By Ken DeLaat N3 Sports
Will CM bring their football magic to the hardcourt? Is Reed City back? Does Big Rapids have the horses for a title run? Will the Pack be raining triples with their big men having departed? Will the Tigers do the same? Can the Lions bounce back from some serious graduation losses? Will Morley’s returnees be enough to defend their title? Is White Cloud ready to move forward? Can Holton feed off last season’s success?
Well, let’s see.
Newaygo Lions: Coach Joe Barrett
The Lions hope to blend some new faces in with some experienced players from last year’s team.
“We don’t have a lot of varsity experience, but I am excited to see where we end up in March”
The varsity welcomes back five players from last year’s team: Seniors Francisco Rios, Carlos Magana, and Noah Painter are joined by Juniors Wyatt Mortensen and Jarrod Wismar.
Newcomers include: Senior David Gonzalez; Juniors Ashton Stephens, Brandon Badgero, and Hayden Mackenna; Sophomore Gabriel Schillman and German foreign exchange student Pascal Hermann.
Coach Barrette knows that while every season is different, the expectations for
Newaygo basketball remain the same:
“We will play with energy and enthusiasm. Our goal is to represent our school with class and dignity every time we take the floor,” The Lions will open up on December 10th at Orchard View with a total of 4 gamesbefore a break over the holiday season.
Fremont Packers: Coach Pete Zerfas
Graduation cost the Packers some height to be sure but Coach Pete Zerfas returns three starters from last season's 19-2 squad including Braiden McDonald whose breakout season put him in the ‘best area player’ conversation. Joshua Zerfas dishes out dimes and for their third Varsity season Carter Moon and Jaxx Miller will be working it on both ends of the court.
Chris Kennedy, Tristan Campbell, Jacob Visser and Cody Moon are key returnees from last year's success and the team adds juniors Lane Converse, Adam Ward, Parker Vandenberg, Martin Curiel, and Johnny Rodriguez.
Coach Zerfas: "We return 6 players who all got significant playing time but we struggled this summer with depth. We also lost most of our size.
"The key to our season will be developing more depth so we can go 8 or 9 deep. Rebounding was also a concern this summer as we will need to rebound as a group much better because of our lack of size. We are in the mix. Our top 6 is as good as anybody but we need to develop more depth to combat any injuries or foul trouble that occurs."
The Packers open the season Dec 10 at Shelby and play their first home game six days later when the Ludington Orioles come to town
Grant Tigers: Coach Joe Schuitema
No team improved over the year like the Tigers. They showed their youth at times with some inconsistent play but they could also catch fire and pour in the triples from a number of angles. Senior Carter Chase is a ballplayer. He can score ...a lot... but it’s what he does away from the ball that is the most impressive. Chase is always anticipating and he seldom guesses wrong. Diesel Rose, the only other senior on the team, provides some presence in the paint and can also score when needed. Brent Long provides some offensive firepower and Elliott Butchart posted some important minutes all season.
Then there is Seth Schuitema who hit the floor last season as a freshman and can stick it from anywhere while displaying a quick and deceptive defensive skill set. If he improves like last season he will see the best defenders in the conference every night once they tire of chasing down Chase.
Newcomers include a septet of juniors as Eli Bradley, Gage Burrows, Orion Evans, Diego Krepps, Cole Lesley, Braden Swanson and Jed VanderWeide make their varsity debuts.
Coach Schuitema: “We have a solid group of players from last year's team with lots of game experience. We have guard skills, athleticism, size and depth. I believe we should be competitive in the league.”
The Tigers will begin their season at Whitehall on Dec. 10 and the first appearance at home will be a week later when they face Sparta the team that knocked them out of district play last spring.
Coaches Conference Comments
“The outlook for the the league should be pretty balanced with no clear front runner.”
“ Fremont and Big Rapids consistently challenge the top making it tough for the rest of the teams.”
