Athletes and sports events of 2016 revisited
As reported in the Press Box
By Kristy Noack
The year in sports kicked off with the Saturday, January 2 Run, Frosty, Run event. The 5k run, 5k walk, and 10k run, which benefited the Watervliet Athletic Boosters, took off from North Elementary School with clear roads but chilly temperatures.
Watervliet girls’ varsity basketball’s inaugural holiday tournament was won by White Pigeon. They topped runner-up Hartford 40-34.
The Lady Comets of Coloma lost 51-26 to Buchanan. Morgan Wagner scored 11 points for Coloma.
Jordan Jobe earned his 100th win on the wrestling mat in mid-December at South Haven.
Watervliet wrestling claimed third place at the Berrien Springs invitational. First place championships were won by Reese Jones, Jake Speck, Jordan Jobe, and David Curl.
Hartford’s Freddie Burtchett wrestled to a second place finish in the 119 lb. weight class at the Jim Wade Family Classic in Climax-Scotts.
Zach Goodline was named to the All-Tournament team at the Earl McKie Holiday Tournament in boys’ basketball. In Coloma’s opening game against Paw Paw, Goodline scored 28 points.
In their loss against Bridgman, Goodline and Caleb McDaniel led Coloma by scoring 11 points each.
The Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback contest featured a three-way tie for first place. RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht, Greg Krell, and Tom Gear all held 105-47 records as the football season began to wane.
Hartford and Watervliet boys’ varsity basketball teams met up courtside in early January. Watervliet won 58-51 after an incredible matchup. The Panthers were led by Matt Winter; he scored 18 points and had eight rebounds. Hartford’s high scorer was Joe Cleary with 19 points.
Hartford topped Lawrence in girls’ basketball 48-40. The Indians were led by Tia Thomas, who scored eight points.
The Lady Comets lost 37-32 to Saugatuck after leading 16-15 at the half.
Coloma whipped Hartford wrestling 54-17 in Eau Claire. In one of the most exciting matches of the event, Hartford’s Freddie Burtchett and Coloma’s Hunter Mazigian battled in the 125 lb. weight class. Burtchett had led 10-2 after the second period but was pinned by Mazigian at 5:03.
At that same dual, Hartford beat Eau Claire and won 42-18. Coloma fought Marcellus and won 50-30.
The Coloma and Watervliet wrestling teams participated in the Fruitport tournament on January 9. Watervliet took second place; Coloma finished in 13th place.
Watervliet wrestlers had a bonanza of scoring against Fennville. The Panthers rolled to a 59-0 win after they pinned seven opponents in eight matches.
RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht claimed first place in the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback contest after posting a perfect 8-0 week.
Hartford wrestled in the Parchment Super Duals. The Indians lost 42-30 to New Buffalo and 48-30 to Central Montcalm. In a difficult outing against Schoolcraft, Hartford lost 72-12.
Coloma basketball was outdueled in their game against Saugatuck 62-55. Skyler Brown scored 10 points for Coloma.
Watervliet struggled with turnovers in their game against South Haven and went on to post a 70-34 loss. Stuart Yates led Watervliet with 11 points. He went a perfect four for four from the charity stripe.
The Hartford Indians faced Fennville in girls’ basketball action and won 56-47. Mariah Mireles was the Indians’ high scorer with 14 points. She grabbed four steals.
A rough second period for Coloma allowed opponent Gobles to run away with the ball game, 51-38; Caleb McDaniel and Tevon Blazier scored four points each for Coloma.
Gobles gobbled up the girls’ varsity team from Coloma 53-19. Coloma scored three points in the first period. Kelly Walter, Hannah Mathis, and Kayla Yore chipped in three points each for the Comets.
The Coloma wrestling squad traveled to Decatur for a Southwestern Athletic Conference quad against Decatur and Constantine. Coloma lost 65-18 to Decatur. Sergio Hernandez, Jamane Smith, and Dylan LeClear won their contested matches. Coloma also fell to Constantine 51-30.
Hartford wrestling was bested by Bloomingdale and Bangor squads. Against Bangor, Freddie Burtchett, Sam Shank, and Luke Birkhead won their respective matches. Jesus Sanchez was the only Indian to secure a win in a contested match against Bloomingdale.
The Lady Panthers were nipped by Fennville 45-35. Watervliet was led by Logan Mizwicki, who scored 14 points.
