08-24-2017 Tri-City Area Sports

Kyle Busch bags Bristol Series trophies

If there is a master of Bristol Motor Speedway it just might be Kyle Busch. Busch won all three events, beginning Wednesday last week, at the track, including the Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and NASCAR Cup Series races.

In Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, the 24th race of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season, Busch shot his way around the track and took the checkered flag. The victory was Busch’s second this season and 40th of his career.

Busch led 156 of the race’s 500 laps.

While Busch capped off an epic week, a rookie didn’t fare too badly either. Erik Jones, in his first full year on the NASCAR circuit, not only led Saturday’s race but led a race-high 260 laps. He started from the pole position and finished second on the night, earning the third top five finish of his career. Jones, who hails from Byron, Michigan, celebrated his first pole position and first time finishing in the top two of a NASCAR event. Jones ran in three NASCAR races last year but did not finish in the top 10 in any of the races. Saturday’s running and finish was quite a boon for the young driver.

Denny Hamlin, who has one win this season, finished third. Matt Kenseth took fourth place. He led 11 laps during the race. Kenseth remains winless this season, although he earned his seventh top five finish.

Kurt Busch finished fifth and has one win under his belt this season.

Drivers who led laps but did not finish in the top five include: Ryan Newman (1), Kyle Larson (70), and Chase Elliott (2). The lead changed 21 times Saturday night.

Additionally, there were eight caution periods for 53 laps, and 15 drivers finished on the lead lap.

As we head toward the playoffs, Martin Truex Jr. leads the driver standings with four wins. Kyle Busch trails Truex Jr. by 101 points in second place.

Kyle Larson is in third place, 106 points behind Truex Jr. He is followed by Kevin Harvick, 127 points out, and Denny Hamlin, trailing 198 points.

The drivers get next weekend off before heading to Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Sunday, September 3. Truex Jr. won the event last year, but Kenseth won it in 2013 and Harvick claimed the trophy in 2014. Will we see a repeat winner or will Erik Jones make his mark?

Let the TCR Armchair Quarterbacking begin!

By Kristy Noack

Welcome back, dear readers, to a new season of armchair quarterbacking. The 2017-18 season of football begins this week, as high school teams take the field for gridiron glory.

For those readers unfamiliar with our game, let’s take a look at the playbook.

Each week six local, community-minded football fans predict the winners of eight football games. At the start of the season, the games are all high school contests. We then add in a mix of high school and college until professional football starts. Then, the eight games become a mix of all three.

Of the eight weekly games, one is selected as a tie-breaker game. Each cunning contestant must determine how many points they think will be scored in the contest. If two or more armchair quarterbacks have the same weekly record, their place in the standings is determined by which ever guessed closest to the actual total points scored in the tie-breaker game.

As the season progresses, games dwindle from eight to four to one, with the TCR AQB season culminating in the NFL’s Super Bowl game.

The ‘back with the best overall record wins a championship ball cap they can wear proudly for all to see.

We have five returning veterans to our Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback team. Two-time champion and last year’s victor RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht will be joined by returning stars Tim Hildebrand, Greg Krell, Rodney Lynch, and Chris Leach.

Joining the squad is rookie Bryan Conrad. Conrad owns Watervliet Hardware and has replaced Tom Gear, who retired from the team.

This week’s games feature local high school teams in their first game of the season.

Coloma opens their season at home Thursday at 7:00 p.m. as they host Gobles. Watervliet is at home Friday at 7:00 p.m. and welcomes Lawton.

Hartford is on the road Thursday at 7:00 p.m. as they take on the Beavers of Eau Claire. The other games on the docket are local high schools. The games from which our quarterbacks must select winners include:

Gobles @ Coloma

Lawton @ Watervliet

Hartford @ Eau Claire

Cassopolis @ Bangor

Kalamazoo Central @ St. Joe

Battle Creek Central @ Lakeshore

Divine Child @ Benton Harbor

Fennville @ Schoolcraft

This week’s tie-breaker game is the Indians at Eau Claire. Hartford will be under the leadership of first-year head coach Brad Manning, and things look good for the squad this year after joining the newly formed Southwest 10 Conference.

Check back next week to see how our quarterbacks fared in the first week of play.

High school football season opens tonight

Rejoice, fans of football! The season openers for 2017-18 varsity high school football are here!

