QF site a couple of hours by bus
By Ken De Laat
Last Wednesday night the Newaygo Lions pulled off an upset of the West Catholic Falcons, secured a Regional title in the process and, as a bonus, won themselves a trip to the Quarterfinals.
A long, long trip to the quarterfinals.
The MHSAA chose Vicksburg, located south of Kalamazoo and about a half hour north of the Indiana border for the Monday night game.
Just a mere 2 hour or so drive from Newaygo.
Once they arrive, the Lions will take on the Wayland Wildcats. Wayland is south of Grand Rapids. About half the distance south as Newaygo is north of our Metro neighbor but close enough to make it somewhat even if the teams would have been scheduled for one of the multiple venues in GR where, incidentally, the semis are to be played.
But instead the teams will both head south with Newaygo putting in 100 miles compared to the 45 the Wildcats will cover.
Here at N3WH we are not privy to how these decisions get made so we sent this inquiry to the MHSAA offices.
“We've been asked by many readers why the Quarterfinal game between Newaygo and Wayland was scheduled at Vicksburg instead of a mutually accessible site like GR.
Not being aware of how and when such things are chosen, could you enlighten us so we might pass the info along?”
Yeah, we haven’t heard back.
We are aware however, that the organization has been slammed-to -the-walls busy these days trying to balance late arriving winter tourneys, spring openers and the plethora of adjustments that have come as a companion to the pandemic, so they get a pass.
But just for curiosity sake we looked at the other D2 schools and where they were playing.
Country Day is about 42 miles from their game site in Ortonville while opponent Imlay City is 39 miles away..
Ann Arbor St,. Gabe players could almost walk to their game (about 13 miles) And West Parma? A mere 30 miles or so from the Chelsea site.
Portland and Escanaba?
Well, another story indeed, since the schools are nearly 380 miles apart.
Houghton Lake is to be their place of business. 125 miles from where the Raiders play and a bit of a trek for the Eskimos with a 250 road trip ahead of them..
But hey, if you’re a D2 team from the loftier land of our bipeninsular paradise I imagine long drives are kind of the norm.
So Vicksburg it is. Being a 7pm game means departing around 4ish since I like to be early and need to account for rush hour traffic in GR. Oh. I’ll likely grouse to myself about it and driving home after the Lion win will require an ice cream stop somewhere along the way
And yet, after spending this past season watching my all time favorite high school team since the 1969 Caledonia Fighting Scots boys squad, I would drive to the middle of South Dakota to watch them compete in this tourney.
And believe me, if you’ve ever found it necessary to drive to the middle of South Dakota, no explanation is needed. !-90 across Minnesota alone is enough to bring about an existential ennui of epic proportions.
Besides, I understand there’s a Reuben sandwich to die for (most likely with a side of fries) at the Village Hide-A-Way in V-burg and apparently it has our name on it.
And if they have their jalapeno cheese balls available?
Hmmm. Maybe I should leave around 3.