Monthly Archives: November 2018

Large Voter Turnout in Kalamazoo County Goes Mostly for the Dems

voteBy Sue Moore

Kalamazoo County went heavily blue for Democrats in some mid-term races last Tuesday, including rejection of Republican State Senator Margaret O’Brien’s bid for a second term. She lost to Democrat Sean McCann.

In contrast, the voters stayed with Republican state representatives in the 61st and 63rd districts, handing Brandt Iden his seat for a third term. Matt Hall won an overwhelming victory in the 63rd.

Further down the ballot, two elections that meant a lot locally were for Vicksburg’s Village Council and Schoolcraft’s school board. Rick Holmes, Carl Keller and Julie Merrill beat Denny Olson and Ron Smith for Vicksburg council four-year terms. In Schoolcraft, Darby Fetzer and Rachel Phelps edged out Michael Rochholz and Wade Rutkoskie for six-year school board terms.

John Gisler retained his seat on the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners but will be one of just three Republicans on the 11-member board that went overwhelmingly for Democrats.

In Wakeshma Township, the request for a 10-year road repair millage passed convincingly with 354 yes votes vs. 191 no votes.

Following are the actual vote counts:

Dist. 8, County Board

Candidate Party Votes
John Gisler Republican Party 6,043
Cody Dekker Democratic Party 4,249
Write-in Nonpartisan 3

Vicksburg Village Council

Candidate Votes
Rick Holmes 632
Carl E. Keller 569
Julie Merrill 680
Denny Olson 459
Ronald D. Smith 423
Write-in 17

Schoolcraft School Board

Candidate Votes
Darby Fetzer 1,111
Rachel Phelps 1,143
Michael Rochholz 1,034
Wade Rutkoskie 1,042
Write-in 19

61st State Rep District

Candidate Party Votes
Brandt Iden Republican Party 24,009
Alberta Griffin Democratic Party 22,725
Write-in Nonpartisan 164

63rd State Rep District

Candidate Party Votes
Matt Hall Republican Party 22,709
Jennifer Aniano Democratic Party 15,807
Ronald Hawkins Libertarian Party 1,059
John Anthony La Pietra Green Party 557
Write-in Nonpartisan 40

20th State Sen District

Candidate Party Votes
Margaret O’Brien Republican Party 48,197
Sean McCann Democratic Party 60,523
Lorence Wenke Libertarian Party 5,273
Write-in Nonpartisan 171

6th Congressional District

Candidate Party Votes
Fred Upton Republican Party 147,314
Matt Longjohn Democratic Party 134,069
Stephen J. Young U. S. Taxpayers Party 11,923
Write-in Nonpartisan 193





Schoolcraft Volleyball District Champions

DSC_9320fb copyBy Mark Blentlinger

Thursday, November 1st, in the gym of Schoolcraft High School, the Eagles were about to face off with the Comets of Kalamazoo Christian, for the District Championship. The 2 teams had seen each other twice previously in the season. The Eagles won the first meeting. The Comets were able to take the SAC tournament from the Eagles, in the second meeting, beating them 2-1, the weekend prior to the District tournament starting.

With the Championship and the continuation of the season on the line, both teams fan bases were in full force to cheer on their team. During the introduction of players, the lady Eagles tossed mini, autographed volleyballs into the crowd.

During play of these 2 teams, the atmosphere in the gymnasium was electric with every single point scored. Regardless of which team scored the point, the crowd would erupt as if that was the winning point.  Both teams were playing with so much energy, neither team was going to go down easy. The Eagles were able to come out on top in Set 1, winning it 25-15.  Set 2 was played just like the first, with the Eagles topping the Comets again, 25-15.

Set 3 started out with the Comets taking an early 7-3 lead.  The Eagles were able to work their way back and both teams went point for point with each other.  The Eagles were able to pull away taking Set 3, 25-19 and winning the District Championship.

After the game, Coach Onken remarked, “The girls came out in attack mode for the finals.  They really wanted this game, their constant enthusiasm showed that. The captains did an awesome job of keeping everyone pumped up and focused on the game plan.”  Onken was happy with the ball control and the attack, that was key. Tthe team minimized the unforced errors and kept the Comet defenders scrambling.

The stat leaders for the final were Andelyn Simkins and Maggie Morris having 11 kills each; Kayla Onken 6 Digs, Simkins 21, Kelby Goldschmeding, Madi Ballett 10 digs.  The team combined for a total of 8 aces and Kayla Onken led the team with assists at 28. Next up for the Eagles is Nile/Brandywine at Bronson, November 6th, at 7:30 for the Regional semifinals.

Gearig Finishes as Conference and Regional Champion in Bulldog Tennis

By Travis Smola

The Vicksburg varsity tennis team had another strong showing to close out the year. But it fell just short of its intended goal.

“I thought we were going to go to state but we didn’t,” Head Coach Warner Offord said after their Regional meet in Sturgis. “We had a good season.”

The team took third place overall in the Conference tournament on Oct. 9. Once again, it was the senior singles stars that finished strong. Ayden Flickinger, Jonathan Perkins and Corbin Wallace all finished in second place. Fellow senior Sam Gearig won the number four singles Conference title.

A week later he was also the only Bulldog left standing as he won again to earn a Regional title, beating out Niles, 6-0, 6-0, St. Joseph 6-1, 6-3, and finally Stevensville Lakeshore, 6-2, 6-1 as his teammates watched. They swarmed the court for him after his victory. “Sam Gearig did a fantastic job today,” Offord said.