*I think our league is wide open, maybe as wide open as I remember in the CSAA. Grant returns the league's leading scorer Carter Chase, already over 1000 points to go with Seth Scuitema. Big Rapids might have the most athletic talent in the league and most since they went to the final 4 3 years ago. Reed City is very strong, especially their junior class and with the return of Coach Jesse Kailing they should be very good. Central Montcalm returns a bunch of 3 year varsity players and was very very good at CMU summer camp this year. They will be tough to beat. "
White Cloud: Coach Bob Jones
The team struggled last season picking off a win here and there but being handled by some of the better teams.
The Cloud returns four starters as Steven Holt and Jake Foster bring 2 years of Varsity experience into their senior year while Dexter Cox and Sam Venema come back to their starting roles as juniors.
Tom Feldpausch who provided help off the bench last season is the only other returnee as seniors Caleb Cale, Alex Helder, Alex Clark and Nick McLain join the team along with juniors Cameron Wolters and Adam Bulk and sophomore Taylor Bode.
Coach Jones: “We’re looking for double digits in wins and to bring respect back to our program.”
WC opens with a game at Mason County Eastern Dec. 10 then 3 days later they will host the Eagles of Kent City to begin conference play.
Holton Red Devils: Coach Luke Houseman
The Devs grabbed second place in the Silver with some inspired play and a group of scrappers who battled from tipoff to games end.
Seniors Nathan Slowik, Drew Trygstad, Kaleb Kitchka, Chip Wright and Cody Wright and junior Aidan Poling are back and will be joined by senior Lukas Ramaekers, juniors Cameron Wackernagle, and Joseph McLean and sophomore Wyatt Monette.
Slowik is a force on the court and knows how to win.
Coach Houseman: “Our kids worked hard in the off season and we are looking to take another step forward. Our goal is to compete for a league and district championship.”
The Red Devils will open the season with a home game against Sparta.
Walker #1 Academic All State
In Cross Country achieving Academic All State requires being among the academic top 30 of the 246 runners who toe the mark that day. Ties are determined by placement in the finals.
Nate Walker captured the Individual top spot based combining his GPA and his 4th place finish at Brooklyn.
Taylor Mater, Conor Somers and Adam Ward also earned the honors to join Walker as Academic All Staters.
The boys team of Nathan Walker, Conor Somers, Adam Ward, Josh Zerfas, Ben Paige, Colton Best and Mikko Vesma also earned the top tier Academic All-State team award for a team average above 3.5.
Pafford, Kartes earn individual honors.
The Fremont Varsity Volleyball team was named Academic All state per theMichigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) standard of having a 3.5 team average. The teamblew away that standard finishing with a 3.74 average.
To get a spot on the Academic All State team candidates must meet two requirements
One is to be a senior. Not terribly difficult.
The other is to have achieved a GPA of 3.7 or above.
Not so easy.
Packers Rhi Pafford and Emma Kartes received Individual Academic All State honors to go along with their team accolades.
Well done ladies!
By Ken DeLaat N3 Sports
There is some serious talent in our local gyms as another season gets underway. Here’s a snapshot of the teams and later we gather some input on how the conference races shake out.
Newaygo Lions-Coach Nate Thomasma
Madison Berwald Sr.,Sophia Frisbie Sr., Kyla Rounds Sr.,Jessica Sanchez Sr.,
Jaylee Long Jr., Kendall Mathis Jr., Lily Ruehmeier Jr., Emmerson Goodin So.,
Jaxi Long So.
Anna Brummel Jr., Riley Goff Jr., Amaya Nelson Jr.
Nine returnees including their ‘starting six’ and the 3 seasoned seniors who will come off the bench along with a trio of talented newcomers will take to the floor for the Lions.
This is a fun team to watch with the Long sisters and teammate Frisbie returning from the All Conference squad and (more importantly) the N3 All Area team.
Mathis, Ruehmeier and Goodin improved dramatically last season, paticularly in their collective confidence.
From one end of the bench to the other the Lions play with a high degree of defensive intensity and his team never feels out of a game. Their relentless nature makes it seem they run out of time rather than lose when they fall short.
Coach Thomasma: “We’re hoping to be competitive again this year. The kids are working hard to make try and make that happen. Our goal is to continue to get better each practice and then see where that will take us.”
