Sports Round-up 5.29

Written by David Green.

Fayette Track: Fayette athletes came through with six top-eight finishes at the Div. III district meet last week in Ayersville, but only one Eagle will advance to the regional meet this week in Tiffin.

Erica Goeltzenleuchter was back in action following an ankle injury earlier in the season and the sophomore will advance with her fourth-place finish in the 3200-meter run.

Goeltzenleuchter topped a pair of league opponents on her way to the fourth-place spot with a 13:05. Trisha King of Archbold won the race at 12:26. Goeltzenleuchter finished 25 seconds ahead of Hilltop’s Ashlyn Purk and 32 seconds ahead of North Central’s Grace Ebersole.

Earlier in the meet, Goeltzenleuchter ran a 6:01 1600-meter race to finish sixth. Archbold’s King was the winner in that race, also, crossing the line at 5:44. Goeltzenleuchter can expect plenty of competition again next year since five of the top eight runners are freshmen and two are sophomores.

Based on times from the four district meets, King is ranked 12th out of 16 runners for the 3200-meter run at the regional meet. Macomb’s Katie Borgelt leads the pack with a blazing 11:40. Goeltzenleuchter comes in with the 16th best time.

Fayette freshman Nicole Shaffer came through with the eighth best long jump Saturday, stretching out for a 14-1.25 distance. Her jump was within seven inches of the third-place finish. Pettisville’s Haley Nofziger won the event with a 16-4.

Nathan Stoltzfus ended his high school season with a season-best 4:43 in the 1600-meter run to finish sixth. Fairview’s Justin Perkins was tops with a time of 4:30.

In the 3200-meter race, Stoltzfus placed seventh at 10:38.7, just behind Hilltop’s Elliot Livensparger at 10:38.37 and ahead of Cody Livensparger at 10:40. Hayden Krick of Antwerp won the event with a 10:07.

Shelby Franks came through with a 19-6.25 long jump to place sixth in the district, just 4.5 inches behind the fourth-place qualifier. Mykel Wireman of Ayersville took an easy win at 21-3.

Archbold’s girls and boys squads both earned district championships.

Morenci Track: No matter how impressive your times and distances are during the season, there’s probably someone even better at the state meet.

That’s not always the case—Morenci has produced a state champ every so often—and track coach Brad Brown sees one Bulldog athlete in particular as having a chance to finish on top.

Based on regional results, junior Lucas Johnson is ranked third in the Div. IV discus line-up, but none of the three leaders are that far out in front.

With no one breaking into the 150-foot range this year—none so far—Johnson could finish among the best. A junior from McBain Christian and a senior from Fulton-Middleton both through in the 147-foot range at their regionals, while Johnson won his with his career best toss of 143-04.

Morenci’s only other field event competitor is freshman high jumper Phoenix Duncan who qualified with a 5-0 leap. Her best of the season is 5-2, a jump that places her with five other girls behind the leader at 5-6, followed by a freshman jumping 5-5 and two jumpers at 5-4.

If Duncan can clear 5-2 without a miss, she has a good chance of winning a top-eight medal, Brown said.

First on the track for Morenci is the boys 400-meter relay team of Brandon Correa, Chas Frey, Reese Graham and Justin Swett. The team finished fifth at regionals, but ran the qualifying time for a trip to Grand Rapids.

Thirty-one teams made the cut this year, Brown said, and he expects a lower qualifying time to be posted next season.

“I knew they had a chance to make it,” he said. “There was one bad handoff so I wasn’t sure until I saw their official time.”

They crossed the line at :46.22—22nd in the seeding—but Brown figures they would have been in the 45s with a sharp handoffs all the way through. That could move them into the top 13 based on regional times.

Pewamo-Westphalia could be the clear winner with a :44.26 at its regional meet.

Zach Phillips seeks a much improved 800-meter run from his regional performance. The junior’s best of the season is 2:01, but he crossed the line at 2:05 at the regional race and barely qualified for the state meet.

Matching his best could win an all-state medal. Improving on it could threaten the old school record.

