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Fall Sports



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Special Section • August 29, 2013

Bobcats look to diversify offense By SCOTT NOVAK After spending a majority of his first two years handing the football off to the likes of Courtlan Gordon, Brandywine junior quarterback Andrew Duckett knows that this year will be different. Gordon, who rushed for 1,600-plus yards and scored 23 touchdowns, is gone. That means the offense is now squarely on the shoulders of Duckett. “We’re going to be more diversified, which will make us harder to stop,” Brandywine coach Mike Nate, now in his fourth year, said. “Opponents are not going to be able to key on one guy. Our numbers are not super strong, but most of these guys have lettered more than once.” Duckett threw for more than 600 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012 when the Bobcats posted a 7-3 record and reached the Division 6 playoffs. This year, Nate and Duckett


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both know that throwing the football will be one of the keys to success. “Andrew can throw the ball 40 to 50 yards down the field with accuracy,” Nate said. “And he’s a good scrambler. He’ll be a threat to run.” The offensive line has experience, led by 6-2, 290-pound Cory Katterheinrich and 6-3, 285-pound Jake Szilagyi. When Duckett drops back to throw, he will most likely be looking for the receivers Kenneth Laurita and Alec Nichols. The top running backs for the Bobcats are Marty Ward and Charlie Rodriguez. Both have good size, power and speed. Ward is listed at 5-10, 202-pounds and Rodriguez at 5-11, 210-pounds. Defensively, Brandywine allowed its opponents just a shade over 16 points per game last year. Leading the Bobcats on that side of the football will be cornerbacks Laurita and Duckett, along with linebackers Ward and Rodriguez.

p After The

Leader photo/File

Brandywine will count on Marty Ward (8) on both sides of the football in 2013. The Bobcats are hoping to build on their 7-3 record from last season.

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Special Section • August 29, 2013

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Pictured in front from left are Ryan Buchar, Frank Riley, Tyler VanLaeke, Jacob Hosler, Brad Eversol, Jeff Davis, Max Douglas, Greg Barney and Griffin Liska. The second row consists of Cordell Davis, Peyton Pruitt, Conner Earles, Trevor Jones, Vincent Sallee, Nathan Kemp, M.J., Chang, Scott Miller, Geshia Weise, Nick Bailey and Zach Schmidt. The third row consists of coach Dan Perry, coach Terry Borr, Zac Grishaber, Jacob Zuhas, Marty Ward Jr., Jake Wright, Aaron Casto, Sam Burge, Alex Shell, Brendon Hass, Chandler Plew, Nick Martin, Matt Kline, coach Pat Stier and coach Nathan Knapp. In back are coach Rex Pomranka, Vinny Peel, Hunter Janowiak, Charlie Rodriguez, Caleb Horst, Alec Nichols, Cory Katterheinrich, Jake Szilagyi, Austin Knapp, Andrew Duckett, Kenny Laurita, Collin Nichols, Josh Flanagan and coach Mike Nate.

Brandywine Bobcats 2012 Record: 7-3, playoff qualifier n 8/29 Brandywine at River Forest, 7:30 p.m. n 9/06 Brandywine at Centreville, 7 p.m. n 9/13 New Buffalo at Brandywine, 7 p.m. n 9/20 Bridgman at Brandywine, 7 p.m. n 9/27 LaLumiere at Brandywine, 7 p.m. n 10/4 Buchanan at Brandywine, 7 p.m. n 10/11 LMC at Brandywine, 7 p.m. n 10/18 Brandywine at Cassopolis, 7 p.m. n 10/25 Brandywine at River Valley, 7 p.m.

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Special Section • August 29, 2013


Brandywine volleyball team youthful By AMELIO RODRIGUEZ

The Brandywine volleyball program, under third year coach Carl Greulich, will be looking to build on last season’s 25-11 record. The Bobcats were co-conference Lakeland Conference champions (tied with Buchanan) and went on to be district champions before losing in the regional. “Although our conference is small again this year, it is a tough one with Buchanan, Bridgman and Cassopolis,” Greulich said. The Bobcats will be looking to replace Jessie Cooper, Alyssa Gamble, Victoria Knight and

MacKenzie Shelton who were all seniors last season. Looking to fill those vacancies are returning lettermen Brooke Smith, Abby Cole, Rachelle Dodge and Justine Sater, as well as new players Sydney Carlson, Emily Erwin, Michaela Hartline and Olivia Depreist. “We will be junior and sophomore dominated this season,” Greulich said. “We will be young at many positions, but this team is the best bunch of athletes I have coached. “I am sure Buchanan is the favorites again this year, while Cass will be much improved and Bridgman is always tough. I am looking forward to see how we fair.”



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Special Section • August 29, 2013


Brandywine soccer improved from 2012 By AMELIO RODRIGUEZ


Brandywine varsity boys soccer coach Evan Winkler believes his team has improved since last season’s 5-15-1 record. “I expect us to be better than last year, and more competitive,” Winkler said. “I think we might surprise some teams.” The Bobcats are looking to replace Ryan Kubiak and Alex Ulrickson, who were lost to graduation. Returning for the Bobcats are Zach Schmidt, Andrew Boocher, Dominic Stella and Brock Hartline. Also returning this season are Blake Lerner and Chris Ludwig, both of whom missed last season because of injuries. Newcomers looking to help the Bobcats this year are Steve and Eddie Muguz-


Brandywine, which finished third in the Lakeland Conference last season, will be once again chasing the top teams in the conference. “Everyone is chasing Bridgman, and Buchanan has a really strong team this year as well,” Winkler said. If Brandywine expects to compete for the conference it is going to have to be more aggressive on offense this year. “I think our offense is going to be our strength, and our defense is our weakness because of a lot of question marks,” Winkler said. “We have some new guys playing in the back so we will see if they step up to the challenge. I think we will have some growing pains in the beginning of the season and once everything comes together we could be pretty good.”

