11-12-2020 Tri-City Area Sports

GOING FOR THE BLOCK… Panthers Myah Hobson and Natalie Hart go up to block a shot by Brandywine’s Kristen Alvord in the District 78 volleyball finals at Watervliet last week. The Bobcats won the match 3-1 to take the district crown. (TCR photo by John Oliphant)

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Panther volleyball bows out in District Finals

The Panther girls varsity volleyball team hosted the 2020 District 78 tournament last week where they opened the tournament with a convincing 3-1 win over Bridgman on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The Bees were ahead 22-17 in the first game, and just as it looked out of reach the Lady Panthers roared back, scoring in a flurry at the end to win 25-23.

The teams went back and forth early in the second game until another Panther run put the game out of reach, with the Panthers eventually winning 26-16.

The third game was another close one from beginning to end, but the Bees were able to pull ahead at the end and win 25-22. In the final game the Panthers were in control and closing in on the win, only to see the Bees capitalize on some mistakes to pull within one point. But then the Panther offense put the game away with several solid offensive plays to grab a 25-19 win.

3RD TIME STATE QUALIFIER… Panther senior runner Ezra Troyer finished his high school cross country career at Michigan International Speedway last Saturday in the Division 3 State Finals. Here he nears the midpoint of the Pre-Regional race on top of the notorious Panther Stadium hill. (TCR photo by John Oliphant)

The Panthers served well all night with six different players delivering aces; Natalie Hart leading with five. Several Panthers made blocks to slow down the Bees big offensive attacks; Addison Riley and Myah Hobson leading with three each. Freshman Grace Chisek ran the offense and was able to spread out the Bees defense, finishing with 34 assists. Sophomore Samantha Dietz led the team with 16 kills and Natalie Hart had six. Coach Edie Daugherty said they did a great job digging up what the Bees were delivering. Four Panthers hit double digits in digs, with Dietz collecting 16 and Jaylie Querfurth with 12.

Stats: Grace Chisek – 4 aces, 10 digs, 1 block, 34 assists; Samantha Dietz – 3 aces, 16 digs, 2 blocks, 16 kills; Ellie Golden – 1 ace, 11 digs; Natalie Hart – 5 aces, 8 digs, 2 blocks, 6 kills; Myah Hobson – 5 kills, 3 blocks; Addison Riley – 3 kills, 3 blocks; Jaylie Querfurth – 1 ace, 12 digs; Abbigayle Roberts – 3 kills, 1 block; Tia Caldwell – 2 aces, 3 digs

The next night the Panthers faced the three-time defending district champion Brandywine. The Bobcats came into the match having won by forfeit over Cassopolis who couldn’t play due to a COVID-19 exposure and ended up beating the Panthers 3-1.

The young Panther team looked sharp in the first game and led 23-19 before the Bobcats were able to capitalize on several mistakes to jump ahead and win 26-24. The Panthers continued to play well in the second game, dominating the entire way to win 25-10. Both of the last two games were close with the Panthers taking early leads but Brandywine’s tournament experience and their ability to find open spots on the floor helped them regain the momentum and win 25-20 and 25-19.

The team finishes a successful and abbreviated season at 15-8, having had most of their day-long Saturday tournaments pared down or canceled.

Coach Daugherty said, “I’d like to thank our fans who were able to attend the games and for everyone who cheered for us online.”

Stats: Samantha Dietz – 17 kills, 19 digs, 3 aces, 1 block; Grace Chisek – 28 assists, 20 digs, 1 block, 2 aces; Jaylie Querfurth – 15 digs, 2 aces; Natalie Hart – 5 kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks; Addison Riley – 4 kills, 4 blocks

Watervliet’s Ezra Troyer makes third appearance at State Finals

Senior cross country runner Ezra Troyer finished his high school cross country career Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Division 3 State Finals, with a 17:58 run on an unusually warm November race day. The normally huge finals race was split into two heats to reduce the size of the field and limit the exposure to other runners. In fact, runners were dropped off at one of the Michigan International Speedway entrances while coaches used a different entrance and didn’t have contact with the runners until the race was over.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele

Hartford volleyball ends 2020 season with District loss

Last Monday night, Nov. 2, the Hartford Lady Indian volleyball team continued their shortened season by playing in a district match against Niles Brandywine, held at Watervliet High School. It has been a disappointing season in a lot of aspects for the ladies this year, which came in with a record of 2-16 overall, and had lost six straight matches in straight sets. However, last season, the team went to the district finals, so there was a bit of hope going into this week.

In their match against the Lady Bobcats, the Lady Indians played as a team, and did the best job they possibly could to keep their season alive; however, they fell in straight sets: 25-12, 25-18 and 25-14, thus ending their season. The team that defeated the Lady Indians went on to take down the host, Watervliet, in four sets to take the district championship three nights later.

In terms of statistics, Hartford was led in aces by Alexis Snodgrass with three, while Karly Manning added an ace to the final tally. Snodgrass also led the team in kills with three, while Mary Pultz added two kills and Kenzie Burfield and Mercedes Requenes added a kill each. Snodgrass topped the charts once more by leading the team in digs with 10, while Vanessa Delarosa added five digs and Paris Rondo added four digs. Other statistical leaders included Manning with four assists and Khashya McCoy with three blocks.

Hartford finishes the season with a record of 2-17. It has been a difficult year record wise but that should not take away from the fact that the ladies worked hard every day and were grateful to have a season in the first place. Head coach Patty Matheny considers herself grateful for the 16 amazing young ladies she coached this season, a compliment to the players. The team will miss their five graduating seniors, but are poised to take steps forward in 2021.

