11-07-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Hinch and Troyer place at state finals

The MHSAA cross country state finals were held at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 2. Watervliet’s Ezra Troyer completed his junior season and senior runner Gus Hinch completed his cross country career with great runs at the Division 3 finals. The weather was typical November cold, but thankfully it was clear and mostly dry.

IN TOP 100 RUNNERS… are Watervliet Panthers junior Ezra Troyer and senior Gus Hinch. Ezra placed 84th in a field of 247 runners at the MHSAA State Finals for Cross Country on Nov. 2, 2019 and Hinch, just 4 seconds behind, in 91st place.

In a field of 247 runners Ezra placed 84th and Gus was 4 seconds back in 91st place. Ezra jumped 39 places better than his first visit to the finals in 2018, finishing the 5k course in a solid 17:39. In his third trip to the finals Gus finished 36 places higher than in 2018 at 17:43. Gus broke into the top 100 for the first time after finishing 149th in 2017 and 127th in 2018.

Conference rival and defending team champion Saugatuck finished in 10th place this year, and Bloomingdale finished in 13th. Parchment, which joins the SAC next year, finished in 15th place. Hanover-Horton won the team event, and Hunter Jones from Benzie Central was the fastest D3 runner at 15:45, winning the race by over 30 seconds.

Panther volleyball season comes to a close

The young Panther volleyball team has shown signs of brilliance this season, but at the same time their youth and inexperience at the varsity level has cost them at key moments and they have been overpowered at times. Make no mistake—this is a talented group and they will be a fun team to watch next year and beyond.

Monday night in the WHS gym provided the first district tournament action for all but a couple Lady Panthers. The match had everything; plenty of great plays, solid teamwork, some pressure mistakes, and lots of raw talent showing through against a strong, tall, and older Bangor team.

The Panther season came to a close, losing to the Vikings 25-20, 25-22, and 25-17. The Panthers led at times in the first two games but they couldn’t put any distance on the Vikings who fought back for the wins. Bangor jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third game and the Panthers weren’t able to get much closer. The Vikings were able to hit the ball into gaps, blocked well, and took advantage of their experience at the net.

Leading stats for the Panthers: Samantha Dietz attacked the ball from both the front and back row to lead with 12 kills; Allison Pline led with 15 digs; Kristen Gardiner led with four aces and 28 assists; and senior Susanna VanLente finished her volleyball career with six kills, 14 digs and one ace.

Other stats for this match include freshman Samantha Dietz – 8 digs; junior Kristen Gardiner – 5 digs; sophomore Addison Riley – 5 kills, 3 digs, 1 block; freshman Myah Hobson 3 kills, 2 blocks, 1 dig; freshman Lilly Lafor – 3 digs, 3 kills; freshman Jaylie Querfurth 3 digs

Soccer Awards Night

The Panther soccer team recently held their 2019 season awards banquet. Coach Doug Bornas handed out varsity letters to 17 first-time recipients, and 22 athletes earned varsity letters overall.