Bobcat tennis team after fourth straight league crown By AMELIO RODRIGUEZ Brandywine boys tennis coach David Sidenbender has high expectations in his seventh season as he looks to lead his team to their third consecutive Lakeland Conference championship. The Bobcats are coming off a 9-2-2 campaign last year and are setting their sights on competing for a regional championship. “Our outlook is to win the Lakeland Conference for the third year in a row, compete in the KVA (Kalamazoo Valley) and compete for the Regional championship,” Sidenbender said. “Making state is a huge goal for this team, and I think we have the players to do it.” If the Bobcats are going to compete for a regional championship and make a run at state, it’s going to be up to returning lettermen Chance Smith, Michael Robbins and Tanner Bourdon as well as newcomers Alec DeJonge, Cole Searles, and Austin Balos. “Our singles (Smith, Robbins, and Bourdon) will be strong, and with the addition of our new guys (DeJonge, Searles, and Balos) we should be much improved in the doubles area as well,” Sidenbender said. “In the past three years these kids have done some things never done before by a Brandywine boys tennis team and we are looking to make more history this year.”


’Cats inexperienced and thin this season By AMELIO RODRIGUEZ



Brandywine cross country coach Jim Murray, in his 30th season, knows if his runners are going to compete this year, he is going to need some of his young runners to step up. “We are inexperienced and thin,” Murray said. “Newcomers are going to have to play a role if we are to be competitive this year.” Collin Mattiford is a key starter lost this year, but returning for the Bobcats are seniors Michael Robbins and Evan Zacharski, as well as sophomores James Harrell and Joshua Young. Newcomers to watch for include junior Emily Pedzinski and freshmen Alexis Garcia and Kaytlyn Metz. “Harrell and Robbins return as all-conference runners,” Murray said. “Robbins just missed qualifying for the state finals last year, and we hope we can get a couple of individuals to qualify this year.”

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Special Section • August 29, 2013

s e l i n ool

high sch

Leader photo/Provided

Pictured in front from left are Warren Smith, Dwane West, Jason Taylor, Ra’Quon Glenn, Jeremy Wortham, Balazs Bruckner, Dustin Tagart, Darek Bullock-Mills, Sean Crai, Austin Weber, Adam Langmeyer and Joe Avance. The second row consists of Chase Andres, Ted Jackowiak, David, Kennedy, Jordon Ham, Jalen Alexander, Sam Soto, Alex Harpenau, Braulio Sosa, Chris Prenkert, Kevin Reed, Josh Buckingham and Gavin Rasler. The third row consists of Adam Cole, Jacob Fisher, John Lewis, Larry Lamb, Quintin Smith, Josh Dayhuff, Fred Kemp, Anthony Younger, James McIntyre, Carter Rauch and Devonte Gaskill. The fourth row consists of Joel Bender, Austin Schidler, Zach Kozlowski, Gabriel Broome, Christian Cain, Dean Russo, Tyler Mahar, Antonio Moffit, Jordan McGregor and Dustin Denning. The fifth row consists of Ray Toposki, Bob Durm, Chad Gardner, Tom Desenberg, Weston Lambert, Hiawatha Francisco and Paul DePoy. In back are Dave Landon, Bob Byers, Antwon Jones, Jarvis Edison, Mark Clemens and Nick Hartman. Niles Vikings 2012 Record: 4-5

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Special Section • August 29, 2013

Vikings looking to take next step By AMELIO RODRIGUEZ Second-year head coach Antwon Jones continues to try and build the Niles football program into the family that he had in mind when he took over last season. The Vikings’ hopes of improving on last season’s 4-5 record will be challenging as they are replacing nearly half of their starters on both sides of the ball. “We know that we are going to be fielding a lot of young guys, but the expectations are still there,” Jones said. “We expect these guys to not only go out and compete, but to also go out and win games.” The offense will be led by junior quarterback Sean Craig, senior wide receiver Derek Bullock-Mills and a couple of new offensive weapons in Joe Avance and Alex Harpenau. “Sean Craig has stepped up and become the team leader and he’s solid and brings great athleticism to the quarterback position,” Jones said. “We have an extremely talented player in Avance, and we believe he can be a big playmaker for us.” “We are going to be aggressive and do whatever we can to score points,” Jones said. “I think our offense is going to be more explosive than it was last year.” If the Vikings are going to improve it’s going to have to be on both sides of the football. “We expect our defense to make some plays, so hopefully they can go out there and make them when we need them,” Jones said. Niles will be looking to get to six wins and make the playoffs. It will be chasing the likes of Lakeshore and St. Joe again in the West Division of the Big 16 Conference.

Leader photo/File

Niles is hoping Darek Bullock-Mills can be a playmaker for the Vikings this season as they try to improve on last year’s 4-5 record.


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Special Section • August 29, 2013


Vikings return plenty of talent By AMELIO RODRIGUEZ Second-year Niles volleyball coach Jenny Nate is hoping her team can pick up where it left off last season. Nate’s squad went 30-12-5 in her first season as head coach finishing third in the conference and second in the Big 16 SMAC conference tournament. “We made great strides last year taking second at the SMAC Tourney and beating powerhouse Portage Central,” Nate said. The Vikings will have to fill key holes left by Ashley Love and Cortney Shirrell, but hope to do so with returning lettermen Lashonda Greene, Maggie Hoff, Miranda Baker, Kierra Fillwock, Kelsey Barton, Olivia Jordan, Jazmin Brann, and Courtney Nixon, while also welcoming newcomers Megan Kohler, Lexi Smith and Megan Kelley. “This team has amazing chemistry,” Nate said. “They work hard, push each other, and are determined to set and achieve goals.” Niles will once again have its hands full in a tough conference with the likes of Mattawan, Gull Lake, and Portage Central as well as several others. “We have an extremely strong conference, but my players are determined to compete and beat these teams,” Nate said. “They are extremely focused and have spent a lot of time in the off season on team bonding, preparing both in the gym and conditioning, and also on working to make Niles volleyball a ‘program’ and not just one team.”

Niles netters to lean on Millers By AMELIO RODRIGUEZ Niles boys tennis coach Jill Weber, in her 10th season, looks to have her team improve on its 14-7-1 record from last season, while trying to replace the loss of five key players. Starters lost to grad- Matt, Brad Miller uation include Gevanta Nichols, Alec Brown, Nick Zeigert, Brent McGowen and Isaac Rosenthal. “This year we will be leaning on the experience and expertise of Matt Miller and Brad Miller, both four year varsity lettermen,” Weber said. Also returning for the Vikings are Michael Geiger, Rob Lundberg, Derek Brown, Nick Borkowski, and Matt Lee. “Newcomers we are excited to have round out our team include Micah Weigel, Jacob Ruelle and Jacob Ganus among others,” Weber said. Portage Central and St. Joe will be two of the top teams in the West Division this season, but the Vikings are preparing themselves to compete in the Big 16 Conference. “Hard work and the love of the game is being realized every practice and will only bring great improvement,” Weber said.


r Student u O e t At alu

e SAs a new school year begins, hlet


WWe’d like to take this opportunity to wish

our dedicated school athletes a great year.

