Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath
Sports on the national level
The sporting world continues to be locked away in the deep freeze with the only action taking place on the television is the networks trying to keep some semblance of an audience by re-running past events – from ancient world series’ clashes, to the 2020 National Football championship, and basketball, and Super Bowl replays.
The Masters, which was a casualty to their usual April date, was replaying the 2019 event on the Golf Channel and CBS last weekend when actually it should have been taking place. The PGA has rescheduled the Masters to be played in November of this year, and the U.S. Open, usually played in June, has been rescheduled for September with no change in venue. Winged Foot will still host the Open.
The NFL is still planning to hold their annual draft this month. But it will not be with the usual fanfare, with thousands of fans on hand and dozens of the players who will be drafted in attendance to cross the stage and shake hands and hug the football commissioner. It will be done with all the teams and officials at remote locations with social distancing in full operation.
MLB and NBA as well as the NHL, all are still waiting to see not knowing how any or how much of a season can be salvaged once the country is able to get back to business. Also still on hold waiting for some chance to play summer sports are all of our area youth. There is still no word on how or when they will proceed. Some of the travel baseball teams have already canceled for this year. We all pray that some kind of season can be played. Our children need to have this kind of activity, both physically and mentally.
Spotlight on Coloma Comet senior spring athletes
Isaiah Reinhardt, senior Coloma Comet Baseball, played his first year on the varsity baseball team last year as a junior. Coach Kevin VanPeteghem said that Isaiah was working on transitioning to the outfield where he would have been competing for a starting spot this year. Isaiah showed glimpses of power at the plate and would bring another element of speed, once he gets on the base paths. He had eight stolen bases last year, in limited playing time.
Isaiah is a tough competitor whether on the basketball court, on the baseball diamond, or the soccer field. He always went full speed, giving his all. He says that basketball is his favorite sport, with baseball being a close second because they were the sports he played the most while he was growing up.
Speaking of his high school coaches, Isaiah says that he appreciates all of them as they all contributed to teaching him how to deal with adversity and to stand up and be a man when times are the hardest. Isaiah works hard in the classroom and currently is carrying a GPA of 3.5.
The fact that the basketball season ended suddenly because of the virus, and also took away this year’s baseball season, Isaiah says it still hurts at times to think about it. He had very high hopes the baseball team could have gone a long way in the state tourney, and the basketball team had a great chance to claim its first district title in many years. Following graduation this spring, Isaiah plans to join the Air Force, and has no definite job he’s looking at currently, but will figure that out as he goes.
Ian Ishmael, senior Coloma Comet Baseball, is no stranger to the TCR Press Box pages. He has been competing in athletics since he was a very young man.
Ian is a tough competitor in all sports, but he earned his way to the varsity baseball team about half way through his sophomore season. So he would have been playing his third season for the Comet baseball team this spring. Coach VanPeteghem says that Ian has always swung a big bat for the team. This year he would have had a great opportunity to earn the starting catcher job, which is a natural fit for his talents which are mostly his toughness and the cerebral way he handles himself on the field.
Ian has earned a varsity letter in four sports for Coloma, as this year he was an all conference linebacker on the varsity football team and he was a state qualifier and all conference in wrestling. Last year Ian was also all academic district following the baseball season. Ian is the reigning Mr. Coloma, and is also a leader in the classroom, and following graduation he will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy, for which he will begin training in June.
Kenyon Boyd, senior Coloma Comet Baseball, is another student-athlete who kept busy throughout the school year. He was projected by his coach, Kevin VanPeteghem, to start in center field this year. His coach says Kenyon has been a key contributor since his sophomore season. That sophomore year Boyd had a tremendous season, and put up some impressive stats which earned him an honorable mention on the all conference squad.
Kenyon’s athleticism and speed are something you just can’t teach, as he was just as valuable on the football field and the basketball court. Kenyon was a workhorse running back on the football team, earning first team all conference as a running back this past fall. Kenyon played at the guard position on the Comet varsity basketball team, where he mainly came off the bench and would provide a great deal of energy on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. His play earned him all conference honorable mention.
Kenyon has played a key role on defense for the Comet baseballers since that sophomore year, and was a standout center fielder. Kenyon has run down many balls during his Comet career, and hauling in many balls that looked uncatchable coming off the bat.
Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele
Aaron Sinclair earns honorable mention all-state basketball honors
While there has been a lot of tough news recently regarding the loss of high school sports for the remainder of the school calendar year, there was a little bit of good news for one Hartford athlete in the last couple of weeks. Aaron Sinclair, a member of the Indian men’s basketball team, was honored by the Associated Press writers of Michigan as earning honorable mention all-state in Division 3 during the 2019-20 season.
Sinclair, a junior, was among one of the best players in southwest Michigan all season long, finishing as one of the top area scorers. This season, Sinclair averaged just over 22 points per game, while also averaging nearly five rebounds, three assists and two steals per contest.
During the season, Sinclair never finished a game without scoring in double figures, and managed to score 20 or more points a whopping 15 times. He also managed to scorch the court for 30 or more points on four separate occasions, including a pair of career-high 37 point games in a losing effort against Marcellus and a thrilling overtime victory over Mendon during Winterfest.
