Category Archives: Sports

Vicksburg Golf Places 8th in Conference

vix golf 2By Travis Smola

The Vicksburg varsity boys’ golf team had some struggles this year, most of them due to unpredictable Michigan weather.

The team was able to get some practices at the Dome during the cold and snowy days, but golfing inside can’t compare to hitting the links for real. “Everybody plays in it (the weather), but it made it a lot more difficult,” Head Coach Rob Johnson said after the team finished up its Conference tournament at Doster Lake Country Club in Plainwell.

The Bulldogs came in eighth place after shooting a 396 for 18 holes. It was senior Cameron Haase who had the low round for the team, shooting an 87, which earned him 11th place individually. Haase also made first-team All-Conference. Fellow senior Cody VanderHorst and freshman Taylor Harvey also broke 100 with a 99 and 97 respectively. Brett Manski and Gabriel VanDyke each shot a 114.

Shooting those numbers was no easy task on Doster Lake’s rolling and narrow fairways that often hid hazards not visible from the tee box. Johnson said it is one of the most challenging courses they played on all year.

Lady Bulldogs Soccer Loaded with Youth

By Travis Smola

Things are looking up this year for the Vicksburg varsity girls’ soccer team. It’s made big strides of improvement over last season.

This year’s team fielded just three seniors in Hailey Burr, Riley Sibley and Emmaline Miller. Head Coach Mike Moldolvan praised the three girls for their senior leadership all year after a close game against St. Joseph.

The girls ended up dropping that close contest to the Bears 1-0. But in reality, it could have gone either way. Burr and freshmen Chloe Hatridge and Brady Brown all came very close to putting the ball in the back of the net early in the first half.

Freshman goalkeeper Haley Town made several nice saves in the contest. St. Joseph’s only goal came on a scrum in front of the net and an unlucky bounce.

A much improved season comes with some additional excitement because they are fielding 10 freshmen this year. The team started off its season on the right foot with a 1-0 win over Kalamazoo Loy Norrix. It also picked up close wins against Stevensville Lakeshore 1-0 and Conference rival Edwardsburg 3-1. The biggest win of the year was an 8-0 shutout of Dowagiac.

More than that, the girls have been in every game they’ve played this season thanks to a much-improved defense that has four shutout victories. “They hold their own against any team out there,” Moldovan said.

Lady Bulldog Tennis Finishes Sixth in Conference

By Travis Smola

Not one, not two, but three separate weather delays caused the Vicksburg varsity girls’ tennis team to wrap up its Conference meet weeks later than normal.

The two top finishers for the Lady Bulldogs were sophomore Hailey Klimek in the number three singles and senior Sophia Breitenbach in the number four singles. Both finished in fourth place. The team finished its season third in the division with a 2-2 record and sixth overall in conference.

This year’s team was mostly made up of younger players. While the team didn’t rack up a lot of wins, it did show a lot of potential. Against Three Rivers, the team managed an 8-0 shutout at the end of April.

Only one game went to a third set and that was Breitenbach’s match. She lost the initial set 2-6 before coming back to win the next two 6-4. Senior MaKenna Leach won both her sets 6-0 in the number one singles. Junior Ady Reno won the number two singles 6-4 and 6-3.

In doubles action seniors Madison Lowes and Sierra Stevens won their match 6-1, 6-2 against the rival Wildcats. Senior Kaylie Ruch and sophomore Kaitlynn Szydlowski won the number two doubles 7-6, 6-2.

Juniors Zoe Blough and Maia Fleck took the number three doubles 6-2 and 6-0 and juniors Brandi Bowdish and Montana Rose won the number four doubles 6-4 and 6-4.

Lady Bulldogs Keep the Bats Hot as Regular Season Winds Down

vix softball 4By Travis Smola

The Vicksburg varsity softball team put on a batting clinic against Otsego in a “Battle of the Bulldogs” matchup on the road. Vicksburg extended its record to 26-7 overall and 16-2 in conference after wins of 17-8 and 11-1.

The girls started off game one of the double-header red hot, scoring four runs. Otsego got two back in the first and second but then Vicksburg took control in the top of the third thanks to a monster triple on a bases-loaded play by senior Keagan Kelley that brought three Lady Bulldogs home.

Kelley was a hitting machine all night as she also had a two-run RBI in the top of the fourth inning of the second game and a solo home run in the top of the sixth of the first game.

Pretty much every player on the roster had a hit against Otsego. Rylie Richter, Avery Slancik, Kelsey Diekman, Camille Wadley, Lilian Vaughn and Tailynn Knapp all had strong showings at the plate, racking up multiple hits and RBIs.

