08-29-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath


Coloma Comet Cross Country team looking to send more runners to state

The Coloma Comet Cross Country team used the Glad-Peach 5K run as a combination warm up and practice run. Many of the members of this year’s runners were on hand for the 5K race on Saturday morning Aug. 3, as part of the Glad-Peach festival, and several members finished very well. The varsity coach for the coed team of runners once again is Courtney Churchill. She’s looking to send more of her team to the state finals this year, as she says her team is more prepared and healthier than they were a year ago. Last year Emma Vandermolen was the only Comet qualifier for state, but Coach Churchill feels that number could go up this year.

Coach Churchill also states that the Comet Junior High coach Jennifer Ickes and her have been working very well together, and have been able to recruit some better quality athletes in building the program. In talking about some of her runners in addition to Emma who qualified for state last year, and returns again this year for her senior season, Camryn Brown is a runner, and just a freshman who has a lot of potential, and a natural born leader. Abby Vandermolen, a junior, struggled with injuries a year ago, but has returned strong and healthy this year and ready to make an impact. Vanessa Crisenbery, another senior on the team, is very honest and has a ton of integrity. Chloe Williams is a sophomore who loves to run and has a great deal of potential, as she enters her first year on the squad. Rounding out the girls side of the team are sophomores Ava Genovese, and Taylor and Tori Brown who are twins sisters. Kayla Walter, a Comet junior also adds depth to the roster.

TRI-CITY SCHOOLS SCRIMMAGE… Hartford’s Dylan Voss looks to tackle Coloma’s Michael Case during a scrimmage held at Coloma High School on Thursday, August 22. Both teams were very competitive in one of their final tune-ups before opening night this week. Both teams begin the year on Thursday night, with Hartford hosting Cassopolis and Coloma traveling to Brandywine. (TCR photo by Jerrod Birmele)


On the male side of the roster of runners is sophomore Caeleb Ishmael, who is an all state wrestler, also brings a ton of energy and enthusiasm to the team. He has already taken four minutes off his time in the first meet last week, compared to this time last year. Riley Davis, another sophomore, was thinking of playing football but decided that cross country was a better sport for him, and will be helping to lead the Comets. Blane Sutherland, a junior runner, is a team leader who is very ambitious and brings a lot of positive energy, which long distance runners always find to be extremely beneficial.

Rounding out the Comet roster of boys are freshmen, Skylar Wolfe, Andy Granados, and Wyatt Sinnett. Another sophomore, Jake Ickes, is a very talented all around athlete who also plays basketball and baseball, and has already posted some good times. Ethan Vandermolen is also a sophomore who should bring a great competitiveness, as he has two sisters on the team.

Coloma Comet harriers compete in first meet of the new season

The Coloma Comet Cross Country team competed in their first meet of the year last week running in the Three Rivers Big Hill Invitational. Jackson was winner on the female side with a total of 85 points; the Comets took sixth place with a total of 127 points.

Top overall finishers for the Coloma girls were Emma Vandermolen, 11th place in 23:39, as Ava Genovese came in 12th right behind her in 23:47. Abby Vandermolen came in 17th in a time of 24:19. Tori Brown came in 45th, Taylor Brown 47th, and Camryn Brown 48th for the Comet runners.

The Coloma boys also finished in sixth place as Marshall won the 9-team event with a total of 47 points. The Comet point total was 154. Top finisher for Coloma was Jake Ickes in 16th place overall in a time of 20:10. He was followed closely by Blane Sutherland in 18th place in a time of 20:20. Ethan Vandermolen finished in 34th in a time of 21:04 and next in for the Comets was Caeleb Ishmael in a time of 21:43. Skylar Wolfe finished in 24:01, and Riley Davis ran a time of 25:19.

Comet boys soccer team finishes as runner up in Comet Invitational

The Coloma Comet boys soccer team hosted the Comet Invitational on Saturday, August 24. They had a great opportunity to win their own tournament, but for a tough luck loss in the championship game after defeating Lawton in the opening game.

