02-08-2018 Athletes and sports events of 2017 revisted

As reported in the Press Box By Kristy Noack Continued from last week…

SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 Coloma shell shocks Constantine in stunning shutout upset If there was any game this season that a Coloma win would solidify their status as the team to watch, Friday’s game against Constantine was it. Prior to the September 22 game, both teams were 3-1, with Constantine’s only loss coming at the hands of Homer. And it was no blow out. The Falcons lost that game by two points. Constantine had put up at least 34 points each game against their opponents. Coloma knew they faced an uphill battle from the get-go. But get and go is exactly what Coloma did. The varsity football squad got the ball and got into the end zone repeatedly against the Falcons. And, the Comet defense shuttered all attempts by Constantine to score. It was a heck of a ball game and proved that Coloma’s success on the gridiron is not fleeting. Coloma’s first score of the game was a 19-yard run by Zack Lake. Comet kicker Derek Plitt hoofed the PAT and Coloma led 7-0 in the first quarter. Coloma quarterback Zack Goodline was five of six for 91 yards and one TD. He rushed nine times for 43 yards. Coloma head coach Joe Stephens commented after the game, “We had a good night. It’s not just the way we beat them, it’s the way they played disciplined tonight. We didn’t just win tonight. We played good, clean football. We played Coloma football.”

OTHER SEPTEMBER SPORTS NEWS Coloma celebrates second victory of the season with a 40-20 win over Fennville. Zack Pickens and Bryant Kieft made a winning combination in the Panthers’ 52-26 victory over Maple City Glen Lake. After winning two consecutive games this season, Hartford suffered their first loss after being topped 41-14 by Mendon. Hartford girls’ varsity cross country team placed third in the Teske Invitational. Gus Hinch led Panthers to second place at the Teske Invitational while Hartford finished sixth. Nick Blackmer’s Hartford varsity soccer squad scored a 5-3 road win at Bloomingdale and shut out South Haven 1-0. Coloma volleyball won the Climax-Scotts tourney and outlasted Lawton. Watervliet volleyball falls to Kalamazoo Hackett and Delton Kellogg. Hartford Indians improved to 9-8 after a three-game sweep of New Buffalo. Coloma competes at Fennville Invitational as Adiel Granados finished 10th with a time of 19:01. SAC Jamboree yields fourth place finish for Coloma boys’ cross country team. Indian football improved to 3-1 in SW10 after 28-18 win over Marcellus. Comet football soars to 3-1 after 34-0 shutout of Martin. Watervliet football captures perfect 4-0 record after 54-6 Gobles Tiger thrashing. Hartford girls’ trekkers take second at Mendon with Adrianna Morseau in 12th place. Indian soccer finished the week with a 1-1-1 record after losing to Cassopolis, shutting out 8-0, and tying with Kalamazoo Hackett. Coloma volleyball outplayed Gobles 25-14, 25-21, 25-22. The Watervliet varsity volleyball team manhandled Martin winning three games to one. Hartford volleyball hosted Eau Claire and won three games. Watervliet’s varsity football team improved to a perfect 5-0 this season after they clobbered Kalamazoo United 52-34 at home. It took four complete quarters but the Hartford Indians football team got the job done, improved to 4-1 this season, and beat SW10 conference foe Decatur 39-28. Panther boys’ varsity cross country team finished third at the Bangor Invitational with 62 points. Marisol Robles finished fourth overall as the Hartford girls’ cross country team placed second at Bangor Invitational. Inaugural SW10 jamboree hosted at Bangor as Hartford boys finished fifth and the girls took fourth. Coloma cross country teams sweep ninth place at Buchanan Invitational. Coloma took seventh in Schoolcraft Invitational as Emma Vandermolen led the Comets across the finish line. Indian soccer fans had plenty to cheer about as Hartford scored three victories in three games and supported veterans by participating in the SW10 Patriot games. Coloma volleyball crushed Martin in three games 25-6, 25-13, 25-15. Hartford volleyball has wicked week on the road with losses to Mendon and Marcellus. Watervliet’s hardworking volleyball squad earns win over Lawrence. Watervliet football remains perfect and is playoff-bound after trouncing Delton Kellogg 58-44. Indians are one step closer to playoffs; now 5-1 on season after 21-14 win over White Pigeon. Coloma football disappointed in 28-27 loss to Kalamazoo United; fall to 4-2 for season. Watervliet earned 122 points for fifth place, while Coloma took seventh place with 179 points at the Berrien County Cross Country Invitational. Coloma volleyball digs in for wins over Kalamazoo Hackett and Galesburg Augusta. Hartford soccer nets 8-3 win over Bloomingdale, 3-0 shutout of Cassopolis. Comets lose soccer battle to Fennville 4-1 and Vicksburg 8-1. Jessica Cortes led Hartford volleyball with four aces, four kills, and 24 digs in 3-0 loss to Decatur. Watervliet played host to SAC Jamboree #2; Coloma girls finished ninth. Watervliet’s volleyball squad traveled to Saugatuck and won 3-2.

