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• fall sports 2019
FRANKFORT VARSITY AND JV FOOTBALL: Pictured (front row, left to right) assistant coach Ricky Worm, JV coach Mike Thompson, Rocco Anhalt, Tommy Brown, Tony West, Logan Lewis, Ryan Willsey, Jarod Coxe, Ridge Cicchelli, Keith Larsen, Xander Sauer, assistant coach Derek Jackson, varsity coach Ed Schindler; (middle row, left to right) assistant coach Josh Mills, athletic trainer Alexis Donovan, Kade Rosum, Spencer VanTol, Xander Stockdale, Cam Lewis, Griffin Anderson, Adam Mills, Tucker Hubbard, William O’Dwyer, Darrien Pierce, Jacob Walrad, assistant coach Jason Johnson, assistant coach Max Banktson; (back row, left to right) assistant coach Andrew Johnson, Nick Rutherford, Ethan Evans, Paul Jarosch, Daniel Newbold, Chase Ely, Jack Stefanski, Seth Darling, Jeff Lane, Kale Clapp, Seth Johnson, Luke Hammon and assistant coach Steven Birdsley. Not pictured: Luke Hansen, Clay Bigley, Edvard Bilk, Ezekiel Thompson and Brenden Orcutt. (Courtesy photo)
Panthers look to continue proud football tradition under Schindler By Robert Myers Staff Writer FRANKFORT – The Frankfort football team is enjoying a seamless transition
under new coach Ed Schindler, as the Panthers look to carry on their proud tradition in 2019. Schindler took over for Matt Stapleton as the team’s head coach in the offseason,
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but thanks to his history with the program and experience coaching the JV program for two years, players say the transition has been seamless. “They are the same coaches really. I’ve had Coach Schindler two years now. He was my JV coach my freshman year and my quarterback coach. He’s really the same coach (as Stapleton),” said junior Jack Stefanski. “Everything is fast-paced. We go
by the same values, and we just want to work hard.” Hard work is not just something players have been doing in practice. Frankfort enjoyed a large number of student athletes regularly attending the Panther Strength and Speed workouts over the summer. Players and coaches said they can see the difference. “It felt amazing – everyone going in and working out –
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seeing the improvements from last year to this year,” Stefanski said. Hard work may be the mantra, but the biggest factor in determining how the Panthers fare this fall may be their health. “It’s a little stressful. I’ve never gone into the season with 30 guys (JV and varsity combined), so the key will be staying healthy. We certainly have people who are buying into the program. It’s just a question of the numbers, which we knew was an issue before we started,” Schindler said. On the bright side for Frankfort, those players who are on the practice field have left a positive impression on Schindler. “Going into the year, we don’t have anyone who is heads above everyone else, but we
See FOOTBALL page 6
• fall sports 2019
Numbers, optimism up for Frankfort Harriers By Robert Myers Staff Writer FRANKFORT – Numbers are on the rise, as is the trajectory of the Frankfort cross country program heading into the 2019 season. Depth might just be at an all-time high for Frankfort coach Dal Townsend this year. He has nine runners for both the boys and the girls teams this year, marking a notable upgrade from past years when the Panthers struggled to field five male runners just to score in a meet. The girls team enters 2019 riding the high on two straight state finals appearances in the greatest season in program history in 2018, when Frankfort won the regional championship and went on to finish sixth in the state in Division 4. Repeating as regional champs is doable this fall, but it won’t be easy. For the second straight year, the girls team will have to replace an all-state runner. The good news for the Panthers is that they will return the rest of their top five a season ago, as they look to return to state finals and build on their recent success. “Janey Turner leads the way coming back. She had a good summer and is ready to go,” Townsend said. “Taylor Myers and Tara Townsend are coming back after being all-region, and then we have our fifth girl from last year, Tatum Townsend.” Frankfort will still need a fifth runner, but senior Hannah Somero could fill that role. She returns to the team after not running last year, but could be a major asset, having finished 17th in the region her sophomore season.
