Category Archives: Sports

2018 Vicksburg Athletics Hall of Fame Recipients Named

By Sue Moore

The highest honor for a Vicksburg former athlete is induction into the sports Hall of Fame. It has honored 83 athletes since its founding in 1987.

It’s not just the highest achieving athletes that receive this honor, according to Coach Jon Kachniewicz. “Another part of the consideration is what they have done for their community once they have graduated from Vicksburg High School. This year’s nominees reflect that thinking as both Robert (Bob) Critz and Dave Maneikis have given back many times over to their respective communities.”

Critz earned four varsity letters, two in football and two in tennis, then went on to a 48-year career in coaching football in Allegan, Mendon, Colon and Centreville. He played first singles his senior year in 1960 and second singles as a junior.

His greatest team was the 1972 Mendon football contingent that went undefeated and was named state champion in class D by the Associated Press; there were no playoffs in those early years. He had Rock Klinger as his quarterback and Tim Baker as a receiver. “I just stayed out of their way and let them play,” Critz said. He was head coach in Mendon from 1969 to 1974, then went to Colon for four years to become part-time athletic director, history teacher and head coach. He moved to Centreville in 1979 but still worked the sidelines in Mendon as assistant coach, retiring from teaching in 2003.

He was high school track coach for 21 years at his various schools and golf and basketball coach at Mendon at various times. He was selected as the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) class D track coach of the year in 1998. Critz was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1994.

He and his wife, Barb, have three children. All have gone into the teaching field.

Maneikis claims he wasn’t an all-star athlete while at Vicksburg High School as he was lettering in football, basketball and baseball. He graduated in 1970 and went on to get his associates degree from Michigan State University in electrical technology. He came back to Vicksburg to go into business with his father, Ed. He began his career of umpiring as an Michigan High School Athletic Association official in baseball, basketball and softball from 1974 to 1986.

Umpiring four or five days a week, Maneikis also volunteered as announcer for Vicksburg’s athletic programs in football, basketball and wrestling. With bad knees, he spent more time in recent years keeping score books and operating scoreboards for Vicksburg’s teams.

He was a charter member of the Vicksburg Athletic Boosters in 1983 and has logged 45 years of continuous service to the Vicksburg athletic program. “I volunteer because it gives me a way to give back to the school and community,” Maneikis said.

He and his wife, Sue, have twin daughters. They helped him with his scorekeeping duties as they were growing up.

Schoolcraft Sports Teams

Here are the photos and rosters of Schoolcraft High School’s Spring sports teams.

Vicksburg Sports Teams

Here are the photos and rosters of Vicksburg High School’s Spring sports teams.

Schoolcraft Loses Regional Match to Kalamazoo Christian

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Chris Cooper, number 33 for the Eagles, directs his teammates during the deciding game against Kalamazoo Christian. Photo by Travis Smola.

By Travis Smola

The Schoolcraft varsity boys’ basketball team had three chances of advancing to the quarterfinal round in the final nail-biting seconds of their regional game against rival Kalamazoo Christian.

But each of the shots from right under the basket failed to go in. The Eagles fell to the Comets by the narrowest of margins, 45-44.

It was a devastating way to finish the season as the Eagles came close to avenging their two regular season losses to the Comets. Head Coach Randy Small said the game was a tough loss, but praised the boys’ resolve in fighting to the end. “The kids played their hearts out,” he said.

Senior Riley Piper led the way in scoring with 12 points. He was closely followed by sophomore Kobe Clark’s 10 points. Senior Jakob Huysken put up nine points and fellow senior Trenton Lomason put up eight including a late three that helped keep the Eagles in the game.

The Comets got out to a fast lead in the first quarter before the Eagles were able to close the gap in the second. In the third, the game became a total dogfight as the two teams traded scoring blows back and forth. Schoolcraft finally took a 33-32 lead to end the third quarter.

But Kalamazoo Christian was able to take the lead right back and Schoolcraft was down 41-38 when it was able to get a key steal. The steal led to a clutch three-pointer by junior Chris Cooper and a tie game 41-41 with 2:18 left in the game.

With just 1:02 left in the game, the Eagles were able to re-gain a 44-43 lead. Unfortunately, those were their last points of the game. Some fouls and free throws allowed the Comets to tie the game again and then take the lead with just 17.6 seconds left in the game.

In the final seconds, Schoolcraft got a shot and two rebounds right under the rim. But the shot wouldn’t go. Time ran out, silencing a formerly rowdy crowd of Eagles Fans.

Small noted a few late calls could have gone either way and some missed shot opportunities in the fourth helped in keeping the game so close. “So many little things affected the outcome,” Small said.

Schoolcraft ends its season with a 17-7 overall record.

Schoolcraft’s Perfect Season Ends in Quarter Finals Loss

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Lydia Goble, number 10 for the Eagles and their leading scorer, is announced during the pre-game introductions.

By Travis Smola

Perfection ended for the Schoolcraft girls’ varsity basketball team, but not before it gave one of the best teams in the state a real scare.

The Eagles fell 61-55 in the girls’ basketball quarter finals against Ypsilanti Arbor Prep in a battle of a game. “We left it all on the court,” Head Coach Steve Kulczyk said.