HE IS A CHAMPION… Coloma tennis star Luis Sanchez claimed Division 4 regional champion honors in singles tennis on October 12.

OCTOBER 26, 2017 Hartford soccer claims Division 3 district championship Hartford soccer continues its winning ways, this time achieving the 2017 Division 4 district championship hosted at New Buffalo. Hartford faced Lake Michigan Catholic on October 17 in Benton Harbor and won 5-1. With the victory, Hartford moved on in the tourney and faced Michigan Lutheran in the district semi-final match. The Indians made quick work of ML as they scored two goals in the third three minutes of play. In the end, Hartford shut out Lutheran 8-0 to earn a spot in the championship game. Hartford’s defense was in fine form on October 21 against Bridgman. The squad limited the Bees to just one shot on goal all night. Hartford, on the other hand, had plenty of time in front of the ball and Bridgman net. Williams Martinez scored all three Hartford goals in the 3-0 blanking of the Bees. Hartford had 16 shots on goal. “I am the luckiest coach because I have wonderful kids. Talent-wise they are as good as any team [Hartford] has had,” Hartford head coach Nick Blackmer stated.

OTHER OCTOBER SPORTS NEWS Panthers pummel Constantine 68-24; remain perfect 7-0. Coloma’s Jamane Smith Jr. scampered eight yards for the Comets’ final TD of the night in a 32-7 win over Schoolcraft. Portage Invitational provides strong competition for area cross country teams. Watervliet volleyball’s effort in the Comstock Invitational yielded losses to Bridgman and Decatur and Portage Northern and win over Kalamazoo Hackett. Hartford soccer duels with Paw Paw to 0-0 tie. Indians volley to 3-0 loss to Centreville. Comets of Coloma lost 9-1 to Kalamazoo Hackett on the soccer field. SW10 cross country jamboree meet #2 held at Decatur. Panthers volley to 3-1 win over Gobles. Cassopolis cruises to 3-0 win over Hartford on the volleyball court. Kayla Yore leads Coloma in 3-0 rout of Saugatuck on the volleyball court. SAC match between Coloma and Saugatuck ends in 2-1 loss for the Comets. Mike Banic’s 32 years on Hartford chain gang celebrated during half-time as he receives plaque from Hartford Athletic Director Nick Blackmer. Watervliet wins 36-14! Panthers continue perfect season, now 8-0. Hartford offense slow to start in 36-14 loss to Centreville football. Coloma playoff hopes crippled by 23-20 Delton Kellogg loss. Hartford traveled to Watervliet for the teams’ inaugural “Dig Pink” volleyball fundraiser to fight cancer. Senior Night nets Hartford 4-0 shutout over Bridgman. Coloma soccer scored 3-0 shutout against Gobles but is crushed 6-0 by Comstock. Coloma’s varsity volleyball squad fought for three-game victory over Fennville, finished runner-up in tournament action. Coloma tennis star Luis Sanchez claimed Division 4 regional champion honors in singles tennis. Watervliet volleyball played quad action in Berrien Springs. Hartford bounced to 3-1 volleyball victory over Bloomingdale on Senior Night. Coloma cruises to ninth and tenth place finishes in Dowagiac’s Rock ‘N Run. Watervliet football captures perfect regular season record after cruising past Coloma 36-14 as regular season ends. Hartford football returns to playoffs following 57-27 blowout over Bloomingdale. Watervliet hosted SAC rival Coloma October 17 in Senior Night volleyball action. Hartford’s Trey Ackerman and Francisco Loera earned All-Conference honors in cross country. Hartford volleyball shut down by St. Joe 3-0. Hartford boys’ cross country finished 12th, girls take third in Gobles Little Guys Invitational. Coloma soccer season ends with 8-0 loss to Dowagiac. Watervliet trekkers claim sixth place at Kalamazoo Christian as Ezra Troyer finishes 26th. Coloma volleyball crushes Delton Kellogg in three games. Facing do or die on the court, Watervliet volleyball bounces back for 3-2 victory.

