ONE LAST HIGH SCHOOL GAME… Former Watervliet football standout Bryant Kieft poses with the championship trophy after the West All-Stars beat the East All-Stars June 23 at Saginaw Valley State University. Kieft, formerly a wide receiver on the Panther squad, caught two passes in the victory.
Watervliet athletes receive awards
High school spring sports for 2018 may be in the record books, but the awards continue to pile up for local student athletes. Watervliet High School has plenty of good news to share as they recently announced conference, district, and team awards.
In Southwest Athletic Conference baseball action, Garrett Matthews, Jakob Aldrich, Ryan Chisek, and Bryant Kieft were named First Team All-Conference honorees.
Ben Myas earned an All-Conference Honorable Mention award.
Earning All District nods were: Chisek as catcher; Kieft as a shortstop; Aldrich as a pitcher; and Matthews as an outfielder. The four also were selected for the All Region roster.
Chisek, Kieft, Aldrich, and Matthews also received Academic All-District and All Region nods. Chisek was honored as Academic All-State.
For the team awards, Kieft won “Big Stick” honors for his work at the plate. The Ace pitching award was given to Matthews and Aldrich. Chisek secured the Dirtball award for his fielding prowess, while Myas took home the coveted Panther award which honored all-around play.
Members of the varsity soccer squad collected awards as well. Victoria Smith was named First Team All-Conference. Teammates Emma Armstrong, Emma Kraklau, and Trinity Cain were named All Conference Honorable Mention.
Armstrong, Kraklau, and Smith also received All District recognition.
Smith was selected as the Watervliet girls’ varsity soccer team’s Most Valuable Player, while Cain earned Most Improved Player recognition.
Armstrong, Smith, and Kraklau shared team captain honors.
Three Panther softball players were selected for All-Conference awards. Ariana Rowe, Kara Liles, and Taylor Shafer received First Team honors in the Southwest Athletic Conference. Mikalah Clay was selected for an All-Conference Honorable Mention award.
Liles, for her work in the outfield, Rowe, as a pitcher, and Clay, as a catcher were named to the All District team. Liles also earned an All Region award; she paired that with an All Region Academic Honors award.
Rowe was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. Madalyn Hutchins was selected as the Most Improved Player.
Clay was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year, and Shafer won Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Watervliet duffer Isaac Workman was selected to the SAC All Division First Team. He was also the team’s Most Valuable Player. Brennan Dygert earned Most Improved Player recognition.
In track and field, Lamarrius Smith was the lone Panther state qualifier and he did not disappoint in the June competition. He earned All State recognition after finishing third in the MHSAA state finals’ long jump event. His 20’11” leap landed him the award. He also finished 13th in the high jump and ninth in the 200 meters.
ARMSTRONG ALL DISTRICT… Watervliet’s Emma Armstrong, who finished the varsity soccer season as a junior, was recently named First Team All-District.
Lamarrius Smith was the Watervliet varsity track team’s Most Valuable Player. Gus Hinch was named Most Improved Player.
On the girls’ varsity track squad, Kyah Sexton was selected as MVP, and Kayla Hoy was MIP.
Goodline part of the MHSAA Reaching Higher Program
The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in conjunction with the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, has announced its “Reaching Higher” basketball program.
Reinstated this year in an effort to “[preserve] the health and integrity of interscholastic athletics,” the MHSAA and BCAM hope to refocus attention on elite basketball athletes in the state. It is the goal of the MHSAA to provide a “safe, inexpensive, educational environment to those who may have potential to play intercollegiate basketball at some level.” The Reaching Higher program was last utilized in 2016.
The program will showcase high school basketball players from across the state. More than 100 young men will take to the court in front of college coaches. The program includes classroom time, on-court drills, and scrimmages.
Coloma basketball star Zach Goodline was selected by BCAM coaches to participate in the Reaching Higher program. The incoming senior was part of the boys’ event which was held Tuesday, July 17 at Highland-Milford High School.
East vs. West All-Stars put on great show
Watervliet football stars Zack Pickens and Bryant Kieft were selected by the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association as two members of the West All-Star team. The West and East squads faced off on June 23 at Saginaw Valley State University. The West won the game 20-17 in overtime, the first time in the game’s 36-year history that it took beyond regulation to complete.
Kieft caught two passes in the contest for 11 yards.
According to the MHSFCA the game offers “an incredible opportunity for Michigan high school graduates to play one last game of high school football in front of their fans, friends, and families.”
Hartford offers mini cheer camp for ages five to 14
The varsity cheerleaders at Hartford High School are ready to teach the next generation of cheering Indians. Kids age five to 14 are encouraged to attend the camp which will be held Thursday, July 26 and Friday, July 27 from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. both evenings.
