Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant
Wrestlers at team and individual districts
The Panther wrestling team has won two Division 4 team district championships in a row, but the team bumped up to Division 3 this year due to a big jump in high school enrollment, up to about 425 students. That puts the team in Division 3 for the foreseeable future along with all other sports. This is a good enrollment trend for the school itself but makes post-season sports tournaments just a little tougher as Watervliet sits near the bottom of a division full of much bigger schools. For the second year in a row about 70 seniors will graduate in 2020 and the incoming class will be in excess of 110 students, so the trend continues. All indications are that the incoming classes have plenty of athletes to keep the teams competitive.
WATERVLIET WRESTLERS PLACE… SAC Conference Cham-pionships held Feb. 8 at Lawton yielded eight medalists from the Panther wrestling team. Pictured are (from the left): Standing – Royce Daugherty, Isaiah Yazel, Parker Lanning, Jim Kolosowsky and Evan Orlando; Kneeling – Nathan Isbrecht, Trever Pelton and Don Smith. (Photo courtesy of Robert Pelton)
This year the Panthers drove north on Wednesday, Feb. 12 to face host South Haven, where the top two wrestling teams in the district met in the first round of team districts and fought a great battle. The Rams were just a little better, winning seven matches and a void against the Panthers six wins to take the match 42-24 and advance to the finals against Coloma. The Rams won that match 52-28.
In the match with Watervliet, the Rams got several pins and the upstart Panthers only had two pins among the hard-fought wins. The match was closer than the final score would indicate and the Rams coaches were looking just a little nervous in the early going when the Panthers small guys kept winning.
Jimmy Kolosowsky, wrestling up at 119 pounds, won the first match of the evening 8-4. Dominick Morrison won a good 5-0 battle at 125 pounds. Alex Isbrecht won 9-6 with yet another of his dramatic last-moment reversals at 135 pounds. Isaiah Yazel, going at his usual 160, won 7-2. Don Smith got a 189-pound pin at 0:59 and Trever Pelton at 112 pounds got a pin at 0:34.
WIN FOR JIM… Panther wrestler Jimmy Kolosowsky wrestling Corbin Fitch of South Haven in a 119-pound match at the Division 3 team districts on Wednesday, Feb. 12 held in South Haven. Jimmy won the match 8-4. (TCR photo by John Oliphant)
On Saturday, Feb. 15 the team traveled to Constantine for the District 23-3 individual tournament. Just like the team event this new district was tougher and deeper than the Division 4 tournaments of the past several years. Despite the challenge five Panther wrestlers won medals and qualified for the regional tournament to be held this Saturday, again at Constantine.
Trever Pelton (37-4) won the 112-pound district individual championship in a rematch against Coloma’s Caleb Ishmael (39-6). Both wrestlers wanted this one as Caleb had beaten Trever twice this season, 1-0 and 4-2. On Saturday the match was scoreless with just three seconds left when Trever managed to escape from Caleb to score the only point of the match and win 1-0.
EQUAL RIVALS… Watervliet’s Trever Pelton and Coloma’s Caleb Ishmael battled in the 112-pound District 23-3 championship match in Constantine on Saturday, Feb. 15. Ishmael won their early-season mat-chup 1-0, but Pelton won 1-0 this time scoring with an escape as the clock was about to expire. This is Pelton’s first district individual championship. (TCR photo by John Oliphant)
Isaiah Yazel (29-9) finished third at 160 pounds, going 3-1 on the day with pins at 3:44, 1:33, and 0:26. Don Smith (23-7) finished third at 189 pounds, also going 3-1 with pins at 3:29 and 3:22. Alex Isbrecht (26-12) finished fourth at 135 pounds, going 2-2 with scores of 18-3 and 12-11. Korben Camp (8-20) finished fourth at 152 pounds, going 2-2 with a pin at 2:16 and an 8-4 decision.
Sophomore Parker Lanning (15-12) closed out his season by going 2-2 with a pin at 3:06 and a nice sudden victory in overtime to win 8-6. Freshman Royce Daugherty (14-9) went 2-2 with pins at 0:36 and 0:32. Jimmy Kolosowsky (30-13) found himself in a strong 103-pound bracket and went 1-2 on the day to finish his season. Other wrestlers with district matches included Thomas Morgan (3-10), Dominick Morrison (21-19), Nathan Isbrecht (19-8), Javier Gutierrez (4-16), Evan Orlando (7-20), and Isaac Barton (8-24).