Good Luck, and may the best team win!


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Special Section • August 29, 2013


Vikings have young cross country teams By AMELIO RODRIGUEZ

Niles boys cross country coach Tony Todd, in his third season, is hoping his team can improve on last season’s fourth place (West Division) finish despite having a young squad. “We don’t have any seniors running this year so we are very young,” Todd said. “It will be a learning curve but I hope to still have a good season.” Returning to lead the Vikings are Charles Leonard and Noah Hall, while newcomers Sam Burck and Brenden Hall hope to be able to contribute as well. For the girls team, coach Jami Foster hopes to see her team improve on last year’s finish of third in the division, eighth in the conference and third at the Berrien County meet. “We have several team goals, but our number one team goal for the season is to improve each and every time we step out on a course and work hard at every practice,” Foster said. “We hope to place in the top two in our division, and the top four in the conference.” Key losses for the Vikings are Libby Hein, Bridgette Carpenter and Taylor Hess. Returning lettermen include Abby Gaines, Kylee Myer and Mehgan Rudlaff, while newcomers Ellie Burck, Chelsea Best and Hannah Walker also look to help Niles improve. “Overall we are a very inexperienced team,” Foster said. “We have four seniors on the team but Gaines is the only senior who has run all four years, and the girls look to her for leadership. They are a competitive group of girls who continue to improve their time.” Niles will be one of many teams trying to catch the St. Joe Bears at the top of the conference.






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Special Section • August 29, 2013


Vikings will be young in some positions By AMELIO RODRIGUEZ



Second-year Niles boys soccer coach Dave Jacobs is hoping to improve on last season’s 7-11-2 record. To do so, the Vikings will have to replace several key starters from that team, including Ryan Casey, Graham Hoppstock, Stuart Coulston, Chase Hullinger, Oliver Rodriguez, and Jorge Tejeda. Returning this year to help Niles get better are Nick Knoll, Cody Ortiz-Leonard, Cristian Tejeda, Sam Rodts, Nick Suckle, Kai VanAntwerp, Jake Brawley, Dylan Fillwock and Luis Aguirre. Looking to help out this year will be newcomers Ben Florkowski, Riley Bower, Alex Jasper, Caden Hullinger, Lugendo Dafa, Mitchell Park and Ian Daly. “We are very young in some positions this year,” Jacobs said. “Our season will be a great one and we are looking for that key upset this year.” Niles will have its hands full in the conference yet again as it’s a tough one. “Our schedule is a very tough one and our conference is one of the best ones in the state with Portage Northern and Portage Central, as well as our district with Mattawan, Lakeshore, St. Joe and Edwardsburg.”

Niles golf team returns just two starters By AMELIO RODRIGUEZ

Niles girls golf coach Dan Palmer, in his second season, is hoping his team can improve on its fourth place finish in the Big 16 West Division from last season. “Our goal is to finish second in the division, passing a couple of teams from last year,” Palmer said. “St. Joe is the team to beat again this year.” Gone from last season’s team are Sarah Cramer and Abby Mattson, but returning from that team are seniors Katie Holmes and Elie Hein. The rest of the team is still being finalized, but coach Palmer is optimistic on their talent. “We have a lot of new players this year,” he said. “All have a chance to make a difference for our team and we have an open competition to see who is going to be filling in the varsity squad.” While St. Joe is once again the team to beat this year, after that it’s anybody’s game. “Our girls are intelligent and practicing hard each day, we just need to be more consistent in our play,” Palmer said.

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Special Section • August 29, 2013

n a n a h buc l o o h c s high


Pictured in front from left are Darren Shearer, Jarrett Thomas, Chet Vines, T.J. Wagner, Mason Swem, Eddie Washington, Trey Morgan, Daniel Backus and Alex Martinez. The second row consists of Wesley Springer-Grounds, Christian Catalano, Alan Ferguson, Austin Hall, Spencer Thompson, Doug Freeman, David Nichols, Alex Leiter, Tim Lindamood and Lance Haner. In back are coach Jim DeVlaminck, coach Robert Foster, head coach Mike Kuntz, Elijah Lewis, Tyler Flynn, Ty Lorance, Solomon, Steven Cronin, Caleb Haygood, Dustin Grey, Nick Draper, Darrin Ferris, coach Tom Brinks, coach Chris Schau and coach Frank Mucha. Buchanan Bucks 2012 Record: 7-3, playoff qualifier n 8/30 Lumen Christi at Buchanan, 7 p.m. n 9/06 Buchanan at Culver Academy, 7 p.m. n 9/13 Buchanan at Kelloggsville, 7 p.m. n 9/20 Sparta at Buchanan, 7 p.m. n 9/27 Buchanan at Cassopolis, 7 p.m. n 10/4 Buchanan at Brandywine, 7 p.m. n 10/11 Bridgman at Buchanan, 7 p.m. n 10/18 Buchanan at Mendon, 7 p.m. n 10/25 Parma Western at Buchanan, 7 p.m.

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Page 12

Special Section • August 29, 2013


Bucks hope Freeman can lead them again By JASON LANDSTROM As the fall approaches and students everywhere are preparing for a new school year to begin, the Buchanan football program is also gearing up for its new 2013-14 campaign. The team has set a new standard of excellence for itself the past few years and has no intention of slowing down. The team has set lofty season goals of topping last year’s 7-3 mark and making a deep run in the MHSAA state playoffs. One person who will play an integral role in helping his team meet those goals is potential all-state fourth year starting running back Doug Freeman, whom Bucks coach Mike Kuntz called “the greatest player I’ve ever seen in 33-years of coaching.” Freeman rushed for 1,466 yards on 132 carries last season, which averaged out to a staggering 11 yards per carry. He

rushed for 25 touchdowns and scored four more on special teams for the Bucks. Senior Alex Leiter will take over under center for Buchanan replacing last year’s starter Lyman Thomas. Kuntz said Leiter was “throwing the ball well” and making “excellent decisions” during the first week of practice which he believes foreshadows some positive things coming from his quarterback. Two-way linemen Solomon Remmo and David Nichols will each be back for Buchanan as well, which will fortify the line on both sides of the ball. While the team only returns nine seniors, Kuntz believes inexperience and nerves will not be a factor come game days. “These kids have been working their tails off, they have a great string of practices here this week and I know they’ll be ready to go come game time,” Kuntz said.