The team will open on the road December 3rd at Whitehall and their first home contest is against White Cloud on Dec. 17
Fremont Packers -Wes Zerlaut
Paige Vandenberg Sr Avery Curnett Sr., Natalie Jamieson Sr Madison Foster Sr Kaitlyn Waite Sr Chloe Shriver Sr., Calla Miller Jr.,Haley Zerlaut So.
Jeanelle Scharphorn Jr., Abby Vandenberg Jr., Bri Webber Jr., Carley Witteveen Jr., Kaitlynn Bennett So.
The senior laden squad returns a bevy of talent from last year’s second place finish including three players from last year’s N3 All Area team Vandenberg Miller and Jamieson.
This trio are a collective force on both ends of the court and Shriver is a clutch performer who seems to find her way to the ball when the games on the line.
Zerlaut can heat it up and pour in the points and Curnett provides a steady presence on the court. Waite and Foster help form a strong bench that includes 5 new players including sophomore Bennett who will likely be getting some time in the post.
Coach Zerlaut: “There were many girls that put a lot of time into basketball over the off-season. All the girls are working hard and doing everything we ask of them each day in practice. We are looking forward to seeing the results of that effort. This is a team that should be very competitive in the upper half of the conference.”
The Pack start their season at home on Dec. 3rd when they face Montague.
Grant Tigers- Coach Paige Paulson
Kirstyn Throop Sr., Kassidy Doornbos Sr., Ashley Longcore Sr.
Savannah Passage Sr., Mackenzie Ritz Jr., Trinity Swanson Jr., Zoe Carson Jr., Sami Wolff Jr., Sara Arends So., Jaycee Rider So.
A lot of new faces on the Tiger team and Coach Paulson will be looking to his senior leadership of Throop Longcore and Doornbos. Throop finds a way to score whether from the field or getting herself to the line but the team lost a lot of scoring from last year's squad so other players will need to step up on offense.
Coach Paulson: “We will be athletic and have competitive guard play. We are looking for our new girls to adapt quickly to the speed and skill of the CSAA.”
Grant travels north to open with the Cloud on Dec 3rd. Their first home game is Dec. 6 when they welcome in Cedar Springs.
In the Gold the dominance of Central Montcalm could be in danger since graduation took 3 starters from the defending champs but they still have Bailey Vissman and a group of players who know how to win.
Coach Thomasma believes the Hornets and Packers have an edge.
“Central Montcalm has had 2 straight 20-0 seasons and good talent back again this year. Fremont whas all 5 starters back from the 2nd place team in the league last year.
“Grant and Tri-County always are tough and well-coached. Big Rapids will also be a talented but young team.”
Coach Zerlaut is in his first year guiding the Packer Varsity. He also sees CM as the team to beat’
“It will be very interesting to see how the conference race shakes out. There were a few teams that had unusually tough seasons last year, that I expect to see bounce back. There were a couple teams near the top last year, that will be looking to move up this year. Of course, Central Montcalm has established itself as the top team in the conference in recent years, and will continue to be until someone can prove otherwise.”
“The league will be very competitive from top to bottom. There is a lot of great returning players and some very well coached groups. Each night will present new challenges as all coaches do a great job of preparing their teams. Again, the season could end in a multiple-way tie for first or second.”
Hesperia Panthers-Coach Vince Grodus
Emily Bayle Jr. Sadie Bolles Sr. F
Rachel Romero Jr., Allison Homfeld Jr., Emmi Tinkham Soph.,Angie Erickson Sr., Becci Castillo Jr., Clara Kunz Sr., Daelynn McKinnon Jr.
Three’s the charm? Vince Grodus returns to the bench for the Panthers for the third time and inherits a team that returns just one starter. Bayle upped her game during her sophomore season and will be called on to provide leadership. Should a couple players like Tinkham, Castillo, Romero et.al. show similar improvement this season the Panthers will win some games but lots of points graduated from the team that flirted with the .500 mark most of the year.
Coach Grodus: “We are very young with only 1 starter returning. We will look to improve and gain experience as the season progresses.I am very happy with the attitude, effort and teamwork I have seen at practice so far.”
