Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath
Coloma Comet senior track men recognized
Caleb Winfield is a senior Coloma Comet, and would have been competing on the Coloma track squad this spring, which would have been his fourth year participating in this sport. Caleb is an outstanding young man with a positive attitude, which has definitely served him well during this unsettling time in our nation’s history.
As an athlete, Caleb has also participated all four of his high schools years on the Coloma soccer team. He states that having the school year end so suddenly was a heartbreaking casualty of the virus. Like all the seniors, he was extremely disappointed to miss out on the yearend activities, such as prom, in addition to all the spring sports.
This winter Caleb participated in the Mr. Coloma contest and was named Mr. Nice Guy, in joining the Coloma Court. Again, he says that most all of the activities that encompass these events have been cancelled for 2020, and this too is extremely disappointing.
The Class of 2020 will always be remembered as the year of the virus that shut down our country, making this class very unique. About this Caleb says, “I know the Class of 2020 is a very strong class, and we’ll make it through this, and we’ll come out stronger.” Caleb says that his favorite memory about Coloma will be the atmosphere. The coaches and teachers always make students feel like family, and there isn’t a single member of the Coloma faculty and staff that he would not have a problem going to for help.
Caleb has some very lofty and specific goals for post high school that includes plans to attend Lake Michigan College for two years and then transfer to a university. His ultimate dream would then be getting into med school on his way to becoming an emergency room surgeon. Toward this end, Caleb spent his senior year participating in the Professional Health Careers Academy, where he was able to do rotations at Lakeland Hospital and shadow doctors, surgeons, nurses and other specialists.
Coloma head boys track coach, Mike Churchill, says of Caleb, “Caleb is a great young man, and when he is faced with adversity and trials, he attacks them head on, in order to achieve his goals.”
Alec DeLaTorre is another fine young man who was extremely disappointed when the school year ended, and the track season never got started. Alec was a 3-sport athlete for the Comets, as he participated all four years of high school in football and wrestling, and three years and one incomplete for his track career. On the track this spring Alec would have been competing in the 300-meter hurdles, and would have run a leg on the 4 x 400-meter relay team.
Alec’s football coach, Joe Stephens, and wrestling coach, Kenny Ashley, both agree that Alec was great to have on their teams, as he was a hard working and dedicated athlete who never backed down from a challenge.
Alec says that even though their senior year ended so abruptly, he understands the seriousness of the pandemic situation and what was necessary to slow down a dangerous health crisis.
The favorite high school memory for Alec is the homecoming spirit day games. The top memory of those events for him is when his senior class won the giant tug-o-war they have annually in celebrating these days.
Alec has stayed busy out of school as a volunteer for the North Berrien Fire and Rescue. He has been volunteering there since his junior year, and he says it has been a lot of fun to do what he loves, and also helping out his community in the process. Alec says he has kept his grades up all through his high school years, and additionally took several college level courses, which he thought were challenging and fun. The Coloma boys track coach, Mike Churchill, simply says of Alec, that he is a very tough minded kid, who loves competition. After high school, Alec plans to attend Southwestern Michigan College to get an associate’s degree in fire science, but is still debating on what he wants to do after that.
Professional sports nearing a return?
As the whole world, and our little corner of it, waits to see what is going to happen next, in finding our way past this COVID-19 pandemic, the professional sports world has been huddled up trying to figure out what their seasons will look like once the fun resumes. The NFL has just concluded their annual collegiate talent distribution, called the draft, and even from remote locations of the country was able to pull it off without a hitch. Many of the NFL experts still believe a full schedule, including playoffs, will take place with some adjustment to the regular season still possible.
There is currently talk going around the MLB that they may reopen the spring training camps around the beginning of June, and then the regular season beginning the first of July. What the locations of play will look like is still a mystery, but the execs would like to get the home teams as many games as they safely can. They can still try some new things. Possibly play later into the fall, with the bulk of games in warmer climate locations, and hold the entire post season in warm weather cities.
It looks like the first major sport to hit the airwaves will be NASCAR racing. There is mostly talk about resuming racing after the middle of May and possibly Memorial weekend, but they will be racing with no fans in the stands.
The NBA has reopened some of the training facilities for players, but no real talk of the season resuming or what the season will look like has moved past the “what if” stage. The NHL is in the same boat as the NBA. The PGA may also resume play soon, and like the racing, would probably play events without any fans on the course.
The Coloma Press Box is ready for some “live action” real soon, and I’m sure the brain trusts across this great country of ours can figure out how to make that happen in the safest manner possible for everyone involved. Whether you like it or not, sports is a glue that helps bond our country and people. Folks from all walks of life can instantly connect with one another because of a love or hatred for any particular team.
