Archive for Athletics

WMC starts year with In-Person and Online options, New Athletic Fields and Classrooms and a Partnership with Calvin University

In-Person Learning

“We are extremely excited and blessed to be able to begin the 2020-21 school year with in-person learning and virtual learning options for our families,” said WMC Principal Samuel Greer, “We are uniquely positioned with a building that has a large-footprint compared to our total enrollment that allows us to be properly socially distanced with an average of 21 students per classroom.” The school will adhere to the Michigan Safe Start Plan for schools with safety measures in place that include PPE, social distancing, directional foot traffic throughout the building and proper hygiene/cleaning practices in place. “We feel confident in our plan to provide a safe learning environment while delivering excellence in Christian education,” Greer added.

Virtual Learning

Additionally, the school will give families the choice to do virtual learning. “Our school board approved the funding for audio and video technology in each classroom allowing for live-streaming sessions for students to participate remotely,” explained Dr. Kristy Taylor, Director of Instruction, “We are pleased to be able to offer this to families to give them a choice each trimester to either do in-person or online education. Our students at home will be fully participating through Google Classroom and be able to talk to the in-person students and participate in group discussions,” added Taylor, “This allows us to continue our excellence in education and being one of the top academic schools in our area.” she said.

New Athletic Fields

WMC completed a multi-million dollar capital campaign this spring in order to break ground on new soccer and baseball fields. “This provides state of the art playing fields for our students on our own campus and builds community both for our families and our surrounding area,” said WMC Director of Advancement Scott Liggett, “After winning the D4 Boys State Championship Soccer season last fall we are well positioned to continue our legacy of Warrior championship athletics,” he added.

New Middle School Classrooms

Along with the new athletic complex, WMC has added two middle school classrooms, including a science lab. “Over the past few years our middle school has continued to grow to the point where we needed to add classroom space.” said Principal Greer, “We have shown double digit enrollment increases over the past 10 years and this puts us in position to continue that as we look to the future.” 

Spanish Immersion Partnership with Calvin University

West Michigan Christian Schools, including Fremont Christian, Grand Haven Christian, Muskegon Christian, New Era Christian and Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School, will begin a Spanish Immersion partnership with Calvin University. “This partnership allows our Spanish Immersion students to graduate high school with a Spanish Minor from Calvin University,” said West Michigan Christian Schools Spanish Immersion Director Heather Grisales. Juniors and seniors will take college level courses through Calvin and will also be able to participate in a three week study abroad experience in a Spanish speaking country. “We are excited to offer this program to our immersion students from Fremont Christian, Grand Haven Christian and Muskegon Christian who continue on to Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School,” added Grisales. 

For more information on our in-person, virtual learning, or Spanish Immersion programs please call 231-799-9644×237. WMC is a grade 7-12 Christian school located at 455 East Ellis Rd. Muskegon, including students from 5 countries, 30 cities, and 75 churches. Elementary schools include Fremont Christian, Grand Haven Christian, Muskegon Christian and New Era Christian.

Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School Breaks Ground on New Soccer and Baseball Fields

WMC Enjoys New Beginnings on Campus

This spring, with less than typical pomp and circumstance due to the constraints of the pandemic, WMC celebrated the groundbreaking of a new state-of-the-art soccer and baseball field.

In most cases, events such as the start of a construction project are commemorated with an official groundbreaking event where the entire WMC community would be invited, however, given the ongoing pandemic, it was decided that we would hold a “virtual” groundbreaking instead. 

Knowing that many of you would have wanted to be part of this event, we captured it on video. See below:

Below is a rendering to help illustrate the work that is underway.

Since the groundbreaking day on June 9, 2020, the construction crews have cleared the land that sits to the west of the Norton Shores campus to make way for the soccer and baseball field. It’s so exciting to see the progress!

July 13, 2020
July 13, 2020

For the first time in school history, both of WMC’s soccer and baseball teams will have home games on our campus. This will allow our students to support their classmates in a way that has not been previously possible since prior to this, baseball and soccer home fields were located off-site.

For the first time in school history, both of WMC’s soccer and baseball teams will have home games on our campus. This will allow our students to support their classmates in a way that has not been previously possible since prior to this, baseball and soccer home fields were located off-site.

WMC Boys Soccer

The roots of the Warrior soccer program harken back to the fall of 1968. In the beginning, the WMC mens soccer team was a member of the 6-C Soccer League with Grand Rapids Christian, Holland Christian, Unity Christian, Calvin Christian, and Kalamazoo Christian.

The boys soccer team claimed the State Championship in 1988, 1995, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2019.

In 1982, 1983, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2011 Warriors came up short as the runner up.

WMC Girls Soccer

The Warrior girls soccer program started in 1989 with an intramural team. That team blazed the trail for the first varsity girls soccer season in 1990. Nine years later the program achieved state runner up!

1990, back when girls had to play on the boys team to find higher level competition.
(source: The Torch 1990, WMC’s yearbook archive)
WMC’s first Girls Intramural Soccer team in 1989
(source: The Torch 1989, WMC’s yearbook archive)
WMC’s first girls varsity soccer team.
(source: The Torch 1990, WMC’s yearbook archive)
July 27, 2020
July 27, 2020

Both of WMC’s soccer coaches for the 2020-2021 school year are new to the post, so they will be the first to enjoy coaching on the new home soccer field. Boys soccer coach Coach Buursma shared, “These fields are going to be an amazing addition to the WMC campus. I am excited for the athletes and fans and the WMC community to enjoy the facility. I know a lot of prayer, planning, and financial resources went into making this portion of the campus plan a reality, and it’s incredible to see it come to fruition.” 

