Archive for Sawyer Arkema

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.

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.