Panther boys basketball drops one to Buchanan
The Watervliet boys team played the only varsity basketball game of last week at Buchanan on Tuesday, Feb. 11, losing 67-45 to a big and experienced 12-2 Bucks team. The stat of the game, which may only entertain this columnist, is that the boys were once again perfect from the free throw line, hitting all four attempts.
Along the way Andrew Chisek scored 17 points with three three-pointers. Davis King stepped up with four three-pointers to finish with 16 points. Kenny Russell hit a pair of threes and finished with eight points. Brennan Bornas and Jordan Abney each scored two.
PANTHER DROPS…a hard fight against the bigger and more experienced Buchanan Bucks 67-45, Tuesday, February 11. Andrew Chisek led the team in scoring 17 points, pictured #22 Davis King followed close behind with 16 points. (TCR photo by Amy Loshbough)
The boys finally get to play at home this Friday when they host Saugatuck. The teams will honor their seniors and it should be a good night for basketball. On Saturday, Feb. 22 the boys host Holland Calvary with WHS Hall of Fame ceremonies taking place at halftime. On Tuesday, Feb. 25 both the boys and girls teams host Martin.
Lady Panther basketball had the week off and play tomorrow night, Feb. 21 at home against Saugatuck for Senior Night.
In the news this week the WSJM Girls H.S. basketball leaderboard has a familiar name at the top of three categories with freshman Panther Samantha Dietz leading the region in points scored with 301, points per game at 18.8, and rebounds at 222. Fellow freshman Madison “MJ” Flowers is on the board with 30 assists.
WHS athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday
Five new Watervliet graduates will join the Watervliet Athletes Hall of Fame on Saturday evening, Feb. 22. The 12-member nomination committee selected the inductees from a long list of nominations submitted over the last three years. They were chosen based on their significant positive impact and performance in the Watervliet sports program.
Nominations for the 2021 class will be open soon and anyone can nominate a qualified candidate. Nominated athletes must be Watervliet High School graduates and have been out of school for at least ten years. Coaching nominees must have coached for at least five years. The nomination form and detailed criteria are available on the school’s website at www.watervlietps.org. New nominations are due by October 1, 2020. Qualified nominees will always remain in the pool of available candidates once they are reviewed by the committee.
The class of 2020 will be honored at halftime of the boys basketball game against Calvary High on Saturday, Feb. 22. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. This year’s inductees include four athletes and one volunteer, all of whom have outstanding athletic resumes.
The following are the members of the 2020 Hall of Fame class and some highlights of their sports careers at WHS and beyond.
Gordie Cartwright, a 2000 graduate, was the star of the 1999 football team being named All State, team MVP, and All-Conference First Team on both offense and defense. He rushed for 3,638 yards in his career, including 22 touchdowns and 143 tackles on the 1999 conference championship team. He was also named the team’s Most Valuable Defensive Player that season.
Cartwright earned three varsity letters in baseball, was voted Most Athletic by his classmates, selected as homecoming king, and was the senior class vice-president. At graduation, he was awarded the Outstanding Male Senior Athlete for the class of 2000.
Greg Krell, a 1977 graduate, was nominated and selected based on his extensive volunteer service to the Watervliet athletic program.
Greg’s unselfish service includes, so far, being a member of the football chain gang for 13 years, a Watervliet Athletic Booster and concession volunteer for 14 years and the softball scoreboard operator for 11 years. He has been a proud banner sponsor since the program’s inception, a Bednarowski Memorial Run volunteer and 14-year participant, and a Run-Frosty-Run volunteer. He was a member of the Watervliet-Coloma 100th game committee, and a 1977 district basketball championship reunion organizer in 2013.
His other volunteer commitments include the North Berrien Historical Museum Board of Directors, Watervliet Public Schools Foundation, Watervliet All Class Reunion Committee, 2014 School Bond Committee, and the Napier Parkview Baptist Church Worship Team and an active volunteer.
Greg’s student activities at WHS included being a member of the track team for four years, cross country for three years, wrestling for one season, and basketball for one season. He was also the basketball statistician for three years. Greg was named Mr. Hot Pants during the 1977 winter sports season, and played in the football and basketball pep bands.
Greg was the Ferris State men’s basketball team manager in 82-83 and 83-84 and the assistant equipment manager for the USFL Orlando Renegades in 1985. He also became a heart transplant recipient on September 20, 2004.
Roberta Salay Stannard
Roberta Salay Stannard’s time at WHS saw her earn an incredible 18 varsity letters and seven most valuable player awards. She played four years of varsity basketball and was named MVP in 1973 and 1974. She set the WHS single-game scoring record at 34 points and held that record for 34 years until 2019 inductee Rachel Scheffer set the current record.
