08-16-2018 Tri-City Area Sports


With the season on the horizon, Coach Nick Blackmer and the Hartford Indians’ varsity boys soccer team have their eyes looking forward while on the brinks of another successful season. This season the Hartford Indian squad will return an astonishing 20 players from last year’s team. Twelve of those 20 players happen to be seniors.

The soccer program at Hartford High School has experienced tremendous success in recent memory. Specifically, over the past three years the team has posed a 59-7 record. “The key to our success is realizing that no one person is more important than anyone else,” says Coach Blackmer. He adds, “Our success relies on everyone contributing to the greater good of the team.”

Two scrimmages are in the books so far for the Hartford team as they prepare for their 11th year. Coach Blackmer says, “This marks the 11th year of soccer here in Hartford and I look forward to this team continuing the successful tradition of past teams.” The Hartford Indian Boys Varsity Soccer team starts their season on the road at Watervliet Grace Christian Monday, August 20. The full varsity soccer schedule is found at hpsathletics.org.

Let’s Go Indians, Let’s Go!

As fans are attending a Hartford Varsity Football game this fall, it goes without question that they will be pumped up thanks to the Varsity Cheer Squad on the sidelines! This year’s cheerleading squad is headed up by Hartford grad, Coach Brittany Owens and Assistant Coach Hailey Phebus. The squad features freshman Alora Gatties. It also features sophomores Gabriella Wright, Emma Weber, Ashton Vassar, and Linda Pedraza who are all in their first year on the cheer squad. Junior Karla Liborio is also a new comer on this year’s team. The Hartford Cheer Sqaud is rounded off with seniors Piper Reinhardt, Elana Bailey, Brittney VanLandingham, and senior captains Gabrielle Najacht and Makiah Tripp.

GIVING A FEW POINTERS… Hartford varsity soccer coach Nick Blackmer (far left) runs drills with his players Thursday evening. Last year, the Indians brought home the district championship title and are working hard to match that feat this season. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Plenty of new faces will be on the sidelines as Tripp is the sole returner. Be ready to hear these girls loud and proud on the sidelines next week as the Indians kickoff the season at home against Gobles on Thursday, August 23.

Coloma varsity volleyball is young, but ready for the challenge!

Coloma varsity volleyball will be serving up their season opener on Wednesday, August 29 at home against Lawrence in the Coloma gymnasium. Coach Kim Gear’s team will feature a lot of returning, but young, players. Last season’s defensive specialist Sam Stewart will be returning in her senior season along with setter Hannah Mathis and outside hitter Kylee Bailey who are also competing in their senior season. Junior middle blocker Megan Neubecker is back for another season as are Marissa Sherburn, Rozalyn Emrich, and Amaria Echols. Returning sophomores for the squad are Taryn Blazier who plays middle, Gracie Whitaker, Marissa LaGrow, and Mia Cole who is currently out with an injury. We wish her a speedy and clean recovery! The Coloma Varsity Volleyball Squad is rounded off with the lone freshman, Chloe Mathis, who is a defensive specialist.

Coach Kim Gear had a few things to say regarding her team. “We are very young as we lost a lot of key senior players last year!” commented Gear. “We are just trying to take it one game at a time and improving each game,” said Coach Gear of her team. While this may be a very young Coloma team, Coach Gear has her goals set in mind. “Our goal would be to win our conference division!”

Make sure to check out this “fresh” Coloma varsity volleyball team on the 29th of August as they take on the Tigers of Lawrence at home.

Watervliet cross country ready for another successful season

The Watervliet cross country team looks for another successful season under Coach Aaron Weber. On the girl’s side, Coach Weber welcomes back Senior Captain Allie Pazera as well as Yona Klimkiewicz and Bailey Swisher who are both sophomores. Coach Weber also expects to have “five or six” more runners as well.

The girls’ cross country team will be “very young” Coach Weber said. “With such a young team, we will be focused on improving throughout the season.”

The varsity boys’ team was very young this past season. The plus side of that means one thing, lots of experienced returners! The team will be headed up by top runners Gus Hinch and Ezra Troyer. Hinch, a junior, was an individual state qualifier who went on to compete at Michigan International Speedway last fall. Senior Austin Roberts will be returning for his fourth year and juniors Kody Edmonds, Trever Pelton, Alex Isbrecht and sophomores Kade Van Niel and Matthew Hanks will be providing the team with some good and very much needed depth.

14U CHAMPIONS… Watervliet Recreation Council Softball Pre-Season Tournament 14U winners for tournament at Hays Park that was held May 4-6, and Saturday, May 19, 2018. The girls had wins over Team Pline of Watervliet, South Haven, and Coloma. The team includes: Front row – Aaliyah Hinch; (from the left) Second row – Sydney Bartee, Lauren Gustafson, Jaylie Querfurth, Alissa Abney, Alysse Angelo, Avery Openneer; Third row – Mia Ryan, Madison Saunders, Lauren Gardiner, Haylee Wilkinson, Amy Eisen, Ava Selby; Back row – Asst. coaches Larry Ryan and Steven Openneer, Coach Tom Eisen, and Asst. Coach Andy Gardiner.


Coach Aaron Weber says that his goals for the guys team this year will be to get a couple more runners to the state championship meet and to “hopefully” be in a position of being able to go after one of the top three spots at the regional cross country meet and to possibly qualify as a team for the state meet. Coach Weber has is goals set high, as he is no stranger to success as the head coach of the cross country team at Watervliet High School. With a young team on both guys and girls, the Watervliet cross country program has its eyes on the prize this season! The first race of the season for the Panthers is Wednesday, August 29 at the New Buffalo Invitational.