Local golf courses given the green light to “safely” open
In one of our governor’s recent decisions, the golf courses in Michigan have been given the green light to reopen for play. There are some COVID-19 associated restrictions and new rules to abide by. Everyone should check them out before heading out with their clubs. In checking the websites of several of the local courses, price increases have occurred; possibly because of the lost revenue attributed to the state shut down.
Please stay home and stay safe, we want everyone around to cheer our teams, which we know will take place very soon. Go Comets!!
Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele
Honoring Hartford’s seniors – A look back at varsity football
With everything going on in the world today, this is a sad and upsetting time for everyone involved. As a sportswriter, it is just as difficult, as we are not able to see our student-athletes doing what they should be doing – participating in athletic events. For now, we are left with the memories, and we will be honoring all our seniors for their accomplishments in the coming weeks. We begin this week by recognizing our senior football players.
Please note that most of the information in this article may be outdated, as what follows was taken from senior night information provided by the Hartford Athletic Department. The Hartford Press Box thanks HPS for their help in acquiring this data.
Joe Beebe wore #82 on the field last fall and was a two-way player that played slotback and middle linebacker. In 2018, Joe was relegated to playing in just five games, but came back this season with renewed vigor. While he just missed out on all-conference honors, he had a rather solid season for the green and white, and when the Indians needed a big play, he was often around the football.
Joe made the first semester honor roll this year, and has also been awarded with Student of the Week honors.
Sergio Canseco wore #74 on the field last fall and was a two-way player that played along the offensive and defensive lines. While not getting all the headlines due to a lack of statistics, Sergio was just one of the key players up front that helped Hartford open the pass and run games on offense and make several key stops on defense. In short, without players like Sergio, the team would not have accomplished what they did.
Sergio also played basketball this winter and received some of the biggest cheers from the crowd when he made a shot from the field. He also has received Student of the Week honors.
Yair Delgado wore #70 on the field last fall and was a two-way player that played offensive tackle and defensive end. Yair was another one of the big players up front that was essential to the pass and running attack that led the Indians to six wins. But his defensive prowess and nose around the ball was heavily counted on, and his play on the field earned him 1st team all-conference defense last season.
Yair has also received Student of the Week honors in the classroom.
David Fernandez wore #77 on the field last fall and was a two-way player that played at the tackle position on both offense and defense. Few players in the conference wanted to go up against David, who made great strides in his play this past fall. Most of his prolific plays came on the offensive side of the ball, and he was recognized for great play with 1st team all-conference offense in the Southwest 10 Conference last season.
David also was a powerlifter, and made the state meet this winter. He was involved in the National Honor Society and was the president of both the Class of 2020 and Job’s for Michigan’s Graduates. He was also a Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week. He will continue playing football in college, having signed with Kalamazoo College.
Trey Goodson wore #65 on the field last fall and was a two-way player that played center on offense and tackle on defense. Trey played football all the way from rocket to varsity, and his leadership was heavily counted on from year-to-year. When the team needed a key run up the middle, they knew he would be fighting to make that block to spurn a big play. He also had a nose on defense, and made his presence known at key times all season long.
Trey has also received Student of the Week honors, was on the honor roll, and is a previous TCR Press Box Player of the Week. He plans to attend trade school to become a certified welder.
Elijah Ledesma wore #42 on the field last fall and was a two-way player that played wide receiver on offense and played in the secondary on defense. Elijah was a critical component for the Indians on both sides of the ball, as well as on special teams. He made great strides this season, and when the Indians needed a pass play for big yardage or a touchdown, Elijah was often announced as being on the receiving end of it.
Elijah also played both basketball and baseball for the Indians, and this past winter received honorable mention all-conference for his play on the court.
Kyle Manning wore #18 on the field last fall and was a two-way player that played quarterback on offense and played in the secondary on defense. Kyle took a few years off from playing football but came back his junior year like he had not missed a beat. His senior year was even better, and he was one of the statistical leaders in the league on both sides of the ball. At the end of the season, he was one of just a few athletes to receive first team all-conference both ways.
Kyle was a former Press Box Player of the Week. He plans to attend trade school to become a welder.
Erick Ramirez wore #80 on the field last fall and was known mostly for his play on offense as a running back. Erick was a first-year player for the Indians and was not known to play a lot of minutes, but he made the most of it. His presence was welcome on the team, and the coaching staff was grateful to have him. To be successful, a team must have those players that work hard on the 2nd teams, and Erick was one of those players that made the team better.
Erick plans on attending college after graduation.