Roberta played four seasons of varsity volleyball, being named MVP in 1974 and 1975 when the team was the Red Arrow Conference Champions. She also played four seasons of varsity softball, earning MVP in 1975 on a Red Arrow Conference Champion team. At the same time she was on the varsity track team for four seasons, earning yet another MVP in 1975 while becoming a hurdles district qualifier that season.
A 1975 graduate, Roberta was also a varsity cheerleader for three years – the MVP in 1975, and a member of the bowling team in 1971. She was the class president for her junior and senior years. As a senior she was chosen as homecoming queen, awarded the John Philip Sousa Award in band, was named the top scholar-athlete, and in what was likely no surprise at all named the Outstanding Senior Girl at graduation.
She attended the University of Michigan on a full volleyball scholarship and in 1978 was chosen as the co-captain of the team.
Scott Tatter graduated in 1980 as one of the Herald Palladium Athlete of the Year nominees. He was the quarterback of the varsity football team for three years, including the 1979 State Runner-up team his senior season. He was named all-conference for two seasons, MVP twice, and was the team captain twice.
Scott was on the varsity basketball team in 1978 and 1979, being named All-Conference and team captain both seasons, including the 1979 conference championship season. He was the leading scorer and rebounder all four years he played basketball. He also earned three letters in baseball, being named captain all three years and MVP for two years.
He was offered a baseball scholarship to Western Michigan University and offered a football scholarship at Michigan Tech, but chose to attend Adrian College and played football there for two years. From Adrian he transferred to the University of Florida where he earned a degree in broadcast production and works as a live touring and recording sound engineer.
Eric Anderson, Class of 1984, was a 1984 Herald Palladium Athlete of the Year nominee. He earned letters in football in 1982 and 1983.
As a wrestler he was named MVP in 1981 and 1983, then co-MVP in 1984. He was an all-state wrestler, finishing fourth in 1984. At regional wrestling tournaments he placed fourth in 1981, second in 1982, and was regional champion in 1984. Eric was the captain of the 1984 district champion team, which went on to win the regional championship as well, the first in school history. In other sports, he was on the varsity track team in 1982 and the varsity baseball team in 1983.
In 1984 he was the National Honor Society president and a member of the student council. Eric was voted by classmates as the male student who “Did the Most for WHS.”
Eric was a collegiate All-Star and nationally ranked water skier, a U.S. Water Ski Senior Team member at the Pan American Championships while attending Florida State University.
PRESS BOX PLAYER OF THE WEEK!
By Jerrod Birmele
Ernesto Rodarte, a freshman at Hartford High School, and a member of the Indian wrestling team, is this week’s Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week.
This winter, Ernesto has had a very solid season on the mat, leading Hartford in terms of match victories, currently sporting a 26-6 record on the season. On Saturday, Feb. 8, he won a Southwest 10 Conference individual championship at 103 pounds, the first conference champion for Hartford since Bert Saldana Jr. won back-to-back titles in 2013-14 and 2014-15 (which occurred in another conference). Ernesto won the crown, thanks to a victory over Bangor’s Aurelio Mejandro by pin in 1:02. Recently, this past Saturday, Feb. 15, he finished 3rd in the same weight class at individual districts, qualifying him for individual regionals this weekend in Mendon.
Of his 26 victories, 12 of them have come by fall. He has also won 11 matches by forfeit, two by technical fall and another by major decision. This means that he has contributed 156.5 team points this season for a young Indian squad.
Off the wrestling mat, Ernesto played on the conference and district championship winning soccer team in the fall. He scored five goals and tallied two assists from his midfielder position. In the classroom, Ernesto maintains good grades, and recently made the first semester Honor Roll.
Congratulations on this great honor, Ernesto! We look forward to the contributions you will make to Indian Athletics in the years ahead.
Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath
Comet boys keep it close but lose to state power Benton Harbor
The Coloma boys varsity basketball team hung in there as long as they could. Playing at Benton Harbor on Tuesday, Feb. 11, who came in with a 14-1 season record and a No. 3 state ranking in Division 2, the Comets would have had to play great for four quarters. The Tigers just proved to be too much. The Comets eventually fell by a score of 80-55, even though they gave the home team all they wanted, and certainly made them earn the victory.
The rankings released on Feb. 18, have the Tigers sitting on top, as the No. 1 ranked team in the state, in Division 2.
