08-25-2016 Tri-City Area Sports

 You might think that after graduating 16 seniors from last year’s 9-2 team Watervliet varsity head football coach Jeremy Andrews might be concerned. Put that thought aside. Andrews is confident and extremely excited about his team this year.  Although the Panthers lost veteran quarterback Blake Kiekenapp, Andrews is confident his replacement will step into the role of starting QB seamlessly. Senior Cam Rendo has earned the spot anchoring the offensive line.  Andrews stated, “Rendo is entering his third varsity season, has started and succeeded in a big game and is extremely talented. I honestly don’t think we’ll miss a beat at that position.”  Rendo will be replacing Kiekenapp who was a “two-time first team All-Conference, two-time Honorable Mention All-State” quarterback. According to Andrews, Kiekenapp threw for 60 touchdown passes and over 4,000 yards.  Backing up Rendo will be Zack Pickens who “is also extremely talented,” Andrews shared.  “I would feel very confident if he was forced into action as well.”   Rendo is certainly an all-around physical player and is no stranger to the QB position. “He played a game and a half after Blake was injured last year. His only start was in the division title game versus Delton-Kellogg (which the Panthers won).

TIM HILLER SPEAKS AT WATERVLIET’S FALL SPORTS MEETING… Tim Hiller, former Western Michigan University and Indianapolis Colts quarterback, spoke to student athletes and parents at Watervliet’s fall sports meeting. Hiller spoke about the importance of athletes setting goals, defining and playing a specific role within the team, and treating the team as a whole. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

It was one of the best games we’ve ever had a QB play,” Andrews commented. Rendo’s stat line from that game read 21 passes, 16 completions for 317 yards, and four touchdowns.  The team will introduce 17 newcomers and has only eight seniors on its squad. Only four returning players were starters.  With the loss of so many players you might hedge your bets that this is a growing year for the Panthers. You would be wrong. The team is rock solid, confident in their abilities, and ready to play.  “We have a number of talented skill players. Our line is young, but also very talented,” Andrews stated. “I believe we will have the potential to be just as explosive as last year’s team that averaged over 50 points per game.  “Defensively, I believe our linebackers are a strength. It’s a smaller group than the last few years (only 25 guys) and has been a tight knit group so far. I’m hoping that will be a strength as well.”  Defensive may be the only concern Andrews has…and even that is not worrisome. “We need to be better on defense than a year ago.  We have made a few scheming adjustments we hope will help.  We have also put a major emphasis on turnovers and working on creating turnovers.”  Rendo is joined by Tyler Brant, Brad Yazel, Carlos Hernandez, and Devon Flowers as captains of the team.  Andrews believes that Watervliet will contend for the division title and head right back into the playoffs again this year. The Panthers begin their season on Friday against Southwestern Athletic Conference rival Hartford, before welcoming Schoolcraft the following week.  Watervliet then hits the road for a three-game stretch, traveling to Coloma, Kalamazoo Hackett, and Fennville before returning home for three games.  The Panthers will host Constantine, Delton Kellogg, and Decatur. The squad finishes out the regular season in Bangor on October 21.  With a solid JV program in place, Watervliet has created quite a farm system for their football team. It is the continuity of coaching philosophy, offensive and defensive plays, and Panther pride that will give Watervliet a boost on the field.  Andrews does have a few surprises up his sleeve this year. But make no mistake, Watervliet has a goal and it is not just making the playoffs.  And, a word of advice – with construction continuing at the high school, parking will be a premium. Be sure to get to the game early or you might find yourselves walking a bit farther than you planned.

GOT GOLD!… The Coloma varsity volleyball squad earned a championship in their second outing of the 2016 season by topping Pennfield in Monday’s Pennfield tournament by a score of 25-22, 25-16. Pictured are front row: (from the left) Kelly Walter, Nicolle Larson, Jenna Walter, and Kayla Yore. Back row: (from the left) Coach Kim Gear, Mika Anderson, Mya Potter, Morgan Wagner, Hannah Mathis, Grace Hester, and Coach Gear.