…a lot of prayer, planning, and financial resources went into making this portion of the campus plan a reality, and it’s incredible to see it come to fruition.

WMC’s new girls soccer coach, Kevin Butler, “The multi-sport complex is incredibly exciting for the players as well as the coaches.  I know the girls can’t wait to experience the training and playing environment in this new facility, to welcome their supporting fans into the complex, and thank the WMC families for their strong support of sports through a Christian perspective.”

The multi-sport complex is incredibly exciting for the players as well as the coaches.  I know the girls can’t wait to experience the training and playing environment in this new facility, to welcome their supporting fans into the complex, and thank the WMC families for their strong support of sports through a Christian perspective.

WMC Baseball

The baseball program started at WMC back in 1951. The first time baseball was featured in The Torch (WMC’s yearbook archives) was in 1952.

The Torch; 1952; Recognize anyone you know?

Warrior baseball clinched the state championship in 1985 and they were runner up in 1980.

“I’m extremely excited to have Warrior baseball being played on campus next spring.  It will provide an opportunity to strengthen the community feel where students and staff are only a short walk to watch us play,” shares Varsity baseball coach Mark Hill.  

I’m extremely excited to have Warrior baseball being played on campus next spring.  It will provide an opportunity to strengthen the community feel where students and staff are only a short walk to watch us play.

“Seeing the WMC community come together and provide the necessary support to make this project happen has been incredible.  For the last several years there have been so many hands involved.  To see this vision come to fruition is an example of how exceptional the WMC community is.  Our athletic department is grateful for the opportunity to have a facility of this stature for our coaches and athletes.  The WMC student-athletes are excited and ready to put these fields to use,” explains Western Michigan Christian Athletic Director, Kurt Gruppen.  

WMC promises to incur absolutely no debt for any of these projects and we will have 105% of the required funds in hand for any part of the project to commence.  We’re eternally grateful for the generosity of our community that has allowed for these exciting developments.

Interested in WMC’s Sports Programs? Click here to learn more.

Sawyer Arkema, A Warrior’s Heart

The 2019-2020 WMC Homecoming court took their places on the basketball court and waited for the announcement. This year there was a house favorite and everyone knew it.

“The 2020 Western Michigan Christian Homecoming King is Sawyer Arkema!” The gym roared with cheers and applause. It was a special tear-jerking moment for everyone gathered in Warrior gym.

Sawyer had one heck of a senior year! 

  • He was crowned Homecoming King
  • He was awarded a brand-new 3-wheel bike from the Muskegon Ambucs during half time on Senior Night
  • He scored several buckets in the WMC-hosted United Basketball game with his Special Olympics team in front of his home crowd in his home gym
  • He made front page news in the local paper and was featured on local TV news
  • He graduated from high school in June
Classmate Ryan Bradford Royle congratulates his buddy Sawyer on being crowned King.

Sawyer’s academic journey started at New Era Christian School when he entered kindergarten. Before long, he completed 8th grade and moved on to Western Michigan Christian for high school. Sawyer has a rich and full school life, complete with the support and love of a close-knit school community and peers who adore him. 

At WMC, he is on what is called a “Certificate of Completion” track.  He takes general education classes and works to complete goals instead of aiming for a certain grade.  Fully included in senior-level classes, Sawyer takes general education classes alongside his peers with the help from Daniel Garland, WMC’s ESS Teacher. The main goals of these classes are to further develop social skills with peers, following directions, and staying on task. Sawyer has attended a specific class every year at WMC to work on functional, life, and academic skills.  A key part of this ESS class is to take interest inventory assessments to determine and match him with occupations that he can both enjoy and demonstrate proficiency. Sawyer was matched with job placement at B2 Outlet, a retail store, and Lake Effect Kitchen, a catering company, where he works half-days two days a week. He loves his work!  

Sawyer took his brand-new 3-wheel bike from the Muskegon Ambucs for a spin in Warrior gym

Like most high school boys, Sawyer’s favorite part is being with his teammates. He attended practice with the varsity boys basketball team every Wednesday last fall/winter.

At home games, it became a tradition for each player to share a special handshake with Sawyer as they took the court. Always decked out in green and white, Sawyer is a big part of the heart of the team. 

WMC hosts a United Basketball game each year where Sawyer’s Warrior teammates join forces with his Special Olympics pals scrimmage in front of Sawyer’s WMC student body. School let out early that day so everyone can attend the big game and cheer on their classmate.

Sawyer being introduced as a starter before his big game.

“It’s the favorite basketball game of the year for all of us at WMC,” shares WMC teammate and sophomore Kellen Mitchell.

This love and support is the hallmark of the WMC warriors.

The crowd went wild when Sawyer scored. It was a sight to behold indeed. Not a dry eye in the house as Sawyer pumped his fists and bolted down the court fully enjoying his big moment. It was pure joy.