Armchair Quarterback season is officially back; with Chief Dan Jones

Football season is officially back ladies and gentlemen, and with that being said… the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback contest is back as well! For those who are unfamiliar with what an “Armchair Quarterback” is, it is a test of six super fans of football from the Tri-City Area who will be predicting high school, college, and professional football games each week. The task is simple; predict the winner of each game that is given and the best record at the end of the season wins a very specially made TCR AQB Championship hat.

The six competitors this season includes last year’s winner and longtime AQB Rodney Lynch of Coloma, who took home the championship title for the very first time! Lynch posed a 118-26 record in the 23-week season. He correctly predicted 72% of the games that were handed to him. Lynch may have come away as champion but the second-place finisher was not too far off.

RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht of Hartford finished in second place with a season record of 114-50. She won over 70% of her games! Rodney-Isbrecht is a former two-time champion who is ready to add a third to her trophy case this season.

Tim Hildebrand of Hartford is back for another AQB season as well. Tim, another former champion finished in third place for last season with a record of 108-56. With that record, Tim won over 67% of his games!

Finishing fourth last season was newcomer Bryan Conrad of Watervliet. Bryan finished the AQB season with a 102-62, 62%, record which is not too shabby for the new guy! Bryan has decided to step away this season and is retiring, for now.

With a fifth-place finish in last year’s AQB season, was Chris Leach of Coloma. Chris was about to get used to being at the bottom of the barrel for a third consecutive season but with Philadelphia winning the Super Bowl she moved out of last place and finished with a 100-64 record (61%).

Since Leach got her “big” Super Bowl win, that left none other than Greg Krell of the Watervliet Athletic Boosters. Krell finished with a 99-65 record (60%) after being neck and neck with Leach the previous four weeks as it all came down to the Super Bowl where Leach picked the winning Philadelphia Eagles as Krell picked New England.

Like mentioned earlier last season’s newcomer Bryan Conrad from Watervliet Hardware is stepping away this upcoming AQB season. Filling his place is Watervliet Fire Department Chief, Dan Jones. Chief Jones is a Watervliet resident and fan of sports but openly admits he probably watches “less than two hours of football a year,” as he put it. Chief Jones is excited to join the roster as the season gets underway next week!

The Record is proud to say it was a very successful TCR AQB season for 2017-2018 and the expectations are quite high for this year! This feature has some seasoned veterans and a newcomer as well which always makes it interesting.

Once again, big congrats to Rodney Lynch on his 2017-2018 TCR AQB Championship crown. Movie goers need to wish the reigning champion luck next time they go catch a flick at the Loma Theatre in Coloma.

The six super fans will be lacing up the cleats this coming week to make their initial picks for the 2018-2019 Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback contest. Be sure to check each week and see who is predicting what and where the AQB’s are standing in the rankings. Is everyone ready for some football?!

News from the Gridiron

Chicago Bears and #1 pick reach deal

Good news for Bears fans, Roquan Smith and the Chicago Bears have finally ended their holdout and agreed to a 4-year 18-million-dollar deal on his rookie contract. Smith was selected 8th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft and was the first overall pick by the Chicago Bears. His influence on this upcoming Bears’ season was in limbo until this contract was agreed on earlier this week. Fans can now expect to see Smith on the field week one if all goes as planned, as the Bears face the divisional rival Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 9.

Detroit Lions may have found a running back

NFL Football is back as they are in week two of the preseason. The Detroit Lions took on the Oakland Raiders in a preseason matchup which in reality, does not mean too much. What preseason does show is how the rookies and other young players fare up against other players in the league.

The Detroit Lions rookie Kerryon Johnson survived the draft day hype on Friday as he finished the preseason game with 34 yards on seven carries and chipped in an additional 33 receiving yards as well, for a total of 11 plays! One play that really stood out for rookie Kerryon Johnson was a 57-yard, Barry Sanders like run. Unfortunately that run was called back due to a holding call but fans still got to see what Kerryon could do in the open field, and perhaps the Lions realized they could be on to something with this guy.

The Lions have quite a few running backs on their roster but there is a good chance Kerryon Johnson will make the cut and receive a good amount of snaps in his rookie year. The Lions believe they have the running back of the future, and from what is seen, it is hard to disagree.

Ladies Monday Night Happy Hour Golf League

Golf Report from the Paw Paw Lake Golf Club

Monday, Aug. 13 Weekly Event winner: Cheryl Hutchins and Kathy Osborne; Low Gross:  Colleen McKeown with 51; Low Net:  Colleen McKeown with 32; Low Putts:  Katherine Rodriquez with 16; Pars:  Colleen McKeown #12 and #13, and Cheryl Hutchins #14.

PRESSBOX PLAYER OF THE WEEK

 This week’s Press Box Player of the Week is Kathleen Krieger of Coloma. Kathleen finished her sophomore year at Lake Michigan Catholic with double digits in both goals (12) and assists (13).  She is 6th overall in assists in a season for LMC.

Kathleen was a captain and earned First Team in All-District, All-Conference and All-Academic.  The Lakers beat out Michigan Lutheran this year to win the District Championship.

Her proud parents are Valerie and Christian Krieger all from Coloma. Kathleen is 15 years old and will again be playing golf and soccer in the upcoming school year.

Her favorite sports moment was winning Districts against ML as well as playing for Regionals though coming up short by one goal.

Congrats to Kathleen!

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