KRAKLAU CRACKS ALL-DISTRICT TEAM… Emma Kraklau, a junior on the Watervliet girls varsity soccer team, earned First Team All-District honors for her competitive play on the soccer field.
The camp will be hosted by the varsity squad at the Hartford High School gymnasium. The cost to attend is $20 if kids are registered by Thursday, July 19. If you miss the initial registration date, you can show up Thursday the 26th and register prior to the 5:30 p.m. start time. The cost for same day registration increases to $25.
Kids will learn basic cheer skills and techniques.
MHSAA releases sports enrollment numbers for 2017-18 season
The Michigan High School Athletic Association released sports participation numbers for the 2017-18 school year, and the results were very interesting.
SMITH SNAGS FIRST TEAM HARDWARE… Vicki Smith, a junior on the Watervliet varsity soccer team, snagged plenty of hardware during the team’s post season awards ceremony. Smith was named First Team All-Conference in the SAC.
According to MHSAA, 284,920 student athletes competed in MHSAA-sponsored sports during the 2017-18 school year. That number is up almost a half-percent over last year’s numbers.
Girls’ participation in school sports rose 1.2% to 121,349, while the number for young men dropped less than one-tenth percent to 163,571.
Girls’ lacrosse continued to set a participation growth rate. The sport, which is not played at Coloma, Hartford, or Watervliet, accounted for 2,900 participants, an increase of 3.1% over last year. Lacrosse has increased its participation in school sports since 2005.
The largest participation increase was to girls gymnastics, which increased 10.4%; currently, 702 athletes participate in gymnastics. Also enjoying a bump in participation rates was girls’ golf, which was up 4.2% and accounted for 3,712 student athletes.
The most popular girls sport was volleyball; 19,416 young ladies played on a squad last year, an increase of 1.8%.
Football continues to be the most popular sport with boys. The sport did see participation rates decrease by 1.9% but still found 37,002 athletes playing last fall. The second most popular sport for boys was track and field (23,566 athletes) followed by basketball (21,367).
Last call for Glad-Peach walk, run, bike sign-ups
Time is running out to get registered for the annual Coloma Glad-Peach walk, run, and bike event. A total of seven events will be held Saturday, August 4 beginning at 7:45 a.m. at Salem Lutheran Church, 275 Marvin Street in Coloma.
Get registered today at runsignup.com for the 5K walk, run, or bike, 10K walk, run, or bike, and one mile fun run.
The 5K and 10K bike and 10K walk all take off from the start line at 7:45 a.m. The 5K and 10K run and 5K walk begin at 8:30 a.m. The fun run will start at 9:45 a.m.
Online registration closes Friday, August 3. You can still register on race day from 6:30 a.m. until 8:15 a.m. Pre-registration packets will be available during that same time period.
Online registration fees are $30, except for the fun run which is $12. Same day registration increases to $35. Continue your summer fitness routine by competing in the Glad-Peach event!
Press Box Player of the Week
Ethan Eggert is this week’s Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week! Ethan is 10 years old and has been playing baseball for a couple of years. In 2018, Ethan spent the regular season playing first base for Mark Reeves on the Watervliet Rec baseball team. His favorite moment happened during the first game of the season; he hit two in the park home runs and a triple.
Dr. Andy says… “Every medication you take has a side effect. It is important to consider that when you choose medications. They are necessary at times, but healthier lifestyle choices can sometimes eliminate the need for some of those meds. Chiropractic helps the body function healthier naturally.”
Martin Truex Jr. owns Kentucky Speedway Martin Truex Jr., last season’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion, owned Kentucky Speedway Saturday evening. The driver of the #78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota completely dominated the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart. Honestly, the other 38 Cup drivers never stood a chance. Truex Jr. opened the race in the highly coveted pole position. He led a race high 174 of the outing’s 267 laps. Along the way, he collected Stage 1 and Stage 2 wins before capturing the checkered flag. Truex Jr. picked up his fourth win in the 2018 season and 19th of his career. He also earned a healthy 60-point bump in the driver’s standings, which puts him in third place overall. He trails leader Kyle Busch by 110 points and Kevin Harvick by 51. Ryan Blaney raced into second place. The driver led one lap. Although he remains winless this season, Blaney did earn his fourth top five finish. Brad Keselowski finished third. He led 38 laps. Keselowski is also winless this season and he collected his fifth top five finish. Kyle Busch crept into fourth place. Busch has five wins this season. Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. He is also a five-time winner this year; Harvick also holds 14 top five finishes in 19 races. The highest finishing rookie on Saturday was William Byron. He started the race in 24th before improving to 20th. Drivers who led laps but did not finish in the top five include Kurt Busch (45), Joey Logano (5), Jimmie Johnson (3), and Alex Bowman (1).