WATCH the annual Special Olympics United Basketball Game Fox17 news coverage.

READ the Grand Haven Tribune‘s coverage.

After graduation from WMC, Sawyer will start “college” at Muskegon Area Intermediate School District Transition Campus in the fall of 2020.  This program provides him with training and hands-on experience in both life and job skills.  They do a great job of placing their students in actual jobs and then coaching them through the process of learning to do those jobs independently. Sawyer is well-prepared to excel in this environment. He is ready for it!

“We are excited about the possibilities that this program offers Sawyer.  He still very much wants to go to college like his big brother so we like to refer to this program as Muskegon College,” explains Sawyer’s mom, Betsy Arkema.  

Sawyer chatting up teammate and fellow senior Nick Moser on the Warrior bench.

Sawyer is a beloved part of the Warrior family and the halls will not be the same without him. We look forward to his return visits and hearing of his future successes. 

There will always be a spot open on the basketball bench for one of WMC’s all-time favorite Warriors — we love you, Sawyer!

To learn more about WMC and our ESS program, click here.

Western Michigan Christian Hires New Girls Soccer Coach

WMC Announces Kevin Butler as the Head Girls Soccer Coach

Western Michigan Christian High School is excited to announce the hiring of Kevin Butler as the Warriors Girls Varsity Soccer Head Coach.  Butler has coached for 16 years for the Soccer Club of Rockford (SCOR).  During that span, he coached all levels ranging from U8 to U19 and was the President of SCOR for 3 years.  In addition to his involvement with SCOR, Butler was also the Director of Coaching for one year with the West Michigan Storm. 

“Kevin is a great addition to the WMC coaching staff and specifically the girls soccer program.  He has a wealth of soccer knowledge.  Kevin is very relational and has a heart for mentoring young athletes through soccer,”  stated WMC Athletic Director, Kurt Gruppen.

Coach Butler is excited to get started. “It is an honor and a privilege to be able to bring my experience to the lakeshore, to lead and build the women’s program at WMC, and most importantly, do so in a Christian context. I look forward to incorporating the values of discipleship into the soccer environment, and helping these young women build character and servant leadership both on and off the field,”  stated Butler.

Kevin and his wife Dina reside in Norton Shores. 

Interested in learning more about WMC’s soccer program?

CLICK HERE to email the WMC Athletic Department.

WMC Names 2019-2020 Athletes of the Year

Congratulations to Warrior Seniors Chloe Mitchell, Jameson Goorman and Brandon Fles 

The WMC Athlete of the Year Award is given annually to the top male and female athlete(s) in the senior class. In the past, the presentation has taken place at the senior awards banquet. Due to COVID-19 that was not possible this year. For the 2019-2020 school year, WMC is proud to name one female and two co-athletes of the year.

Female Athlete of the Year – Chloe Mitchell

Chloe Mitchell, number 7, setting high at the net.
Chloe Mitchell graduation photo.

Chloe Mitchell starred on the volleyball court as a setter in 2019.  Chloe helped lead her team to a MHSAA District Championship and the school’s first-ever Regional Championship.  The Warriors were also Lakes 8 Conference Champions.

Chloe was named First Team All-Conference in the Lakes 8, MHSAA All-Region, MHSAA 1st Team All-State, 1st team Muskegon Area C/D Dream Team, Player of the Year Muskegon Area C/D Dream Team, and Academic All-State. In addition to these accolades, Mitchell also holds the school record in match assists, season assists, career assists, and career blocks. 

Chloe’s leadership and athleticism were instrumental in the Warrior’s success in 2019.  Mitchell will be attending Aquinas College in the fall and playing volleyball for the Saints.

Co-Male Athlete of the Year – Jameson Goorman

Jameson Goorman makes an amazing save!
Jameson Goorman on the mound in 2019. His senior year baseball season was canceled due to COVID-19.

Jameson Goorman was the Goalkeeper on the 2019 Division 4 MHSAA State Championship soccer team.  He also helped lead the team to a Lakes 8 Conference Championship.  In addition to the team accomplishments, Goorman was named 1st team All-Conference in the Lakes 8, MHSAA All-District, All-Region, and First Team All-State. 

Goorman stepped up in a huge way saving 4 of 5 shots in a shootout to win the MHSAA State Championship.  Goorman was also going to be a key contributor on the baseball team in the spring (season canceled due to COVID-19).  He would have played outfield, catcher, and pitcher for an experienced Warriors team that was looking to make some noise in the 2020 season. 

In the 2019 baseball season, Goorman was named First Team All-Conference in the Lakes 8, MHSAA All-District, and Mlive All-Area. 

Jameson plans on attending Muskegon Community College in the fall and playing soccer for the Jayhawks. 

Co-Male Athlete of the Year – Brandon Fles

Brandon Fles on the soccer pitch.
Brandon Fles with a midrange floater on the hardwoods.

Brandon Fles was the staple on the back line for the 2019 Division 4 MHSAA State Championship soccer team.  Brandon also helped lead the Warriors to a Lakes 8 Conference Championship.  For his efforts, Fles was named 1st Team All-Conference in the Lakes 8, MHSAA All-District, All-Region, First Team All-State, and All-Academic.  With Fles anchoring the defense, the Warriors gave up only 1 goal in regulation during the State Championship run. 