Fighting for what will likely be the final two varsity spots will be returners Genevieve MacRAE and Briellen Clapp and incoming freshmen Rachel Kuiper and Anna Wolf. While the girls team has started to turn qualifying for state as a team into the norm, the boys team has missed qualifying for the past two years, finishing sixth in the region last year. Nonetheless, this year’s boys team appears to have the makings of a core that could push the Panthers back into contention if a couple runners can step up on the back end of the varsity roster. “We’ve got Owen Roth who is returning from going to state last year. It looks like he’s going to have another good year. He put in some miles this summer, so I’m excited to see what he’s going to be able to do,” Townsend said. “Also returning is
FRANKFORT CROSS COUNTRY: Pictured (front row, left to right) are Janey Turner, Taylor Myers, Tara Townsend, Hannah Somero, Tatum Townsend, Anna Wolfe, Briellen Clapp; (back row, left to right) coach Dal Townsend, Logan Foster, Chris Provo, Owen Roth, Quincy Thayer, Jayden Johnson and Skylar Werden. Not pictured: Dakota Borton, Andrew Holmes, Rachel Kuiper, Genevieve MacRAE and Trevor Moody. (Photo/Robert Myers)
Quincy Thayer, coming off a really good sophomore year.
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• fall sports 2019
FRANKFORT VARSITY AND JV VOLLEYBALL: Pictured are (front row, left to right) Hannah Johnson, Kinzee Stockdale, Maretta Gillison, Cora Scott, Willa Kramer, Keyan Clapp; (middle row, left to right) manager Olivia Johnson, Emma McKenzie, Elli Tiesworth, Emma Yagle, Lucy Reznich, Madisen Clouse, Haley Myers, Gracie Walrad, manager Payton Miller; (back row, left to right), athletic trainer Alexis Donovan, coach Becky Miller, statistician Blake Miller, Morgan Hurd, Maggie Kelly, Sydney Miller, Emily Loney, Reagan Thorr, Mariah Manning, Presley Bartley and assistant coach Jordan Bates. Not pictured: Kally Kowalewski. (Photo/Robert Myers)
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FRANKFORT – The Panthers may only return one senior to the court, but the Frankfort volleyball team might just compete with anyone this fall. Logic would dictate that
after losing four key players from last year’s team the Panthers would be due for a step back, however, thanks to a loaded junior class, that seems anything but the case. “I am excited. Once again, I have a young team. I only have one senior (Haley Myers), but the girls I have are really hard
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workers,” said coach Becky Miller. “They all get along really well, so that’s going to make the season so much better. This is the group we’ve been waiting for. They are juniors now. They are all very athletic and work well together. You add a few sophomores in the mix, and things look really good.” Miller added that her team’s chemistry gives them an added advantage on the court. “I think a lot of our strength is just communication,” she said. “They communicate well together, because they get along so well. That’s going to be a big strength for us.” Speaking of strength, the Panthers return one of the top hitters in the region in junior Reagan Thorr. In 2018, she burst onto the scene as a second team all-conference player who could drive the ball with authority from anywhere on the court. Now, she will look to continue to improve her
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• fall sports 2019
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Now he’s a junior. Big things team this year are senior Dakota Borton (who last are expected from him.” ran as a sophomore), junior Other returners include Chris Provo and freshmen Logan Foster, who put up Andrew Holmes and Trevor solid times to finish out Moody. the 2018 season and Jaden The Panthers began Johnson. One new runner their 2019 season on who could give the team a Saturday at the Moss boost is freshman Skylar Invitational at Benzie Werden. Also new to the Central.
Owen Roth enters 2019 as Frankfort's top returner on the boys side. (File photo)
consistency and become one of the top players in the state. Other top returners include Myers middle blocker Emily Loney, setter Sydney Miller and Maggie Kelly, who got experience at several different positions after forcing her way onto the varsity roster last year. Besides their talent on the court, Miller said she has also been impressed with how her team has grown from a leadership standpoint. Whether it’s through other teams they have played on at Frankfort or a leadership conference several team members attended with Miller a couple years ago, she said she’s really seen growth from the group, particularly juniors Miller and Thorr. “I know Sydney is my daughter, so it’s hard for me to talk about her, but honestly, she has stepped up a ton,” Miller said. “She has worked really hard this summer, and her attitude toward things is a little more grown up. I think she is going to play a huge leadership role, and obviously Reagan will take on a big role too. She played a lot of club volleyball, so she got that taste of playing at a higher level and seeing what those teams are made of. I think she really feels it now.”
