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03-26-2020 Tri-City Area Sports

FISH ON… or not? Cory Chaloupka from Lawton spent the first morning after Governor Whitmer’s Stay-At-Home order fishing near the kayak launch at the Paw Paw River County Park in Watervliet. The sun was shining and the birds were enjoying this bright morning, while anglers a plenty fished the banks, respecting the social distancing order also. (TCR photo by Amy Loshbough)

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Spring sports still on holding pattern

As we delve deeper and deeper into this new world of the unknown, it is beginning to look more and more like our high school spring sports will eventually be swept aside and placed on permanent hold. The careers of our high school seniors will be over without ever throwing a ball, swinging a bat, trying to make a birdie putt, or coming out of the starting gate to race down the track.

It is certainly not the way anyone anticipated our high school seniors would finish their athletic careers, as very few will ever compete again at any level of organized sports. Less than 2% of all high school athletes move on to play at the collegiate level, which makes it all the more painful for these student athletes who will always feel like something was taken from them.

As adults we must keep them all in our hearts and prayers, and do the best we can to guide them with the knowledge that all the precautions being taken are done with the best interests of everyone in mind. Their loss could be saving the lives of countless people, the numbers of which can never be calculated with any degree of accuracy.

Comets honored with SAC all division honors for winter sporting seasons

The winter sports season ended without conclusion for most of our high school winter sports. Wrestling and bowling being a couple of exceptions that finished with champions being crowned. Many Coloma Comet athletes were honored by the Southwestern Athletic Conference by being named to the all division first team, and honorable mention, in boys and girls basketball, wrestling, and bowling.

The boys and girls bowling teams both dominated the rosters of all Lakeshore Division of the SAC, just as they dominated the competition on the lanes throughout the 2019-2020 bowling season. Both Coloma squads rolled through the competition and finished their conference seasons undefeated and division champions. The Comet ladies placed five bowlers in the top six spots in the Lakeshore Division with their final average determining their placement. Carissa Richmond and Morgan Hosbein were tied at the top, as both completed the season with a 173 average. Emily Feldten was next with a 168 average. Ashley Ikerd finished with an average of 146, and Madison McQuillan filled out the first team roster with an average of 145. Eadie Needham was named to the SAC all division honorable mention, as she finished with an average of 115. The Coloma gals had a great season and finished in the final four in the team tournament at state. They lost in the semi-finals by only 12 pins.

The Coloma boys also grabbed onto five of the top six, first team all division selections with Charlie Cullitan, Jonathon Swetay, and Ryan Wilson all finishing the season with an average of 170. Damian Gomez was also a first teamer with an average of 169. Nick Santarlas ended his bowling season with an average of 163. Santarlas was the lone boy who qualified for the individual state tournament by winning a qualifying spot in the regionals.

The Coloma Comet wrestlers also were very well represented on the first team all division, and also added a couple of wrestlers on the honorable mention squad. Named to the first team, by weight class, Caeleb Ishmael was first team champion at 112 pounds and Logan Ferguson was runner up first team at 119 pounds. Ian Ishmael wrestling at 145 pounds was the runner up first teamer. Travis Borr was the 215-pound runner up, while Cole Alsup was the first team champion in the 285-pound class. Alex DelaTorre was on the honorable mention team as runner up at 160 pounds.

The Coloma girls basketball team placed several players on the all division teams. Megan Neubecker, the Coloma senior, earned first team honors. Megan was a strong force for the Comets scoring in the paint, and leading the team in rebounds while battling with big players down low. Megan Koenigshof and Vanessa Crisenbery, who are both seniors and had great final years on the varsity squad, were each named to the honorable mention side of the Lakeshore Division.

The Coloma boys basketball team had two members earn first team honors. Senior forward Michael Dancer along with junior Drew Goodline led the Comets to a fine season, finishing 14-8 with a place in the district finals before the world came to a crashing stop. The season ended because of the COVID-19 virus. Michael and Drew were clearly the leaders on this team, providing strong play whenever and wherever they were needed – scoring, rebounding and distributing the ball to their team mates.

Earning honorable mention all division was Coloma senior Kenyon Boyd along with sophomore Jake Ickes. Kenyon came off the bench most of the season and provided the Comets with valuable minutes, and played with a lot of energy and passion. Jake was the starting point guard early and late in the season, and overcame a little sophomore slump in the middle. He really finished the season strong and knocked down a lot of shots when the Comets needed them most.

We congratulate all of our Coloma Comet athletes, whether they were named to all-conference teams or not. No one can under value the importance each team mate plays to the success of a team. The current season is now on hold until at least April 13th. We all need to support each other, and be kind to one another.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele

Hartford athletes on Southwest 10 Conference All-Conference Teams

As readers all know, the news around the world lately has not been very positive, with families sheltering at home to try to protect themselves from catching the dreaded coronavirus. However, recently, there has been some good news on the Hartford Athletics front, as several student-athletes, both boys and girls, received all-conference honors from the Southwest 10 Conference from the recently completed basketball season.

On the boys’ side, the Indians had one player receive first team all-conference honors, and an additional two players received honorable mention all-conference honors. Junior Aaron Sinclair, fresh off of a season where he was among the top scorers in the league, earned first team all-conference recognition for the second straight season. Senior Elijah Ledesma and sophomore Kaden Johnson, both solid contributors in the front and back courts for the 10-win team on both sides of the ball, were the two players that were given honorable mention all-conference.