In the winter Fles turned his attention to the hardwood and competed for the Warrior basketball team.  He helped lead the team to the MHSAA District Championship game (canceled due to COVID-19) and a Lakes 8 Conference Championship.  In addition, he was named to the Lakes 8 All-Conference 2nd Team. 

Brandon will be attending Hope College in the fall and playing soccer for the Dutchmen.

Interested in learning more about WMC’s sports programs?

ASK US!

Western Michigan Christian Hires New Boys Soccer Coach

WMC Announces Ben Buursma as the Head Boys Soccer Coach

WMC looked no further than a former assistant coach to find their next varsity boys soccer head coach.  The athletic department is pleased to announce that Ben Buursma will be taking over as the head coach and leading the boys soccer program. Former head coach Dave Hulings stepped down from both the boys and girls programs in March. 

“From early on in the process it was evident that Ben had a deep understanding of the history and foundation that has been laid for WMC soccer.  Combine that with his soccer knowledge and coaching experience and I believe that Ben is a great fit at WMC. Ben is a confident coach and will not only develop talent on the field but will also disciple young men in their Christian faith,” states WMC Athletic Director, Kurt Gruppen. 

Ben is a confident coach and will not only develop talent on the field but will also disciple young men in their Christian faith.

Ben assisted the WMC boys program in 2008 and 2009.  In 2009, he helped the squad advance to the MHSAA Regional Championship game.  He later served as the head JV soccer coach at Grand Haven High School from 2010 – 2017.  Ben is currently the President of the Lakeshore Soccer Club’s Board of Directors. 

“What an honor to be selected as the next head coach for the boys’ soccer program at Western Michigan Christian. I am humbled and excited to lead this program into a new era, while continuing the traditions of excellent soccer on the field, service in the community, and spiritual development that Coach Hulings and his predecessors have built. This is a dream come true for me, and I can’t wait to get started working with these young men,” states Coach Buursma. 

I am humbled and excited to lead this program into a new era, while continuing the traditions of excellent soccer on the field, service in the community, and spiritual development that Coach Hulings and his predecessors have built.

Ben and his wife Rebecca have 4 children and reside in Grand Haven.

Interested in learning more about WMC’s soccer program?

CLICK HERE to email the WMC Athletic Department.

WMC High School Sports Winter Round-up 2019-2020

Girls Basketball

The “Great Eight!”

That pretty much describes this year’s WMC girls basketball team.

Their roster was small – eight girls – but their work ethic was huge! And their season was a big success!

District Champs! PC: Randy Riksen Photography

The Warriors finished their season with a 17-7 record.  Good for second place in the Lakes Eight Conference, finishing with a league record of 8-2.

And they won the district tournament at Warrior Gym by defeating Fennville, North Muskegon and Saugatuck.

This is the way WMC coach Jeremy Goorman described his team after their regional loss to Ithaca:

“The Warriors play so hard and never give up.  I am so proud of this team and its district championship.  We improved immensely from the beginning of the year until now.  We started the year 1-3 and finished 17-7.  What a success!

 “I am going to miss the defensive trio of seniors Kayla Johnson, Esther Hartley, and Peyton Allen.  They provided positive leadership and were always ready to work at practice.  It will be very difficult to lose such quickness and hustle.

“I am sure the girls who will be returning will learn from them and put in the work necessary to continue what we started.”  

Junior Taylor Folkema had a great season and was voted the number one player in the conference.  She averaged 19. 5 points, 4.5 steals, 6 rebounds.  

Junior Taylor Folkema had a great season and was voted the number one player in the conference. PC: Randy Riksen Photography

Sophomore Kyla Wiersema was also voted as first-team all-conference while averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds.

Sophomore Kyla Wiersema voted 1st Team All-Conference. PC: Randy Riksen Photography

“The girls had a goal of winning this district from the beginning of the year and worked their tails off to accomplish their goal.  Winning a class C district is a reward that not many WMC girls teams have accomplished,” coach Goorman said.

The girls had a goal of winning this district from the beginning of the year and worked their tails off to accomplish their goal.  Winning a class C district is a reward that not many WMC girls teams have accomplished

Varsity Boys Basketball

Well, members of the boys basketball team can tell their kids and grandkids that they went undefeated in the state tournament in 2020! (After winning conference and first two games of districts, playoffs were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Pictured left to right: Isaac Parker (JR), Mason Goorman (SO), Kellen Mitchell (SO), Owen Varnado (SO), Brandon Fles (SR), Jake Betten (SR), Michael Tencate (JR), Brevin Byrne (SR), Nick Moser (SR), Micah Terhaar (JR), Devin Bartee (SO), and Brekken Fairfield (JR).
-Photo credit Randy Riksen Photography.

The Warriors opened the district tournament with wins over Holton and White Cloud.

Sophomore Kellen Mitchell named 1st Team All-Conference. PC: Randy Riksen Photography

They were set to play Kent City for the district championship at Ravenna when the state pulled the plug on the state tournament due to the Coronavirus.

Overall Record: 17 – 5

Lakes 8 Conference Record: 8 – 2 (Co-Conference Champions) First time ever

Only lost one home game all year. 

