you miss about suiting it up for WCHS?
I will miss the pre-game things that happen before our team goes out on the court- the laughs, the music, the dance parties- so many laughs were shared before games and that is something that I will miss.
There are underclassmen and middle schoolers at WC who likely are well aware of your success. Any words for them? What would you advise if they want to take their game beyond HS?
My words for underclassmen and any younger kids would be to take some time to appreciate your teammates and the time you have with them. I may never see some of my teammates again and it is actually sad to think about. Enjoy high school sports while you can, and if you want to play college sports make sure you get your name out to colleges as soon as you can. Keep in contact with coaches and you will eventually find the right school for you. A big part of it is just believing in yourself, and knowing that you can do it.
Have a career in mind? Any plans post MCC?
After MCC, I plan on transferring to GVSU to get a degree in psychology and to eventually become a child psychologist.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would just like to thank White Cloud for the past 4 years, I will never forget the memories I have made in school and sports! I am so lucky to have such a strong support system!
Packers Drop Devs Twice
Nelson leads Packer hit parade
Photos by Kacey Nelson
Fremont 11-7 Holton 1-6
Gabe VanVleet tossed 6 strong innings scattering 4 hits and giving up a lone run as the Packers routed the Red Devils dropping a 6 inning dime on the visitors in the opener. Hitting machine Logan Nelson continued his torrid season at the leadoff position stroking 4 singles, scoring 3 times and driving in a run. VanVleet and Drew DeBlake each knocked in a pair of teammates while Cayden Young and Grant Vissa scored twice.
In game 2 the Red Devils fought back from a 4 run deficit scoring 2 in the 6th and 7th to tie it up, but the Pack pushed the game winner across in the 7th to gain the sweep. Tyler Spickerman drove home 2 while Nelson and DeLong each crossed twice. DeBlake tossed 4 innings striking out 7 and Michael Baden finished the last 3
One comeback gets there, one falls short
Free passes and miscues enable Eagle sweep
Photo by Gail Mansfield
Fremont 5-3 North Muskegon 3-5
Aided by a strong defensive showing behind him Payton Mansfield kept his team in the game through 6 innings but an equally strong mound performance by Norseman Charlie Branch saw the teams reach the final frame with the Packers down by 2.
Once again the team rose to the occasion with a 3 run 7th highlighted by a Drew DeBlake single that plated a pair of teammates, The rally put Fremontin a position to win.
So Mansfield returned to the mound and finished the job giving the Packers game 1.
In the second contest the Comeback Kids almost pulled off another improbable win. Down 5-0 the Packers put on their patented late rally as Mansfield, DeBlake and Logan Nelson knocked home runs but this time it was too little too late and the Norse gained the split. Nelson and Mansfield continues to rake opposing pitching as Nelson collecting another 3 hits in the loss and n Mansfield doubled and singled
Kent City 8-10 Hesperia 7-0
With each week of the season, Hesperia has found themselves in many competitive games but unable to close the door for the win. For six innings at home Monday night, it looked like the Panthers had turned the corner. The team took a 7-3 lead into the last inning and were three outs away from defeating one of the top teams in the CSAA. Then the wheels fell off.
Nothing does more for increasing a coach’s stress level than walks and errors,and the 7th proved to have plenty of both allowing the Eagles to rally back for the win
Armando Escobedo, Travis Kurtz, Hunter Billman and Michael Norris each had two hits for Hesperia. Travis Kurtz pitched four strong innings and left with a 7-3 lead.
In game two, Hesperia bats could not get going and Kent City won 10-0 in six.
WC Boys Sweep, Girls Win Slugfest
Bode bombs Tiger pitching while Cruzan tallies 5 hits in twinbill
Photos by Bobbie Cruzan
White Cloud 4-15 Shelby 1-4
In Game 1, the Team was led in hitting by Alex Cruzan with 3 hits, followed by Mason Ruether with 2 hits. Taylor Bode, Sam Venema and Adam Bulk also reached on hits. Jayson Ruether picked up the win on the mound, with help from Mason Cruzan and Cam Wolters. Outstanding defensive plays were made by Mason Ruether and Landyn McGowan and Taylor Bode.
In Game 2 the Team was led in hitting by Alex Cruzan, Taylor Bode and Mason Ruether with 2 hits apiece. Sam Venema, Christian Ringler, and KJ Strait each added a hit. Landyn McGowan picked up the win, with help from KJ Strait and Cam Wolters.
White Cloud 22 Shelby 18
A ten run first inning seemed to put the Cloud in the driver’s seats when the teams met last Friday in Shelby.
But that was only the beginning.
A total of 40 runs ended up crossing the plate for the teams before the game came to an end.
Led by Ceara Bode and aided by some major control issues by Tiger tossers the visitors came away with the non conference win. 19 free passes put players on the bases and Bode sent home 6 of them with a single, double and a home run and crossed the plate herself 4 times.