Pewamo-Westphalia runner Ryan Pohl leads the pack with a 1:59.8.

Morenci’s final competitor is sophomore Chas Frey who placed second in the 200-meter dash to state leader Josh Dupree of Whiteford.

Frey came in about 0.7 seconds behind Dupree at regionals—a long time for that sprint but possibly close to a medal finish. Among the qualifiers, Frey stands at number nine.

Frey will have to run in the :22s to qualify for the finals, predicts Coach Brown.

• The Div. IV state meet begins Saturday at Forest Hills Eastern High School with preliminary runs at 10 a.m.

TCC: Madison’s boys squad scored a solid win in the TCC meet May 21, but the next three squads were within seven points of one another.

Morenci captured only two league titles and ended up fourth in the standings.

Zach Phillips claimed titles in the 1600-meter run and the 800-meter run.

The Bulldog girls squad came through with a single win—Kate Gallup’s victory in the 110-meter hurdles—and finished in sixth place.

Whitmore Lake won the meet but Madison won the league title after going unbeaten in dual meets.

Two boys took second-place finishes—Lucas Johnson in the discuss and Chas Frey in the 200-meter dash.

Morenci Baseball: Morenci turned five hits into seven runs here Friday to post a 7-1 TCC victory against Madison.

Bulldog hurler Anthony Barron held the Trojans to a single hit and one unearned run, while striking out seven.

“We played pretty good ball with only nine kids,” said coach Roger Pontious.

One member of Morenci’s 10-man squad was unavailable.

With two outs in the third inning, Steven Pontious knocked in a run with a base hit. A second run scored on a passed ball.

In the fourth, Barron reached base when he was hit by a pitch and Loren Delmonico made it to first on a fielder’s choice. Both runners scored on a single by Pontious.

Morenci’s final three runs came home in the sixth inning amid several walks.

“Our youngest players were patient at the plate,” Coach Pontious said.

Brett Bovee drew three walks and Cody Long finished with a pair. Eddie Cousino drew a walk as he played his first start of the season. He played errorless ball in the outfield and landed three fly balls.

Pontious finished with three RBIs on a three-for-four day at the plate. Nick Wilson batted two for three and had one RBI. Barron scored three runs.

DISTRICTS—Morenci faces Lenawee Christian School at 10 a.m. Saturday. The district tournament games will be played in Whiteford.

“If we play as hard against LCS as we did against Madison, we’ll give them a good game,” Coach Pontious said.

Summerfield and Whiteford face off in the second game of the tournament, with finals scheduled for 2 p.m.

Morenci softball: By DAVID GREEN

Morenci junior Jade Pfund tossed a no-hitter and a one-hitter among the Bulldogs’ five wins in the past week.

Morenci started off the stretch of games with its only losses of the week. For the second time this season, the Bulldogs went into extra innings against Whiteford, but this time they ended up on the short end, 6-5.

Morenci tied the contest 3-3 in the bottom of the first, taking advantage of a pair of Whiteford errors. The Bobcats went ahead by two, but Morenci caught up again in the fifth inning.

Chanler McCaskey singled and scored on a triple by Brooke Barrett. Barrett scored on Pfund’s base hit. In the top of the eighth, Whiteford went on top with a base hit and a fielder’s choice, but Morenci could only get one runner on board when Tess Ramsey singled.

The second game—won by Whiteford 8-5—didn’t count as a league contest.

MADISON—Morenci took a 4-0 TCC victory against Madison as Pfund walked none, struck out four and gave up one hit.

Morenci scored all of its runs in the fourth inning. Meghan Smith walked, Megan Cox was safe on an error and McCaskey drove in a run with a base hit.

Mariah Bovee was safe on a sacrifice bunt to bring in one run and a Madison error allowed two more to cross the plate.

Nicolette Swimmer pitched four innings of a non-league second game that Morenci won 12-4. Dana Joughin came up with two hits.

GRASS LAKE—Saturday at the Grass Lake tournament, Cox drove home the first run on a base hit and a double by Bovee brought home two more.