Hesperia begins the season in Walkerville on Dec 3rd and returns to play Hart at home on Dec 10.
Holton Red Devils- Coach Joey Mason
Alissa Armstrong Sr., Madi Bosset Jr.
Kendra Dyer Jr., Kendall Greene Jr., Jasmine Vriesman Jr., Ally Sieber Jr., Kennedy Greene Jr., Lili Pratt Jr., Jalee Tice Jr., Jillian Underwood Sr., Summer Berquist Sr., Mariann Kowalski Sr.
While Hesperia returns just one starter it’s one more than the Red Devils will put on the floor. Armstrong and Bassett are the only players returning from a team that never broke into the win column so first year Coach Mason will be hitting the ground running with a new system new players and, likely, a new attitude.
The Devs open at home Dec 3rd welcoming in Wellspring Prep.
The Silver looks to remain in the hands of the Eagles led by the return of Bowers and Harrison and a long and strong bench. The Mohawks will be tough and the Cloud returns Strait and Bowman but Coach Grodus affirmed the Eagles were “the favorite by far” and as Coach Mason added “from what I have been told its Kent City's conference and we all just play in it.”
White Cloud senior signs letter of intent
Maya Reeve started tossing the shot put around the time she started middle school according to her Coach (and Dad) Tod Reeve.
“She was doing pretty good with it and then I put a discus in her hand and she threw it like she’d been doing it for years. As if it came to her naturally.”
Naturally enough to place first in the past two conference finals and move past regionals to post a pair of top ten finishes at the State Tourney.in two divisions.
And she still has one more year hurling the discus and tossing the shot for the White Cloud track team.
On Friday November 22 Maya Reeve prepared for her next level of competition by signing a letter of intent to bring her skills to the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville.
As a member of the Screaming Eagles track team Maya will be adding the hammer throw and javelin to her repertoire and compete during both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
With her eye on a degree in Sports Management the White Cloud senior and her family visited several schools before landing on USI.
“I love sports and they had the curriculum I wanted. When we walked around the campus it just seemed to be a good fit for me.”
Maya laughed and joked around as she posed with friends, family, teammates, coaches and school staff members who had gathered for the signing, then patiently answered questions from the media.
A true competitor she sets her goals high and strives to achieve them.
We asked what she did for fun in her spare time.
“I love to workout,” she said without a second thought. “That’s what’s really fun to me.”
Her Dad/Coach Tod agreed.
“She really does love it” he said with a look betraying a strong sense of pride.
”Maya is very determined and always working to be better.”
For now her sights are set on her senior year, another successful track season and, of course, graduation.
Then it’s on to a new aerie at the southern tip of Indiana just across the Ohio River from Kentucky.
And the start of her career as a Screaming Eagle.
From Coach Grimard:
Although the Panthers lost to West Michigan Christian 0-3 in the Regional Match tonight, they did not go down without a fight and did not give up! After losing game one 11-25 and game two 13-25, the team was determined to give their home crowd their best effort and not give up on themselves!
They came out strong in game 3 and held the lead until the very end, when the Warriors fought back to defeat the Panthers 26-24 in an exciting final game.
The Lady Panthers end their season with an impressive 39-12-1 record, the most wins in a season in school history! They also finished 2nd in the conference with an 8-2 record behind the always strong Morley Stanwood Mohawks.
Kill Leaders were Rachel Romero and Emily Bayle with 12 and 8 respectively. Romero had the only ace for the Panthers. Kyra Sayer had 11 assists and Aria Thomas had 8 assists. Brooke Billings led with 2 blocks and Sayer had 1 block on the night. Bayle led with 10 digs. Sayer, Romero, and Adriana Escobedo had 5 digs each.