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Perhaps the biggest challenge these leaders face is helping their teammates play with confidence this year in order to achieve the level of play of which they have been shown glimpses. “If we can really get serious and they can believe in themselves like I believe in them, I think they are going to do really well,” Miller said. “Last year, they kind of believed in themselves, but they kind of were unsure. If they take it as serious as they do other sports and work on that aspect of things, they are going to do well.” Frankfort will face plenty of tough competition this year. Kingsley enters the season the favorite to win the Northwest Conference, while Leland is also always a threat to win the league as one of the top
Division 4 teams in the state. Frankfort’s path to a district championship would also likely run through Leland, as the Comets have moved south into Frankfort’s district, which will be hosted by the Panthers this year. As tough as those goals might prove to be to accomplish, Miller wants her team to believe in their ability to win those tough matches. “I would like to say a conference championship is something we should strive for. We always strive for that, but we do have a lot of tough teams in our conference that makes it really difficult,” Miller said. “I also think that we could beat Leland for a district championship, but I think that once we set our goals, we just have to believe we can achieve them.”
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• fall sports 2019
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are solid across the board,” Schindler said. “I think these guys will come out, and they will compete.” Stefanski will likely lead the way on offense at quarterback, after starting there all last year as a sophomore and taking first team reps there to start the fall. Backup quarterback Adam Mills will take on running back duties, alongside Xander Stockdale. Out at wide receiver, Luke Hammon, Daniel Newbold and Seth Johnson look to see plenty of playing time, and Chase Ely will take over at H-back for 2018 graduate Conner Smith. Ely will also play defensive end for the Panthers. While he realizes the expectations are high based on the Frankfort teams of the past, he said he is excited to lead his team as they work to honor the community
and the teams that came before them. “We definitely have shoes to fill, so it will be interesting to see who can do that, with all of the great players who have played at Frankfort,” Ely said. “We are all pumped up, and the intensity is there to keep the tradition going. It’s a good feeling.” Frankfort will start its season at 7 p.m. on Aug. 29 at Evart, where Schindler said he is looking for his team to be decisive and execute well on the field. “I hope we play fast. I hope we get off the ball and are physical. Frankfort has always been a very physical football team,” Schindler said. “We have the knowledge, and with the knowledge, you have to be aggressive.” The Panthers will hold
their home opener under the new Lockhart Field lights at 7 p.m. on Sept. 6 against Harbor Springs. Once again, the Panthers will spend the whole season playing against larger schools, as one of the last remaining Class D schools in 11-man football, but the team is undaunted and looks forward to the challenge. “We are just trying to get better every day,” Stefanski said. “We’re not going to be the biggest or strongest or fastest, but we are going to work hard in everything we do. We’re not going to have a lot of kids this year. We’re going to have 16 on varsity maybe, so we are going to Quarterback Jack Stefanski dives forward for a touchdown during his 2018 have to play hard and be tough campaign. (File photo) throughout the whole season.”
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Benzie Central football out to prove itself in 2019 By Robert Myers Staff Writer
BENZONIA – Making the playoffs in 2018 was fun, but heading into this fall, all the Benzie Central football team cares about is making a name for itself this year. Entering the year, the Huskies are tasked with replacing a large senior class from last year, however, that challenge seems to have motivated the 2019 Huskies, who are in no mood to rest 0n their laurels, but instead come to practice every day determined to prove themselves.
side of the ball. Not only will this keep them fresher in games and help them finish strong in the fourth quarter, but Katt also commented that players are spending all of practice working on one position will make them much better at that position.