Elijah Rodarte planned on playing football this year, and was on the roster, but was injured in the preseason and did not get to experience his senior year on the field. He could have easily walked away, but that is not in his ethos. He still attended games, and was right there on the sidelines, with his jersey on, supporting his team the whole time. He has always been a great athlete, and it would have been interesting to see what he could have achieved.
Elijah also played basketball and baseball for the Indians and was also named a Student of the Week. He plans to attend college and study to be a physical therapist or an athletic trainer.
Ian Woodruff wore #23 on the field last fall and was a two-way player that played running back on offense and outside linebacker on defense. Ian was not one of the players that saw a ton of playing time throughout his career, but you cannot take away from the fact he was a good teammate. Those that are not starters are just as critical to the team’s success, as they work just as hard to make the team better each and every day.
Ian plans on attending Kalamazoo Valley Community College to study fire science.
There is always more that could be written about these great Hartford student-athletes. I join the rest of the Hartford community by saying thank you, seniors. You’ve created memories that you will remember the rest of your lives, and that fans will cherish for years to come.
As always, GO INDIANS!
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 baseball player Ethan Price. Ethan would have been a four-year member of the Comet baseball team, had this season not been cancelled by the COVID-19 virus.
In his three years on the varsity team, Ethan has been a standout performer at the shortstop position, and offensively put up some very impressive numbers. Whether it was early in the game or in a late clutch situation, Coloma head coach Kevin VanPeteghem could always count on his shortstop to come through with a big hit, or perform effectively in whatever the situation called for. On defense Ethan had a steady glove, and was a strong leader of the infield.
During the course of his Comet career on the diamond, Ethan had garnered many accolades, which culminated after his junior year, by being named to the SAC all-conference team, all-district team, all-region team, and an honorable mention on the all-state team. Ethan, the Coloma offensive player of the year, led the Comets hitting around .6oo in conference play last year, and said he was looking forward this year to connecting with the ball on his 100th career varsity hit. Ethan’s final total of 98 career hits is still an impressive number, even though his senior year was canceled.
Ethan’s parents are Ryan Price and Erika Price. Ethan is an avid hunter, and spends a lot of time in the woods with his dad, step-dad, and his brothers. Currently he is looking at his collegiate options and would like to be playing baseball at the community college level, as he continues his education.
The Coloma Press Box would like to congratulate Ethan on this award, and wish him the best of luck in the future.
Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant
There are rumors this week about some areas swapping spring and fall sports schedules; in other words, baseball and softball in September and football and volleyball in April. The idea is that distancing is impossible in football but relatively easy in some of the spring sports. It seems unlikely that type of major overhaul will happen in our area, but it would be fun to try it for one year. Anyway, we have a pair of seniors who were poised for good seasons this spring.
Dylan Tucker has been playing baseball since he was five years old and would have earned his second varsity letter this spring. On last year’s division champion team he played several positions and could be counted on to play all of them well. His favorite baseball memory at Watervliet was beating Coloma for the district championship in 2019.
Dylan played on the football teams just as long, earning three varsity letters with the team. He’s played several positions in his football career, including quarterback, linebacker, and on the defensive line. This past season he was a receiver and defensive back, getting credit for six tackles. His other favorite sports memory is getting called up to the varsity for the 2017 Panther playoff run when the team went 11-1, only losing in the third playoff game to the eventual state champion.
He says he doesn’t have a favorite coach, but credits them all with playing a big part in his life starting with his dad John, and then coaches Freeman, Prom, Dietz, Tiefenbach, Andrews, and Tremblay.
Dylan plans to attend Lake Michigan College in the fall and then transfer to Central Florida University to study radiology.
Kody Edmonds was looking forward to his senior year on the track team. He was a key part of what would have been a very competitive group of long distance Panthers. He has always run the distances on the track team. In his sophomore season Kody was awarded the Most Improved Player, and has been part of the track team since the seventh grade.
In cross-country Kody took a big step mid-season, slicing more than a minute off of his season-best time at the second SAC Jamboree and then regularly running under 18:00. He earned First-Team All-Conference honors as a senior. Kody has been running cross-country since the sixth grade, and finds his favorite part of a race is when “I feel like I’m sprinting 100 mph through the woods.” He’s enjoyed running and training with his team, his best friends since elementary school, and pushing each other through tough times along the way. That team, which Kody calls a family, had a great 2019 season and was just short of making the state finals as a team.
When asked if he had a favorite coach Kody said, “By far the best coach I ever had, and wouldn’t run for anyone else, would be Coach Weber. He’s a great friend, coach, teacher and I couldn’t ask for a better coach to run for.”
Kody is studying auto systems at Van Buren Skills Center and plans to be a wheeled vehicle mechanic in the Army National Guard this summer. After that he plans to study health care at Grand Valley State University.