Sports roundup 3.5

Written by David Green.

MORENCI BOYS BASKETBALL: Morenci’s dream of rising to the top at the district basketball tournament was short lived last Wednesday at Blissfield.

The Bulldogs (7-14) weren’t just beaten, they were thoroughly humiliated.

Whiteford (20-3) scored early and often on its way to an 81-43 victory. The Bobcats proved their big win was no fluke. They went on to defeat Madison (20-1) in the finals by sinking a three-pointer in the closing seconds.

They repeated the trick Monday in the regional opener by downing Napoleon (21-3) in overtime, 51-49—once again with a last-second shot from standout Josh DuPree. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard (19-5) is next—a 60-47 winner against Hanover-Horton (19-4).

Not too many minutes passed Wednesday before Morenci’s fate seemed apparent.

Jacob Bovee scored early before the Bobcats went on a 17-4 run. Morenci just couldn’t find its range. Two-for-nine shooting mixed with four turn-overs put the Bulldogs down 21-8 after a quarter.

Morenci turned the ball over on its first two possessions of the second quarter. By the time Clayton Wolf hit a bucket and Matt Hoadley sunk a three, Whiteford had already doubled the Bulldogs’ scoring.  Hoadley’s shot made it 31-14, but the Bobcats weren’t letting up. The score stood at 52-21 going into intermission.

MORENCI WRESTLING: The state wrestling tournament, where season loss records are mostly in the single digits.

That’s the case for Morenci’s lone entry in this year’s tournament, but there’s something different about Jeffrey Nofziger’s record.

Although he has but nine losses, he only has 23 wins to his credit. Most of the single-digit loss guys have wins numbering in the 40s and 50s.

The reason for Nofziger’s 23-9 record is a recurring injury that doesn’t bother him all the time, but when it makes an appearance, he’s left practically unable to take a breath.

He sat out several matches this season healing.

In the regional tournament Feb. 23, Nofziger forfeited the consolation finals due the injury and settled for a trip to state through a fourth-place finish.

Nofziger starts off the tournament Thursday at the Palace of Auburn Hills against what looks to be a formidable opponent who’s traveling about 450 miles—defending Upper Peninsula champion Joey Wollum (53-2) from Iron Mountain. Both wrestlers are juniors.

Wollum is somewhat of an unknown commodity to Bulldog coach Scott Clark since this is the first year that Upper Peninsula wrestlers are joining in the state tournament.

POWERLIFTERS: Morenci powerlifters came home from the USA Powerlifting state tournament at Flint Powers High School Saturday with three champions.

All eight varsity competitors qualified for the national meet in April.

Roxanne Shankster and Levi Hoffman earned first place finishes in each event while Kelby Allen took second in one event. Allen’s total still gave him first overall.

Shankster competed in the women’s 114-pound class, lifting 260 pounds in the squat, 115 in the bench and 275 in the dead lift for a 650 total.

Teammate Naomi Hoffman placed fourth in the 114 class with scores of 165, 95, 185 and 445 total.

Salena Keller took second in the 132-pound class. She was second in the squat with 175, second in the bench with 85 and second in the dead lift with 250 for 510 total.

Levi Hoffman lifted 495 in the squat, 315 in the bench and 535 in the dead lift for 1,345 in the 181-pound class.

Allen took first in the squat at 465, second in the bench at 255 and first in the dead lift at 445 for a winning total of 1,165 in the 148-pound class.

Cody Clymer placed third in the 148 class by lifting 300 in the squat, 265 in the bench (1st) and 385 in the dead lift for 950.

Brandon Correa came through with a second place finish in the 165-pound class. He placed first in the squat at 405, first in the bench at 280 and fifth in the dead lift at 405 for a 1,090 total.

Josiah Fallot took fifth place in the 165 class. He lifted 340 in the squat, 250 in the bench and 425 in the dead lift (4th) for a total of 1,015.

Chas Frey posted straight first-place scores on his way to a championship in the junior varsity 148-pound class. He lifted 295, 225, 380 and 900 total.

Medals were awarded to the top five totals in each weight class, as well as the top five places in each individual lift.

Morenci’s girls and boys each combined for third place finishes. Together, they came in second among the 30 schools represented.

The number of competitors involved Saturday was smaller than the state powerlifting event, said coach Dan Hoffman, but the quality of those competing was top notch.


  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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