“We started the 2019-2020 season with a lot of optimism,” WMC varsity coach Kurt Gruppen said.  We had two returning sophomores that gained valuable experience on the varsity team last year as freshmen. 

Sophomore Owen Varnado named 1st Team All-Conference. PC: Randy Riksen Photography

“Our seniors just finished winning a soccer state championship.  The juniors were working hard to figure out where they fit after a nice 2018-2019 season on the junior varsity team.  We came out of the gate with a lot of energy at practices and handled our first two opponents with relative ease.” 

Senior Brandon Fles named 2nd Team All-Conference. PC: Randy Riksen Photography

“Our schedule toughened up a bit after that and we experienced some adversity.  We had a nice win at home against a solid North Muskegon team. We avenged an early-season loss to Ludington by beating them at home in a crucial conference game.” 

Sophomores Kellen Mitchell who averaged 21.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, and Owen Varnado, who averaged 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, both earned Lakes 8 All-Conference first-team recognition while Brandon Fles, who averaged 6.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, was named to the second team. 

On February 19 the varsity boys basketball team hosted the second annual United Basketball Game at WMC.  They worked with the Orchard View Special Olympics team and WMC’s Senior Sawyer Arkema to make the event a success. 

 “It’s always a great way to bring our community and school together,” coach Gruppen said.

WATCH the annual Special Olympics United Basketball Game Fox17 news coverage. READ the Grand Haven Tribune‘s coverage.

Competitive Cheer

 The WMC competitive cheer team posted many successes this year.

Under the direction of second-year coach Maddie Heffron, a former member of the Warrior cheer team, the sport saw the number of athletes nearly triple in numbers since last year.

“This season we had a good mix of all grade levels,” coach Heffron said. “Seeing the girls grow and become so close with one another was one of my favorite parts!

Champions at the Spring Lake Invitational PC: Randy Riksen Photography

“Since I took this position as head coach last year, I have always said that my number one goal was for the girls to ‘Love God & love each other’ -They did just that. These girls have such passion for Christ and to share that same love with others.

“Once at a meet, a team that had not had the greatest night was really bummed. I hadn’t even noticed,but our girls had walked over to that team during awards, sat with them and encouraged them. It wasn’t until that team’s coach approached me and thanked me for having such kindhearted girls.

“I can’t take credit for that, but I am so proud of the Godly women and athletes they have and continue to become. Being able to have a part in their lives is one of the greatest gifts.

“The team was split right down the middle, five brand new girls and five returning girls, yet they still continued to amaze me. With each meet this season, the girls only continued to improve and break seasonal records!

Warriors perform at regionals. PC: Randy Riksen Photography

 “One of the greatest accomplishments for them this year was when we competed at Spring Lake High School. Going in the girls had never competed against these schools. There were no expectations going in because we didn’t really know what the other teams looked like or how they were scoring.

“I just told them to have fun and give it their all. As the only D4 team at the competition, these ladies came out on top; First place, beating eight other big-name schools in the area!”

Two weeks later, they competed at NorthPointe Christian in the 2020 Districts, getting 4th place and advancing to Regionals.

“The girls have worked hard, gave it their all, and pushed through literal blood, sweat and tears.

“Overall, it was both a challenging and growing season for the team. I am excited to see what they have to bring next year! 

I just told them to have fun and give it their all. As the only D4 team at the competition, these ladies came out on top; First place, beating eight other big-name schools in the area!

Bowling

The WMC Bowling team wrapped up a very successful season, perhaps the best season in WMC’s short history.  Led by seniors Gabe Gauthier, Trent Gauthier, and Logan Pollack, the Warriors finished in 2nd place behind undefeated Ravenna in both the GMAA and Coastal Conferences and the team narrowly missed out on a trip to Lansing for the State Tournament.  

Coach Jeff Schipper with senior bowlers from L-R: Logan Pollack, Paul Boik, Gabe Gauthier and Trent Gauthier.

Individually, Jamel Williams was named 1st Team All-Conference with a 184 average.  At the Regional Tournament, Trent Gauthier, Paul Boik, and Gabe Gauthier all placed in the Top 10 which awarded them with an invitation to the State Tournament in Lansing on March 7.  At State, Trent rolled a 268 which was the top individual game in the tournament and finished in 30th place overall.  Gabe finished in 15th overall with an average of 189.33.

First-year coach Jeff Schipper, WMC’s Guidance Counselor, anticipates another strong team next year.  Schippper notes, “We have six strong Juniors coming back, as well as a number of underclassmen, and we have a very strong anchor bowler in Jamel Williams.  Next year could be the year we take down Ravenna for the first time, and we have a very strong chance to qualify for the team State meet.  I’m also privileged to have Gabe Gauthier return as my assistant next year to help develop our younger bowlers with their games.”

Junior Jamel Williams was named 1st Team All-Conference.

Junior Jamel Williams was named to the all-conference first team.

We have six strong Juniors coming back, as well as a number of underclassmen, and we have a very strong anchor bowler in Jamel Williams.  Next year could be the year we take down Ravenna for the first time, and we have a very strong chance to qualify for the team State meet.

Boys Swim Team

The 2019-2020 boys Greater Muskegon Swin Team co-op saw many struggles and many positive improvements during the season.  