He said he felt like a few missed rebounds could have ultimately helped swing momentum in the Gators’ favor. The girls sank 19 free throws in the contest, including nine by senior Lydia Goble.

Going into the contest, Goble only needed seven points to go over the 1,000 point mark in her career. She easily surpassed that and ended the game with 20, including three three-pointers. Gabi Saxman was the next highest scorer for the Eagles, putting up 15 points, seven of which came on the free throw line.

Freshman Anna Schuppel put up nine points and was a key player under the rim using her height to bring down rebounds and give Schoolcraft additional opportunities. Late in the third, she took an elbow to the jaw from a Gator defender which cut her lip, but she quickly shook it off and got back in the game only minutes later.

Kennedy Leighton also had a strong game, sinking three clutch three pointers including one late to keep the Eagles in the game.

The score was actually tied 12-12 after one quarter and Ypsilanti Arbor Prep held just a two-point lead 28-26 at the half. In the third, the two teams traded the lead back and forth multiple times.

Even though Kulczyk felt the team took good shots all game long, as the game got into the waning minutes, the Gators built their lead up to six. And the importance of some of the missed free throws earlier in the game became a little more obvious. “That’s been our Achilles’ heel all season,” Kulczyk said.

But he also noted that the team they faced has several future college athletes, including at least one that will play ball at the Division 1 level. The Eagles were still able to keep these talented players in check. Neither team had more than a six point lead. “To beat a team like this, you’ve got to be clicking,” Kulczyk said.

He still felt it was a great season. Fans may be disappointed, but there will still be plenty to look forward to as the team will have several talented players returning. Schoolcraft finishes its season with a 25-1 record.

Schoolcraft Bowlers Qualify for State Tournament

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State qualifiers Spencer White and Chloe Baldwin.

By Mark Blentlinger, Schoolcraft bowling coach

Schoolcraft bowling teams fell short of their goal of making it to the state finals. However, they did have two bowlers extend their season at the individual level for the Regional tournament on February 24.

Seniors Chloe Baldwin and Spencer White showed they had what it took to finish among the top 10 at what would prove to be the highest scoring Regional in Division 4. On the girls’ side of the lanes, the winning average was 199.3, with the boys’ top place finisher averaging a 223.0.

Baldwin was able to work through a couple of early low scoring games, coming back to qualify among the top 10, finishing 4th with an average of 178.0.

White started off his day with a 222 game, putting him in the top 10 most of the tournament. A low scoring game dropped him into 16th place with one game left to go. He knew it was his last chance to do what he needed to in order to get into the coveted top 10.  Spencer rolled his high game of 235 and secured an 8th place finish, qualifying for State with a 198.5 average.

At the State level it can be very intimidating knowing you are bowling against the top 60 bowlers in the state.  Every one of them had the vision of finishing with that state champion medal around their neck.

Baldwin finished in 21st with a six-game average of 162.3. Spencer finished in the 23rd spot with an average of 180.0.

It is the 4th year in a row the program has sent either a team or individuals to the State competition. The girls’ team finished 7th overall in the KVA and the boys’ team finished 4th this season.

Vicksburg’s Season Ends in Overtime District Thriller

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Kyle Rose, number 50 for Vicksburg, goes up for a rebound. Caleb Conklin is number 20 in the background. Photo by Travis Smola.

By Travis Smola

The Vicksburg varsity boys’ basketball team didn’t go down without a fight in the first round of District play against Paw Paw.

The Bulldogs played a wild rollercoaster of a game that couldn’t be resolved in regulation time. Vicksburg ultimately lost to the Redskins 59-52 in overtime. “They played their hearts out,” Head Coach Jeff Lovell said of his team’s performance.

Vicksburg jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter of the game, but it quickly became apparent Paw Paw wasn’t going to go away quietly. The score was 12-11 in the Bulldog’s favor after one quarter. In the second it was all Paw Paw and they stretched out their lead to seven points at halftime.

It set the stage for a spectacular second half of the game where the two sides traded leads multiple times. Leading the scoring for the Bulldogs was senior CJ Laske, who put up 20 points for the team. Fellow senior Garrett Ketelaar was shut down by the Redskin defense before putting up 12 points in the second half of the game to keep Vicksburg right in the thick of things.

The Bulldogs also saw some outstanding defense from brothers Tyler and James Kienbaum, especially in the game’s later minutes.

Vicksburg was up by as many as four points with seven minutes to go before Paw Paw cut it to one before tying the score 50-50 with just 1:13 left in the game. The Redskins had the ball for the last 22 seconds of the game, but the Bulldog defense shut them down to force overtime.

The Bulldogs won the tip-off in overtime and had the first chance to score, but the ball became wedged between the backboard and rim. After that, Paw Paw’s defense seemed to clamp down and Vicksburg only scored two points on a couple of free throws during the extra time period.

The Bulldogs finish the season with a 6-15 record, but that record wasn’t really indicative of how good the team actually was. Many of their losses this year were close games just like this and there was no doubt Vicksburg gave Paw Paw quite the scare in the game. “We had our chances,” Lovell said.