“They played to the best of their ability, but some of the other teams were a lot better than us today,” Offord said. “We had opportunity but we just couldn’t finish it.”

This year’s team will lose almost all of its singles stars in Perkins, Wallace and Gearig. They’ll also lose Jacob Henderson, Ricky Laham, David Rutt and Kevin Veld on doubles. “Next year is going to be a long season, we’re going to have a rebuilding season next year,” Offord said. “I just hope that we get back to this position again and have an opportunity to go to state.”


Bulldog Cross Country Team is Lowering Its Times

By Travis Smola

Vicksburg cross country finally found some more favorable running conditions as the season wound down.

The Bulldogs faced another really tough challenge during a Wolverine Conference Jamboree in Three Rivers at Myer Broadway Park. The park’s hills and an unusually warm day made for slower than normal times for most all the runners.

“It’s not a fast course by any means,” Head Coach Lucas Wolthuis said. “It’s a true cross country course. It’s hilly, it’s competitive. It forces you to not only beat those around you but also beat yourself.”

Both the boys’ and girls’ teams ended up finishing second at the meet. Wolthuis knew there likely wouldn’t be any personal or season records at the meet. This race was more strategic on placing. “I think our kids overall did a good job of worrying less about the course and more about where they were in relation to the other teams,” he added.

At the Wolverine Conference Championship, conditions were much better. The boys finished fifth while the girls finished seventh. Freshman Sam Richardson set a new personal record (PR) for the girls and Ben Welch set a new season record for the boys.

The Bulldogs also did well at the Otsego Bulldog Invite at the end of September. On the girls’ side, Sawyer Barton, Avalee Goodman, Hannah Fenwick, Riley-Ann Bierema and Savina Centofanti all set new PRs. Angel Currie set a new season record.

The same event saw Jacob Malocha and Levi Thomas both run under 18 minutes while setting new PRs. Joey Loriso, Jackson Hambright and Ben Hambright both also ran new PRs under twenty minutes.

“Times are starting to drop and kids are starting to come around,” Wolthuis said.

Vicksburg Soccer Wraps Up Rough Season

vix soccerBy Travis Smola

The varsity boys’ soccer team wrapped up another rough season in Vicksburg with an 8-0 loss in District competition against Sturgis.

The team finished with a 1-13-4 record on the year. Their only win was a 5-3 contest against Parchment back in August. Late in the year, the team had some disciplinary issues and in their second-to-last game of the year, they only fielded 11 players against Three Rivers.

That left an opportunity for some new players who hadn’t gotten playing time before and freshman Adrian Knauer scored for the Bulldogs in his first game all year. Unfortunately, Vicksburg fell in the contest, 6-1. Vicksburg had some good pressures on net a few times, but just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

“We played really well the first half, but then the second half we made some mistakes that cost us,” Head Coach Lohou Boulnemour said.

Vicksburg Volleyball Just Misses Share of Conference Title

By Travis Smola

The Lady Bulldogs had a perfect 7-0 record against Wolverine Conference rivals until they matched up against Edwardsburg in mid-October.

The girls won the first set against the Eddies 25-22 after rallying from seven points down. But then Vicksburg lost in three straight sets, 25-23, 25-14 and 25-12. The loss meant the girls missed a share of the Wolverine Conference title. The following week, the Lady Bulldogs went on the road against Three Rivers and lost in very similar fashion. Vicksburg took the first set 25-17 before losing the next three sets 25-22, 25-19 and 25-23.

“We definitely didn’t execute the things that we should have, for sure,” Assistant coach Chad Miller said. The Wildcats team and fans were extremely fired up for the whole match-up. “Full credit to Three Rivers. Don’t take anything away from them, they played well,” Miller said.

The Lady Bulldogs were in all the games, but always seemed to be playing catchup from two points down to Three Rivers the whole night. Defensively, Miller said they could have played better. “We tried to correct it, we tried to move some pieces around, but we just couldn’t get there tonight,” Miller said.

“It’s a game of inches, it’s a 30 foot by 30 foot court on your side,” he added. “But if you’re not in the right spot by inches it’s just not good enough and we weren’t in the right spot tonight.”

He does still feel they’ve had a very successful year. There are just a few adjustments to make before the first game of Districts on November 1. Miller said they are looking forward to another chance for retribution against Edwardsburg.

Schoolcraft Soccer Wins First District Semi-Final Game


By Travis Smola

Schoolcraft soccer made marked improvements over last season. That culminated in the team’s first District semi-final win in an aggressively-played, 4-0 contest against Constantine.

“The boys played a great game today,” Head Coach Chad Earles said after the victory. “We got a little sloppy towards the end of the first half, but we got up early on them with two goals. Constantine, they’re a tough team. They played hard, they played very physical.”

Sophomore Myalz Berkheiser opened the scoring for the Eagles. Senior Chandler Guiter added to the score with two goals of his own. Senior Buddy Kelecava gets the credit for the last goal. It came on a shot that Constantine accidentally deflected into their net. The game marked the first time the Eagles have won in the semi-finals and first time they’ve made it to the District finals.

It’s a marked turnaround from last year when the team was losing by large margins. This year they’ve kept all but one game close while tallying an 8-9-1 record with a 4-3-1 record in the conference.

The boys moved on to face Dowagiac the following week in the District Final and got out to an early lead on a Jacob Steeby goal. But the Chieftains ultimately took the game 3-1 and ended the Eagles’ season.

“Our stats don’t show how good of a team we actually are,” Earles said. “We’ve lost a lot of close games because we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”