Fennville’s varsity basketball squad took advantage of Watervliet turnovers and beat the Panthers 72-57. Bradley Alden scored 16 points for Watervliet.
Against Bangor, Watervliet came bursting onto the court and won 70-54. Bradley Alden dominated on the court with 25 points for Watervliet.
Bangor was blown off the court by Watervliet, as the Lady Panthers won 51-19 at home. Even short a few players as the Miss Watervliet pageant dress rehearsal was taking place, the Watervliet squad did not miss a beat. Katie Schultz led the Panthers with 11 points.
Watervliet wrestled their way to a 42-30 win over Galesburg-Augusta. Klayton Marshall, Reese Jones, Dylan Lynch, Dominick Tavolacci, Jordan Jobe, and Josh Dale all won their matches.
The Panthers participated in the Hudson Super 16 wrestling invitational on January 16.
Tim Hildebrand and Chris Leach posted perfect 4-0 records in the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback contest for week 21 competition.
Coloma’s Blake Williams, Anthony Adkins, and Jamane Smith won first place honors at the Quincy wrestling invitational on Saturday, January 23.
Watervliet basketball won an easy home game over Eau Claire 66-47. Daniel Cluster scored 20 points and snagged 10 rebounds.
Watervliet’s girls’ varsity basketball team whipped Eau Claire 48-11. Casie Gohr and Katie Schultz double-teamed for nine points and six steals apiece.
Hartford’s Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser helped raise over $3,600 in t-shirt sales alone. Ally Sinclair led Hartford on the court with 12 points in the team’s 38-29 loss to Schoolcraft.
Coloma hosted Southwestern Athletic Conference quad action and beat Bangor 42-33 and Bloomingdale 53-24.
Hartford grapplers were downed by Constantine 72-12. Freddie Burtchett and Sam Shank were the only Hartford wrestlers to win their matches.
Watervliet wrestlers lost to Lawton and Schoolcraft in quad action.
With Mariah Mireles at the helm, the Hartford basketball team topped Bangor 56-28.
Kalamazoo Christian clipped Coloma 62-44 in a battle of the Comets.
Watervliet tallied their third straight win on the court after defeating Lawrence 43-40. The Lady Panthers scored 15 points in the fourth period for the late game win.
Hartford lost 80-42 to Schoolcraft in boys’ basketball action.
Watervliet’s Matt Melcher won fourth place in the 189 lb. weight class at the Marcellus Invitational. He lost a 6-5 decision to Dylan Panther of East Jackson.
The Coloma boys’ and girls’ bowling teams garnered first place honors in the 2016 Southern Lake Michigan High School Bowling Conference.
Coloma’s varsity squad met Southwestern Athletic Conference foe Bangor for a lively, defense-strong game that resulted in a 66-61 overtime victory for the Comets. Levi Wilkens, who had a couple of clutch shots, scored 12 points including three 3-pointers.
Coloma and Watervliet wrestlers participated in the Berrien County Wrestling Invitational. The Panthers finished in seventh place, while the Comets ended their day in 14th place. Watervliet’s David Curl was the highest area finisher. He took home second place after losing the heavyweight championship match to Jason Craig of Lawton by a 4-1 score.
The Lady Comets were bested by Bangor 36-34 in overtime. Morgan Wagner led Coloma with 14 points including the team’s only 3-pointer. She also bore the brunt of Bangor’s 17 team fouls. Wagner attempted 14 free throws, hitting nine (64%).
Hartford suffered a painful 62-28 loss at Gobles. It was the team’s second loss to Gobles this season. Mariah Mireles led Hartford with 12 points.
A check for $2,500 was presented to Coloma Basketball from Modern Woodman Fraternal Financial Representative Thomas Holmes. The donation was part of a matching fund program by MW.
The Indians held on for a 68-57 road win over Gobles.
Watervliet’s girls’ basketball team saw their three-game winning streak snapped when they suffered a 53-35 loss to Delton-Kellogg. Watervliet is 6-6 this season.
Shane Stineman hit a 3-pointer on a dish from Jonathon Castro to begin Hartford’s basketball game against Brandywine. Unfortunately, the Indians would lose the contest 67-46.
Coloma’s dismal 36% shooting from the free throw line, coupled with struggles on defense all night, helped give Comstock a 46-22 win. Kelly Walter scored seven points for the Comets.