Although the season didn't end how the Panthers were hoping for, it was one to be proud of and they are left with the hopes of even bigger things in the 2020 season when all 12 of the girls return as seniors
5 Lions, 5 Packers fill All League team; Tigers place 2.
1 Newaygo Coach Jason Long
1 Fremont Coach Steven Vissia
3 Big Rapids
3 Tri County
7 Reed City
8 Kent City
9 Chippewa Hills
All Conference Team
Angel Guevara, Newaygo Brian Corbett, Tri County
Francisco Rios, Newaygo Caden Hoezee, Tri County
Noah Painter, Newaygo Ethan Nawrocki, Tri County
Jonathan Soto, Newaygo Derek Osbourne, Tri County
Pedro Torres, Newaygo Alberto Macias, Grant
Joe Kortge, Fremont Logan Osborn, Grant
Jaxx Miller, Fremont Tarik Jack, Lakeview
Carter Moon, Fremont Jonathan Larson, Lakeview
Grant Vissia, Fremont Ethan Maddox, Reed City
David Wachter, Fremont Abel Diaz, Kent City
Aden Herron, Big Rapids Mathias Johansen, Chippewa Hills
Lewis Macdonald, Big Rapids
Jackson Rogers, Big Rapids
Jack Somsel, Big Rapids
Oliver Geroux, Newaygo Brenden Kurtze, Lakeview
Conner Roesler, Fremont Jordon Lofquist, Reed City
Colin Morrissey, Big Rapids Trent Buckner, Kent City
Luc Flintoff, Tri County Cade Palmer, Chippewa Hills
Ian Oatis, Grant
Katelynne Gerth notched all conference honors while teammates Taylor Mulder and Haley Zerlaut achieved spots on the Honorable Mention list along with Kathryn Stong of Grant and Holton’s Leah Fox.
1. Big Rapids Coach Mark Posey
3. Chippewa Hills
4. Central Montcalm
5. Kent City
8. Tri County
All Conference Team
Hope Thebo, Big Rapids Jordyn Papendick, Lakeview
Holly McKenna, Big Rapids Kerstin Stadtfeld, Chippewa Hills
Lauren Posey, Big Rapids Chloe Miller, Big Rapids
Avery Chaput, Big Rapids Kiali Stout, Big Rapids
Katelynne Gerth, Fremont
Honorable Mention All Conference
Taylor Neeb, Chippewa Hills Kathryn Stong, Grant
Taylor Mulder, Fremont Riley Case, Chippewa Hills
Anna Lake, Central Montcalm Michelle Carr, Kent City
Haley Zerlaut, Fremont Alyssa Miller, Chippewa Hills
Joan Carr, Kent City Leah Fox, Holton
1. Kent City Coach Jill Evers
2. White Cloud
4. Morley Stanwood
Layla Martini, Kent City Elizabeth Sible, Kent City
Alyeska Linsley, Kent City Emily Lantzer, Kent City
Abby Ignasiak, Kent City Stevey Hogle, Lakeview
Becci Castillo, Hesperia
Abigail Gilliam, Morley Stanwood Naomi Thompson, White Cloud
Alexus Richmond, White Cloud Kierra Flegel, Kent City
Carley Denhof, Kent City Aivery Devereaux, Morley Stanwood
Lily Crowell, Holton
1. Kent City Coach Jill Evers
2. White Cloud
3. Morley Stanwood
Aiden McLaughlin, Morley Stanwood Thomas Swanson, Kent City
Reginald Richmond, White Cloud Chris Stapel, Hesperia
Nick Flegel, Kent City Graham Resterhouse, Holton
Ryan Wheeler, Kent City Nathan Ciolk, White Cloud
Josh McNeil, Morley Stanwood Casen Armstrong, Kent City
Kobe Canning, White Cloud Riley Pritchard, Morley Stanwood
Tristan McHaney, White Cloud Terry Trendel, White Cloud
Brock Hearth, Kent City
1. Fremont Coach Cliff Somers
2. Big Rapids
3. Chippewa Hills
4. Reed City
7. Central Montcalm
8. Tri County
Nathan Walker, Fremont Adam Ward, Fremont