FIRED UP FOR FOOTBALL… Football season begins this week, as Coloma and Watervliet have home openers and Hartford is on the road. Here, the Coloma line practices tackling. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Coloma’s home opener is tonight, Thursday, August 24 at 7:00 p.m. The Comets will square off on the gridiron against Gobles.

Coloma then travels to Saugatuck next Thursday, August 31 for their first road game of the year.

Games then move back to Friday nights beginning with the September 8 contest at home against Fennville.

The Comets, a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Valley Division, travel to Martin on Friday, September 15 before returning home to host Constantine on September 22.

Kalamazoo United welcomes Coloma on September 29. The Comets then return home to square off against Schoolcraft on October 6 in their final home game of the season.

Two road games follow for the Comets. Coloma travels to Delton Kellogg on October 13 before ending their season at rival Watervliet on October 20.

You read that right, football fans. Coloma and Watervliet end their season facing each other, just like the days of yore.

The Indians of Hartford begin their season on the road, with a 7:00 p.m. contest against Eau Claire tonight, August 24.

Hartford then enjoys their home opener – one game of a three-game home stand – on Thursday, August 31 against Bangor.  Contests against Mendon on Friday, September 8 and Marcellus on September 15 follow.

The Indians travel to Decatur on September 22 to face the Raiders. White Pigeon welcomes Hartford on September 29.

It’s back to Indian Territory on October 6 as Hartford mixes it up with Cassopolis.

The final two Hartford football games of the regular season will be played on the road. The Indians take center stage in Centreville on October 13 and bang helmets against Bloomingdale on October 20.

Watervliet’s season opener will be Friday, August 25 at home as they host Lawton. Game time is 7:00 p.m. New walkways have been poured around the northern half of the field, allowing for easier walking to the bleachers. Panther Stadium also has a new sound system in place for announcing as well as handrails installed on the home team side of the bleachers. Railings will also be installed on the visitors side in short order.

VOLLEYING VALDES… Hartford’s Elly Valdes goes up, up, up as she volleys a shot back to Lawrence Wednesday during a scrimmage. Patricia Matheny will once again lead the Indian charge as the varsity team’s head coach.

The Panthers head to Buchanan for a Friday, September 1 contest.  They then return home for a game against Maple City Glen Lake on September 8.

Watervliet goes to Gobles on September 15 for gridiron glory. Then, it’s a one-game home stand against Kalamazoo United on September 22.

The Panthers hit the road for three games including a September 29 contest at Delton Kellogg, an October 6 game at Constantine, and an October 13 road game at Schoolcraft.

The final Watervliet home game has the Panthers welcoming rival Coloma to town.

All game times are 7:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Be sure to stop out and cheer on the Panthers, Indians, and Comets!

Hartford hits LMC for 6-0 shutout in soccer opener

The Hartford boys varsity soccer team, under the direction of Nick Blackmer, blanked Lake Michigan Catholic Monday night for a 6-0 shutout in the Indians’ home and season opener.  The Indians scored four goals in the first half and two in the second half.

Will Martinez led Hartford with three goals; all scored in the first half of play. Danny Gutierrez scored two goals, one in each half, with assists from Fernando Alvarez and Herik Garcia. Joel Soto scored the final goal of the night.

Hartford’s defense was in fine form Monday night. The line held LMC to just three shots on goal.

Offensively, Hartford controlled the ball the entire game. The squad was crisp in their movement of the ball across the field, patient in setting up scoring opportunities, and played in concert as a team.

In the net as keepers for Hartford were Rudy Martinez and Riley Traver.

All in all, Monday’s game was a great chance to see one of the best soccer squads around!

Hartford Volleyball nets 4-5 record to open season at Lawton Tourney

The Hartford varsity volleyball squad is off to a strong start this season. The team participated in tournament action held at Lawton Saturday, August 19.

TENNIS TIME… Aaron Puma returns a volley to Blake Cartwright during tennis prac-tice. Coloma varsity tennis head coach Jamie Dawson is excited about this year’s squad, as team numbers continue to grow. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The Indians took on Gobles and split two games, 21-8, 12-21.  Hartford then faced Saugatuck and lost 10-21, 7-21.