As has become the norm for this team, they also feasted on Otsego’s many mistakes to advance runners while minimizing their own errors on defense.

The team is in good position to make a run as the regular season ends and moves to post-season play. Head Coach Paul Gephart praised his young roster for the way they’ve gotten stronger and gained confidence as the year as the season has progressed. “The more they’ve played, the more they’ve gelled,” he said.

Bulldogs Track and Field Season Hampered by Weather

vix track 5By Travis Smola

Vicksburg’s track and field teams had an especially rough time adjusting to conditions due to Michigan’s wildly unpredictable spring weather this year.

Boys’ co-head coaches Jon Kachniewicz and Dave Smith both agreed on their weather frustrations as rain started spitting down on the Regional track meet. The teams actually had to make up the Conference meet after Regionals due to weather delays. The boys ended up tied for second with Plainwell and the girls took third once make-ups were done for the Conference meet.

In spite of the weather, Kachniewicz said “things have gone very well.” The boys’ team had a very successful year as they ran neck-and-neck all season with Otsego. Unfortunately the Bulldogs just couldn’t compete with Otsego’s talented long-distance runners. At Regionals, the team finished seventh.

Junior Casey Hall finished third in the 400 meters while senior Jacob Klimp set a new personal record (PR) in the 800, finishing third. The 4×400 relay saw Jacob Wisser, CJ Laske, Klimp and Hall also get a third place finish.

The high jump event saw junior James Kienbaum put on his best showing of the year with a new PR of 5 feet, 7 inches, landing him in sixth place.

Things went a little better on the girls’ side. The Lady Bulldogs finished third overall in the Regional meet. Junior Mia Mulhearn earned a trip to state after she won the 300-meter hurdles. Fellow junior Grace Wile also punched her ticket to state with a second-place finish in the 200 meters.

The team also had success in the relays with Amelia Ruger, Mulhearn, Riley-Ann Bierema and Hanna Flickinger taking second in the 4×400 relay and earning a trip to the state meet.

The team of Wile, Bierema, Kinsay Riddle and Mulhearn came in third and just two seconds short of qualifying for state in the 4×200 relay.

The boys’ team is especially looking forward to their incoming junior varsity athletes. The JV squad won the JV Wolverine Conference Championship in Three Rivers the week prior.

“That’s a real boost for the future that those kids can go down there and win,” Kachniewicz said.

Schoolcraft Appoints a New Head Football Coach

Nathan Ferency
Coach Nathan Ferency in action with his Shephard football team in 2017.

By Sue Moore

“Any coach wants to be in a community that values football,” said Nathan Ferency, just named Schoolcraft’s new head football coach.

He comes from the small town of Sanford, in the Midland area. Ferency graduated from Albion College, where he played strong safety and linebacker. He has coached football in Shepherd, a village southeast of Mt. Pleasant, for the last five years.

Ferency said he likes the idea of stepping into a successful program where two Hall of Fame coaches have set the standard of excellence for many years. “It brings some pressures and challenges that I welcome.” His challenge in the Shepherd schools was having just six juniors on his team that went 2-7 last year. Previous to that, he had built a program from the ground up, going 5-4 in 2016 – the first winning season the school had experienced in several years.

He spent a year as head JV football coach and two years as an assistant, also at Shepherd. Coach Ferency also served as the president of the Shepherd Youth Football program, lead the powerlifting team at Shepherd High, and coached high school baseball and softball and middle school basketball. Ferency started his career as an assistant football coach and physical education teacher at Northwest High School in Jackson, where he also served as a varsity assistant softball coach and strength and conditioning coach.

He and his wife Molli and their two boys, Camden, 4, and Ty, 2, will be looking for a home in Schoolcraft as soon as theirs is sold in Shepherd. They are expecting another boy in November. The couple met at Albion College. Ferency said she knew he was headed into the coaching field. She bought into it and is his biggest, most enthusiastic supporter. He will join the high school staff in Schoolcraft as a physical education and health teacher.

Baseball Team Sports a Winning Record

By Sue Moore

The Schoolcraft Eagles baseball team’s record is 16-11 overall and 6-6 in the SAC conference. Coach Larry Phelps said Marc Shaink has pitched very well. “Jett Gott and Connor Nutt have been leading our offense along with Dalton and Wyatt Adams. With a very young team, we are working hard to improve our defense and be ready for the district tournament on June 2.”

Schoolcraft plays Lawton first, then the winner of the Galesburg, Parchment, Comstock bracket. “Everyone is a team to beat at tournament time. We just have to control how we play and not who we play,” Phelps said. The team will advance to regional play after winning their district contests last week.