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07-26-2018 Tri-City Area Sports

Comet athletes awarded for spring sports success

Coloma will need to clear out some space in the glass awards case as plenty of Comet athletes brought home awards for spring sports.

In baseball, Coloma claimed a district championship before falling in regionals. Additionally, Calvin Starnes, Robbie Schroeder, and Ethan Price were named First Team All-Division winners in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

SAC Honorable Mention honors went to Nathan Wilder and Kenyon Boyd.

Starnes was also named Division 3 All-State First Team for his work on the mound.

The Coloma varsity softball team earned plenty of well-deserved accolades after a stunning season. The squad captured the school’s first ever softball state title, the regional champion crown, and district championship title. Key to that success was the talent of the team.

Winning First Team All-Division honors in the SAC was Kayla Yore, Skylar Crisenbery, Morgan Wagner, Jaidyn Hutsell, Mya Potter, and Megan Koenigshof.

Samantha Stewart and Megan Neubecker were awarded Honorable Mention nods.

COLOMA 8U ALL STARS… Members of the 2018 Coloma 8U All Star team are (from the left) Front row – Ethen Schelling, Jayden Hampton, Aiden Schoedein, Bryce Cartwright, Brody Ashley, and Zack Nord; Middle row – Brody Winnell, Masyn Hess, Ross Smothers, Carson Coble, Hunter Crumley; Back row – coaches John Dahlquist, Kenny Ashley, Mark Coble, and Gordie Cartwright. Sponsors for this year are Coloma Youth Baseball Softball Association, Diamond Factory Service, Don Young Insurance Agency, Watervliet State Farm, and Ace Septic – Mike Hess.

Yore, Koenigshof, Wagner, Crisenbery, and Hutsell were also named Division 3 First Team All-State.

Yore, Wagner, and Hutsell were part of the D3 White state All-Star team that took the field for one final game to close out their senior year.  The game was held Wednesday, July 18 at Jonker Stadium on the campus of Central Michigan University.

Wagner finished out her senior season with an exceptional honor. She was one of four finalists for Miss Softball.

The Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association selects two Miss Softball recipients each season, a pitcher and a position player. Four players, one from each Division, are selected as finalists. From the finalists’ pool, one winner is chosen.

As a catcher, Wagner joined Richmond’s Carley Barjaktanovich from Division 2, Rogers City’s Kayla Rabeau from Division 4, and Division 1 infielder Paige Blevins of Clarkson in the running. Blevins was selected as Miss Softball out of the four position players nominated.

On the soccer field, Mackenzie Ecker and Emma Vandermolen received First Team All-Conference awards.  Honorable Mention awards were earned by Abby Vandermolen, Grace Gagliardo, Katelyn Johnson, and Emma Watson.

Two Comet tennis players received All-Conference recognition for their work on the court.  Lindsey Robinson and Tonya Perea were named First Team.  Samantha Schreiber and Samantha Fischer were selected as All-Conference Honorable Mention recipients.

The Comet track team had plenty of superstars as well.

Caleb Ellis, Sincere Taylor, Josh Young, and Derek Plitt brought home a state championship in the 4×200 meter relay. The teammates ran the event in a time of 1:28.61, outpacing the second place finishers from Clare by over one second. They also earned the regional championship in the same event.

The foursome of Ellis, Taylor, Plitt, and Young also finished second in state competition in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 3:25.35. In May, the four won were crowned regional champions in the same event.

Young finished third in the state in the 400 meters with a time of 49.5 seconds, setting a new personal record along the way.  He was also crowned regional champion after winning the 400 meters (51.08 seconds) in May.

Cole Alsup earned his regional champion title after he won the discus with a throw of 143’1”.

Levi Wilkens and Morgan Wagner were selected as Coloma High School’s Male and Female, respectively, athlete of the year award winners.

Paw Paw Lake sailing school a success

Jeff Phillips, president of the Paw Paw Lake Sailing Foundation, continues to advance sailing safety on Paw Paw Lake. This year, Phillips, who also is the director of the sailing school offered at the Yacht Club, helped teach 43 youngsters about boating safety, sailing techniques, and proper behavior on the water.

Additionally, eight sailors participated in the new sailing STEM camp, which was also held at the Yacht Club “with rave reviews,” according to Phillips.

