Tri-City Area Sports

Random Drug Screening Policy for JV and Varsity Athletes Now in Place at WHS

On Monday, July 11, the Watervliet Board of Education approved Interscholastic Athletics Policy 8484 which includes a section pertaining to random drug screening of Panther junior varsity and varsity athletes.  With the statement from Superintendent Kevin Schooley that “athletic activities are a privilege, not a right,” the board entered into discussion of the policy.  The overriding concern for parents, board members, and district staff is the health and safety of the student athletes. To that end, the new policy taking effect for the 2016-2017 school year will allow for random drug screening as a condition for participation in any of the JV or varsity sports.

PLAYING THE BALL THAT BOUNCES….Hartford short-stop Aiden Lowe tries to play a ball that bounces his way during Friday’s game against Allegan at the Hartford All-Star Tournament. Hartford would lose their opening game of the 2016 at Indian Pride Park 16-1. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Students and their parent or guardian will be required – as in previous years – to sign the school’s athletic handbook. The handbook will have a section in it specifying the random drug screening policy and the listed offenses for any and all violations. The handbook will be available in print in early August and also on the school district’s website.

COLOMA ROCKED THE BERRIEN SPRINGS TOURNEY…Coloma’s 10U All-Star team won the championship at the 4th of July weekend tourney in Berrien Springs. Pictured are back row (from the left): Coach Paul Nelson, Savannah Hamilton, Addison Milnickel, Mairyssa Nelson, Madelyn Hicks, Coach Jason Hicks, and Clara Kimmerly. Front row (from the left): Brook Birmele, Hannah Grennon, Hailey Howell, Madelynn Hamilton, and Brielle Hicks.

Hartford All-Star Tournament Underway at Indian Pride Park

 The annual boys’ All-Star tournament in Hartford is underway. Tourney action kicked off Friday, July 8 and will continue through Thursday, July 14.  Coloma and Watervliet faced off Tuesday, July 12 for the 8U championship. In early tournament action, Hartford beat Lawrence 22-14, while Coloma lost to Watervliet 17-11.  The Indian and Panther wins gave them a semi-final berth on Saturday, with Watervliet eking out a 15-14 win.  Coloma’s loss dropped them into the loser’s bracket where they faced Lawrence. The green and gold won 16-15.  Hartford then faced Lawrence as well and won 27-1. Coloma and Hartford took to the field in the second semi-final game. Both teams had their offense on fire as they racked up a whopping 51 runs scored in the contest. Coloma went on to win 31-20 to head into the finals against Watervliet.  The championship game took place Tuesday. In the Minor league division (10U), Watervliet topped Paw Paw 29-20. The Panthers then faced Coloma and notched their second victory, 15-2. Watervliet made in three in a row after they defeated South Haven 18-9 to head into the championship game which was played Monday evening.  Hartford lost 16-1 against Allegan, 10-0 against Coloma, and 20-0 to Allegan to complete their All-Star tourney run.  After Coloma’s loss to Watervliet and win over Hartford, the Comets topped Allegan 17-2 but lost 22-2 to Paw Paw to end their run.  The Major (12U) division found Coloma posting a 0-3 record. They suffered defeats to South Haven (7-5), Allegan (7-2), and Allegan (13-2).  Watervliet did not field a 12U All-Star team.  Hartford faced Paw Paw and lost 13-11. The Indians then shut out Allegan 11-0 to go to 1-1 for the tournament.  Hartford played Allegan again Monday night.  Hartford and Watervliet teams played in the pony division of the All-Star tournament; Coloma did not field a team.  Watervliet suffered three straight losses and bowed out of the tourney early. They were defeated 7-6 by Allegan, 11-3 by Dowagiac, and 7-3 by Paw Paw.  Hartford suffered a similar fate – three losses and out. Hartford was downed by Paw Paw (6-5), Buchanan (19-6), and Dowagiac (18-5). The pony division champion was crowned later in the week.