Bucks need to retool By JASON LANDSTROM The Buchanan boys’ tennis team has been working and preparing strenuously for the opening of the 2013-14 campaign; and coach Stacy Demaio believes they already show “tremendous improvement” in the short amount of time since practices began. Demaio and the Bucks were tasked with finding replacements at No. 1 and No. 2 singles for Alex Kuhn and Logan Mcphereson, who were both lost to graduation. They also have to retool a couple of doubles spots with the departure of Tony Nichols and having empty roster spots at the No. 4 doubles pairing. Taking over at one singles for the young Bucks is Luke Higgins, who is also one of the team’s two seniors. The two singles spot is held by sophomore Leader photo/File

Rachel Bonek, right, is the lone senior on the Buchanan volleyball team.

Buchanan wants another title By JASON LANDSTROM The Buchanan volleyball program will start out it season with a swagger to its step as it looks to claim its third consecutive Lakeland Conference title and possibly more by season’s end. The Bucks have some excellent players returning to their squad, captained by the team’s sole senior, center Rachel Bonek, who led the team in kills and blocks as a junior. The team will also return five experienced juniors and add a group of four extremely skilled freshmen to what will prove to be a deep and dynamic roster for head coach Lisa Holok. “We had a wonderful camp. We went

18-2 against some of the other area schools,” Holok said. “I’m really excited about this season. These girls have been working really hard year round and now it’s going to really pay off.” Freshman Franki Strefling is the player to look out for on this team. She has already earned the role of starting outside hitter and is expected to be a big time player for the Bucks. Holok expects to capitalize on both her team’s height and hitting prowess to power her team throughout the season. “We’ll be really strong at the net this year, Rachel (Bonek) is a dominant center and Franki (Strefling) will have an immediate impact with her powerful striking abilities,” she said.

Christian Orphanidis. Junior Colin Wheatley will play three singles and sophomore Lincoln Grwinsky will round out the singles flights at four singles. The pairing of junior Ian Tyler and sophomore Josiah Smith will play at No. 1 doubles for Demaio this season. The Bucks’ other senior, Devan Troft, will team up with sophomore Lucas Bonek at two doubles; while freshmen duo Tevin Tyler and Christopher Wentworth will comprise the three doubles pair. “We have a couple kids who have never played before and they are really picking the game up quickly,” Demaio said. “Everyone has been working really hard and they’re really starting to put things together out there now. We have a lot of potential, but we have to make sure to sustain our continued efforts to improve ourselves each and every day.”

Buchanan soccer is deep By JASON LANDSTROM Buchanan soccer coach Brian Pruett said he was excited to get the season under way as he believes the team the Bucks will be fielding during their latest campaign will be “the deepest squad” he has ever had in his tenure with the school. The team has a wealth of talented players returning this year; led by seniors all-state forward Kevin Day and four-year starter Charlie Johnson on defense. The Bucks’ offensive attack will be one of (if not the most) potent of area teams, with all-area standouts Alex Swem and Alex Martinez joining Day up front.

Opponents will also have a difficult time manufacturing goals against Buchanan, mainly due to the fact that they have one of the most decorated goalkeepers in school history between the posts for his fourth year as a starter in Cade Bargo. Other than Johnson, the Bucks’ defensive unit will have an entirely new look to it as six defensemen from last year’s squad have departed. Pruett admitted that his team would be pretty young defensively, but was also upbeat by what he has seen of the unit in practices. “We’re really young back there on ‘D,’ but we have some experienced younger guys who are handling themselves well. Having Charlie (Johnson) See BUCKS, page 13

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Special Section • August 29, 2013


Bucks lack numbers, not effort this year By JASON LANDSTROM

For what the Buchanan Bucks 201314 cross country team’s lack in size (in terms of numbers), their coach, Kristin Baker, said they will make up for with talent and a tireless effort throughout the course of the new season. Despite only having 10 runners between the two programs, Baker believes

that her Bucks will be well represented near the front of the pack in all of their outings during this year’s campaign. Baker is looking for her only fouryear runner Andi Frost to be the Lady Bucks’ top runner this season, while she is also expecting a pair of freshmen runners, in Brooke Wesner and Morgan Zelmer, to have an explosive impact in their debut seasons respectively. The boys will be anchored by their

lone returning letterman, sophomore Matthew Mitchell, who will be in search of an individual Lakeland Conference championship and perhaps even a state qualification. The programs will also return many runners in the coming seasons as they now have only two seniors participating on the teams and six freshmen. “We’re extremely young. I guess it would be fair to call this somewhat of a

rebuilding season,” Baker said. “Although we don’t have enough runners to qualify for any team events, I think that we have a lot of talent here, we have a few runners who should be able to make some serious runs at qualifying for state. “Practices have been going extremely well and the kids are ready to go, we may be small, but we might be mighty too.”

Pruett said. “We have some big goals and expectations this year and we have a team that’s

entirely capable of accomplishing all of them, we’re ready to get things going.” The Bucks’ soccer program set a re-

cord for amount of participants this season with 44-kids between the JV and Varsity teams.


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Page 14

Special Section • August 29, 2013

c a i g dowa l o o h c s high

Leader photo courtesy Premier Photograph

Pictured in front from left are Taylor Friske, Rolando Lucio, Bryce Dodd, Caleb Sands, Troy Ring, Jacob Nolke, Nick Lindemulder, B.J. Bundy and Brandon Hatch. The second row consists of Jared Hatch, Pedro Zaragoza, Devin Chapman, Lucas Petro, Jacob Helmuth, Caleb Zimmerman, Andrew Lyle, Jon Lindemulder, Jacob Chapman and Tom Smith. The third row consists of Xavier Marquart, Aaron Adams, Connor Howard, Nick Thielmann, Carl Grant, Davion Highsmith, Zach Williams, Tristan Howard and Daniel Kruger. In back are Brody Froehlich, Austin Broda, head coach Mike Stanger, coach Pat Lyle, coach Brent Hatch, coach Andy Crawley, Chase Camp, Reid Adams.