Hartford wrestlers traveled to Comstock for individual tournament action. The Indians finished seventh out of 12 participating schools.
The last week of competition in the TCR Armchair Quarterback contest has RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht, Tom Gear, and Tim Hildebrand selecting Carolina to win the Super Bowl. Greg Krell, Rodney Lynch, and Chris Leach all picked Denver for the win.
Watervliet faced a 9-2 Saugatuck team at home as part of the schools’ Winterfest celebration. The game marked the second time this season the Panthers took on the Indians, an also resulted in the second loss for Watervliet. The Panthers were outscored 61-50.
Grace Christian basketball played three home games this week. They lost 72-28 to Granger Christian, topped Athens Factoryville Christian 56-25, and were defeated 76-37 by Marcellus Howardsville Christian.
Coloma cagers cruised to a 68-54 Winterfest win over Hartford. Zach Goodline score 33 for Coloma. Shane Stineman led Hartford with 13 points.
David Curl, a Watervliet senior, signed a letter of intent to play football at Ferris State University.
The Watervliet Athletic Boosters happily accepted a check from the Southwest Michigan RACERS in the amount of $2,300. The proceeds from the Run, Frosty, Run event will benefit the sports programs at Watervliet.
The Trent McKinney Memorial wrestling invitational was held in early February. The quad featured teams from Coloma, Eau Claire, Gobles, and Watervliet. Watervliet topped Coloma 42-27. The Panthers defeated Gobles 31-30. Coloma beat Eau Claire 72-6.
The Watervliet girls’ basketball team enjoyed a home win over SAC rival Coloma, completing a two-game sweep of the Comets this season. The Lady Panthers scored a 34-27 victory over the Lady Comets.
Lexi Kieft gave Watervliet seven points, five assists, and two steals.
Watervliet’s Winterfest fun was dimmed by the Lady Panthers 60-47 loss to Saugatuck. Katie Schultz scored 16 points and was credited with four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block.
Hartford hoopsters crushed Coloma 48-19 during the Comets’ Winterfest celebration. The Lady Comets scored one point in the first period. Hartford had three players post 10 points or more on the scoreboard. Mariah Mireles led the Indians with 14 points. Tia Thomas chipped in 12 points, and Ally Sinclair drained 11 points.
The Harford wrestling team faced some pretty tough competition in their 45-8 loss to Marcellus. Herik Garcia won his 119 lb. match against Rochelle Zachrich in a 17-1 technical fall. Sam Shank won a 9-5 decision in the 140 lb. weight class.
Hartford’s competitive cheer team finished fifth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The team tied with Bloomingdale and Lawrence as recipients of the Good Sportsmanship Award. Madelyn MacMillan earned First Team All-Conference recognition. Brittney Smith was awarded Second Team honors, and Janell Babcock received an Honorable Mention nod.
Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet grapplers participated in the SAC individual wrestling tournament in Bangor. Coloma’s Jamane Smith won third place honors in the 189 lb. weight class after his 7-6 victory over Marcellus’s Skyler Hawkins. Watervliet’s Cody Reese also finished third. He won an 8-3 decision over Bangor’s Josh Ruaks in the 119 lb. weight class. David Curl of Watervliet took third place on a 16-1 technical fall over Bangor’s Trevor Hiatt in the heavyweight class. Reese Jones, of Watervliet, beat Jordan Tutt of Martin 5-4 in the 125 lb. weight class.
The Lake Michigan Admirals played an energetic game against the Grand Rapids Cyclones at Covert High School and won 132-97.
Six area wrestlers move on to regional individual competition. In Division 3 districts, Coloma sophomore Jamane Smith (189) and senior Hunter Mazigian (125) took second and fourth place honors, respectively. In Division 4 districts, Watervliet senior David Curl (heavyweight), sophomore Klayton Marshall (112), senior Reese Jones (130) and Cody Reese (119) advance to regionals. Curl won second place, while Marshall and Jones finished third, and Reese took fourth.
Hartford sank Lake Michigan Catholic 60-45 in girls’ varsity basketball.
Watervliet dominated Marcellus in an easy 69-33 win. The Panther offense was in fine form as the team drained eight 3-pointers, 18 field goals, and shot 75% from the free throw line.