Conor Somers, Fremont Calvin Rohde, Reed City
Joshua Zerfas, Fremont Mikko Vesma, Fremont
Ben Paige, Fremont
Kaden Torres, Big Rapids Gavin Orcutt, Fremont
Gavin Schuler, Fremont Jake O’Neil, Chippewa Hills
Colton Best, Fremont Andrew Hardy, Central Montcalm
Benjamin Knuth, Big Rapids
1. Reed City Coach Susan Saladin
3. Chippewa Hills
4. Big Rapids
5. Central Montcalm
8. Tri County
Natalie Newcombe, Chippewa Hills Natalie Zochowski, Chippewa Hills
Abbigail Kiaunis, Reed City Hanna Brock, Big Rapids
Taylor Mater-Gerth, Fremont Kate Langworthy, Big Rapids
Sarah Storey, Chippewa Hills
Taylor Harrison, Reed City Erin Norton, Fremont
Elizabeth Gates, Grant Sophia Frisbie, Newaygo
Leah Converse, Fremont Tea Hoffman, Central Montcalm
Claire Akin, Central Montcalm
1. Central Montcalm 6-1 (Coach: Scott Cripe)
2 Grant 5-2
2 Newaygo 5-2
2 Reed City 5-2
5 Chippewa Hills 4-3
6 Tri County 2-5
7 Big Rapids 1-6
8 Fremont 0-7
Teague Donozzolo (12) Central Montcalm Jeffrey Samuels (12) Reed City
Brock Ryan (11) Central Montcalm Auston Major-Kailing (12) Reed City
Trey Chapin (11) Central Montcalm Austin Fowler (12) Reed City
Ethan Rutz (12) Central Montcalm Austin Whitehead (12) Reed City
Aiden Train (12) Central Montcalm Noah Jones (11) Reed City
Gunner Hill (12) Central Montcalm Payton Hansen (11) Reed City
Dillon Weston (12) Central Montcalm Joseph Shewan (11) Reed City
Caleb Hagen (12) Central Montcalm Chayton Wiggins (12) Chippewa Hills
Jarrett Railling (12) Grant Mason Brockless (12) Chippewa Hills
Tyler Kopischka (12) Grant Koronte Lowery (12) Chippewa Hills
Hayden Crosby (12) Grant Carl Whipple (11) Chippewa Hills
Billy Ostyn (12) Grant Cam Friend (11) Tri County
Brendan Keelean (11) Grant Hunter Dewey (12) Tri County
Brett Long (11) Grant Nick Braunschneider (12) Tri County
Orion Evans (11) Grant D.J. GreenBay (11) Big Rapids
Brenden Brechting (11) Newaygo Jacob Alber (12) Big Rapids
David Gonzalez-Tirado (12) Newaygo Tristen Marfia (11) Fremont
Logan Heidman (12) Newaygo
Jacob Jibson (12) Newaygo
Gaven Rake (11) Newaygo
Carlos Magana (12) Newaygo
Jarrod Wismar (11) Newaygo
Andrew Johnson (12) Central Montcalm
Trevor Lowry (11) Grant
Aidan Culver (11) Newaygo
Darrin Halladay (12) Reed City
Bryce Spaugh (12) Chippewa Hills
John Nelson (11) Tri County
Jack Cooley (11) Big Rapids
Payton Mansfield (11) Fremont
4-0 Morley Stanwood (Coach: Clark Huntey)
3-1 Kent City
Jason Bialik (12) Morley Stanwood Hayden Rentschler (12) Lakeview
Logan Griffes (12) Morley Stanwood Jacob Voelker (12) Lakeview
Ryland Nelson (11) Morley Stanwood Mason Myers (12) Lakeview
Tucker Cook (12) Morley Stanwood Noah Johnson (10) Lakeview
Carter Veldkamp (11) Morley Stanwood Logan Balkema (12) Hesperia
Kevin Phillips (12) Morley Stanwood Logan Pearson (12) Hesperia
Max Hudson (12) Kent City Johnny Majersky (11) Hesperia
Jayden Williams (12) Kent City Drew Trygstad (12) Holton
Nathan Baker (11) Kent City Joe Crowell (12) Holton
Jesus Hernandez (12) Kent City
Brendan Boyd (12) Kent City
Aaron Garrow (11) Morley Stanwood
Dolan Bair (12) Kent City
Evan Vining (10) Lakeview
Jarrett Budde (11) Hesperia
Austin Hawkins (11) Holton