BURNETTE THROWS THE HEAT…. Kyle Burnette throws some heat Friday during Colo-ma’s game against South Haven in the Hartford All-Star tourney. Coloma’s 12U team was topped by South Haven. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Hartford Hires Patty Matheny as Varsity Volleyball Coach

 Hartford High School athletic director Nick Blackmer announced that the position of varsity volleyball coach has been filled. The district hired Patty Matheny for the position.  Matheny brings to Hartford’s program a wealth of both experience and success on the volleyball court. Her resume includes a 17 year coaching career, 12 of those at the varsity level.  She has a Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament championship under her belt and won the only district title to which Lawrence volleyball can lay claim.   Matheny also coached junior varsity basketball at Lawrence.  Matheny, a graduate of Lawrence High School, played basketball and softball at the collegiate level. After attending Siena Heights University, she transferred to Western Michigan to complete her undergraduate studies. She received two bachelor’s degrees, including one in Education, and is currently employed by the Van Buren Intermediate School District.  Matheny resides in Lawrence and is married to Mike Matheny who owns Clarks Auto Parts. They have three children: Trent, Dylan, and Ella.  Matheny coached until the birth of Ella. “After having my child I really missed coaching and that’s why I decided to return,” Matheny shared. “I have a passion for the sport and love watching student athletes achieve and grow as individuals.”  Matheny added, “I look forward to many season at Hartford High School and hope for the program to become successful.”  Matheny replaces Courtney Whitman who left the coaching position to spend time with her growing family.

Successful Swim, Bike, Run of Paw Paw Lake Triathlon

PAW PAW LAKE TRI WOMEN’S DIVISION WINNERS….Page Eisbrenner (center) finished first for the ladies in Saturday’s triathlon. Tammy Shuler (left) took second place, while Caroline Walkinshaw (right) finished third. (Contributed photo)

LITTLE LADIES PLACE IN PAW PAW LAKE TRI….Pictured left to right are the winners of the girls’ division of Saturday’s Paw Paw Lake triathlon: Hayden Bos in first place, Alexis Hernandez in second place, and Jessica Coates in third place. (Contributed photo)

PPLYC BOYS’ DIVISION WINNERS….Jackson Bain (left), Reed Kartes (center) and Leo Bowman finished third, second, and first, respectively, in the boys’ division of Saturday’s triathlon. (Contributed photo)

PAW PAW LAKE TRIATHLON MEN’S DIVISION WINNERS….In the men’s division of Saturday’s triathlon, Jeff Borah (left) won a third place medal, while David Gerst (center) captured the first place title, and Michael Moser (right) finished second. (Contributed photo)

Carolyn Lill, Commodore of the Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club and organizer of the eighth annual PPLYC triathlon, couldn’t have ordered better weather for Saturday’s event.  Eighty-seven participants hit the open water and road for the 73 meter swim, 8.1 mile bicycle ride around Paw Paw Lake, and 2.7 mile run through the islands.  In addition to the adult version of the tri, a junior version was offered for participants under the age of 12.  The youngsters swam to a buoy in front of the yacht club, made a round trip bike ride from the yacht club to Wil-O-Paw Road, and then ran to Paw Paw Lake Road and back.  The top three finishers in the men’s division were David Gerst, Michael Moser, and Jeff Borah.  In the women’s division, Page Eisbrenner took first, with Tammy Shuler in second, and Caroline Walkinshaw in third.   In the boys’ division, Leo Bowman finished first followed by Reed Kartes in second and Jackson Bain in third. Hayden Bos took first for the girls. Alexis Hernandez finished second, and Jessica Coates took third.  Lill commented, “The Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club sponsors this community event every summer to promote healthy exercise and good will.”

World of Outlaws Returns to Wicked Half Mile

 Exciting news comes from Hartford Speedway. The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series will return to the wicked half-mile dirt track on Friday, July 29.  The World of Outlaws series last performed at Hartford in 2011, and its return is highly anticipated by sprint cup and racing fans alike.   Donny Schatz leads the World of Outlaws standings with 13 wins, 32 top five, and 44 top 10 finishes this year. Brad Sweet is in second place, 118 points behind Schatz.  Schatz drives for the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team.   The speedway pits open at 2 p.m. on the 29th.  The stands open at 4 p.m. with hot laps commencing at 6:30 p.m. Engines fire and racing begins at 7:30 p.m.  Advance ticket sales are underway. You can phone SLS Promotions at (815) 344-2023 or order online at  Discount general admission tickets are also available at participating O’Reilly Auto Parts stores. If you purchase tickets through them, you will redeem your O’Reilly receipt at the speedway on race day for a $5 discount per ticket. O’Reilly Auto Parts has local branches in Paw Paw, South Haven, and St. Joseph.