Chieftains have holes to fill


Coming off its first undefeated regular season since 1996, Dowagiac football coach Mike Stanger must replace 18 of 22 starters. Gone from the Wolverine Conference West Division championship squad are the likes of quarterbacks Cal Cox and Brett Scanlon. Scanlon, who was also an outstanding linebacker and a five-star kicking prospect is now at Western Michigan University, one of only five kickers who received fullride scholarships in college last year. Scanlon knocked 57 of his 71 kickoffs into the end zone in 2012, which meant opponents usually had to go 80-plus yards to score. That was a real weapon for the Chieftains, who finished the season with a 10-1 record, See CHIEFTAINS, page 15



Dowagiac Chieftains 2012 Record: 10-1, playoff qualifier n 8/30 Vicksburg at Dowagiac, 7 p.m. n 9/06 Dowagiac at Comstock, 7 p.m. n 9/13 Plainwell at Dowagiac, 7 p.m. n 9/20 Dowagiac at Berrien Springs, 7 p.m. n 9/27 Coloma at Dowagiac, 7 p.m. n 10/4 Dowagiac at South Haven, 7 p.m. n 10/11 Three Rivers at Dowagiac, 7 p.m. n 10/18 Dowagiac at Edwardsburg, 7 p.m. n 10/25 Dowagiac at Otsego, 7 p.m.

Go Dowagiac!

Page 15

Special Section • August 29, 2013


Dowagiac will have to overcome inexperience By SCOTT NOVAK The Dowagiac soccer team will have to overcome its inexperience in a hurry if it wants to be successful this season. Gone from last year’s squad are the likes of Joey Pasternak, Adrian Martinez and Allan Scherer and keeper Paul Lamphere. Veteran coach Mike Williams has just five players on the 2013 roster who have been with the program three years. They are Jorge Ruiz, Tony Solis, Aubrey Huston, Jose Lopez and Nate Stewart. Stewart, who saw time in goal last season, is going to be the full-time keeper this year for the Chieftains. “He looked good in goal today (Dowagiac’s season opener) and that made me feel good about the rest of the season,” Williams said. Ruiz and Solis will be the key to Dowagiac’s offense as they play in the center. “Jorge and Tony are the center of our field and when they went out of the center you can see what happened. We got attacked nonstop. When they are in there running that center, it doesn’t happen.” The Chieftains return two out of four defenders in Huston and Lopez. The two new defenders are Ricky Lucio and Leo Brito. “They played mid and forward last year,” Williams said. “They have been doing a good job.” Williams said what the team is missing is strikers up top to generate offense. “We have some who could play there, but then we would be hurting in other areas,” he said. “We are trying to find some people who can score up top and put some pressure on the other team.” Dowagiac has 19 players listed on its 2013 roster, which are just a few short of having enough for a JV team. Williams said that because of that, he has scheduled four JV matches, in which all but the five three-year players will take part in. “That’s the most we have had in four or five years,” Williams said.



CHIEFTAINS Continued from page 14

falling in the district championship game. Stanger is looking at ways to replace his quarterbacks and his kicker. He must also find a lot of the pieces to the puzzle on the defensive side of the football, where he lost the likes of D.J. Hunt (linebacker) and his entire secondary. Lucas Petro is going to handle the kicking duties for the Chieftains this season. But don’t expect him to be knocking the ball into the end zone every time. “We’re looking at everything as far as what we’re going to do with kickoffs,” Stanger said. “Do we pop it up at the 25-

yard line and try to cover it? Are we going to pooch kick it? We certainly don’t want to kick deep if we’re going to kick a line drive to the 15 yard line because then we’re going to out-kick our coverage and the opposition is going to get the ball out to the 40 or 45 yard line.” Dowagiac alternated Cox and Scanlon at quarterback last year, partly because they also played defense. You could see a two-quarterback system again this year with Austin Broda and Bryce Dodd battling for the position. Dowagiac does have some experience along the offensive line with Tristan

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Howard and Jacob Chapman returning. Grant and Nick Theilmann will both play tight end. On the defensive side of the ball, three-year starter Carl Grant will be looked to as the leader. Stanger knows that his lone returning starter on that side of the ball has the tools to get the job done. “We’re hoping that Carl takes on a leadership role this year,” he said. “He’s got a vast amount of experience. He’s already played in the big games so I think the biggest thing he brings is experience.”

Grant had 54 tackles in 2012, including 13 for loss. He also had five quarterback sacks. Thielmann is expected to play the other defensive end for the Chieftains. He and Grant are two key elements to the defense. “We’re going to need Carl to contain that edge,” Stanger said. “If Carl can keep the one edge and Nick can keep the other, we’ll be able to force teams to run inside. And in the 4-3 our safeties are like linebackers and it makes the defense like a 4-5.”

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Special Section • August 29, 2013


Chieftain volleyball tall and has skills By SCOTT NOVAK

Veteran Dowagiac volleyball coach Sara Lawrence is hoping that experience will begin to pay off for the Chieftains. Now in her third year as the varsity coach, Lawrence wants to improve on last year’s 12th place finish in the Wolverine Conference. Dowagiac did win the first game of the district tournament before bowing out in the semifinals. Returning to that team are Katie Dantone, Hazel Kennedy and Amanda Badner. Badner missed part of last season with an injury. Top newcomers include transfer Gabby Leonard. Leonard, who lives in Dowagiac, played volleyball at Coloma last year. Other newcomers are Annie Ennesser and Mary Magin. “The team this year is tall and has a lot of skill,” Lawrence said. “This year we will be very competitive in the conference.” Dowagiac will play in the West Division of the Wolverine Conference along with Edwardsburg, South Haven, Coloma, Berrien Springs and Three Rivers.


Page 17

Special Section • August 29, 2013


Tennis team continues to rebuild program By SCOTT NOVAK Second year Dowagiac coach Sonny Swartz is continuing to try and rebuild the Chieftain tennis program. Last year, Swartz’s first team went 3-10 and finished third in the Wolverine Conference West Division. Gone from that team is No. 1 singles player Marc Tyrakowski. Swartz took over a program that had reached the state tournament four years ago, but did not have a squad the following year. It then lost its long-time coach. So he spent last season cultivating young players, trying to prepare them for the riggers of playing varsity tennis in an extremely competitive league. Key returners for the Chieftains are Jordan Hagemann, Zach Davis and David Brogan. “I think with time, this year we will become a stronger team,” Swartz said. “We have all new single players with Jordan Hagemann at No. 1 singles, but Zach Davis is pushing really hard to get that spot.” Among the newcomers that Swartz is looking at to help fill the spots left by graduation are three players who are just learning the game of tennis. “The weakness of our team is we are really young,” he said. Swartz said that Edwardsburg is the top team in the West Division, while Allegan is the team to beat in the East once again. “The team I have now works hard,” he said. “They want to have success.”