The “Become a Marine Engineer” STEM camp “focused on wind direction and power, buoyancy, plus construction of sailboats using plastic soda bottles, cardboard sails, and pebbles for ballast.  Students were introduced to a classic method of producing rope with a hand-operated device. The final day was capped off by racing the bottle boats along water-filled eave-troughs,” Phillips shared.

The STEM camp was conducted by foundation members Jake Greve and Caroline Joyce.

SMOOTH SAILING… The Paw Paw Lake Sailing Foundation hit the water with 43 students enrolled in the summer sailing session. Students captained Optimists, 420s, and Lasers as they learned basic sailing maneuvers, boating safety, and nautical terminology. Jeff Phillips, president of the foundation and director of the sailing program hosted at the Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club, was pleased with this year’s turnout for the sailing class.

With clear skies and calm waters, the sailing instruction classes were held over a two-week period at the club.

The PPLCSF recently purchased its own sailboats this year, including a small Optimist Pram, for beginners, 420s and Buccaneers for students with intermediate skills, and Lasers for the advanced class. Previously, the foundation utilized boats from the St. Joseph Junior Foundation or ones that were donated for the duration of the class.

Students were taught by four certified sailing instructors from the SJJF and “three interns who had grown up taking lessons at Paw Paw Lake,” Phillips stated.

The PPLSF also offered adult sailing classes and hosted the Berrien County Sheriffs’ Marine Division boater safety class, which, according to Phillips was “well-attended.”

Phillips continues to grow the sailing program at PPLYC and is serving a noble purpose: introducing kids from all backgrounds to the joys of sailing. The foundation is a 401c(3) non-profit, and it could use everyone’s help.

For those interested in helping the foundation, they are seeking funding to support their program.  The foundation would like to grow their fleet of boats to accommodate more students. They also need to make repairs on older boats, need a winter storage facility and safety boat outboard engines, and rely on donations to sponsor scholarships for lower income students as well as new instructor certifications. Donations can be sent to Community Sailing Foundation at Paw Paw Lake, P.O. Box 66, Watervliet, MI 49098.

Mark your calendars: Football season is on the horizon

Football fans, rejoice! In four weeks, your high school gridiron stars return to the football field for the 2018-19 season.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association released game schedules for varsity and JV action.

Watervliet ended last season with an 11-1 record, perfect regular season record of 9-0, and district championship. The Panthers fell in the state quarterfinals game 44-22 to Jackson Lumen Christi.

The football season for Watervliet kicks off on Friday, August 24 in the Panthers’ home opener against Lawton. Watervliet then welcomes Saugatuck to Panther Stadium Thursday, August 30. The three-game home stand closes out on Friday, September 7 when Parchment pays the Panthers a visit.

Two road games follow for the Maroon Platoon. The boys of fall hit the road Friday, September 14 as they head to Fennville.  The Panthers then take on Kalamazoo Hackett Friday, September 21.

The Panthers return home for one game Friday, September 28 as they host Delton Kellogg. On Friday, October 5, Watervliet travels to Constantine, before returning for their final home game; the Panthers face Schoolcraft on Friday, October 12.

The last game of the season is a return to the days of yore: a battle against Coloma at the home of the Comets on Friday, October 19.

Meanwhile, over in Indian Territory, Hartford opens their season Thursday, August 23 at home against Gobles. Following that contest, the Indians start a three-game road trip beginning with Bangor Thursday, August 30.

Friday night games begin September 7 for the Indians as they are in Mendon.  Hartford follows that game with a trip to Marcellus on September 14.

The Indians will be at home for two consecutive games in late September. The squad welcomes Decatur on Friday, September 21 and White Pigeon the following Friday.

Hartford opens October with a road game in Cassopolis on Friday, October 5. The Indians return home for the final two games of the season: Friday, October 12 against Centerville and Friday, October 19 versus Bloomingdale.

The highlight of last season for the Indians was their return to playoff action.  Hartford closed out their season in the opening round of MHSAA playoffs after losing 26-7 at home against Vermontville Maple Valley. The squad posted a 6-4 record for 2017.

The Comets of Coloma continue to improve and this year just might be the time they make it back into the playoffs after a drought. Coloma last competed in a playoff game in the 2008 season when they posted a 7-3 record.