High Power Soccer Camp Registration is now Open

The always popular and heavily attended High Power soccer camp at Midway Baptist Church in Watervliet is getting ready to welcome soccer players to their summer session.  Youngster’s age’s five to 10 can participate in the free soccer camp, aimed at teaching soccer drills, rules of the game, and good sportsmanship.  The camp runs Monday, August 8 through Friday, August 12 from 9:00 a.m. until noon and will be held at the church located at 7517 Red Arrow Highway in Watervliet.  You don’t have to a soccer star to register or attend the event. The soccer camp is open to kids of all experience levels, from rookie to pro.  There will be a camp kick-off held Sunday, August 7 at 3:30 p.m. at the church. Soccer activities and delicious treats will be provided, and open registration will be ongoing.  If you want to register online, go to Go to the Ministries page, click on Youth, and then click on the High Power registration and medical release link.

Ellinee Fishing Club Hooked on Family Fun

 A new fishing club hit the waters of Paw Paw Lake this summer. Organized by Ellinee Bait and Tackle, the Ellinee Fishing Club is a fishing contest open to everyone who enjoys casting a line with friends or family.  Six fishing events have been set on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The three final fishing dates are July 20, August 6, and August 17. Contest times run from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays and 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.  Participants can join the club by registering at Ellinee Bait and Tackle, located at 5608 Paw Paw Lake Road in Coloma, and paying the $20 per watercraft annual fee. The fishing fee per event is $10 per watercraft.  It’s easy to participate! All species of fish in Paw Paw Lake are eligible to be caught. Fishermen can use legal live or artificial bait; it’s up to you!  Using the honor system, once you catch a fish, you measure the length and snap a photo of the fish. You can then email the image to The store will also accept hard copy photos and details. Be sure to include your name and contact information.  Cash and prizes will be awarded after the August 17th fishing event. You need not be present to win.  For more information or to get registered, contact the Ellinee Bait and Tackle today at (269) 468-7522.

AYSO Registration Happening Now for Fall Soccer

 Fall registration for the 2016 AYSO soccer season is underway. If your little soccer star is at least four years old before August 1, he or she can join in to play one of the area’s fastest growing and most popular sports.  On Thursday, July 14 the Hartford McDonalds will host a registration event from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. If you are not able to make that date, you can register on Saturday, July 30 at the Watervliet Fire Department from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  The fee to join the league is $60 for the first child. Fees decrease for each additional child registered. After July 31, all registrations will be $90 per child.  Player applications can be found and completed online at Parents must complete the online application and take it to one of the registration events.  AYSO Region 613 serves Coloma, Hartford, Watervliet, and surrounding areas. The youth organization teaches soccer skills and player development, as well as good sportsmanship.  If you are interested in providing a more competitive soccer experience for your child, the AYSO is offering a new program for the U10 and U12 soccer groups called AYSO Extra.  The Extra program is held in conjunction with the primary soccer program. Individuals participate in both programs at the same time. The Extra program does re  quire try-outs, which will be held Saturday, August 13 from 9 a.m. until noon at the Coloma soccer field located at 6399 Mountain Road.  For information on AYSO registration, go to or call Sarah Isbrecht, AYSO registrar, at (269) 325-9898 or via email at  For additional information on the AYSO Extra program, contact Extra coordinator Chris Cowgill at  Fall soccer games will begin before you know it. Get your youngster registered today!

Golf Results for July 11, 2016 Ladies Monday Night Happy Hour Golf League

Paw Paw Lake Golf Club Event: Fun Night Winner– Ursela Bansen

Low Gross: Cheryl Hutchins with 51.