WMC’s David Clausing (3rd from left) and Braylon Carney (3rd from right.)

Despite only having nine swimmers, two of which from WMC, the Frogmen swam with a lot of pride, heart and, dedication, coach Mick Homan said.

 “The team never let being outnumbered detour them from going out and giving it their all each meet,” coach Homan said.  “The Frogmen always raced to the end in every race, and never gave up!”  

The team finished the season 1-9 in dual swim meets and finished 6th at the OK Rainbow Swim Conference Meet.  At the OK Rainbow Conference Meet, the Frogmen swam to a season-high 43 personal record swims.  “A great end to a tough season!”

“Thank you, gentleman, for all your hard work, dedication, commitment, and support!! Thank you all for coming together and working as one. Thank you for pushing yourselves and your teammates all season long toward all your goals and great accomplishments! I am truly honored and blessed to be able to be a part of this team!  You are amazing and wonderful young men and I am so proud of each of you!” shared Coach Homan.

“No Doubts – No Limits” “FROGMEN!”

Senior David Clausing (WMC), Team Captain

  • 2020 Academic All-State 3.87 GPA
  • 2020 Academic All American   3.87 GPA

OK Rainbow Conference Meet:

  1. B 200 Medley Relay 12th
  2. 50 Free    16th    26.04    Personal Record Swim
  3. 100Free  16th     58.95    Personal Record Swim
  4. 200 Free Relay  6th

Freshman Braylon Carney (WMC), Voted Team Most Improved Swimmer

Ok Rainbow Conference Meet:

  1. B 200 Medley Relay   12th
  2. 200 Free 18th   2:28.35
  3. 500 Free  19th   6:42.17
WMC’s two swimmers, David Clausing, left, and Braylon Carney.

WMC SPORTS UPDATE: Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School Athletic Department News

Important Communication from the Athletic Director

Dear WMC Community:

On March 12, 2020, the Michigan High School Athletic Association directed all member schools to suspend activities in all sports for all seasons– effective Monday, March 16 through at least Sunday, April 5 – to fall in line with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that all schools close for the next three weeks in order to deter the spread of COVID-19.

MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl

All athletic activities to be halted include practices, scrimmages, and competitions/games, as well as strength training, conditioning, and any other organized sessions and activities in all MHSAA in-season and out-of-season sports.

The suspension of activities applies to sports for all three MHSAA seasons as Spring sports practices have begun, Winter tournaments were suspended Thursday and Fall sports coaches are working with limited numbers of athletes during the offseason.

“By suspending all sports activities for the next three weeks, we are taking an additional step to maintain safety and minimize risk first, and also keep a level playing field for our schools and teams during this time of uncertainty,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “A number of schools across the state already were making this decision, and setting this as the standard across our membership is appropriate especially given the quick pace with which this situation is continuing to evolve. Given the rapid, fast-moving and unprecedented events of this week, the MHSAA will use the time during this all-sport suspension of activities to evaluate all options and next steps which will be shared with schools in a timely manner.”

Updates will continue to be posted as necessary to the MHSAA Website at https://www.mhsaa.com/coronavirus.

In His service,

Kurt Gruppen,

WMC Athletic Director

WMC Sophomore Abby VanderKooi Shines at Footlocker Cross Country National Championship

Abby VanderKooi at Foot Locker National Championships

Coach Greg Gould gives the breakdown for the Championship race.

First and foremost, and I know I speak for Abby, her family and Coach Aardema as well; thank you to everybody who supported and prayed for Abby on this incredible journey to her second Foot Locker Cross Country National. To even be in a race like this is incredible, the talent level is almost beyond belief, and no matter your resume there are no guarantees of placing near the front.


I know many of you have watched the race live or online afterwards; read or heard several pre or post race interviews, but I have been asked to provide a recap from a coaches perspective.


I had the good fortune to be able to travel to San Diego the same day as Abby and her family, allowing me to attend Friday morning’s course preview; which I knew from last year would really be the last time Abby and I could discuss potential race strategy or any concerns with the course. Abby found the course to be in better condition than last year and was able to quickly get familiar with her surroundings and settle on a potential race plan. 


Saturday morning arrived quickly and the weather conditions were perfect for running fast, after warming up, some time in prayer and the introduction of all forty runners it was finally time to race the two loop course.


Abby found the course to be in better condition than last year and was able to quickly get familiar with her surroundings and settle on a potential race plan. 


As expected the start was very fast, driven mostly by Abby’s Midwest team, a pair of girls from the South Region and a pair from the Northeast Region. This event’s split times are captured electronically every half mile. The opening half mile was reached in a very fast 2:26 by the leader with Abby in close contact in fifth at 2:28. At that point one of Abby’s Midwest teammates who is know to be very aggressive in the early going came to the front to keep the pace very fast reaching the mile in 5:09, Abby was now up to fourth at 5:11.


