Saugatuck girls sports see an epic rise
Kasey Losik couldn’t hold back the tears, and neither could her teammates. Being a part of Saugatuck history was extremely emotional, especially since Losik didn’t think she would witness the Trailblazers claim their first district championship in school history with a 6-1 win over Black River on Thursday in the Division 4 districts. Losik started the game but left after a collision knocked her to the ground head first. She was forced to go to the hospital and be evaluated for concussion protocol. She arrived back at the field for the final couple of minutes to be a part of the celebration and validation of the Saugatuck soccer program. “This is everything that we have worked for. I am incredibly proud of all these girls,” Losik said. “This was unbelievable. I knew we were capable of it, but to actually pull through and do it, is unbelievable. Our group has been the group that everyone in Saugatuck has talked about for years. We have fallen short over the years, so for us to nail it down is so special.” Saugatuck also had similar storylines in volleyball and basketball as the girls teams put together some of the best seasons in team history. The senior group led by Zoe Myers, Karrisa Moerler and Katie Ayers brought a new level to each sport. The volleyball team nearly put together an undefeated regular season, claiming a conference title, while the basketball team nearly did the same.
AJ Ediger breaks scoring record
AJ Ediger grabbed a rebound and scored, just as she has hundreds of times, but the clock stopped and her teammates erupted. It was the middle of the first quarter, so Ediger was understandably stunned by the commotion. They knew something Ediger didn’t know — she had just broken Hamilton’s all-time scoring record. “It was absolute confusion at first. I didn’t know my totals and I thought I was at least 100 points away from coming close to the record,” Ediger said. “Then I saw the confetti and everything and I was like, ‘OH!’ It almost brought me to tears. This team is super special with our emotional connection. It was a really special moment and I am so glad I got to share it with this group of girls. There have definitely been a lot of milestones with the team, but having that one that says ‘AJ Ediger’ definitely feels special to be able put a lasting mark on it.”
West Ottawa cross country fourth in state
It has been a record-breaking stretch for the West Ottawa girls cross country team, as the Panthers have gradually moved their way up to become one of the best teams in the state. That upward trend continued on Friday morning, as the Panthers finished fourth in the Division 1 State Cross Country meet at Michigan International Speedway, beating the school record that they had set just last year (seventh place) for the best result in school history. “We had aspirations to maybe get up into the top two and finish up on the podium, but that was more of a hope, not an expectation,” said second-year West Ottawa girls coach Kyle Barnes. “Back in July, the girls set a goal of getting into the top five. When they said that back then, I wasn’t sure if we could totally do it. But they trained really hard and bought in and now we’ve got the best finish in school history. I’m pretty pleased.” The Panthers were paced by sophomore Arianne Olson, who followed up her second-place finish last year as a freshman with another all-state performance, as she finished eighth overall in a time of 18 minutes, 16.59 seconds. Twin sisters Sophie and Abby Bonnema helped out West Ottawa’s cause as well, as Sophie placed 56th overall in 19:33.09 and Abby was 57th in 19:34.11. West Ottawa sophomore Megan Postma finished 91st with a time of 20:03.30. Kaia Denhof was 138th in 20:38.24, Lillian Reiner placed 150th in 20:45.23 and Abby Green rounded things out for the Panthers, finishing in 238th with a time of 22:25.75.
West Ottawa tennis takes seventh at D1 state; No. 4 doubles wins
The West Ottawa girls tennis team scored 14 points to finish seventh at the Division 1 state tournament. At No. 4 doubles, Kamryn Dumas-Megan Blake completed their undefeated season by winning the state title in their flight. “I believe their ability to perform under pressure was the number one reason Kam and Megan separated from the other top fourth doubles teams, who were basically just as talented as we were,” West Ottawa coach Pete Schwallier said. They defeated Traverse City Central 6-0, 6-4 in the quarterfinals before beating Troy 6-3, 6-3 in the semis and Bloomfield Hills 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4 in the finals to finish unbeaten this season. At No. 2 singles, West Ottawa’s Jeanne Hecquet defeated Novi’s Hikaru Ishibashi 7-6(5), 6-4 before losing in the quarterfinals. At No. 3 singles, Chloe Duckworth defeated Troy’s Josie Billinger 7-5, 6-2 before being defeated in the quarterfinals. At No. 4 singles, Grace Gaul defeated Stoney Creek’s Paris Pryber 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the first round before falling to top-seeded Ann Arbor Pioneer in the second round. At No. 1 doubles, Kelly Linart-Adria Hamilton defeated Utica Eisenhower 6-3, 7-6(4) before being defeated by Pioneer in the quarterfinals. At No. 2 doubles, Kaitlyn Meyer-Maddie Moored won their first-round match 6-1, 6-0 over Salem before falling to top-ranked Bloomfield Hills in the second round. At No. 3 doubles, Halle Pratt-Rachel Kennedy won their first-round match 7-5, 6-2 over Romeo before falling to Northville in the second round.
Holland Christian tennis takes fifth at D3 state
The Holland Christian girls tennis team finished with 13 points at the Division 3 state tournament to take fifth. Maggie Shoemaker at No. 2 singles, Marissa Baker at No. 3 singles and Bria Lampen at No. 4 singles all reached the semifinals with two wins. “Our goal was to make it to day two and all three girls had to play the No. 1 seed from Cranbrook-Kingswood so it was quite ironic we set just to go simply have fun, enjoy the moment and see where the cards fell,” Holland Christian coach Lynn Bender said. Shoemaker defeated Chelsea’s Sierra Martinez-Kratz 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals then fell to top-seeded Cranbrook-Kingswood in the semifinals. Baker defeated Grand Rapids Christian’s Natalie Poortenga 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Lampen defeated St. Johns’ Isabel Thelen 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. “The fact we had a full season and how blessed we were to even get this far and be thankful for it,” Bender said. “It was a great learning experience for all of us, coaches included and we are a young team looking forward to what the next couple years will bring us.”