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 Hagar kick boxer wins bronze medal at international competition in Budapest Hagar Township resident Jennifer Tohtz is serious about her craft. The 46-year-old has spent 20 years studying, training, and competing in martial arts competitions, and it has paid off. Tohtz developed a love for kickboxing in her mid-20s.

TOHTZ WINS BRONZE MEDAL… Hagar Township resident Jennifer Tohtz won a bronze medal November 8 at the WAKO World Championship kick boxing tournament in Budapest, Hungary. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

“I always had an interest in martial arts. I started with a kickboxing class which morphed into a martial arts class. I enjoyed it,” she commented. As her skill level progressed, Tohtz’s journey took her across the United State and the world as she participated in regional and international competitions. Tohtz competes in 12-15 tournaments in a typical year. Most of her competitions were through North American Sports Karate Association (NASKA) and World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO). In 2013, Tohtz earned both a silver and bronze medal when she competed in the World Karate Confederation championships. In 2015, she competed in the WAKO championship held in Dublin, Ireland. Tohtz, who is a points’ fighter, earned the gold medal in her division and weight class. With competitions held every other year, she had to wait until 2017 to defend her title. This year, the championship was held in Budapest, Hungary. Tohtz earned a first-round bye. Hungary’s Betty Kovacs was tapped to face Tohtz. On November 8, the two battled for two rounds of two minutes before Kovacs earned the win. Tohtz didn’t go home empty handed, however. She won the bronze medal and is already looking forward to 2019 when she can go for the gold again.

OTHER NOVEMBER SPORTS NEWS Watervliet’s Gus Hinch and Grace Christian’s Grace Stockdale head to state for cross country competition. Watervliet welcomed the Schoolcraft Eagles for the NHSAA Division 6 pre-district game; Watervliet kept their perfect season intact walloping the Eagles 36-0 and improving to 10-0. The Hartford varsity soccer squad fell in regional competition 1-0 in an overtime loss to foe Kalamazoo Hackett to end super season. Hartford Indians defeated at home 26-7 by Vermontville Maple Valley in the opening round of MHSAA football playoffs. Coloma and Watervliet play in SAC volleyball meet; Coloma finishes in second place after championship loss to Schoolcraft. Coloma posts convincing and decisive three-game win over Lawrence. Panthers power to 3-0 win over Fennville on the volleyball court. Pickens nearly perfect as Panthers pick off Delton Kellogg in wild showdown for District Championship; Watervliet’s quest continues for perfect football season. Coloma’s varsity volleyball team finished up their season after falling 3-0 to Niles in the Class B District 33 tournament at South Haven. Hartford and Watervliet suffer first round defeats in district volleyball. Grace Christian girls out of Class D district volleyball competition. Watervliet’s Gus Hinch finishes 149th in Division 3 state competition, Grace Christian’s Grace Stockdale took 134th in Division 4. Coloma’s Luis Sanchez nets a chance to compete at state in the Lower Peninsula Division 4 boys’ tennis finals after being crowned the #1 Single Flight champion during regional competition. Watervliet football falls in state quarterfinals game to Jackson Lumen Christi 44-22. Earning first team All-Conference awards for soccer were: William Martinez, Isai Ordonez, Nick Pultz, Joel Soto, and Rudy Martinez. SAC First Team All-Conference winners in volleyball were: Kara Liles, Kayla Yore, Kelly Walter, Zoe Smith, Mya Potter, and Morgan Wagner. Hartford’s William Martinez was named to the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association Division 4 First Team award listing. Watervliet’s Zack Pickens nominated for Michigan High School Football Player of the Year award. Coloma athletes Skylar Crisenbery, Jaidyn Hutsell, Kelly Walter, and Calvin Starnes sign letters of intent to play sports in college. All-Conference awards given to gridiron greats including Watervliet’s Anthony Wade, Blake Kinzler, Bryant Kieft, Garrett Matthews, Ryan Chisek, Sheldon Tobar, Zack Pickens; Coloma’s Caleb Ellis, Jamane Smith Jr., Levi Wilkens, Matthew Davis, and Zach Goodline; and Hartford’s Luke Manning, Moses Beraza, Robert Ledesma Jr., Cory Arnold, and Danny Resendez. DECEMBER 21, 2017 Watervliet High School establishes Hall of Fame Watervliet High School Athletic Director Ken Dietz shared exciting news involving plenty of Panther pride. The school has established a Hall of Fame in an effort “to recognize former Watervliet student-athletes, alumni, coaches, teachers, teams, and special individuals who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to society, their contributions to Watervliet high school, or performance in school-related activities.” The creation of a Hall of Fame celebrating the successes of Panthers and community members has long been a dream of Dietz’s. “I’ve been thinking about it for years,” he said. “Then, we did this addition and this beautiful space we have here now, it’s time. I’m excited.” Dietz spent six weeks meeting with individuals and groups, working to create a 12-member selection committee, and establishing bylaws and a selection process before the program could be rolled out. “We have a rich history of some great athletes,” Dietz said, “and we need to recognize those people in an honorable way.” The Hall of Fame inductees will receive a plaque of honor at the school and a permanent plaque will be installed in the high school’s Hall of Fame area near the gym. Nominations for the Class of 2018 induction ceremony are being accepted through January 9. Visit www.watervlietps.org for additional information.