In their third pool play match Hartford split with Lake Michigan Catholic 21-12 and 17-21.  Hartford battled for a strong finish with two nail-biting victories against Bridgman. Both games were won by Hartford with a score of 21-20.

In the championship bracket, the Indians suffered a 21-9, 21-14 loss.

Leading the Indians in kills were AJ Jackson with 16, Megan Nelson with 11, and Jessica Cortes with seven.

Cortes led the team with 16 assists, while Nelson chipped in 12.

Jackson had a team high nine blocks.

Jaelyne Galvan provided 14 digs, and Cora Wesaw hit five aces, while Jackson added four.

Coloma Volleyball reaches semi-finals in Kalamazoo Hackett Tourney

Coloma’s varsity volleyball squad traveled to Kalamazoo Hackett for tournament action Saturday, August 19.

In pool play, the Comets topped White Pigeon 25-17, 25-15. Coloma then lost to Kalamazoo Christian 18-25, 15-25. In their third match of the day, the Comets beat Loy Norrix 25-21, 25-13.

Moving into bracket play, Coloma bested Galesburg-Augusta 25-21, 25-20 and earned a trip to the semi-finals where they faced Edwardsburg.

Coloma lost the first game 16-25. The squad fought back in game two and kept the contest close for much of the game. But, Edwardsburg landed a few more shots and won 25-22.

There is a lot of power and experience on the Comet team. Kayla Yore posted 37 kills, 63 assists, two aces, 41 digs, and one block.

Morgan Wagner had 35 kills, six assists, five aces, 55 digs, and 10 blocks on the day.

Megan Neubecker hit eight kills, six assists, four digs, and seven blocks.

Mika Anderson tallied 22 kills, one ace, 10 digs, and two blocks.

Hannah Mathis hit seven kills, seven aces, 21 digs, and 11 assists.

Mya Potter contributed one kill, four assists, two digs, and one block.

Taryn Blazier added one kill, two digs, and one block.

Kylee Bailey had 15 kills and seven digs, while Sam Stewart hit one ace and 22 digs. Mia Cole chipped in one ace and one dig in the Comet effort.

Hartford Cross Country posts top two performance at Lawrence

Hartford’s varsity cross country team ran away with second place in the Lawrence Invitational Friday, August 18.

Paw Paw won the meet with 32 points. Hartford earned 51 points and was followed by Eau Claire in third place with 67 points.

Lawrence, LMC, and Comstock also participated and placed fourth through sixth at the meet.

Hartford had runners place in fourth, fifth, sixth, 15th, and 21st.

Lake Michigan College hires new volleyball and women’s basketball coaches

Lake Michigan College, located in Benton Harbor, Michigan, has announced two coaching positions have been filled.

Rob Elliott-Schnafitz has been selected to head the volleyball program at the junior college. According to a press release issued by the college, “Elliott-Schnafitz has played and coached volleyball for over 20 years.  His experience includes varsity-level coaching at St. Joseph and Lake Michigan Catholic Schools in St. Joseph, Michigan, and assistant coach at Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana.”

Elliott-Schnafitz also coached club volleyball for Kal-Juniors, Southwest Michigan Volleyball, USA Michigan Volleyball Club, and Dunes Volleyball Club. As a coach he has led two teams to Class B district championship, made two appearances in regional competition, and led a Class A squad to a state quarterfinals game.

COMET RUNNERS TAKE 2ND PLACE… Coloma’s varsity cross country team com-bined for a second place finish Saturday, August 19 at Lawton. Holding the team’s trophy is senior Josh Young.

LMC also announced Brooklyn Kohlheim joined the women’s basketball team as head coach. Kohlheim spent six years at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida as an assistant coach. According to LMC’s press release, “(Kohlheim helped) lead the team to the Elite Eight three times.”

Kohlheim was also an assistant basketball coach at the University of Indianapolis, a Division II school, and Florida Atlantic University, a Division I school.

Ladies Monday Night Happy Hour Golf League

Monday, August 21 golf report from the Paw Paw Lake Golf Club:

Weekly Event Winner – Most 1 putts:  Penny Hanks and Ursela Bansen with 3; Low Gross – Colleen McKeown and Cheryl Hutchins with 48; Low putts – Ursela Bansen with 15; Pars – Ursela Bansen #2, Carol Klass #2 and Kathy Osborne #1.


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