Perhaps another of Benzie Central’s strengths this fall could be its offensive balance. Katt isn’t saying what percentage of the time he’ll run or pass, but early indications are that both options could be successful. In recent years, the offense has at times seemed reliant on the big play for scoring “We try not to base drives, but a stout offensive our season off of last year’s line blocking for a stable of team. This is a whole new running backs led by Sam season. We have to prove Ross and Cole Skiver could ourselves again. We are never allow the team to pound the done proving ourselves,” ball more successfully when said senior Spencer Steeves the occasion calls for it this “Every day, it’s a fight for fall. your position, a fight for the “The balance thing, a win.” lot of people think it’s 50-50 Benzie Central’s 2018 run-pass, but for us, true success combined with balance is getting the ball the losses that team had into your playmakers’ hands. to graduation to make it difficult to predict how much When you have five or six kids, five or six kids should success the team will have be touching the ball, whether this fall, but Katt agreed it’s a pass or a run,” Katt with Steeves’ assertion that said. “We don’t look at it as a the Huskies are hungry and run-pass ration. We look at it have high expectations for as: let’s get the kid that is the themselves, regardless of freshest the ball.” what the outside world says. “We were shooting for relevancy last year. We’ve got some expectations this year, but those expectations are internal, not external. We don’t really care what other people say, but internally, the boys are setting the bar and they mean it,” Katt said. “We have goals.” What fans might be most impressed with this fall is the play in the trenches. Three years after cancelling their season, the Huskies now have sufficient depth to play their lineman on only one
Chris Dunlop will serve as the distributor of the football, as he appears set to take over the quarterback position this fall. Dunlop is strong running the ball as well as passing, and when he looks to pass, Ike Koscielski, exchange student Lau Milling, Jared Streeter and Seth Wilkinson should be his top targets at wide receiver. Steeves will also certainly be a big part of the offense, and could be moved around in different positions, both running and catching the
BENZIE CENTRAL VARSITY FOOTBALL: Pictured (front row, left to right) are Jared Streeter, Chris Dunlop, Seth Wilkinson, Mason Blank, Michael Stepanovich, Sam Ross; (middle row, left to right) Kyle Wilson, Cooper Taylor, Cody Hanson, Carson Robinson, Jack Stevenson, Don Crossman, Chandler Yacks, Ike Koscielski; (back row, left to right) Wyatt Thaller, Cole Skiver, Spencer Steeves, Grant Hackbarth, Lau Milling, Gavin Tulgetske, Mike Coyne, Michael Wooten and Joe Orfe. Not pictured: Tyrese Branch. (Photo/Robert Myers)
BENZIE CENTRAL JV FOOTBALL: Pictured (front row, left to right) are Elijah Tallent, Cael Katt, Wyatt Noffsinger, Liam Jones, Devon Harris, Christian Blank, Caspian Volas; (middle row, left to right) Kaden Sheiffelle, Roger Lamie, Jacob Evans, Nate Childers, Kyan Quick, Jordan Bird, Ethan Lemmen, Seth Haveman; (back row, left to right) Noah Murphy, Kaleb Orr, Quinn Zickert, Dylan Chrzanowski, Harrison Kitely, Ben Oakley, Nick Stevenson, Henry Koehne and Austin Smith. Not pictured: Gabe Ahlson, Chance Crandall, Seth Haveman and Vincent Samonie. (Photo/Robert Myers)
ball. Cody Hanson could also see touches. The senior captain spent last season playing at linebacker (where he serves as the heart and soul of the defense) and offensive guard, but with improved offensive line depth, Katt said he’d like to try to get Hanson some touches. “It’s tough to replace the Tom Rosses and Daren Childs and Joe Wades of the world, but we have kids who
have their own strengths, and we are going to play to them,” Katt said. “We have a couple kids who can catch the ball and a couple kids who can run the ball.” Benzie Central will open its quest toward a second straight playoff berth at 7 p.m. on Aug. 29 at Chesansing. There, Katt said he’s simply looking for his team to execute their game plan and what they have been taught in practice.