Coloma Volleyball earns Gold in second outing of the season; Takes Second Place in first meet

 The Lady Comets varsity volleyball team is earning kudos right out of the gate in the 2016 season. On Monday, the team played in the Pennfield tournament and won the whole she-bang! The squad posted a 10-1-2 record for the day.  In pool play, the Lady Comets dominated Burr Oak 25-6, 25-8; crushed Calhoun Christian 25-15, 25-16; blistered Bentley 25-3, 25-4; defeated Decatur 25-11, 25-11; and split with Pennfield 25-11, 21-25.  In bracket play, Coloma decimated Decatur (again) 25-10, 25-11 in the semi-final game. With that win, the Lady Comets faced Pennfield in the finals.  While the first game was a close one at 25-22, the Lady Comets pulled out the victory. In the second game, they sealed the championship with a 25-16 win.  For the day, Kayla Yore came up big for the Comets. She tallied 32 kills, 104 assists, 18 aces, 52 digs, and eight blocks. Kelly Walter’s stat line was just as impressive. She posted 77 kills, one assist, nine aces, 29 digs, and 19 blocks.  Morgan Wagner contributed 38 kills, one assist, 21 aces, 58 digs, and five blocks. Jenna Walter added 12 kills, 31 assists, four aces, 45 digs, and three blocks.  Nicolle Larson contributed 15 kills, eight aces, and 14 digs, while Mika Anderson had 12 kills, 10 digs, and three blocks. Mya Potter added one kill, five aces, and 79 digs. Hannah Mathis added two digs, while Grace Hester tallied one.  On Saturday, the Lady Comets opened their season on the road at the Kalamazoo Hackett tournament. They earned a 4-1-1 record and made it to the championship game before losing to Edwardsburg.  In pool play, the Comets split with Kalamazoo Hackett, 25-27, 25-13. Then, the ladies topped White Pigeon 25-21, 25-18 and beat Brandywine 25-17, 26-24 in a close contest.  In bracket play, Coloma faced Galesburg-Augusta and won handily 25-19, 25-6. Coloma also topped Kalamazoo Christian in a very competitive three-game set 17-25, 26-24, 15-10 to land in the championship game.  The Lady Comets fought back after losing the first game 13-25. They took the second game 25-18. In the third match, Coloma just could not pick up enough shots and lost 10-15, taking second place in the tournament.  Coloma finished second in their initial outing this year and has already secured their first championship of the season. These ladies are off to a great start!

Hartford Volleyball leans on seniors at Lawton Tournament

HARTFORD HITS ‘EM!… Hartford volleyball players took to the net in preparation for their season opener tournament action against Lawton on Saturday.    (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Hartford volleyball coach Patricia Matheny and her varsity squad traveled to Lawton on Saturday for tournament action. The team, in their first outing under Matheny, played hard and just missed winning a few matches by a couple of points. It was an impressive outing for the Indians.  In pool play, Hartford was downed by Grace Christian in two sets 23-25 and 20-25. Hartford split with Fennville in game two, 25-18 and 23-25. In the third matchup in pool play, Hartford split with Berrien Springs, taking the first game 25-19 but losing the second one 16-25.  In bracket play, Hartford lost two games to Bridgman 13-21 and 11-21.  Hartford was led by their stalwart seniors. Amber Martin had 21 digs, 11 kills, and 11 blocks. Olivia Kling was credited with 17 assist, four aces, and two kills. Ashley Kling dropped 12 digs, smacked five aces, and had two kills. Sarah Rich accounted for 21 digs, three aces, and two kills.  AJ Jackson had five digs, three aces, 10 kills and 10 blocks. Megan Nelson added eight assists and eight kills to the team effort, while Elly Valdes had two kills and two digs.  Hartford’s record is 2-5 to start their 2016 season.

