Schoolcraft wrestlers advance

By Mark Blentlinger

Golden Eagle grapplers hit the mats at the regional championships on February 18, and by the end of the day, four wrestlers earned their way to the state individual championship at Ford Field March 3 and 4. Five wrestlers hoped to stand on the championship platform: Tagg Gott, Ryan Ling, Isaac Noora, Gavin Hart and Treasure Fox. Treasure will wrestle in the girls’ division after placing 4th in regionals.

Two regional champions were crowned. Senior Tagg Gott pinned his first opponent, Isaac Shively, a junior from Jones, at the 4:20 mark. Gott’s next match with Jacob Dixon of Bronson went the distance. Again, Gott came out the victor, winning 2-1. The final match of the 190-pound weight class saw Gott face off against Eli DeYoung of Gobles. At the 3:27 mark, Gott pinned DeYoung and won the regional championship in his weight class. In the 157-pound class, Ryan Ling won his first match by a 13-6 decision against Caleb Wendt. Mason Lindsey of Bronson was next up for Ling. After three periods, Ling was ahead 4-3 for the win. In the championship round, he faced off against Brody Meade from Decatur. After a full three periods Ling was the victor, 3-2.

Isaac Noora had a bye in the first round of the 165-pound class, giving him a chance to prepare for his second-round match with Caleb Lane of White Pigeon. Noora came out the victor, winning the match 7-5. This sent Noora to the championship round with hopes to make it three Eagle champions. His opponent was Carter Cosby from Lawton. Unfortunately for Noora, Cosby pinned him at the 2:20 mark. Gavin Hart won his first match against Luke Watson of Delton but then lost by pin to Jacob Britton from Bronson. Hart then moved into the losers’ bracket and faced off with James Lux of Mendon. Hart came out the victor. His match for 3rd place went just into the 3rd period, when he fell to Harley Robinson of Homer at the 0.48 second mark.

Results of the state Individual championship will be in next month’s issue.

Golden Eagle bowling regional results

By Mark Blentlinger

The Golden Eagle bowling teams headed to Jackson to compete in the Division 4 Region 21 championship. This Region could be considered the toughest in all of Division 4 with some of the biggest powerhouse teams in the state. The reigning state champion girls’ team from Bronson was there with hopes to place in the top 3 teams to advance. But so were 15 other teams.

Over the past 13 seasons, eight girls’ teams from this region have won the state championship. Vandercook Lake has won five and Bronson, three.

At the end of the day on Friday, February 24th, Jonesville ladies and Grass Lake men’s team had their picture taken with the regional championship trophies. Finishing in the top three for boys were Bronson, 2nd and Jackson Lumen Christi, 3rd. The Schoolcraft men’s team struggled to find the right line and finished up the day in 13th place, shooting a team score of 2187. The winning team, Grass Lake, had a total of 3252 for the day. The ladies from Schoolcraft finished the day in 12th place with 2188. That night at dinner the ladies had bragging rights, knowing they topped their men’s team by 1 pin.

On the ladies’ side, Jonesville topped all the teams with a 2880, while Hanover Horton finished in 2nd and reigning champion Bronson claimed 3rd with a 2568. Saturday the 25th was the Individual portion where 78 ladies hit the lanes shooting to finish in the top 10 individuals to continue their bowling season one more week. For Schoolcraft, the ladies’ highest finisher was Alayna Meade in 18th, falling just 26 pins shy of making the top 10. Meade shot 122, 159, 177, 121, 185, 132. Molly Pearce placed 30th with 110, 133, 144, 146, 144, 167. Hope Wright, Schoolcraft’s state champion in trap shooting and first year bowler, placed 43rd with 122, 115, 125, 145, 142, 126. Catie Wright was 49th with 108, 131, 122, 104, 146, 146. Heidi Sheen was 65th with 115, 89, 109, 124, 97, 137. Addison Haley was 68th with 89, 102, 107, 128, 115, 108. The only lady bowler that will return next year is Addison Haley. All other members are seniors.