BACK IN PLAY… The Comet’s se-nior co-captain Austin Russell keeps his eye on the ball as he kicks it back into play during first-half action in Coloma’s 2-1 victory over the Lawton Blue Devils. Coloma went on to the finals of the Comet Invitational Aug. 24 where they were defeated in a sudden death overtime shootout against Michigan Lutheran, 1-0. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)


The Comets began their season with a victory in their first game against Lawton, beating the Blue Devils 2-1. Layne Whitaker and Joel Jimenez each scored a goal for the Comets, as they led 2-0 before Lawton put a goal in the net and cut into the lead. The Comets played very well the rest of the way to hold on for the win which put them into the championship game.

The Comets faced Michigan Lutheran in the championship game, a closely played match in which both teams played well defensively and kept the other team from scoring during regulation time. The teams went into a shootout after finishing 0-0.

Once again after the shootout, in which each team had five penalty shots on goal, they finished tied 2-2. The Comets scoring goals were Cannon Hodges and Tyler Russell. They moved on to the sudden death penalty kicks, and after a Titan player first put one in the net, Coloma had a chance to tie. The shot was blocked on a nice play by the Lutheran goalie and the Titans came away with a 1-0 victory, and the championship trophy.

Coloma coach Gary Gagliardo said he was happy overall with the Coloma play in the first game, but they had some lapses in the championship game and didn’t attack as they needed.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele


Hartford Football season preview

Well, tonight will mark the beginning of the season for the Hartford Indian Football team. Excitement is buzzing over the dawn of a new year, a season removed from a 5-4 campaign that left the team in a tie-for-fourth in the Southwest 10 Conference, as well as a win short of qualifying for the playoffs. Nine weeks will go by quickly, and the Indians will be looking forward to improving every week, as well as making a run towards the playoffs.

Brad Manning returns to the sidelines for his third season as head coach. And while the numbers on the team aren’t exactly where he would probably like them to be, he still exudes quite a bit of optimism about his team’s chances, saying “we are very excited about our chances this year”. One thing that fans will notice right away will be some changes on the offensive side of the ball; a move the coach says will help them tremendously this season.

The Indians only lost five players to graduation last spring, but that included two key players in the form of Moses Beraza and Corey Arnold. However, the team will have several key players to watch in the months ahead. Under center will be senior Kyle Manning, who makes the move from wide receiver to quarterback this season. In the backfield, junior Aaron Sinclair looks to play a major role in the offense from his running back position.

A majority of the offensive and defensive lines will return, including three seniors in David Fernandez, Yair Delgado and Trey Goodson. Joe Beebe was a player that had a hand in the Indians success early last season but did not play in the team’s final four games. He will return to the team this year and is expected to contribute on both sides of the ball. Also expected to have a breakthrough season will be junior tight end and linebacker, Ricky Baker.

Among the newcomers expected to play critical roles will be junior Zach Harris on defense, senior Elijah Ledesma playing wide receiver and cornerback, and sophomore Tanner Kinchen, who will play both offensive tackle and defensive end.

In terms of conference competition, Coach Manning summed it up by saying the conference is “very competitive and very physical and we look forward to the challenge”. In addition to his team, he mentioned defending state semifinalist Cassopolis, Centreville, Mendon and Decatur always have solid teams and should be near the top of the league race.

The Hartford Indian Football team kicks off their season, as mentioned earlier, tonight, Thursday, August 29, as they host Cassopolis at Indian Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m., and fans are encouraged to show up early, as opening night is usually one of the most attended games of the season.

Good luck this season, men!

Hartford Volleyball begins season at Lawton Invitational

This past weekend, the Hartford Indian Volleyball team began their 2019 season with their annual trip to Lawton to compete in the Lawton Invitational. The team is looking to put a disappointing season last year in the rearview mirror and is expected to be much better this season. With a mix of returning players, and a new wave of talent coming in, things are looking up. This tournament would be the first chance to see if the expectations matched up with reality.