Watervliet Cross Country season hits the trails

 The Watervliet boys’ and girls’ cross country team hit the trail in their season opening meet at the Viking Stampede in Niles on Friday.  The young men placed fifth out of six teams, scoring 107 points. Michigan City won the overall title with 37 points.  Senior Jobe Kerr was the highest Panther finisher. He took fourth place overall with a time of 17:54.1.  Junior Klayton Marshall finished 20th (20:34.4).  Junior Nick Swanson took 25th place (21:07.3), while sophomore Austin Roberts finished 32nd (21:41.8).  Freshman Gus Hinch had a time of 22:08.2 and took 37th place. Brent Simmons finished 41st (22:32.2).  Other finishers for Watervliet included: Haydon Richards (22:51.9, 45th place), Kody Edmonds (22:52.7 (46th place), Dominick Tavolacci (22:56.9, 47th place), Alex Isbrecht (23:09.5, 50th place), Rick Ertman (23:14.7, 52nd place), and Tom Swanson (24:30.9, 63rd place).  In the women’s division, Watervliet took sixth place out of six schools. They earned 150 points. St. Joseph won the event with 31 points.  Sophomore Allie Pazera finished 11th overall and was the first Lady Panther to cross the finish line. She earned a time of 23:18.7. Senior teammate Jade Miller took 34th place overall with a time of 25:46.9.  Bailey Evans, a senior, finished 37th (25:55.2), and senior Maegan Simkins took 91st place with a time of 38:27.9.

Hartford laced up for Lawrence Early Bird Invitational

  The Hartford girls’ varsity cross country team jumped out to a great season opener Friday at the Lawrence Early Bird Invitational. Of the four teams present, Hartford ran away with second place, with 41 points, just four shy of tying first place champion Lawrence’s 37 points.  For Harford, Angela Saldana was the first Indian across the finish line. She finished fifth overall with a time of 26:14. Evelyn Uglade took ninth place (28:28).  Isabella Heminger finished 11th (29:01), with teammate Marisol Robles right on her heels in 13th place (29:03).  Maria Gutierrez took 14th place (29:10), and Jessica Cortez finished 21st (32:08).  Alexis Griffith was the seventh Indian to finish in the top 25; she took 23rd place with a time of 32:50. Giselle Garcia and Mariela Gutierrez finished 26th and 27th, respectively, with times of 34:35 and 34:53.  The Hartford boys’ cross country team also participated in the Lawrence Early Bird run. They finished fourth with 88 points as Paw Paw took the championship with 25 points.  Francisco Loera took the top spot for Hartford as their first finisher. He claimed ninth place overall with a time of 20:55.  Also cracking the top 25 were Tristan Hanners and Blair McMeekin. They finished 20th and 21st, respectively, with times of 23:11 and 23:22.  In 27th place was James Lucero. He earned a time of 26:33. Zach Romhilt finished 29th for the Indians with a time of 36:56.

Coloma’s Josh Young finishes second at Lawton Trails Relay

 Coloma’s Josh Young finished second overall on Saturday in the Lawton Trails Relay.  The race was Young’s first of his 2016 varsity season.

Coloma Middle School Volleyball tryouts on Monday

 Coloma varsity volleyball coach Kim Gear announced tryouts for Coloma’s Middle School volleyball team will be held Monday, August 29 from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Coloma High School gymnasium. A meeting with parents and student-athletes will be held at 5:00 p.m. following tryouts.  If your young lady is interesting in participating, a physical is required. Please bring the form to the tryouts. If you have questions, please contact Gear at colomacomets.volleyball@gmail.com.

Chamber Golf Outing will tee up on September 23 at Paw Paw Lake Golf Club

  Chana Kniebes of the North Berrien Community Development and Coloma/Watervliet Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the date for the 13th annual community golf outing is Friday, September 23.  The always fun outing will once again tee off at the Paw Paw Lake Golf Club. Registration is underway for the $60 per person event. The cost includes breakfast, lunch, greens fees, and a cart for your 18-hole adventure.  Do not miss your chance to earn a cool $10,000 in the hole in one contest, sponsored by Lakeland Health. You can also win raffle prizes and prize money should you be on the team to beat.

The four-person scramble is a fundraiser for the NBCD and CWACC.

 The event begins at 8:00 a.m.  Please contact Kniebes at (269) 468-4430 or (269) 757-2457 prior to September 18.  If you or your business would like to sponsor a hole or donate a raffle prize, your donation would be appreciated. Please contact Kniebes for a donation or sponsorship form; your gift would be tax deductible.