With the Comet guard duo of Drew Goodline and Jake Ickes knocking down 3-pointers to keep the Comets close, Coloma was tied with the Tigers 19-19 after one quarter, and only trailed by five at the half, 36-31. Realistically speaking, the Comets best chance for winning this game would come down to their accuracy in shooting from behind the 3-point line. Even though they finished with 10 3-pointers, it still wasn’t enough.
Comets assistant coach Shelly Perkins, who had to take over the head coaching duties for this game, said afterward that he was very proud of his team, and that his guards came out and had no fear in taking their shots. That was the type of aggressive play he needed from them. He also said he wanted the team to make some kind of statement that they would not be a pushover should they have to face the Tigers in the district tournament coming up in a few weeks.
Drew finished the game with 20 points including five successful 3-pointers. Jake was right behind him with 18 points, and four made from behind the arc. Michael Dancer also made one from behind the 3-point line.
On Friday, Feb. 14 the Comets hit the road again playing against Saugatuck, and dominated this game from start to finish. The Coloma running and shooting game was working from the outset. The Comets ran out to a 20-4 lead after the 1st quarter, and 28-13 at the half. Coloma coach Curtis McFall was able to substitute freely, with his bench playing for much of the 2nd and 4th quarters, after the starters built substantial leads.
It was an easy win for the Comets who played hard and didn’t take the Indian team for granted, even though they had easily defeated them back in January by a score of 86-53. Drew Goodline once again led the Comets offense, scoring 23 points, as he hit three from behind the 3-point arc. Jake Ickes scored 12 points with one 3-pointer and Shawn Dryer had eight points for the winners. Coloma’s record is now 8-7 overall and 5-3 in the conference.
Coloma girls beat Benton Harbor at home
The Coloma Comet girls basketball team hosted the Tigers of Benton Harbor, and the visitors gave the Coloma ladies all they wanted, before the Comets finally put them away in the fourth quarter, winning 36-27.
NEUBECKER SCORES FIRST… Comet senior Megan Neubecker scores inside at home against Benton Harbor. The Comets beat the Tigers 36-27, as Neubecker scored six points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Coloma ladies. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)
The Comets held leads of 8-4 1st quarter, 16-10 2nd quarter, and 29-20 3rd quarter. The visiting Tigers were much taller than Coloma which made getting the ball inside tough for Coloma, but the Comets were patient in working the ball around the perimeter and then finding an opening in the defense where they were able to push the ball inside for an easy shot, or getting fouled in the process.
Megan Koenigshof, the Comet senior point guard, led Coloma in scoring with 10 points, and added six rebound. Vanessa Crisenbery was next with nine points. Megan Neubecker scored six points and pulled down a total of 11 rebounds. Marissa Sherburn had six points. Vanessa and Adian Allmon each had a three-pointer in the contest.
The Coloma girls then traveled to Saugatuck on Valentine’s Day for a game with the Indians. It was a game that Coach Kim Swisher would very much like to forget as soon as possible. The Comets will most likely put this game behind them and move on, as they have been playing very well since the first of the year.
Saugatuck ran out to an early 14-2 lead, and finished with a final winning score of 58-26. Coloma Lady Comets are now 7-9 on the season, even though they started off with a record of 0-6, in December.
Comet bowlers tops on the lanes, boys & girls each win SAC Lakeshore Division titles
The Coloma boys and girls bowling teams have both finished the SAC schedule with undefeated records, winning first place crowns, and also each of the teams has placed their entire roster of bowlers on the all division teams for the SAC.
For the girls the following ladies were named to the first team Lakeshore all division with their ranking and season average: 1st Carissa Richmond 173; 2nd Morgan Hosbein 173; 3rd Emily Feldton 168; 5th Ashley Ikerd 146; 6th Maddison McQuillan 145.
Named to honorable mention for the girls is 11th Eadie Needham with a 115 average.
First teamers for the boys were: 2nd Charlie Cullitan 170; 3rd Jonathon Swetay 170; 4th Ryan Wilson 170; 5th Damian Gomez 169; 6th Nick Santarlas 163
LAKESHORE DIVISION CHAMPS… The Coloma boys and girls bowling teams both finished the regular season undefeated to win the SAC Lakeshore Division champion-ships. Pictured with the 2019-20 championship plaque are boys team members (from the left): Front row – Nick Santarlas, Damian Gomez, Charlie Cullitan; Back row – Came-ron Needham, Noah Blankenship, Ryan Wilson, Jonathon Swetay and the boys coach, Sharon Ball.
Honorable Mention boys: 11th Brodie McQuillan 158 (Brodie finished tied for the tenth spot which would have been first team, but because of pin count and number of games he finished 11th.)