The tournament began with pool play first, and the Lady Indians played four, two-set matches to determine their seeding in the winner’s bracket or the consolation bracket. The team went 2-6 in these matches. They played Saugatuck first, falling in both sets, 25-10 and 25-11. They followed that up by splitting sets with Comstock, falling 25-16 in the first set before rallying to win set two, 25-23. They also split two sets with Gobles in the next match, losing the first set, 25-16, before winning set two, 25-15. The team finished pool play against Hopkins, and the Lady Indians were swept, 25-15 and 25-22.

Their 2-6 mark was not good enough to be in the winner’s bracket, so the team was relegated to the consolation bracket. The matches in this bracket were only one single set. The first match saw Hartford take on Fennville, and the ladies marched on with a 25-17 victory. That set them up for a matchup against Saint Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic in the next round, and unfortunately, the day ended there for Hartford, as they fell, 25-17.

In terms of statistics, Hartford was led in aces by Karla Robles with five, while Ariah Jordan and Megan Nelson added four apiece. Nelson led the team in kills with 10, while Lainey Goodson, Mercedes Requenes and Descenya Rodarte a

ISAIAH ON THE ATTACK! Coloma Comet Isaiah Reinhardt looks to gain an edge on a Lawton defender during second-half action of Saturday’s varsity soccer game against Lawton. Coloma won the contest 2-1, and went on to finish second at their Coloma Comet Invitational. Coloma lost to Michi-gan Lutheran 1-0, in the champion-ship game, in a sudden death shoot out after finishing in regulation in a 0-0 deadlock. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)


dded five kills each. Jordan led the team in digs with 29, while Robles added 24 digs to her stat line. Other stat leaders included Requenes with five blocks and Nelson with 12 assists.

Hartford is currently 3-7 on the young season. The team had just one match this week, as they hosted Three Oaks River Valley on Monday, August 26 at Indian Gymnasium. Results and statistics were not available at press time.

Hartford Cross Country teams hit the trails running

The Hartford Indian Cross Country teams hit the trails running right away last week, as they started the season with two invitationals in the course of three days. The teams this year are similar in size as last year, but the expectations remain the same – and that is to be competitive in the Southwest 10 Conference race. Both of these events had a solid amount of participants and good team competition, so this ended up being a great time to see where they are at right now.

At the Bridgman Invitational, held on Wednesday, August 21, the Hartford men placed ninth out of 11 teams, while the Hartford Ladies placed third out of eight teams.

On the men’s side, the team was led by Jacob Morales, who placed 29th overall with a time of 20:03, while Joey Lehmkuhl clocked in at 20:14, enough to place him in the 31st finishing position. The top five runners also included Aldo Acevedo in 50th place (22:30), Arulio Delgado in 67th place (24:13) and Hunter Bloom in 78th place (26:09).

On the ladies’ side, the team was led by Katherine Sanchez, who placed eighth overall with a time of 24:03, while Yovana Naranjo came in one second later at 24:04, placing her in the ninth finishing spot. The top five runners also included Jasmin Janicki in 14th place (24:54), Mayra Naranjo in 19th place (25:49) and Jamie Smith in 22nd place (26:00).

At the Lawrence Early Bird Invitational, held on Friday, August 23, the Hartford men placed third out of four teams, while the Hartford ladies placed second out of two teams.

On the men’s side, the team was led by Joey Lehmkuhl, who placed sixth overall with a time of 18:36, while Jacob Morales also finished in the same time, but was credited with seventh place. The top five runners were concluded by Aldo Acevedo in 17th place (20:07), Hunter Bloom in 22nd place (22:19) and Arulio Delgado in 23rd place (22:20). The whole team which also included Francisco Medrano and Keith Sayre all set early season personal records.

On the ladies’ side, the team was led by Katherine Sanchez once again, as she finished in eighth place overall, with a time of 22:35, while Jasmin Janicki placed 10th overall, with a time of 22:49. The top five runners were concluded by Mayra Naranjo in 12th place (23:24), Jamie Smith in 13th place (23:49) and Asuzena Loera in 15th place (24:22). Like the men, the whole team, which also included Brianna Bailey, Jasmin Garcia and Katalina Soria, all set early season personal bests.