Ladies Monday Night Happy Hour Golf League

Paw Paw Lake Golf Course

Aug. 22, 2016 Report

Low Putts: Kathy Osborne 14

Low Gross: KathyOsborne 44

Low Net: KathyOsborne 23

Pars: Kathy Osborne holes 1, 2, 5 and 6

 Kevin Harvick, along with his NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors, began the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway as scheduled on Saturday evening. Wicked weather arrived and NASCAR officials stopped the 23rd race of the season after 48 laps due to a deluge of rain.  The drivers returned to the short track on Sunday for the final 452 laps.  It was Harvick who coasted to the two-day championship title. He finished almost two seconds ahead of second place finisher Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Harvick picked up his second win of the season and 33rd career win. He led 128 of the race’s 500 laps.  Stenhouse Jr. claimed his third top five finish of the season. Denny Hamlin led 19 laps and collected his eighth top five finish.  Austin Dillon took fourth place and also earned his fourth top five finish this year.  Chris Buescher, with one win this season under his belt, finished fifth. Buescher climbed into the top 30 driver standings and will qualify to race in the Chase if he posts decent finishes in the next three races.  Pole sitter Carl Edwards finished in sixth place; he led 31 laps.  Seventeen drivers finished on the lead lap. The race featured 20 lead changes and nine caution periods. Kyle Busch led 256 laps. Also leading a circuit or more were: Joey Logano (38), Chase Elliott (14), Brian Scott (5), and Ryan Newman (9). Harvick remains atop the driver standings with 762 points. He is followed by Brad Keselowski, who trails by 27 points with 735. In third overall is Kurt Busch with 692 points. Fourth through tenth place on the standings are held by: Edwards, Logano, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, and Matt Kenseth. Kenseth is 158 points behind the leader Harvick.  Michiganders, rejoice! NASCAR returns to the Great Lakes State on Sunday, August 28. The Pure Michigan 400 will kick off at Michigan International Speedway with practices on Friday and Saturday and the big running of the race on Sunday.  The two-mile track is a fan favorite. It was built in Brooklyn in 1968. On Sunday, the drivers will complete 200 laps on the paved surface. Will your favorite driver finish in first?

Football season is here and AQBs take the field

ARMCHAIR QUARTERBACK QUEEN… RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht shows off her Tri-City Record Arm-chair Quarterback 2015 hat. Rodney-Isbrecht returns to AQB race this year after claiming last year’s championship with a 114-50 record. (TCR photo by Amy Loshbough)

By Kristy Noack

Football fever is here and we have six local gridiron guessers ready to play the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback. The six are suited up, have made their selections for week one, and are ready to hit the field.  Each week, the prognosticators will determine the winner of eight football games. This week, all contests are high school games. As the season progresses, the games selected will be a mix of high school, college, and professional.  The AQB with the best record for the week wins. Records are tabulated throughout the season, and the fan with the best record wins a sporty Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback championship cap.  Another component to the contest is the tie-breaker. Each week one game is selected as the tie-breaker game, and the AQBs must determine not only who will win the contest but the total number of points scored in the game. If any of the participants post exactly the same record in a week, the tie-breaker is used to determine the winner.  Two games this week came in with winners selected unanimously. The super six selected Lawton to top Bloomingdale and Watervliet to best Hartford.  Watervliet will welcome the Indians to Panther Stadium on Friday. The rivalry will kick off both schools’ 2016 season, and you can expect the hits to hurt just a bit more this week.  Our predictors split 4-2 on the Sturgis/South Haven and Benton Harbor/Marcellus matchups.  Tom Gear was the only AQB to pick Eau Claire to wallop Galesburg-Augusta, while Chris Leach stuck by her hometown boys and picked Coloma to rout Schoolcraft. Leach was the lone candidate to pick Battle Creek Central over Lakeshore.  The AQBs were split 3-3 on the Marcellus/Bangor game.  With week one opening Thursday as Coloma hits the road to face Schoolcraft, there is plenty of football action this week; and also, plenty of ground that can be made if selections come to fruition.  Good luck to all three of our hometown football teams this week. The kids work hard for this moment.  Next week, high school teams play on Thursday due to the Labor Day holiday. And, college games begin around the country.

The AQBs will test their skills on the following games:

Gobles @ Coloma

Delton-Kellogg @ Hartford

Schoolcraft @ Watervliet

Constantine @ Decatur

Western Michigan @ Northwestern

Furman @ Michigan State

Notre Dame @ Texas

Hawaii @ University of Michigan

Because yours truly is a Longhorn fan, the tie-breaker game will be Notre Dame at Texas.  Check back next week to see how our AQBs fared and who claimed the top spot in the opening week of football!


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