The Golden Eagle men had to compete in a field of 98 other bowlers. Schoolcraft’s highest man finisher was senior Shaun Sampsell in 62nd with scores of 96, 151, 169, 144, 135, 112; Lucas Hamelink, 63rd, 141, 142, 92, 120, 123, 188.

Brayden Kroetsch, 75th, 128, 133, 124, 1549, 109, 112; Garett Dzierzyc, 81st, 129, 94, 127, 113, 125, 123; Lukas Rinderspacher, 82nd 107, 87, 131, 114, 120, 146.

Bulldogs end perfect season with playoff win

Vicksburg’s Kendra Cooley and Hannah DeVries.

By Travis Smola

The Vicksburg varsity girls’ basketball team didn’t start off the season planning to go undefeated, but the team’s approach to one game at a time eventually got them there. The Bulldogs ended their season with a 53-38 win over rival Edwardsburg on the road, and then followed that up with a solid 53-30 win over Marshall in their first game of District play.

“Us getting to 22-0 was unthinkable, really. That wasn’t our goal,” Head Coach Tim Kirby said. “You always want to win them all, but you don’t ever really think you’re going to win them all as the season goes on.”

With the game against Marshall being on home court, the girls fed off the energy of the crowd to get off to a 17-0 lead early in the first. It was 23-3 after the first period and the Redhawks had no answer against the stifling Vicksburg defense.

Marshall tried to key in on Maddison Diekman all evening and just ended up handing the Bulldogs easy points as she sunk seven free throws on her way to 19 points, and seven rebounds. Makayla Allen caused problems for the Redhawks inside all evening, scoring 14 points, 12 of which came on field goals.

Emma Steele was the next leading scorer with nine points. Scarlett Hosner was a key play on defense all evening, knocking down several shot opportunities and scoring seven points and bringing down six rebounds. Hannah DeVries rounded out the scoring with four points on a field goal and two free throws.

The game was 35-10 at the half and 46-17 after three. It was only in the final minutes that Marshall was able to finally start putting some points on the board. By that point, it was too late. Kirby credited the support of the community as being a huge factor in the team’s success. Many of their wins, especially against teams like Sturgis, Three Rivers, and Otsego this year have been blowouts.

“The last six weeks have been unbelievable with the crowd support,” Kirby said. “Our fans, we kind of feed off that energy early. It kind of started with our first Edwardsburg game. The crowd was pretty full for that first Edwardsburg game, and I think they kind of helped propel us a little bit.

“I think our girls just feed off the energy. It’s so neat to come in, and see the gym full with people here to support us, and support our team. And our girls deserve that. They’ve had an incredible season, they deserve the support.”

The historic nature of this season isn’t lost on Kirby, although he said originally their goal was to simply win 18 games and win the conference. It wasn’t until a nailbiter 60-57 win over Stevensville Lakeshore at the end of January that the team realized a perfect season was a possibility.

“Being honest, once we got over the Lakeshore game, we started to feel a little bit like ‘Okay, we’ve got a shot at this,’” Kirby said. “So, 22-0 for the regular season, it’s awesome, it’s something that can never be beaten, it can be matched someday, but they’re not going to expand over 22 games. So, that’s a record that will probably stand forever here. But now, it’s a new season, 22-0 doesn’t matter in the playoffs.”

One major key to the success of the Bulldogs this year has simply been not looking too far ahead on the schedule. The girls have taken every contest one game at a time.

“Even when you get teams that you know you’re quite a bit better than, you don’t want to look two or three games ahead to Edwardsburg or whoever that next big game is because you’ve got to win the one that’s right in front of you,” Kirby said. “I honestly think Marshall was a dangerous team tonight. We watched them tonight and we couldn’t look ahead to Olivet. And we don’t look ahead. These girls, they just come in every day, and we work, and we focus, and we prepare for that next game.”