The Hartford Cross Country teams will take the week off before returning to action on Thursday, September 5, when they will host the annual Teske Invitational at the Van Buren County Fairgrounds. Look for more results from these teams in the Press Box as the season rolls on.

PRESS BOX PLAYER OF THE WEEK

By Dave Vollrath

This week’s Tri-City Record Press Box player of the week is Cannon Hodges. Cannon will be a sophomore as school begins next week at Coloma High School. He is a big part of the Coloma boys soccer program this year, and for the future. Head boy’s coach Gary Gagliardo continues to build the program which he started coaching last season. Coach Gagliardo has a ton of confidence in this sophomore, who is one of 11 from his class on the varsity which currently only has four seniors, one junior, and one freshman.

Much of Coach Gagliardo’s confidence in him comes from his play last year as a starter as a freshman, and the fact that Cannon was a big help to the coach in planning out this summer’s soccer camp. The team also has a great deal of confidence in Cannon as he was voted in by the players as one of this season’s team captains, not a usual feat for a sophomore. The other team captain is a senior, Austin Russell. Cannon plays at several key positions on the field: center midfield, defense, and goalie.

Cannon was a key player in the Comet’s first action of the season. They hosted the Comet Invitational on Saturday August 24 and finished in second place. They lost in the finals by virtue of a sudden death penalty kick after finishing the game tied at 0, and the shootout tied 2-2.

Cannon’s parents are mom, Jennifer Hodges, and Scott and Angela Hodges. Cannon is also an excellent student in addition to being the sophomore class president and a member of the student council. Cannon also participates in the Comet basketball program and ran on the track team last spring. Cannon taught a Sunday School class while living in Klamath Falls, Oregon, before his family moved to Southwest Michigan.

We congratulate Cannon and wish him the best of luck in all of his future activities.

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant


Panther boys cross country win at Bridgman

The Panther boys cross country team had a great start to the 2019 season by winning the Bridgman Invitational. The team’s depth was the decisive factor with five runners finishing in the top 30 in a field of 104 runners. Senior Gus Hinch (18:27) and junior Ezra Troyer (18:50) led the way, finishing in 7th and 9th with impressive early-season times.

Trever Pelton (19:15) ran a well-paced race, taking 16th place. Kody Edmonds (19:53) grabbed 27th place. Matthew Hanks (20:18) and German Casiano (20:26) paced each other over the last mile of the race to finish 33rd and 34th. Camdon Geisler (21:58) rounded out the varsity spots crossing the finish in 46th and assuring that all seven varsity runners placed in the top half of the field.

The top team scores were: Watervliet 81, Lawrence 101, Bloomingdale 105, Bridgman105, and Mendon 126.

The Panther girls also had a promising showing at the Bridgman Invitational. The team is in much better shape this year with ten Panther girls at the starting line, six more than last year. The young squad was led by Yona Klimkiewicz and Sophie Tavolacci, both earning medals by finishing 30th and 31st in a field of 72.

Megan Trapp also earned a medal with a 40th place finish in her first high school race. Newcomers Brenda Romero and Kristina Swanson rounded out the team’s top 5.

Boys’ soccer at 1-1-1, also wins at Bridgman

The Panther boys soccer team opened the season on August 21 with a good up and down, back and forth game. Unfortunately for the Panthers, New Buffalo took a 6-4 victory in this non-conference game.

In the seventh minute Brennan Bornas capitalized on a deflection in the box to score the first goal in Panther boys soccer history for a 1-0 lead. Although Watervliet carried the play for the first 20 minutes they just missed on several scoring chances. Then the Bison scored two quick goals for a 2-1 lead. In the thirty-first minute Able Villarreal took a pass from Nathan Isbrecht and scored to even the game at 2. New Buffalo scored and took a 3-2 lead into halftime.

New Buffalo took control in the second half, jumping out to a 5-2 lead. At this point the Panthers came to life. Nathan scored off a nice feed from Brennan to make the game 5-3 in the sixty-first minute. Brady Bornas finally put one behind the keeper to make it 5-4. Nathan collected the assist.