Chieftains short on numbers Dowagiac has new coach By SCOTT NOVAK

The Dowagiac golf team will be short on both numbers and experience this year. The lone returner is sophomore Kelsey Smith. Joining Smith are newcomers Madison Proshwitz, Kelsey Green, Emma Sovine and Allyson Wild. “I”m out there with a novice team,” Dowagiac coach Van Johnson said. “Every day is a teaching day. Our hope is we will continue to get better. They want to play and I want them to play.



Dowagiac will have a new cross country coach when the season begins. Rob Lowe replaces long-time Chieftain coach Ken Jordan. Lowe was an assistant for Jordan the past few seasons. His top returners are DeYonte Sullivan and Jacob Peters for the boys teams and Sarah Long, Katie Murphy, Jennifer Schaus, Kendra Wilson, Morgan Bonomo, Heather Stolpe, Amy Schaus, Madeline White and Rachel Hatch for the girls. “We are a young team, which will be both exciting and a mystery,” Lowe said. “We have had some good early workouts and I am excited to work with this great group of students.”


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Page 18

Special Section • August 29, 2013


Rangers bring back girls cross country By BOB OPPENHEIM

Cassopolis looks to be in position to have a varsity cross country team for the first time since 2002. The Rangers started the first week of practice with six girls, which would be enough to fill a varsity team. At least five kids are needed to have a team. The boys cross country team had three kids practicing. “We’re trying to bring back cross country,” said coach Bob Sieko, who was the Michigan City varsity boys cross country coach from 2009-11. “Six girls is a good number before school starts. The kids this year have good, competitive spirit and we’re going to try to recruit some more.” Last year, only three boys and three girls competed for the Rangers. Those kids participated in the Dowagiac Rock and Run and the New Prairie Invitational. “It was a good experience for the kids,” Sieko said about last season. Sieko has a plan in place that he hopes helps his kids steadily improve as the season progresses. “We’re building back into it,”

Sieko said about where his team was at after three days of practice. “We’re running about four to five miles a day. All the kids reported feeling pretty good about their conditioning. I put the girls on a summer running program of 30 minutes a day and they pretty much followed that. The girls are pretty driven to succeed academically and I’m trying to apply that to their running. “For us, preseason conditioning is done to help us gear up for regionals. No one is going to set records at regular season meets at the beginning.” Girls who got running experience last year are junior Emily Cutting and sophomore Alexis Holloway. Junior Monica Ward also should make an impact. “We have a good nucleus,” Sieko said. “There’s some talent. It’s just a matter of putting everything together. I told the girls that they’re laying the groundwork for future Cassopolis cross country teams.” Sieko was asked what he would consider a successful year. “I want us to at least score as a team,” the Rangers cross country coach said. “We’re looking to build a program.” 

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Page 19

Special Section • August 29, 2013

s i l o p casso l o o h c s high


Pictured in front from left to right are Khilio Brown, Matt Locke, coach Dan Purlee, Zack Newton and Jeremiah Herstell. The second row consists of A.J. Green, Deandre Ballard, Joe Emerson, Isiah Crider, Tray Brown, Marquise Curtis and Jacob Roth. The third row consists of Steve Walker, Tymari Brown, Vashaun Morgan, Travis Edwards, Nick Murphy, Cody Evans, Kolin Heithcox, Tyler Ward and Steve Green. In back are coach Jeff Wernette, coach Jim Myers, Noah Woods, Kiante Brown, Hunter Makee, Austin Christoph, Austin Voss, Alex Voss, Tin Born and Brian Klee.

Rangers looking to return to playoffs By BOB OPPENHEIM The Cassopolis football team was in an unfamiliar spot at the end of October last year. For the first time since 2005, the Rangers weren’t preparing for the playoffs. Second-year coach Dan Purlee thinks the potential is there this year to start a new playoff streak. “I feel we have better team chemistry this year,” said Purlee, whose team finished 4-5 overall last Morgan year and 0-3 in the Lakeland Conference. “I like the depth we have on both sides of the ball. I feel good about the people we’re going to put out on the field on Friday

nights.” Senior quarterback VaShaun Morgan, senior running back Trevon Brown, senior offensive guard Jeremiah Hartsell, junior center Jacob Roth, senior offensive tackle Joe Emerson and junior offensive tackle Tim Born are returning starters on offense. Brown averaged seven yards a carry last season. “He has good speed and runs hard,” Purlee said about Brown. “But there’s going to be a battle for playing time. We’re pretty inexperienced at running back, but we have some good young guys and some pretty good depth there. “I feel pretty good about our offensive line. I think we’re as deep there as we’ve been in a long time.” Returning starters on defense are senior defensive end Kolin Haithcox, senior linebacker Alex Voss, junior defensive tackle Kiante Brown, Roth at linebacker, Morgan at safety and Brown at cornerback. “We have a hole at defensive end, but I feel everywhere else we should be improved,” Purlee said. “We have to play fast because we’re not big.” Purlee sees defending conference champion Bu-

Cassopolis Rangers 2012 Record: 4-5 n 8/30 New Buffalo at Cassopolis, 7 p.m. n 9/06 Mendon at Cassopolis 7 p.m. n 9/13 Gary Wallace (Ind.), 7 p.m. n 9/20 Cassopolis at Bronson, 7 p.m. n 9/27 Buchanan at Cassopolis, 7 p.m. n 10/4 Cassopolis at Bridgman, 7 p.m. n 10/11 Cassopolis at River Valley, 7 p.m. n 10/18 Brandywine at Cassopolis, 7 p.m. n 10/25 Cassopolis at White Pigeon 7 p.m. chanan as the team to beat again this year with Brandywine and Bridgman also having solid teams. “Buchanan is tough year in and year out,” Purlee said. “(Running back) Doug Freeman is a good as anybody in the area. Brandywine controlled the line of scrimmage against us last year. Bridgman from what I saw had its best team in several years last year and has a good core coming back. I feel like we’re going to be better as well.”