Last year, the Comets went 5-4 and missed a playoff berth by one win. Two of Coloma’s losses last year came by one and three points against Kalamazoo Hackett and Delton Kellogg, respectively.

Coloma opens their season Thursday, August 23 against the Bobcats of Brandywine. Three more home games follow, including contests against Berrien Springs on Friday, August 31, Buchanan on Friday, September 7, and Saginaw Arthur Hill Friday, September 14.

FINALIST FOR MICHIGAN’S MISS SOFTBALL… Morgan Wagner, who served as catcher on Coloma’s 2018 state championship softball team, was one of four Division 3 finalists for this year’s Miss Softball award given to the best softball player in the state. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The Comets travel to Constantine Friday, September 21 for an away game. Coloma then returns home Friday, September 28 to match wits with Kalamazoo Hackett.

Two road games follow, probably the two toughest games on the Comets’ dance card. Coloma heads to Schoolcraft Friday, October 5 and then on to Delton Kellogg Friday, October 12.

In their last home game, Coloma will welcome Watervliet to Comet Country Friday, October 19 as the longstanding rivals battle it out in the final regular season game for both teams.

Coloma and Watervliet are members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, while Hartford is part of the Southwest 10 Conference.

All game times are scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.

Coloma 8U All Stars experiencing much success

The Coloma 8U All Star Team is rocking this year’s All Star tournaments. They took home the Berrien Springs Championship, 2nd Place in the Lakeshore Tournament, the Eaton Park Championship, and last weekend they took third in the Allegan Tournament after a tough defeat from a Grand Rapids travel team.

Earlier in the regular season coaches Mark Coble and Kenny Ashley knew they had something special when their regular season team went undefeated, including the Watervliet Pre-Season Tournament in May. After the All Star selection of Top Picks from the three Coloma teams they started a diligent regimen of practices and drills until they found the right spot for each player.

Coble and Ashley are assisted by John Dahlquist and Gordie Cartwright as assistant coaches. This dynamic four works with each player to bring out the best in them, to push them to improve, and lift them up when they make a mistake. In the background helping things run smoothly, Sara Ashley helps keep the dugout in order, the boys in line, and keeps score.

Pressbox Player of the Week

Robert Brooks is this edition’s Press Box Player of the Week. Brooks plays baseball on the Coloma Instructional Team and recently finished the 2018 season where he plays right field. He has played baseball for two seasons. According to his dad Cody Kelley, “Robert’s favorite part about playing ball is being with his friends and having fun.” Brooks completed kindergarten last year and will start first grade at Coloma Elementary this fall.

Dr. Andy Says… Rest is important for you to be healthy. The body does most of its healing while we sleep. A good night’s sleep is critical for a healthy body. Chiropractic can help your body relax and make it easier to get that sleep.

Harvick hammers his way to first place finish Kevin Harvick tapped and bumped his way to the checkered flag Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The driver of the #4 Busch Beer Ford banged his way to the front of the line to win the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. The 20th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season featured 19 drivers finishing on the lead lap, seven caution periods for 31 laps, and 10 lead changes. In the end, Harvick collected his sixth win this season, breaking the five-win tie he held with runner-up finisher Kurt Busch. Harvick also claimed his 43rd career victory and led 12 laps during the contest. Busch finished second and picked up his 16th top 10 in 20 races. He led 36 laps on the day. Third place went to Aric Almirola, which was his best finish of the year. It also marked his first top five of the season. Almirola led 42 laps and earned his ninth top 10. Martin Truex Jr., who has four wins this season, led 83 laps and took fourth place. He was the Stage 1 winner on Sunday. Chase Elliott rounded out the top five. He tallied his fifth top five finish of the year. He was the Stage 2 winner and led 23 laps. Drivers who also led laps but did not finish in the top five included: Kurt Busch (who led a race-high 94 laps) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (11). William Byron was the highest finishing rookie on Sunday. He started 11th and ended the event in 14th place. Although Busch finished second, he leads the driver standings with 844 points. Harvick is in second overall, just 53 points behind Busch. Truex Jr. is third and trails Busch by 104 points. Coming up on Sunday is the Gander Outdoors 400 at Pocono Raceway. Truex Jr. led the way last year and is seeking his fifth win this season. Can he do it? Take a gander next week at Pit Stop for race results.


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