On the girls’ side, the Lady Indians had three players receive all-conference recognition, with two players earning second team all-conference honors, and one additional player earned honorable mention all-conference honors. Senior Megan Nelson, a consistent threat from outside the three-point line, and sophomore Alexis Snodgrass, with her persistent presence down low, were the two receiving second team all-conference. Senior Jaelyne Galvan, who played solid all season long and was one of the team’s key leaders, was the player given honorable mention all-conference.

Congratulations to Aaron, Elijah, Kaden, Megan, Alexis and Jaelyne on successful seasons this winter!

As always, GO INDIANS!

Press Box Player of the Week!

By Dave Vollrath

This week’s Press Box Player of the Week is Caeleb Ishmael, a sophomore at Coloma High School and a three sport competitor.

Caeleb just completed his second varsity season wrestling for the Comets with another trip to the finals. This was his second trip to Ford Field where the finals take place. Caeleb’s number one sport is wrestling, and when fans see him compete they can see all they need to know on his face. Caeleb is a competitor and he puts a great deal of practice and preparation into becoming the best he can be in his chosen sport.

Caeleb was named to this year’s all Lakeshore Division team, for the second time. Also he was 1-2 wrestling at the Division 3 state tournament just completed a couple of weeks ago. Last season Caeleb also competed at the state finals, where he finished in 4th place at 103 pounds. This season Caeleb moved up to the 112 pound class, and had no drop off in his results.

As a member of the Comet cross country team last fall he competed very well as one of Coloma’s top runners. In Caeleb’s freshman year, in addition to cross country and wrestling, he stayed in shape by running on the track team. This spring he was going to switch to golf, as a spring sport, but that season is still awaiting word on whether any spring sports will be competing anywhere in Michigan.

Caeleb’s parents are Tim and Heidi Ishmael from Coloma, and both are very involved with his athletic and academic achievements. Caeleb currently is carrying a 3.3 GPA in the classroom, and would like to continue wrestling in college but he still has a couple of years to decide where that might be. In his spare time he enjoys working on his jeep with his dad, and he also likes to be out on the course playing golf and losing balls with his brother and grandfather. Caeleb also is a volunteer referee working for this area’s youth wrestling program.

Congratulations on this award Caeleb! We know you will continue to work hard, with many more great accomplishments coming your way.

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Panther winter sports athletes awarded SAC All-Conference honors

The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SAC) recently held its post-season basketball coaches meetings to choose all-conference first teams and also athletes to receive honorable mention. The Lakeshore Division coaches chose Panthers Andrew Chisek and Samantha Dietz for first-team all-conference honors.

Sophomore Chisek is a second-year starter on the Panther boys basketball team. He scored 288 points this season, averaging 13.7 points per game. Also for this season he added a mid-range offensive game to his already strong outside shot and drives to the basket, making him difficult to defend. Coach Dan Hoff says he made tremendous strides this season in developing overall, on offense, defense, as well as team leadership. “On defense he learned to skillfully read an opponent’s offensive game and then disrupt their efforts with off-the-ball reads. And he became much more assertive as a leader and demanded from his teammates the same competitive effort and performance that he demonstrated.”

Freshman Samantha Dietz scored 389 points for the girls basketball team, averaging 18.5 points per game. Also she had 306 rebounds for a Dennis Rodman-like 14.5 per game. Both stats put her at the top of the region leaderboard by a good margin. Additionally, Samantha collected 45 steals and 17 assists. She was also perfect from behind the arc, going 1-for-1 on the season. Dietz came into the season having missed half the volleyball season with a sprained ankle, but had a fantastic rookie season. She’s a pretty solid softball player too, and hopes to get on the diamond soon.

Madison “MJ” Flowers earned SAC Honorable Mention for the Lady Panthers. The freshman point guard averaged eight points per game, draining 24 three-pointers and had 24 steals and 41 assists.

Both basketball teams are young and the future looks great, on paper. Watervliet Athletic Director Ken Dietz said these kids got a lot of experience this year, “but if that’s all we do between now and next November it will be a disappointing 2020-2021 season. Every one of our returning athletes needs to put in the work if they want to play on the varsity teams next year.” What he might be hinting at is next year’s big freshman class replacing this year’s small senior class.

The SAC wrestling teams also have all-conference recognition but each wrestler earned their honors on the mat at the SAC Conference meet held in February. Earning first team honors were Trever Pelton, Nathan Isbrecht, and Don Smith. All three wrestled their way into SAC championship matches, and each finished in second place.

Earning honorable mention were Isaiah Yazel, Jimmy Kolosowsky, and Parker Lanning. These three wrestled their way to third-place medals at the conference meet. All of the honored wrestlers except Senior Trever Pelton will return next year.

What’s next?

At press time the MHSAA still hasn’t officially cancelled the basketball playoffs but with the entire state essentially shut down until at least April 13 there doesn’t appear to be any chance those teams will get to play another game. The spring sports season comes on fast and tends to be short and loaded with meets and games and matches, but that season isn’t looking good right now either. The most optimistic outlook has teams getting started on April 14 with a few practices and then an abbreviated or accelerated schedule in a race to the post-season tournaments.


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