Several girls were still right there in one long line of runners, as the race made it’s first of two climbs up a very long climb in excess of 300 meters, with the first 100+ meters being very steep. This climb would start to slim down the lead group and by 1.5 miles Abby had moved into 3rd, but there was really seven girls in a span of nine seconds; entering the second loop, all of them capable of coming to the front and trying to break away. 


by 1.5 miles Abby had moved into 3rd, but there was really seven girls in a span of nine seconds


By two miles the lead group had been reduced to three, Abby and two Midwest teammates reached two miles in 10:43-10:44 and the eventual second place finisher had broken free of the next pack and was closing down on the first three at an incredible rate in a huge effort to attach herself to that group of three before the final climb of the big hill which was coming at around 2.5 miles. That girl made contact with the three leaders just after two miles and now four were on the front and just prior to the final climb the eventual first and second place finishers started testing one another; with Abby working to cover each of the surges as they made there way to the base of the final climb. 
The second trip up the big climb was where the fireworks really started as the top two girls were attacking each other and Abby launched her own attack in an attempt to stay with them, dropping the fourth place girl back a bit. By the top of the climb the two leaders had opened some daylight on Abby, but she had really put a big effort in to stay within striking distance should either of them falter on the upcoming downhill and remaining 300-400 meters after that. Amazingly after the last descent the top two still had not been able to get any gap over the other and Abby was still within striking distance if either had misjudged their effort and/or the distance remaining.


Amazingly after the last descent the top two still had not been able to get any gap over the other and Abby was still within striking distance if either had misjudged their effort and/or the distance remaining.


With about 250 meters remaining the two leaders started to really trade surges and accelerated away from Abby a bit. Abby was fully aware that she was running a potential person best as the two mile split was very fast and the pace had not relented much in the final mile. My last vantage point on the course was at this point, about 250 meters from the finish. Knowing I personally could not reach the finish before Abby due to the construction of the fencing keeping the spectators off the course, my only hope to “see” the finish was to get about 100 meters further up the course to just past the three mile mark where the race would cross over the start line and head slightly left to the finish area.


Directly behind the start there was a large display showing the race live, with an official time clock running in the corner… I managed to reach that point just as Abby went by and knowing she could no longer hear me anyway; started yelling at the screen as I saw the potential for a personal best. Abby stopped the clock at 16:55.2, indeed a new personal best and matched her third place finish from last year, in what was the fastest top three finishers in event history on this course, which has hosted all but seven of the forty-one Foot Locker Nationals.


After Saturday’s race Abby now has run the third fastest time by a freshman girl in this event on the San Diego course (2018), and the second fastest time by a sophomore girl (2019) and the ninth fastest girls time ever at this event, for the San Diego course.
God has blessed Abby with incredible talent… I have been blessed to help coach her, to God be the Glory.

Coach Gould

Links to the race, interviews and event coverage.

Dyestat pre-race interview

Foot Locker National Championship Girls Race webcast replay

Milesplit post-race interview

Dyestat interview at awards banquet

Mlive post-race interview

Runner’s World event coverage

WMC High School Sports Fall Round-up 2019

Highs & Lows

It was a bittersweet ending to the fall sports season at Western Michigan Christian High School.

On Saturday afternoon, Nov. 2, the Warrior soccer team battled University Liggett 100 minutes, 80 regulation and two 10-minute overtime sessions without a goal being scored. The state championship match went to a shootout with WMC scoring four goals and University Liggett three.

What normally would have been a celebration the following Monday was an unusual celebration. The students, faculty and hundreds of family and friends, numbering about 1,000, gathered in Warrior Gym to celebrate, not the state title, but the life of a beloved teacher, Brian Vredevoogd, who had died very unexpectedly a week earlier.

It was a sad day, but a day we could all feel the presence of the family of God.

The soccer team’s celebration will be held this winter between games of the basketball season. Date and time TBD.

BOYS SOCCER:

First State Championship Since 2010

The season started slow for the Warriors with a 4-0 opening loss at Holland Christian, three ties and a disappointing-upset, 2-0, loss to Whitehall in front of a large “Warrior Weekend” crowd.

It appears the Warrior Weekend loss helped propel the Warriors to the state title as they finished the rest of the season without a loss.

As the regular season was coming to an end, it appeared the Warriors, coached by David Hulings, were becoming more focused and they ended the regular season being Lakes Eight Conference champs with a 6-0-2 league record and an overall record of 11-2-3.

Host WMC breezed through the district tournament with wins over Eau Claire, 8-0; Hudsonville Libertas Christian, 6-0 and Holland Black River, 6-0.

The Regional was a different story. The four teams were all ranked in the top five teams in the state in D-4, including No. 1 ranked Grandville Calvin Christian.

The host Warriors opened Regional play with a 3-0 win over North Muskegon and then defeated Calvin Christian, 2-1 in a shootout to advance to the state semi-final game at East Kentwood. WMC shut out Dansville, 2-0 and it was on to Novi for the state championship game versus University Leggitt.

WMC was crowned state champs after keeper Jameson Goorman stopped four of Leggitt’s penalty kicks for a 1-0 Warrior win.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL:

Several Historic Firsts in this Record-breaking Season

Volleyball is a game of stats and six records were broken this season including:

  • Aces-Match – 17, Esther Hartley vs. Muskegon Heights 2019
  • Assists-Season – 1311, Chloe Mitchell 2019
  • Assists-Career – 2724, Chloe Mitchell 2017-2019
  • Blocks-Career – 195, Chloe Mitchell 2017-2019
  • Digs-Career – 1239, Meghan Heiss 2017-2019
  • Team Record 39-11-3 (.764), Trent Smillie 2019   — (Previous record of 27-8-3 was figured incorrectly at .780.  That value is actually .750 as a tie counts as half a win and half a loss.)