Fans got their monies worth as Coloma hosted Buchanan in a varsity basketball contest. It took two overtime periods before a winner was declared. The plucky Buchanan squad eked out a 68-66 victory over Coloma. Grant Kroschel scored eight points.
Mariah Mireles netted a double double as Hartford defeated Decatur 52-27. Mireles scored 21 points and had 10 steals. She was also credited with three assists.
The Lady Panthers lost 46-42 to Marcellus, dropping their second game in a row. Watervliet racked up 24 turnovers and shot 28% from the field.
Team wrestling at the district level end without a local title in sight; Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet were unable to capture team district titles this year and will not move on to regionals.
Reese Jones earned his 100th career wrestling win during the individual districts held in Lawton. He earned a third place finish in the 130 lb. weight class and advanced to regionals.
Coloma’s competitive cheer squad captured second place in Division 3-4. The team scored 621.94 points at St. Joe’s Cheer by the Pier III event.
The conference matchup between Hartford and Watervliet in Indian Territory made for an excellent girls’ basketball duel. The final minute of the game was a battle as the teams traded fouls and turnovers. Watervliet drew to within two, but with 3.0 seconds left, Hartford sealed the 45-41 overtime win.
Klayton Marshall, Reese Jones, and David Curl bowed out of regional wrestling competition. The Watervliet athletes ended their respective seasons on Saturday, February 20 at Kent City.
Coloma’s Hunter Mazigian and Jamane Smith fell in individual regional wrestling competition as well. The duo ended their seasons at Hopkins.
Hartford scored a 52-44 Winterfest win over Watervliet on the court.
Coloma basketball dropped two games. The Lady Panthers lost 46-30 to Berrien Springs and 51-31 to Saugatuck.
District matches have been set for girls’ varsity basketball. Coloma will face Berrien Springs. Watervliet drew a first round bye and will await the winner of the Buchanan vs. Cassopolis matchup. Hartford will tangle with district host Bangor. Grace Christian meets up with host Lawrence.
Hartford Speedway has announced they will gear up dirt track racing for the 2016 season on May 20. Dos springs, modifieds, stock cars, and cyber stocks will all hit the track in the season opener.
The Coloma girls’ bowling team walked off with a Kalamazoo Valley Association conference championship title, while the boys’ bowling team was named co-conference champs.
First Team All-Conference honors in bowling were awarded to Coloma’s Danny Clearly, Michael Pellerito, Dustin Ikerd, Zach Heater, Amanda Armstrong, Lainey Meader, and Sabrina Ball. Alyssa Blankenship and Zack Swisher were named Second Team All-Conference winners.
Hartford notched a 60-45 victory of the Lake Michigan Catholic Lakers. Harford’s Paige Doyle scored 10 points.
The Indians traveled to Saugatuck to take on the 15-3 Indians in a conference matchup. Hartford lost 53-47. AJ Jackson and Destini Mireles scored four points each for Hartford.
Gobles displayed their impressive skill set, showing the Lady Panthers why they are undefeated. Watervliet lost to the Tigers 54-19. According to Watervliet coach Jeff Riley, the Lady Panthers “fell victim to Gobles’ half court pressure defense” and racked up 20 turnovers.
Hartford opens district tourney with a first round overtime win against host Bangor. After regulation ended in a 42-42 tie, Hartford’s Amara Wesaw came up big in the five-point overtime. She drained a 3-pointer as time dwindled, which gave Hartford the 47-42 win.
Coloma drew Berrien Springs in Class B District 33 competition at Dowagiac. Coloma was outpaced 60-33 by the Lady Shamrocks to end their season.
Grace Christian drew host Lawrence in district action. Grace was defeated 68-20 in a tough game.
Watervliet’s girls’ varsity basketball team celebrated Senior Night with a 56-48 victory over visiting Fennville. The seniors on Watervliet’s varsity squad include Hannah Armstrong, Lexi Kieft, and Karlee Liles.
Hartford powered their way to a 46-41 victory over Fennville. The Indians were led by Mariah Mireles who scored 26 points.
The Lake Michigan Admirals posted a 125-110 victory over Danville. The game, held at the Watervliet High School gym, was a fundraiser for the Watervliet softball program. The event raised $2,500.
Watervliet won their second game of the week. They notched a 35-22 win over Bangor. Defense was the name of the game, as the Lady Panthers held their opponent to four points in the first period.