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Page 20

Special Section • August 29, 2013


Cass looks for success

No repeat for Rangers



Success is a challenge for the Cassopolis boys soccer program, which has been a varsity sport for only five years. “It’s tough competition with as many kids we have and as many kids other schools have,” said first-year Rangers coach Mike Peters. Most Ranger opponents have more than 20 kids on their varsity roster, while Cassopolis will have 13 to 14 kids this season. “Our numbers are down,” Peters said. “A couple kids played football and soccer last year and this year they’re playing just football. We also lost five seniors.” Seven letterwinners will be counted on to improve the Rangers 4-13-2 record in 2012. Veteran leaders on the team are senior midfielder Cameron Hayden, senior forward and top offensive threat Shawn Teeter and sophomore defender Dylan Armstrong. “He’ll provide a big assist to the team in the back,” Peters said about Armstrong, who also has soccer experience playing for the Junior Irish club team. “I think we’ll be good on offense with the kids we have coming back and our newcomers.” Peters’ number one goal is to have his team well conditioned. “I believe in that,” Peters said. “That’s half the battle to get kids to run for 80 minutes in matches. Skills will come eventually with practice. Each day our team has improved when doing drills. I’m impressed with our players work ethic.” Defending conference champion Bridgman has Peters’ attention. “Usually Bridgman is everyone’s toughest game,” the Rangers coach said. “If we can do well against Bridgman we’d open up a lot of people’s eyes.”

The Cassopolis volleyball team struggled in the first year under head coach Ray Prestly. But Prestly doesn’t expect a repeat from 2012 when the Rangers won only two matches and tied three. “It looks like we’ll be a solid team this year,” said Prestly. “There’s more motivation and actual desire to win. I was looking for some victories last year but it took awhile for the girls to learn my system. Prestly is optimistic because of the three talented letterwinners he has back and the seven newcomers, who were part of the junior varsity team that won the Lakeland Conference last year. Players back with varsity experience are junior labero Tori Baker, senior backrow specialist Tyesia Fuller and senior rightside hitter Logan Lawson. “I’m looking for 100-percent improvement from those three,” Prestly said. Newcomers who will contribute are junior outside Janye Butts, sophomore setter Kaylyn Forrest, junior middle hitter Michelle Green, junior backrow specialist Maddie Ruff, junior backrow specialist Kortenei Suggs, junior outside hitter Rachelle Williams and junior rightside hitter Marissa Waldschmidt. “They have winning experience and had a great (JV) coach in Missy Cooper,” Prestly said. Prestly expects defending Lakeland Conference cochampions Buchanan and Brandywine to be tough opponents again this season. “I feel that Buchanan will be at the top of the conference this year,” Prestly said. “They have a good group of freshman coming in. Brandywine will be up there too. My overall goal this year for our team is to get past the first round in districts. I can see this group of girls achieving that.”



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Page 21


Eddies’ soccer team will be youthful By BOB OPPENHEIM There could be some growing pains this year for the Edwardsburg boys soccer team. The Eddies graduated 11 seniors, eight who were starters off of last year’s that finished 13-11 overall and 2-3 in the Wolverine Conference West Division. “We have a quite a bit of skill, but we’re young,” said second-year Eddies boys soccer coach Sean Jesse. “We’re going to take some lumps at the beginning of year, but we should be decent at the end.” Starters back for Edwardsburg are senior midfielder Austin Vega, sophomore midfielder Tyler Treat, and junior forward Nick Karamalegos. Karamalegos shared the team lead with 12 goals last year. Junior midfielder Ben Chambers also saw time on the varsity last year. “(Chambers) made significant strides in the offseason,” Jesse said. A newcomer that should contribute is freshman midfielder Jacob Brown. “Our offense should be good,” Jesse said. “We’re replacing our entire back line. We have kids who can replace the kids who played on the back line last season. They just need experience.” A positive for Jesse is the number of kids who tried out for the team. Jesse will get down to 30 to 35 kids from the 42 who tried out. Edwardsburg will have a junior varsity team, which will help the younger players develop. Jesse sees one team as the prohibitive favorite in the West Division. “South Haven is a perennial power,” the Eddies coach said. “Berrien Springs, Dowagiac and us will be vying for second place.”


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Page 22

Special Section • August 29, 2013

g r u b s d edwar l o o h c high s

Leader photo/Provided

Pictured in front from left are Robby Cline, Jackson Gaideski, Dylan Hulett, Tyler Williamson, Brett Bowman, Dustin Vires and Jacob Widup. The second row consists of Tyler Lutz, Grant Szalewski, Jack Bywaters, Dante Razzano, Ben Robertson, Alan Miller, Justin Alexander, Victor Sheets and Travis Schultz. In back are Trevor Peffley, Devin McGrath, Dillon Cline, Anthony Longo, Daniel Snell, Justin Campbell, Zach Plummer, Travis Myrick, Garret Bronkema, Ryan Rivers, Brandon Cooper, Seth Williams and Bobby Steinhoff.

Edwardsburg hoping for better results this year By BOB OPPENHEIM At one point last year, Edwardsburg’s Kevin Bartz had to coach a football team missing half its starters because of injuries. “Our trainer (Nancy Thomas) was a busy, busy lady,” said Bartz, who is entering his 19th year as coach. “(Thomas) might have been our most valuable staff member. We spent Sundays determining who would fill in for the kids who were hurt. We were moving kids all around in different positions. We brought up sophomores to play spots.” Despite the injuries, Edwardsburg found a way to finish 6-4 and qualify for the playoffs for the third straight year. “Even with the adversity and the injuries we made it into the playoffs,” Bartz said. “I was pleased with that.” Edwardsburg is healthy to start this season and look

poised to make another push for the playoffs and contend for the Wolverine Conference West Division title. The Eddies finished second in the division last year with a 4-1 records. Bartz says the strength of his team is its offensive line. Leading that line this year will be first team All-

Conference center Travis Myrick, who’s a senior. Another first team All-Conference selection last year that returns is senior tight end Garrett Bronkema. Senior See EDDIES, page 23

Edwardsburg Eddies 2012 Record: 6-4, playoff qualifier n 8/30 New Buffalo at Cassopolis, 7 p.m. n 9/06 Mendon at Cassopolis 7 p.m. n 9/13 Gary Wallace (Ind.), 7 p.m. n 9/20 Cassopolis at Bronson, 7 p.m. n 9/27 Buchanan at Cassopolis, 7 p.m. n 10/4 Cassopolis at Bridgman, 7 p.m. n 10/11 Cassopolis at River Valley, 7 p.m. n 10/18 Brandywine at Cassopolis, 7 p.m. n 10/25 Cassopolis at White Pigeon 7 p.m.