This year’s Warriors girls volleyball team, coached by Trent Smillie, went undefeated in conference play to win the Lakes Eight Conference championship.

The host Warriors defeated Saugatuck and North Muskegon to earn the state district championship and then traveled to the regional at Hesperia where they defeated host Hesperia and then Pewamo-Westphalia for the school’s first-ever regional championship trophy.

Warriors celebrate WMC’s first Volleyball Regional Championship. Back row from Left: Head Coach Trent Smillie, Coach Meredith Smillie, (9th) Libby Mast, (10th) Madison Wiersema, (10th) Alisha Leffring, (12th) Eden Tencate, (12th) Anna Negen, (12th) Claudia Kingma, (11th) Greta VanderHeide, (11th) Taylor Folkema, (10th) Kyla Wiersema, Coach Chelsea Cooke-Tripp, Coach Ashley Sandine. Front row from left: Connor Smillie, (12th) Esther Hartley, (11th) Katelyn Olsen, (12th) Grace VanBeek, (12th) Meghan Heiss, (12th) Chloe Mitchell, (12th) Carli Betten

WMC competed in the MHSAA state quarterfinals at Unity Christian High School against top-ranked Schoolcraft. This was the first time WMC made it to the quarterfinals, however, Schoolcraft took the win that day.

Volleyball team lined up for the National Anthem and lineups prior to the State Quarter-final match.

They finished the season at 39-11-3.

After the season ended, the team again made history as senior Chloe Mitchell was named to the all-state first team.  

Senior Chloe Mitchell was named to the all-state first team,
a first time honor for the Warrior volleyball team!
Chloe was recruited by Aquinas College and will be playing for the Saints next year.

Click on link below to watch Mlive video of WMC history-making regional final win:


CROSS COUNTRY

Repeat State Champ for VanderKooi and State Finals for Team

WMC’s Abby VanderKooi repeated as cross country state champion this fall at the D-4 girls state finals at the International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.

WMC’s recently resurrected-cross country program continues to be successful year after year.

The Warrior girls, coached by Kevin Aardema and led by super-sophomore Abby VanderKooi, one of the top runners in the state and nation, finished second to Ludington in the Lakes Eight Conference.

Girls Cross-country team at MHSAA State Finals. From left: Coach Greg Gould, (12th) Emma Visker, (12th) Abby Sweetman, (11th) Lily Zenz, (11th) Audrey Braak, (11th) Natalie Riksen, (12th) Chloe Kozal, (11th) Elise Van Meurs, Coach Kevin Aardema. Front row from left: (10th) Ava Rotman, (9th) Bri Zuidema, (9th) Cate Garretson, (9th) Jessica Eenigenburg. Not pictured: (10th) Abby VanderKooi.

They finished second at the Regional to advance to the state finals at the Brooklyn International Speedway where they finished 8th out of 27 teams and Abby repeated as state champion in D-4.

Abby went through the entire season without losing a race, winning most of them by over two minutes.

Boys cross country team with trophy. From left: (12th) Caleb Croff, Coach Kevin Aardema, (12th) Daniel Plaisier, Coach Greg Gould, (12th) Ben Garretson, (9th) Jonathan Clausing, (11th) Pierce Newell, (11th) Noah Ferrier, (12th) Ben Waldo.

The boys (pictured above), coached by Greg Gould, finished as co-champions with Ludington in the conference and third at the Regional to advance to the state final where they finished 15th out of 28 teams.

GIRLS GOLF:

The team of seven sophomores and two seniors include Zoe Vanderstelt, Elizabeth Bonnema, Sydney Betten, Grace Sytsema, Belen Francis, Ainsley Doornbos, Micah Betten, and Adayla Liggett.

It was a rebuilding year for the WMC girls golf team.

The team, coached by Scott Liggett, was composed of seven sophomores and two seniors (pictured above).

Coach Liggett sees a “bright future” for girls golf at WMC!

BOYS TENNIS:

Senior Tyler Newhouse playing in a singles tournament.

The boy’s tennis team, coached by Nick Bennett, showed great improvement over the last few years.

Season Record: 4-7

City Results:  4th Place

Conference:  6th Place

FOOTBALL:

WMC’s Solomon Waller (#3) picking up some yardage for the WMC/Muskegon Catholic co-op football team in this year’s season opener.

WMC completed its second season of a co-op program with Muskegon Catholic.

The 2019 team turned around from a losing season in 2018 to qualify for the playoffs and finish the season at 6-3.

The team lost to Ravenna in the first round of the playoffs, 14-0.

There were only seven seniors on this year’s team.

SWIM/DIVE TEAM

A Historic Season for the Turtles

WMC swimmers and their conference trophy. From left: Isabel Post (9th), Zoe Sytsema (11th), Naomi Huttenga (9th).

The 2019 Mona Shore/Greater Muskegon Girls “Turtles” Co-op Swim/Dive Team made history with their first-ever Girls OK Rainbow Tier 2 Swim /Dive Conference Championship!

They went the entire season without a loss.

Click here for more information about the WMC Warriors Athletic Program for both middle and high school.