Both second half goals were helped by strong pressing play on the defenders led by Robert Kraklau and Andrew Chisek. With less than a minute to go and down 1, the Panthers pressed hard but ultimately gave up a goal with seven seconds left.

On Saturday, August 24 the boys played a three-team round-robin tournament in Bridgman and came away tournament champions. The Panthers beat Bridgman 4-0, and tied Bangor 6-6. Bridgman (1-1) then beat Bangor (0-1-1) giving the Panthers the best overall record on the day at 1-0-1.

The Panthers came out strong against Bridgman. Zeke Alvarado struck first, scoring on a pass from Brennan Bornas in the seventh minute. Less than a minute later Able Villarreal fed Nathan Isbrecht for another goal. Ten minutes later Nathan scored again, this time on a pass from Brady Bornas. Late in the half Brady scored on a nice direct free kick, making the score 4-0 at halftime.

The defense played a great half, led by Robert Kraklau and Andrew Chisek. Mason Pennington also played strong in the defensive midfield. The Panthers were able to keep the pressure off goalkeepers Zach Hastings and Norberto Palacios, who combined for five saves and a clean sheet. This match also saw great effort from Noah Weber and Jakob Stibal, who both had nice shots on goal but were unable to find the back of the net. In all, it was a great team effort to seal their first victory.

After just 30 minutes of rest, they began game two against Bangor. Once again the fast-starting Panthers scored two goals in the first 10 minutes. Nathan Isbrecht scored both, on passes from Brady Bornas and Brennan Bornas. Bangor got on the board with a penalty kick, making the score 2-1.

In minute 14, Brennan Bornas took a pass from goalkeeper Zach Hastings, taking it all the way to a score. Bangor fired right back, making the score 3-2. Then the Bornas brothers hooked up for another goal, making it 4-2. Late in the half Brady scored again and the half ended at 5-2.

In the second half the Vikings struck first, bringing the score to 5-3. On a Panthers penalty kick it appeared Bangor had defended successfully, but the Panthers got another try as the Viking goalie came off the line early. Brady Bornas then scored on the second try. Bangor took advantage of the tiring Panthers and scored three straight goals to tie the game. At that point Robert Kraklau, despite an earlier injury, wanted in to shut down the Vikings top player who scored 5 of their 6 goals. Robert did the job but the Panthers were unable to score again, and the match ended in a 6-6 draw.

Their next games are September 4 at Constantine and September 9 at Saugatuck.

JV volleyball kicks off the court season

The Panther junior varsity volleyball team launched the volleyball season at the Comstock Invitational on Saturday, August 24. Playing against much bigger schools the Panthers earned valuable experience for the upcoming season.

Starting in pool play, they lost to Otsego 23-25 and 15-25. That match was followed by a loss to a tough Coldwater team, 12-25 and 18-25. In the final pool play match the young Panthers struggled with serve receive and fell 13-25, 12-25.

Three losses put them in a tough spot against the top seed from the other pool, Three Rivers. While the first game saw some of the same serve receive issues, in the final game the Panthers fought hard, coming close to pulling off a win but falling 22-25. Coach Lori Pline said even though the outcome was not what they were planning for, her team showed real promise and the girls are excited to get back to work.

Their next matches are Thursday, August 29 at Galesbug-Augusta and Tuesday, September 10 at Paw Paw.

August 24 JV stats: MJ Flowers 1 ace, 7 digs; Luna Ramirez 3 digs; Lylah Nunez 1 kill, 1 assist, 2 digs, 2 aces; Hannah Hart 7 digs; Ava Selby 3 kills, 1 block; Jaylie Querfurth 9 assists, 1 ace, 3 digs; Essie Zuniga 3 digs; Lauren Gustafson 4 aces, 2 kills; Raine Scott 4 digs; Mattie Adams 3 kills, 1 block; Avery Openneer 6 kills, 1 asst, 1 block; Taylor Harris 1 kill, 2 aces

New football season kicks off Week 1 of TCR Armchair Quarterbacks