Rachael Rutkowski and Swimmer singled in the third to score a run and three more came home in the fifth on a bases-loaded triple by Smith.

Elaina Pruzinsky singled to right field in the seventh for Morenci’s final two runs.

The Bulldogs came through with 13 hits in the second game, an 11-1 win against Morrice. Swimmer finished with a triple and two doubles, Pfund had a double and a triple, Smith had a single and a triple, and Rutkowski and Barrett each had two base hits.

BRITTON-DEERFIELD—The Bulldogs finished up league play Monday at Britton with a 13-0 victory. Pfund tossed a no-hitter while walking one and striking out six.

Five runs scored in the second inning on BD errors combined with singles by Swimmer and Rutkowski and a double by Barrett.

Five more scored in the third on a single by Swimmer, a double by Salena Martinez, a single by Smith and two BD errors.

Pfund tripled in the fourth and two runs scored in the fifth on a base hit by Jackie Paris and a two-RBI single by Pruzinsky.

The wins improved the Bulldogs record to 20-12 overall and 9-5 in the league.

DISTRICTS: It might have been a tough choice for Bulldog softball coach Kay Johnson to name her preferred pick for the district tournament Saturday at Whiteford, but of course she didn’t have that option.

The luck of the draw places Morenci (20-12) up against Lenawee Christian School (27-4) in the second game of the tournament, to be played around noon. Whiteford and Summerfield tangle in the opener and the finals of the power-packed  district line-up are set for 2 p.m.

Morenci split with Summerfield and Whiteford during league play and lost a contest to LCS with backup pitcher Nicolette Swimmer on the mound.

With LCS hurler Abbie Forman on the mound, Johnson at least knows what her batters will be up against: speed. Forman fanned eight Bulldogs earlier in the season and gave up five hits.

“We’ll have to put the ball in play and hope they make mistakes,” Johnson said.

Forman is the Cougars’ biggest offensive threat, also, leading the county in home runs and RBIs.

Morenci Golf: Morenci’s golf squad finished the season just four strokes off its season best May 20 in a dual meet against Lenawee Christian School.

Gavin Vanderpool parred three holes en route to a 44 in the Bulldogs’ 188-201 loss. One of his pars was on the long 504-yard 13th hole.

Other Morenci scorers were Zack Brigman (50), Adam Barnett (53) and Colin Walker (54) with one par.

Tecumseh captured the Lenawee County match played at the Legacy. The Indians scored 332 to top Adrian at 346 and Blissfield at 350. Morenci finished with a 445.

Vanderpool led the way with 100, followed by Brigman (109), Walker (112), and Barnett (124).

Adult Softball:

A Morenci-based team rose to the top of the Memorial Day softball tournament last weekend in Fayette.

Team Diesel, with a few players from Morenci, finished the two-day tournament with a 5-0 record, ahead of second-best TruFast of Wauseon (4-2). Rose City Motors of Jackson placed third at 2-2.

Other teams in the 11-squad field were from Adrian, Fayette, Defiance, Sterling Heights and Hillsdale.

Twenty games were played to determine a winner. The tournament wrapped up about 3 p.m. Sunday.

Blackie’s/Red Owl won the co-ed division played Saturday with a 4-0 record. The Co-ed Team from Hillsdale was second (3-2), followed by H.E. Rudy of Defiance at 2-2.

Other co-ed teams came from Morenci, Fayette and Adrian.

Tournament director Bob Ford said he moved the tournament from Morenci to Fayette to avoid having players receive tickets for consuming alcohol. In addition,  he said, Fayette’s side-by-side diamonds allow the tournament to proceed much faster.

FESTIVAL—As of now, the Town and Country Festival Tournament will also be played in Fayette June 28-29. The co-ed division will only be played on Saturday.

The double-elimination tournament will cost $135. If a team enters both the men’s and co-ed division, the fee drops to $125 for each division entry.

The cost for the ASA-sanctioned tournament includes balls and umpires. Trophies and shirts will go to the winners.

To register, call Ford at 517/458-6479.

    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
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    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
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    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
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    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.

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