Congratulations to Coach Matheny and her staff for doing a good job and representing Hartford Athletics in the proper standards!

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Genovese siblings lead Comets to cross country state finals

Last year the Coloma Comet cross country girls team qualified for the state finals for the first time in school history. Coloma, in truly Comet fashion, had a parade-like send-off for the girls, which of course was attended by the boys team who would be staying home. That feeling of missing out on something of this magnitude had to be a hard pill for them to swallow.

This year the girls knew from experience the work that it would take to return to the finals. The boys have also been recipients of this firsthand knowledge. The Comet boys used that knowledge and pushed themselves harder than ever and qualified as a team, as did the Coloma girls in making that journey back to Michigan International Speedway – the current home for the Michigan State Cross Country Finals held on Saturday, Nov. 7.

The Coloma had another big send-off for the whole team this year, boys and girls, as they paraded from the schools through downtown Coloma on top of the North Berrien fire trucks. It was a fitting way to send this group of Comets and their coach off to state because of the hard work and determined effort needed for months in order to realize this fantastic accomplishment.

The Comet head coach, herself a dedicated long distance runner, Courtney Churchill has brought a very cohesive and family-like atmosphere to these teams and has them working very closely together to bring each other’s times up to needed levels. This is certainly not an easy task when you try to convince the top runners that it’s great to qualify for state as an individual but much more is needed from top to bottom in order to run the team all the way to state.

Eva Genovese, a junior, who has been the top lady Comet runner the last two years, was joined on the varsity this year by her younger brother Boden Genovese who as a freshman came in and from the start led the Comet boys all season long. Boden came to the varsity with some high expectations, as in Coloma junior high Boden was already putting up great times and blowing away the competition in every event.

It’s a tremendous achievement to have had both Coloma teams qualify to go to state in the same year, and to do it in a year when, even into late August, there was no certainty of a season and possibly no state finals even if there was a season. Congratulations to the Comets and Coach Churchill, leading by example and getting all of her runners top to bottom to buy into what she was selling in order to achieve their very lofty goals.

The girls competing at state in Division 3 for the second year in a row finished in 21st place of the 27 teams in this year’s competition. The Comet harriers garnered 490 points; the winning team from Hart had 59 points and 2nd place Ithaca ran for 114 points. Ava Genovese once again led the ladies around the trails surrounding this tremendous NASCAR race track, and came in 50th place overall in a time of 20:39.99. Senior Abby Vandermolen came in next in 134th place in 22:00.36, Camryn Brown finished in 140th in 22:04.23, Chloe Williams finished in 148th in 22:10.95, and McKinleigh Kraemer finished in 219th in a time of 24:34.21. Cali Grenon ran a time of 26:33.24 and Kayla Walter ran 29:46.72.

Freshman Boden Genovese once again led the Comets to the finish line coming in 63rd place overall in a time of 17:17.28. The times Boden is putting up are very impressive for a freshman and should be a harbinger for great things to come, as Genovese was only beaten by three freshmen and 14 sophomores in the state finals field of the top runners in the state.

Finishing behind Boden was Jake Ickes. Jake finished at 151st place in a time of 18:20.27, followed by Blane Sutherland in 163rd in 18:28.67, Ethan Vandermolen finished 172nd in 18:37.41, and Aiden Cripe, another outstanding freshman, finished in 230th place in a time of 19:49.13. The sixth Comet to finish was Skylar Wolfe in 19:56.48 followed by Caeleb Ishmael who came in 248th out of 250 runners, in a time of 20:50.01.

The Comet boys team finished in 25th place out of 27 teams entered in Division 3, but the finish is only secondary to this great achievement and writing some new school history.

Coloma Comet volleyball bows out of district play

The Coloma Ladies volleyball team took an early exit from district play, as they lost to South Haven on the Otsego home court on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The Comets coached by Kim Swisher won the first set 25-21, before dropping the final 3 sets, 19-25, 21-25, and 22-25.

Press Box Player of the Week!

By Jerrod Birmele

Aaron Sinclair, a senior at Hartford High School, and a member of the Indian football team, is the Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week for Nov. 12, 2020.

In the Indians final game of the 2020 season at Lawton on Oct. 30, Aaron had one of his best games of the season on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, as well as on special teams. In his final game as a Hartford Indian, on offense, he rushed for 76 yards on just six carries, while also catching three passes for 85 yards, one of which was a 66-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. On defense, he made six tackles, two of which were solo stops. Finally, on special teams, he returned four kickoffs for 53 yards.

In terms of statistics on the season, Aaron was the leader in several statistical categories. On offense, he carried the ball 70 times for 515 yards and two touchdowns, while making 25 receptions for 255 yards and a touchdown. On defense, he made 37 tackles, including 15 solo stops. He also had three pass deflections, two forced fumbles and a tackle-for-a-loss. On special teams, he returned 14 kickoffs for 295 yards and returned one for a score.

Athletically, outside of the football field, Aaron will be a member of the Indian men’s basketball team this winter, and hopes their season will go off without a hitch. Last season, he was among the top scorers in the Southwest 10 Conference, where he earned first team all-conference honors for the second straight season.

After high school Aaron plans on attending college, studying sports management while continuing to play football. He currently holds offers from Siena Heights University and, most recently, Trine University.

Congratulations on this great honor, Aaron! We look forward to seeing what you will accomplish the remainder of your senior year!


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