Kara Davis scored 5 times and finished with 3 hits, Emily Hodges doubled twice and accounted for 3 runs and Kyleah Baker added a quartet of runs and an RBI.
WC overcame 10 errors, Davis struck out 9 in getting the win from the slab and Hodges came in to finish up the final 2.
Tigers Take Tourney
Bay shuts down Packer offense in final
Fremont 13 Tri County 10
Grant 4 Fremont 3
The first game was a seesaw battle featuring an error-inspired 8 run third inning for the Vikings that was answered by a 6 run Packer surge in the bottom half. TC scored 2 more in the 4th before Michae Baden came on in relief of Fremont starter Drew DeBlake and slammed the door holding the Vikes to a lone single the rest of the way.Tyler Spickerman, Jaxon Deur, and Joe Kortje crossed the plate 3 times each and Joey DeLong knocked home 3 runs.
Facing the tourney hosts, the Packers jumped out early with a 3-0 lead after 2 innings. The Tigers didn’t score until posting a 3 spot in the 6th to tie the game. Meanwhile Kyle Bay was holding down the Packer offense scattering 5 hits. The game reached regulation knotted at 3, and the teams toiled into extra innings as Bay and Packer reliever Baden kept posting blanks. Finally in the 10th Jed VanderWeide delivered his 3rd RBI of the game and the Tigers triumphed in their home tourney.
Bay also rapped out 3 hits including a pair of doubles while Cole Lesley and Ryan Hether collected 2 hits apiece, DeBlake and DeLong each doubled and singled for the Packers.
Cloud Track Goes 2-3 at Regionals
13 athletes qualify for state meet
White Cloud’s girls and boys track teams had many outstanding performances at the MHSAA D4 Regionals at Saugatuck on Friday. The girls finished 2nd with a total of 117 points. Saugatuck was first with 128 points. The boys were third, scoring 87 points behind Potters House and Saugatuck. The girls qualified in 7 events for the MHSAA State Finals at Hudsonville Middle School that will take place on Saturday, June 5th. Qualifying were the 2nd place 400 meter Relay (54.44) Elizabeth Compeau, Chesney Kooman, Jaden Gomez, and Carson Scarlavai, the 2nd place 1600 meter relay (4:37.84) - Elizabeth Compeau, Ryleigh Balke, Carson Scarlavai, Jaden Gomez, (4:37.84), 200 meters - 1st Jaden Gomez (28.79), 400 Meters - 2nd place Elizabeth Compeau (1:06.50), Pole Vault - 1st Carsyn Scarlavai (8’0”), Shot Put - 2nd Janessa Shepard (33’9.25”) and Discus - 1st Gaby Reeve (108’5”) and 2nd Janessa Shepard (100’7”).
White Cloud boys have 6 athletes preparing for the state meet by finishing 1st or 2nd at the regional meet. Hunter Ciolk won the pole vault (12’0”). Joel Bradley finished first in the shot put (44’5.75”) and 2nd in the discus (113’8”). The 3200 meter relay placed 2nd (8:47.41) with Nate Ciolk, Terry Trendel, Kobe Canning, and Tristin McHaney.
Lions Bow Out to Cards in CSAA Final
Photos and story by Alexis Mercer
This rematch from a week ago between the Newaygo Lions and the Big Rapids Cardinals would bring the Lions to Cardinal Country - kind of. Because of Big Rapids's renovations of the facilities, the team is playing on Ferris's field for the season. Turf field. Which puts a different spin on the game - or more specifically the ball.
The Lions are nothing but determined so they started off strong with most minutes being played at the midfield with neither team breaking through. It wasn't until 9 and a half minutes in when Big Rapids's #21 took advantage of the wind and found the top right hand corner of the net, putting the Cardinals up 1-0.
Not too many minutes later, an aggressive Lion defender committed a penalty in the box resulting in a penalty kick for BR - and a 2-0 lead.
But the Lions weren't giving in so easily. A skilled transition from defense to the midfielders created space which led to BR scrambling and kicking the ball out of bounds. Grace Painter teed up a beautiful corner kick for exchange student Alexandra Son and Newaygo was back in the game with their own goal.
The heat and humidity played in the Cardinals' favor with many more subs able to come off the bench to provide quality minutes. In such an intense and quick game, those breaks made a difference.
It was a quick break for the Big Rapids offense that led to a desperate attempt by a Lion defender to kick the ball out the back of the field, but instead the ball found its way in the net. The Cardinals were up 3-1.
And with 6:13 left in the game, Big Rapids sealed the deal with one final goal, ending at 4-1 in their favor and a CSAA Gold Championship trophy on their home field to celebrate with their fans.
Coach Matt Painter said of the game: "I felt our girls played really well tonight. We improved from the last matchup and possessed the ball through the Cardinals' lines, creating scoring opportunities. I was really proud of how we moved the ball, especially in the first half."