Archive for Athletic Department News

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 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.