“Execution, execution and execution – I think it comes down to that, and Chesaning is thinking the same way,” Katt said. “It’s about getting after what we need to get after, not succumbing to the pressure but being the pressure.” The Huskies’ home opener, one of only three home games this fall, will take place at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20 against Elk Rapids.
• fall sports 2019
Benzie Central volleyball determined to improve win total in 2019 By Robert Myers Staff Writer BENZONIA — Attitude can have a big impact on a season, and heading into 2019, the Benzie Central volleyball team is focused on playing hard, playing as a team and staying confident. All three of those mindsets bode well for a team that struggled to pick up wins a season ago. "I think we have a tough group. I think they'll do really well this season," said third year coach Madison Lutzke. "We've got kids who decided to put in the work this offseason. I don't think these kids missed a lot of stuff this summer." Regardless of the Huskies' win-loss record
last year, the hard work over the summer is significant for a second reason. For the second consecutive year, Lutzke enters the season with a very young team. The Huskies return only three seniors — Janae Bevis, Emily Gelakosky (a team manager) and Kelsey Novogradac — and will play at least two sophomores — Nona Schultz and Ryleigh Frisbie this year on varsity. While last year may have caught the team off guard a bit, this year's group brings a notable varsity experience as well as an understanding of what it takes to compete at that level. "I'm looking forward to having more dedicated players this year. We're still a pretty young team,
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BENZIE CENTRAL VARSITY VOLLEYBALL: Pictured (front row, left to right) are Alison Moore, Janae Bevis, Kelsey Novogradac, Ryleigh Frisbie; (back row, left to right) coach Madison Lutzke, Lilly Leatherman, Hannah Francis, Madison Evans, Nona Schultz and manager Emily Gelakosky. Not pictured: Alyssa Brouwer. (Photo/Robert Myers)
but I feel like we've come a long way over the summer," Bevis said. "We just need to work out a few more things, and I feel like we'll be OK." One thing Bevis pointed to was the team camp at Ferris State that the players attended over the summer. "At team camp, it was a learning experience, but I felt like we did way better than we did last year," she said. "We had more people that want to play and are driven to win." Novogradac said that she and Bevis have embraced their roles as senior leaders on the team. She talked about the need to work with younger players to show them the importance of certain drills and lead by example with their work ethic and attitude. Novogradac also emphasized Benzie Central's team goal of getting along and being united as a team this fall. Simply put, she wants to do whatever she can to
make sure her team doesn't have to go through another season like 2018. "It was really hard for me. It was so frustrating," Novogradac said of last fall. Novogradac will continue to lead the defense as the team's libero this year, while Bevis has made the switch from setter to outside hitter, where the all-around athlete hopes she can fill a hole at that position. Other top returners from a year ago include Lilly Leatherman, Alison Moore and Alyssa Brouwer. In terms of who could have a breakout fall for the Huskies, Lutzke pointed to junior Madison Evans, who she said will be a key player in the middle. At this point, there are no championship goals for the Huskies, at least none that they will say publicly. Kingsley enters the season as the Northwest Conference favorite, with Leland set to continue
its reign as a Division 4 powerhouse. Still, Lutzke said that even if they don't win the conference, they would still like to be more competitive and win more than they lose in the league. "We definitely want to compete better than we did last year," Lutzke said. "We did not end up very well in the conference. We decided as a team that we want to be better. We aren't going to be playing nicey-nice." The Huskies enter 2019 with below average size for the second straight year, so to accomplish this, Lutzke hopes to have her team excelling at the fundamentals — defense, passing and setting — this year to help outbattle teams that might bring more height or hitting power onto the court. She also cited improved volleyball IQ as something she hopes will help her team this year.