Coloma ran into a brick wall of sorts in the form of the undefeated, 20-0 Gobles basketball squad. The Lady Comets lost 45-22. Morgan Wagner scored 14 of Coloma’s 22 points including two 3-pointers.
Watervliet played their final home game of the 2015-2016 season against Fennville. Watervliet offensive miscues led to a 51-42 loss for the Panthers.
Cam Rendo and Stuart Yates scored five points each.
Coloma suffered a rough week on the basketball court. The Comets lost 65-62 to Gobles and 50-42 to Constantine. Both contests were road games.
Coloma notched a 60-54 victory over Bangor. Coloma trailed at the half but outscored Bangor 16-11 in the third period.
Coloma celebrated Senior Night with a tough loss to Decatur. The Comets dropped the game 52-42.
District basketball for boys opens with Coloma taking on Benton Harbor, Hartford will face Kalamazoo Christian, Watervliet meets up with Bridgman, and Grace Christian tangles with Three Oaks River Valley.
Hartford defeated Kalamazoo Hackett in district semi-finals by a score of 44-42 in overtime. All five overtime points came at the free throw line. AJ Jackson scored 10 points for the Indians. She did a nice job under the net racking up 10 rebounds.
Thrilling is the only word to describe Hartford’s run for the Class C district championship. The Indians, who secured a bid for the championship after two overtime wins Monday and Wednesday, suffered a heartbreaking, three-overtime 65-62 loss to Gobles. Mariah Mireles scored 24 points. Ally Sinclair added 11 points and eight rebounds. Tia Thomas chipped in eight points.
The Lady Panthers crept by Cassopolis in Class C district semi-final action at New Buffalo. Watervliet got the 41-38 win over an aggressive Cass squad. Katie Schultz scored 16 points for the Panthers.
After a first round bye and semi-final game win over Cassopolis, Watervliet faced Brandywine in the Class C district championship. Brandywine outscored and outplayed Watervliet for the 59-19 win. According to Watervliet head coach Jeff Riley, “Brandywine pressure caused 33 Panther turnovers.” Watervliet ended their season 10-12 overall.
Coloma was clobbered by Benton Harbor in first round Class B district basketball. Coloma, a young team led by freshman Zach Goodline, mustered only five victories all season. Benton Harbor defeated Coloma 82-32.
Watervliet suffered their final loss of the season against Bridgman in Class C district basketball. The Panthers lost 82-65. Bradley Alden led Watervliet with 31 points.
Hartford faced Class C district competition host Kalamazoo Christian and walked out of the gym with a 46-45 victory. Kalamazoo Christian led 36-31 after three periods, but Hartford surged back with a 15-point fourth period, including a 3-point bucket by Shane Stineman with seconds remaining in the game that gave the Indians the lead. Kalamazoo took one more shot but it failed to fall true, and Hartford moved on to semi-final action.
The Coloma baseball team will hold a meet and greet for fans that bleed green and gold. Coach Kevin VanPetegham’s varsity squad will be introduced and will also host an instructional clinic for any youth baseball players.
Hartford’s boys’ varsity basketball ended their season with 71-47 loss to undefeated Kalamazoo Hackett in the Class C district championship game. The Indians topped Kalamazoo Christian in first round action and then defeated Gobles 57-46 in the semi-final game. Against Hackett, Shane Stineman led Hartford with 12 points. Emon Johnson scored 10.
Grace Christian won their first round Class D district basketball game 45-42 over Three Oaks River Valley. That victory gave the Patriots a semi-final berth against Lake Michigan Catholic. In that contest, Grace suffered a 75-17 loss and bowed out of post season basketball play.
Hartford Physical Education teacher Ben Kain has been hired as the varsity football coach for the Indians. Kain replaced Jason Fiacco, who helmed the Hartford squad for one season.
The Coloma girls’ and boys’ varsity bowling teams qualified for their respective state tournament held at Airport Lanes in Jackson.
Sabrina Ball bowled her way to a runner-up individual state title in Division 3 bowling competition. Zack Heater also qualified for individual state competition; Heater finished 23rd.
Coloma’s girls’ bowling team lost their semi-final match 1285-1179 to Alma. The boys’ bowling team did not make it into the finals.
The Renaissance Athletic Club in Benton Harbor will host a spring break performance camp. The five-day session will focus on flexibility, balance, ACL injury prevention, abdominal strength, and multidirection