By Travis Smola
Vicksburg’s varsity athletics teams have had a very strong start to the packed spring sports schedule.
Baseball is playing very well; the team had an excellent double header against Three Rivers on April 14. The Bulldogs won a tight first game against the Wildcats 2-0, with runs scored by Michael Scoffin and Garrett Ketelaar. In the second game, Ketelaar, Ryan Morgan, Adam Henderson, Matthew Holman, Danny Johnston and Drew Hamilton all stole bases.
A big double by Ketelaar in the 5th inning drove in Morgan and Henderson for runs. The final score was 9-1.
The lacrosse team played an absolute nail biter of a game against DeWitt April 16. After going up 8-0 early, the Panthers cut the lead to two late in the second. Good defense helped the Bulldogs hold on in the last 40 seconds for a 12-11 win.
Senior Justin Gearig led the scoring with five goals. Sophomore Gavin Leach was right behind him with three. Sophomore Tim Gearig had two. Juniors Blake Rankin and Cole Flintrop had one goal each. The team is currently undefeated.
Out on the links, the Bulldogs have had an up and down season. They had their best finish yet at a jamboree event at Angels Crossing. The boys used a home course advantage on a cold and windy day to earn a second place finish.
Junior Adam Grabowski is the team’s top player, getting better every time out on the course and currently holding onto 9th place in the league. Senior Zach Rzepka is making the most of his senior year by showcasing some excellent shot-making ability. And senior Daniel Gwin has been the team’s most consistent player, shooting 42-44 on average.
Really hitting its stride this year is the track team, which piled up successes during April. The team picked up wins over Otsego and Edwardsburg, but the highlight of the season so far is a huge win for the boys at the Paw Paw Lions Club Invitational April 16. They are now ranked eighth in the state.
The team excelled in many areas. Senior Jude Wisser turned in strong performances in hurdles including a first place finish in the 110m finals. Seniors John Hughes and Tyler Lewis turned in strong finishes in the 1600m finals.
The 100m finals had seniors Jacob Root, Mark Batican and Matthew Klingele taking 2nd, 4th and 5th places respectively. Similarly, Austin Hallam, Andrew Hall and Gary Corsaut all had a strong showing in the 400m finals. Juniors Noah Burton and Morgan Scott also did well in high jump and pole vault.
In relay competition, the team of Hallam, Huges, Lewis and Strong took first in the 4×800 relay finals.
The varsity softball team is off to an excellent start this season. The girls swept Three Rivers in a double-header by scores of 14-0 and 12-2.
In the first game, the girls played perfect defense and batted in runners and stole bases at will. Sophomore pitcher Avery Slanick threw an excellent first game. Many Lady Bulldogs rounded the bases but the biggest scoring highlights were senior Alicia Cagney and junior Raquel Rice’s huge solo home runs in the third inning.
Despite losing some key senior athletes last season, the track team is having a solid year so far. The girls have had some close finishes and a second place finish at the Paw Paw Lions Club Invitational. At home against Allegan on April 19, the Lady Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 72-64.
Junior Layna Steele has picked up right where she left off last year. She took first in both the 400 and 800 meter finals while junior Kasmyn VanMaanen took first the 1600 and 3200 meters. In the 4×100 relay it was the team of Skylar Rogenski, Oliva Lewis, Desiree Gonzalez and Alyssa Kirby taking first.
Vicksburg dominated the relays. They took first in the 4×400 relay with the team of Savannah McDowell, Gonzalez, Kendal Hall and Steele. The 4×800 team consisting of Kendal Hall, Hannah Flickinger, Angie Loriso and VanMaanen also outpaced the Tigers for first. Junior Grace Welch took first in shot put and Rogenski took first in the long jump.
In tennis, the Lady Bulldogs are also having a good year. They tied with Coldwater and tied Edwardsburg. But in perhaps the biggest win of the year, they easily defeated Three Rivers 7-1 on April 20 on the Wildcats’ home courts.
Sophomore Makenna Leach and seniors Kaitlyn Reed and Megan Wolf all defeated their opponents in individual completion. In doubles it was a clean sweep for the Lady Bulldogs. The teams of junior Anna Costanzo and sophomore Maria Guerra won both their games 6-0, as did the senior team of Kaylynn Ruger and Amanda Swope.
Seniors Brooke Bittenbender and Ashley Taylor also easily defeated their opponents. The team of freshman Nicola Hosner and Amanda Munn played the closest doubles action of the night, defeating their opponents by scores of 6-2 and 6-1.
The soccer team had a rough start to the season with some big losses, but the girls put on an absolute clinic during an 8-0 shutout victory on home turf against Dowagiac on April 20.
Seniors Maddison Prebenda and Makenzie Olson each had a goal. Junior Carrie Cornett and sophomore Hailey Burr each had a couple of goals. Cornett’s second goal was probably the best of the night, coming off an excellent long-range cross assist from junior Amy Kosiba.