Sinclair will be counted on heavily next season as a senior leader, and sits within striking distance of 1,000 career points. If he were to have a few high scoring games early on next season, he could be well on his way to earning that title sooner rather than later.
Congratulations, Aaron, on your accomplishments all season long, and we look forward to seeing what you do on the athletic fields and courts during your final year as a Hartford Indian!
As always, GO INDIANS!
Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant
Watervliet senior student-athletes in review
We never anticipated a day where we wouldn’t be filling these pages with all sorts of softball, baseball, soccer, track, and golf scores, highlights, and stories about the student-athletes. But here we are. Most of our seniors have checked out of their post-secondary academic work while the fields and courses remain idle. Meanwhile the grass in the fields looks beautiful, growing thick and tall with the arrival of spring.
The Watervliet coaches will gather around their computer screens sometime in the next few weeks and choose a pair of outstanding athletes from the Class of 2020. Other than those two, this is our last chance to write about these athletes before they head off to college or the military or wherever life takes them next. In the meantime we will try to put together a few words about the senior Panther athletes and their athletic careers, in no particular order.
Susanna VanLente started her athletic career as a freshman hitter on the JV volleyball team coached by Lori Pline. She fit in well with a big
Susanna played basketball for just one season, but was a key player for the soccer team over her three years on the varsity team coached by Dave Armstrong. As a freshman she was named the Most Improved Player. She was primarily a defender her sophomore season, then switched to defender / midfielder for her junior season when she was first selected as a team captain then named MVP, chosen Honorable Mention All-Conference, and was named to the All-District team. For her senior season she would have switched to an offensive role and was likely to repeat all her post-season awards.
Trever Pelton earned four varsity letters as a cross country runner, eventually earning ten medals. He was named SAC honorable mention one year and earned First Team All-Conference honors one year.
But wrestling is where he made his mark on Panther athletics. Trever finished in an exclusive club with 149 wins including 90 pins over four years. He won eight individual tournament titles, 35 medals, and earned SAC First Team All-Conference honors three times. He qualified for the state tournament three times, and takes pride in having never been pinned there but getting one pin on each trip. He was a team captain for three years.
His junior year he joined the track team, where he was a top runner in the 800 meter relay, two-mile run, and 2-mile race and learned to pole vault. He would have been part of a competitive distance running team this spring.
Trever was asked about his favorite coach as a Panther and called an even tie between Joe and Dan Isbrecht. Trever said, “By the start of my senior year, the mutual respect the three of us had for each other was like a family on a mission. It was a culmination of their trainings that made my high school wrestling career as successful as it was.” He will attend Grand Valley State in the fall, joining the physician’s assistant program.
The baseball diamond is his favorite field, and he played first base and pitched for three seasons. As a JV player he was given the Big Hitter award and had a good season his junior year on the varsity. Cole will be attending Michigan State in the fall.
Alexis Worley started her Panther athletics as a freshman on the basketball court, playing shooting guard. She replayed that role as a sophomore and then earned a spot on the varsity team for two years under Coach Ken Dietz. Her big sport was softball where she earned four varsity letters. She was a catcher her freshman season then moved to left field and first base her sophomore season. As a junior she played the middle infield positions but was called to play several other
Press Box Player of the Week
By Dave Vollrath
This week’s Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week is Coloma Comet senior Kelsey Ellis. Kelsey has been a 3- sport athlete since her freshman year at Coloma. In that freshman year, Kelsey competed in JV volleyball, basketball and softball.
In her sophomore year Kelsey again played on the junior varsity in softball and volleyball, but because of her passion and hard work moved up to the varsity basketball team. Kelsey then made the jump to the varsity level her junior year, in all her chosen sports.
She was the starting second baseman for the varsity softball team her junior season, and had an outstanding campaign as the Comet second sacker. She displayed a great glove, and only made two errors the entire season. Kelsey’s exceptional play earned her the defensive player honor for Coloma, and also the Most Improved Player Award, as she also hit .250 for the season. Kelsey’s softball coach Wendy Goodline was expecting big things from her this season, as she was showing huge improvements in the batting cage during her offseason practice opportunities.
This year, her senior season, Kelsey played varsity volleyball but was denied a chance on the softball diamond as the COVID-19 crisis wiped out the high school season. Kelsey’s classroom work has also been exceptional, as she is a straight A student, carrying a 3.5 accumulative GPA.
Kelsey’s parents are Kelly Latsch and Tim Ellis. Kelsey also gives a great deal of credit for her upbringing to her Aunt Christine Nash, who is her guardian and who she has been living with all through her high school years.
Away from the competition Kelsey likes to chill out with her friends at the beach, and she also has two jobs – at Hair Innovations Salon and White Horse Wedding Catering. After graduation she is planning to continue her education at Lake Michigan College, where she plans to major in social work and psychology. Kelsey would like to work in the field of child protective services.
Kelsey says that of all her sports she had the most fun playing volleyball because she had a love and passion for it, and because many of her friends were on the team. Kelsey played as the libero on the volleyball court and said it was the position that was the most fun to play.
We congratulate Kelsey on this award, as it was a pleasure to watch her compete for the Comets for four years, and wish her the best of luck in the future.