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Special Section • August 29, 2013


Experience should pay off for Eddies’ volleyball squad By BOB OPPENHEIM Chrissy Breisch inherited a young volleyball team when she took over as the Edwardsburg coach last season. Those players are now a year older and Breisch is optimistic about what’s ahead in 2013. “I’m not starting this year (in practice) teaching how to pass and serve,” said Breisch, whose team finished fourth in the Wolverine Conference West Division last year. “We have the fundamentals down this year. The girls are very comfortable with me.” Edwardsburg returns all seven starters. Those top players are senior outside


hitter Catie Razzano, senior middle hitter Alexis Blake, senior rightside hitter Bri Nemeth, senior outside hitter Madison Hatkevich, sophomore setter Payton Szlanfucht, junior outside hitter Mackenzie Meyers and senior libero Lindsay Nunez. “I think the lineup I have this year is very competitive with experience and they have great attitudes,” Breisch said. Also fighting for minutes on the varsity are sophomore libero Kaylee Riker and junior 5-foot-10 middle hitter Taylor Hepler. “We’re still lacking height,” Breisch said. Breisch expects defending co-Wolverine Conference champions Three Rivers

and Berrien Springs to be strong again this year with her team being much more competitive in matches. “I think we’re in a really tough division,” the Eddies coach said. “Three Rivers won the conference tournament last year and Berrien Springs lost a lot of good seniors, but they still have a talented team. I don’t think any team is out of reach for us.” Breisch is looking forward to working with new assistant coach Stephanie Koontz. Breisch and Koontz were varsity teammates for three years at Edwardsburg High School. “I played libero and Stephanie was an outside hitter,” Breisch said. “It’s a good mix for coaching these kids.” 

Edwardsburg girls cross country team will be improved By BOB OPPENHEIM Look for an improved Edwardsburg girls cross country team this season. Eddies cross country coach Beth Gunn is excited about the squad because of its depth and talent. “I think the girls team is going to be stronger this year,” said Gunn, whose team finished fourth in the Wolverine Conference West Division in 2012.

“Our top six runners are back, plus we have a couple of incoming freshmen and a couple who ran track last year that will help the team. Our No. 2 through No. 8 runners should be competitive with times really close.” Edwardsburg is led by No. 1 runner junior Aubrey Ritchey. Providing competition will be senior Kristen Miller, juniors Brittany Udell, Gianna Haller, Katy Thomas and Isabelle Peak, along with sophomore Abby Smith.

“Smith joined us late last year,” Gunn said. “She’s really going to be an impact runner for us.” Newcomers to watch are junior Hannah Sousley, sophomore Amelia Montgomery and freshman Brynn Ritchey. “The girls should push each other and, hopefully, make the team better,” Gunn said. “We’ve got the potential to be a tough team.” The boys team will be led by No. 1 runner Michael Higley, who’s a junior,

and No. 2 runner Andrew Van Kirk, who’s a senior. “Michael Higley has run some cross country, but it’s not his No. 1 sport, wrestling is,” Gunn said. “He’s a great competitor, who’s always going to give his best. I’ve been been impressed by what I’ve seen from Andrew. He put in a lot of miles during the summer.” See CROSS COUNTRY, page 24


Continued from page 22 offensive guard Jacob Widup and senior offensive tackle Seth Williams are other talented offensive linemen. Edwardsburg also brings back experience at quarterback where senior Brett Bowman and sophomore Dante Razzano will share time running the wingT. That duo will be handing off to senior fullback Dylan Hulett, junior fullback Dustin Viers, junior running back Jackson Gaideski, senior running back Jack Bywaters and senior running back Tyler Williamson. The Eddies rushed for more than 300 yards a game last season. Defensively, Edwardsburg will switch to a 3-3-5 defense this year. The Eddies ran a 3-4 defense in 2012.

“We’re doing that to cover the spread offenses in the Wolverine Conference,” Bartz said. Anchoring the defensive line will be nose guard Bobby Steinhoff, who was a second team all-conference selection last year. Other top defenders are Bronkema at linebacker, Hulett at linebacker, Gaideski at free safety and Grant Szalewski at cornerback. Gaideski was a second team all-conference selection in 2012. “We’re pretty experienced and I’m excited about the kids we have,” Bartz said. “Expectations are high. If we can stay healthy we can compete for the West Division title.”


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Page 24


Special Section • August 29, 2013

Eddies looking to repeat By BOB OPPENHEIM Repeating as the Wolverine Conference West Division champion won’t be easy for the Edwardsburg boys tennis team. But Eddies coach Mark Zarycki isn’t counting out his Eddies. “We have a shot to win the West Division again,” said Zarycki, who must replace eight seniors from last year’s team. “We’re young, but we’re pretty athletic. We have good kids, who just have to work hard. They don’t know how competitive it gets.” Experienced players who need to play well this year are senior No. 1 singles player Jordan Douglas, who was at No. 4 singles last year, senior No. 2 or 3 singles player Linden Jones, who played No. 2 doubles last year, junior No. 1 doubles player Carson Collins, who played No. 4 doubles last year and sophomore No. 2 or 3 singles player Brendon Handy, who contributed at No. 3 doubles last year.

“It looks like he worked hard over the summer and improved his stroke,” Zarycki said about Handy. Zarycki expects three of four freshmen to be in the varsity mix of players. “They’re athletic and learning about tennis,” the Eddies coach said. “They just have to work with their strokes.” Zarycki is hoping his team can duplicate how it won matches last year. “Last year, we were strong at singles and our No. 1 doubles was pretty decent,” Zarycki said. “This year, we’re basically inexperienced at singles and those kids have to learn fast. Three singles flights have to play well. We also have to have two doubles flights step up and surprise.” Zarycki sees five teams being strong in the Wolverine Conference. “Berrien Springs and us should be contenders for the West title, while Allegan, Paw Paw and Otsego in the East will be crossover challenges for us.”

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CROSS COUNTRY Continued from page 23

Others with varsity experience are junior D.J. Bosse and sophomore Kevin Knox. Gunn also expects freshman newcomer Andrew Markel to contribute. And LIKE us on Facebook!

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Niles Community Schools Building a Foundation for Our Future

Fall sports pages  

2013 Fall Sports includes Niles, Buchanan, Brandywine, Dowagiac, Edwardsburg and Cassopolis.

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