Low Net:  Charlene Durfee with 32.

Low Putts: Katherine Rodriguez with 13. Pars: Katherine Rodriguez #1, Colleen McKeown #2

Chip-ins:  Ursela Bansen #5 and #6, Sandy Johnson #7

No Hole-in-Ones tonight.

                                                                     Second Place Start to Second Consecutive

Sprint Cup Win for Kes

 Number two was sure lucky for Brad Keselowski Saturday in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Keselowski started his #2 Miller Lite Ford in the second position of the Sprint Cup race in and went on to win his second consecutive victory.  Keselowski led 75 of the race’s 267 laps and notched his 21st career and fourth win this season. He is officially the first NASCAR driver to qualify for this year’s Chase. Carl Edwards tried his best to overtake Keselowski the final 10 laps of the race but came up .175 seconds short. Edwards has two wins this season but settled for second place on Saturday.  Ryan Newman posted his best finish of the 2016 season. He landed in third place. Kurt Busch led 10 laps in his quest for a third victory this season but ended the race in fourth place. Rounding out the top five was Tony Stewart. Stewart, with one win under his best, marked his second best finish this season.  Pole sitter Kevin Harvick led almost half the race (128 of 267 laps). Joining Harvick leading laps were: Matt Kenseth (2), Martin Truex Jr. (46), Austin Dillon (1), Danica Patrick (2), David Ragan (2), and Ty Dillon (1).  Sixteen drivers finished on the lead lap Saturday.  There were 16 lead changes and 11 caution periods.  Turns three and four proved tough to handle for some drivers – former Sprint Cup champions included. Jimmie Johnson was one driver who hit the wall; he was joined in the dubious honor by Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and AJ Allmendinger, among others.  Keselowski’s win draws him closer to the top spot in the driver standings, although Kevin Harvick currently maintains his hold on first place by a scant four points. Busch, Edwards, and Logano round out the top five among drivers.  On Sunday, the Sprint Car teams take to the track in Loudon for the New Hampshire 301.  Keselowski holds the track speed record. Can he make it five wins this season? Check back next week to see

JR Hotovy Schools Invaders For Big Win At Hartford Spalding, Krick & Nelson Pick Up Support Class Wins

HARTFORD SPEEDWAY…Hometown He-ro Jr Hotovy goes to the winners circle in the final visit to Hartford Speedway by the American Ethanol Late Model Tour.

American Ethanol Late Model Tour made its second and final visit of the season to Hartford Speedway Friday night with the home town hero of JR Hotovy going to the winners circle. Eric Spangler finished second, Mike Spatola third, Ryan VanderVeen fourth and Brandon Thirlby fifth.  In  Jacks Excavating & Trucking UMP Modifieds Curt Spalding continued his dominance after Steven Pena led over half the circuits before  surrendering the win. Collin Thirlby would come home second, Pena third, Bobby Stremme fourth and Bob Baldwin fifth. Puhrman Hauling & Excavating UMP Stock Cars had Jake Hoffman leading the early laps before his car started to fade handing the win once again to Jerrad Krick for his 22nd feature win since he started racing at Hartford Speedway weekly in 2014. Hoffman would settle for second, Calvin Peek third, Evan Fredline fourth and Andy Barr fifth.  Federated Auto Parts Cyber Stocks suffered an event of high attrition as 17 cars would take the initial green flag with a scant eight managing to take the checkers. Paul “Fireball” Nelson would hold off a late race charge by Andrew Mayer scoring his second win of the season. Mayer would take home second, third to Chad Freed (after starting last), Jacob Ferguson fourth and Milton McDonald fifth.   Next Friday Hartford Speedway will be hosting Kids Night with a money drop & kids bike giveaways. Jacks Excavating & Trucking Modifieds, Puhrman Hauling & Excavating Stock Cars, Federated Auto Parts Cyber Stocks and Mini Wedges will be in action. General Admission is $12 with kids 10 & under FREE. Racing gets under way at 8PM. For more information visit the Hartford Speedway website at or check in on Facebook.


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