See VOLLEYBALL page 11
• fall sports 2019
Veteran-led huskies poised for strong soccer season By Robert Myers Staff Writer BENZONIA – A strong returning core and one of the top players in the region should have the Benzie Central boys soccer team taking home the win more often than not this fall. Coming off a district championship game appearance last year, the Huskies return five seniors and several more juniors, giving Benzie Central coach Scott Barker plenty of optimism concerning his team. If all goes well, and players stay healthy, he said that a .600 winning percentage seems perfectly reasonable for this group. “I think we’ll have a good season,” Barker said. “We’ve got a lot of good athletes and have had a good first week in practice. I think we might be a decent passing team. We have enough guys who are solid and experienced. We’re not going to just be shoot and run. I’m excited to see what the season has in store.”
also contributing on that end. Another senior, Zach Grundy returns as Benzie Central’s best scoring threat at forward. One challenge the Huskies will have to face this year will be replacing a top-flight goalkeeper in Quintin Trainer. Junior Jake Kennedy has accepted that challenge and will move into the goal this fall after previously playing in the field. Though he has limited experience at the position, Barker is optimistic about Kennedy’s season. “He has stepped in for us and done quite well in practice, so I think that won’t be a huge concern for us,” Barker said.
BENZIE CENTRAL BOYS SOCCER: Pictured (front row, left to right) are Dominic Lopez, Andrew Warsecke, Chaz Grundy, Kevin Hubbell, Charlie Marintette, Alberto Lopez, Cole Burrows, Christopher Corey, Landon Pangborn; (back row, left to right) coach Scott Barker, Colten Downs, Brandon Barker, Zach Grundy, Ty Bigelow, Keegan Watkins, Steven Barron, Andrew Ciloski and Jake Kennedy. (Photo/Robert Myers)
As always, the conference will likely yet again run through Leland this fall. That home-road series will be Benzie’s toughest of the league season, with all of the other conference opponents Barker calling “beatable” if his team plays well.
District play will take place at Manistee this year, While Barker will have with the Huskies moving veterans up the middle, he south, away from the district acknowledged that he likely dominated by Elk Rapids. will need to turn to a freshman Things won’t get any easier or two for key minutes on though, as Ludington is very the outside this year. Still, he comparable to the Elks, the called the freshman class a preseason favorite to win the solid group. district, which features eight
Perhaps the team’s top returning player is sophomore Kevin Hubbell. Hubbell earned honorable mention all-conference and all-district honors as a freshman. He brings what Barker has called “tremendous ball control skills” and led the team in assists in 2018. “Kevin is bigger and stronger. He gained height and a lot of experience, and he’s been working all summer. That’s going to be a huge positive for us,” Barker said. Hubbell will likely play a lot of midfield this year, where he will be joined by senior Brandon Barker. Seniors Keegan Watkins and Ty Bigelow will anchor the middle of the defense, with fellow senior Parker Bentley
“We would like to wish all Frankfort and Benzie athletes a safe and successful season.”
teams this year. “I was hoping to get a district without either one of those teams (Elk Rapids or Ludington), but it’s just where we’re at,” Barker said. “The south and north districts are really comparable because you have one solid team and you have a bunch of other teams that could do it … I’m thinking we could make a district
championship, but winning it (against Ludington) would be a tall order.” If the Huskies were to make the district championship game this fall, it would mark the third time in four years they accomplished the feat, after previously never having done so in the program’s history.
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• fall sports 2019
BENZIE CENTRAL CROSS COUNTRY: Pictured (front row, left to right) are Victoria Cobb, Ausable Kreiner, Carly Wade, Cassidy Pallin, Maya Musgrave, Cierra Guay, Savannah Rogers; (second row, left to right) Emily Fouchey, Linnea Ankjaer, Maddy Teichman, Cecile Mallon, Emmy Halkola, Tyler Joan, Theo Reed, Hayley VanWagoner, Paige Johnston, Elise Johnson, Faith Grose, Dylan Bates, Michael Musgrave, Dorian Olson; (third row, left to right) Ella Gaylord, Tyler Kintigh, Lisa Gustafson, Mae Talsma, Dustin Finkhouse, Ellen Bretzke, Hunter Jones, Andrea Taghon, Aidan Johnston; (back row, left to right) Kaitlynn Peltier, Larisa Stone, Connor McLaren, Wesley VanPoortfliet, Willy Moller, Ryan Rishop, Federico Bruno, Zach Blough, Tyler Iverson and Josh Adams. (Courtesy photo)
Benzie Central cross country teams again among state's best in 2019
Best of Luck
On a Great Fall Season
By Robert Myers Staff Writer BENZONIA – As legendary coach Pete Moss used to say, “Benzie Central cross country. ‘Nuff said.”