MORE DECEMBER SPORTS NEWS Coloma’s girls’ varsity bowling squad is on a roll already after notching a 28.5 to 1.5 victory over visiting Bronson. Coloma boys’ bowling team lost 26-4 in their home and season opener against Bronson. Lady Panthers opened basketball season with 39-30 loss to Lawton. Coloma girls’ basketball drops season opener 45-27 on the road against Schoolcraft. Father and son face off on the basketball court as Coloma head coach Fred Paulsen takes on his son Paige Paulsen of Grant. Panther Grapplers place 1st at Grandville Tourney as Trever Pelton, Klayton Marshall, and Matt Melcher go undefeated. Coloma cruises to 89-61 victory over Buchanan in home basketball opener. Watervliet wins 59-46 over Martin as Kieft leads team with 10 points. Lady Panthers notch second win of season on the hardwood as they stole a 48-46 victory over Martin. Lady Indians open season with overwhelming road win over Eau Claire 58-2. Hartford beats Bangor 34-21 in girls’ basketball. Lady Comets suffered a 33-31 loss to the visiting Bucks of Buchanan. Zach Goodline scores 37 as Coloma flogs Fennville 71-64. Watervliet whips together a 46-40 victory as Ariana Rowe scores 16. Team effort leads Watervliet over Hartford on the hard court as Panthers take 53-37 victory. Rowe paces Lady Panthers in 66-35 win over Hartford. Coloma varsity basketball remains undefeated as Zach Goodline scored 32 in 74-51 win over Martin. Hartford shocks Marcellus with 53-35 victory; AJ Jackson led the undefeated Indians with 18 points. Morgan Wagner’s 20 points pave way for Coloma in 53-45 win over Martin. Watervliet wrestlers take third place in South Haven tourney. Coloma bowlers remain on a roll as the Lady Comets won 30-0 over Constantine. Watervliet varsity basketball home opener ends with tough 51-46 loss to Fennville. Coloma wrestlers struggle in 51-30 loss to Bloomingdale. Ariana Rowe recorded double double in Panthers’ 65-56 win over Fennville. Wrestling squads from Coloma and Watervliet faced off against Lawton and Galesburg Augusta in quad action. Hartford hampered in 64-49 loss to Marcellus although William Martinez scored 22 points. Father bests son as Fred Paulsen’s Lady Comets beat son’s basketball squad from Grant 37-30. Comets remain undefeated as Goodline scores 25 in 72-32 victory over Lawrence. Watervliet‘s Lady Panthers win 58-54 nail biter over Saugatuck. Martinez scores 15 in Hartford hard court loss to Decatur. Dan Cluster comes up big in Watervliet’s 59-47 win over Saugatuck. AJ Chambers records double-double in Hartford’s 56-45 win of Decatur. Watervliet wrestlers top Gobles 46-27 and Fennville 69-6 in quad action. Hartford basketball wallops White Pigeon as Martinez scores 24 points. Watervliet wrestlers place third at Clipper Classic Invitational. Comet wrestlers beat Fennville 54-22 and conquer Gobles 54-28.


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