That one small quote encapsulates the prestige and dominance the Benzie Central cross country program achieved under Moss’s leadership and now continues to achieve under the coaching of Asa and Traci Kelly.
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This fall should be no different. All signs point to top 10 finishes in the state for the boys and girls country teams, and both teams appear to have the pieces to contend for a trip to the podium at state finals for a state championship or state runner-up finish. “Collectively, both teams are very strong. We have a number of experienced returning runners and some strong younger runners as well. It makes for a really good looking team,” said Asa Kelly. The boys team should be led by stud freshman Hunter Jones and senior Tyler Kintigh, both of whom have legit all-state potential this fall. Jones, in particular, could have a special season, after he turned in the top two-mile time in the country during middle school track last spring. These two will be joined by a veteran group, including seniors Ryan Bishop, Tyler Iverson and Connor McLaren, as well as junior Wesley VanPoortfliet, who all should factor into the team scoring this fall. See CROSS COUNTRY page 12
• fall sports 2019
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Benzie Central will look to be playing its best volleyball of the season come tournament time. Districts will take the Huskies to Big Rapids
this year, where they will join a field of six Division 2 schools, including Big Rapids, Cadillac, Ludington, Manistee and Reed City.
BENZIE CENTRAL JV VOLLEYBALL: Pictured (front row, left to right) are Maddie Nix, Triniti Dalzell, Autumn Skiver, Kaylee Novagrondac, Shelby Bentley, Rylee Lane; (back row, left to right) Alyssa Ferguson, Hailee Beasley, Versailles Bechler, Liath Ramirez, Stella Hewitt, Chelsey Lindman and coach Corey Bechler. Not pictured: Olivia Bailey. (Photo/Robert Myers)
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• fall sports 2019
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“For guys, I like the team, but they’ve got to keep each other pushing and they’ve got to keep each other honest. I can’t just be two guys up front. They have to work with each other quite a bit, but the potential is huge,” Kelly said. Kelly added that he will count heavily on these top six runners. Although others on the team have the potential to step up and have a quality season, only these six have so far proven that they can run and contribute points at the varsity level. “We are not going to be crazy deep at the top. We’ll have a number of guys in the mid to high 18s and the 19s, but scoring wise, we’re not going to go a lot deeper than five or six. Our scoring five has to be tough,” Kelly said. In terms of makeup, the girls team is the polar opposite of the boys team. Benzie Central’s girls don’t enter the season with anyone
matching the potential star power of Jones, however, they do have perhaps one of the deepest teams in program history heading into the season. Cierra Guay enters the season as the team’s top runner after being the first Benzie runner across the line at state finals a season ago, when the now junior just barely missed out on all-state. Guay will be joined by a pair of seniors in Paige Johnston and Faith Grose, who watched injuries impact their seasons a year ago but now should be back at full health and ready to join Guay in contending for all-state finishes. Other athletes to watch this fall include juniors Ellen Bretzke and Savannah Rogers and sophomores Elise Johnson and Hayley VanWagoner, all of whom have experience racing in big varsity meets, such as regionals and state finals. What makes this varsity
group so remarkable, is that predicting their order of finish at any given meet, let alone by the end of the season is practically impossible, due to the fact that they are all talented hardworking runners, who would shock no one if they came close to or delivered all-state finishes at the end of the season. Moreover, Kelly said that there are three or four more girls on the roster who could possibly force their way onto the varsity roster this fall and contribute to the team. “It’s a pretty tough team,” he said. “I think Madison Teichman is going to get stronger and stronger. Lisa Gustafson is going to get stronger. Maya Musgrave ran very well in camp … The girls team is very deep.” Benzie Central opened its Ellen Bretzke runs down the final straightaway at state finals in 2018. (File season at the Moss Invitational photo) on Saturday.
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