Sports Round-up 3.25.09

Written by David Green.

POWER-LIFTING: Levi Hoffman kept his record intact last weekend.

Four years in the state power-lifting competition brought four championships and four state records.

“This meet finishes his Michigan high school career where he has remained undefeated for four years,” said his coach, Dan Hoffman. “Each of these four years he set the state record for best total.”

During last weekend’s tournament at Whitmore Lake, Hoffman posted a best squat of 435 pounds, bench of 300 pounds and dead lift of 520 pounds for a state record total of 1,255.

The competition was the state raw tournament, with no added equipment. Hoffman competed in the varsity 181-pound division.

Morenci’s Salena Keller earned a third place finish with lifts of 185 (squat), 90 (bench) and 280 (dead lift) for a total of 555.

“Salena had personal bests in all of her lifts,” Coach Hoffman said. “She was nine for nine on the day for attempts.”

She came through with the top dead lift of anyone in her 123-pound weight class. With that, she broke out of a fifth-place tie and ended up third.

Naomi Hoffman took fifth place in the women’s 114-pound division. She posted personal bests in the squat (185) and bench (110) and her total of 515 was also her best raw score ever. Her dead lift came in at 220.

She came through with good lifts on eight of nine attempts, while Levi was good on seven of nine and Keller was good on all nine of her lifts.

All three athletes will compete April 3 and 4 at the USA Power Lifting High School National Championship meet in Texas.

ALL-BBC: Three Fayette seniors were named to Buckeye Border Conference honor teams for boys basketball.

Austin Hylander and Coty Griffiths were chosen for the All-BBC second team and Shelby Franks was given honorable mention.

Behind Player of the Year Jordan Jaggers from Stryker, first team choices were Pettisville seniors Michael Deffely and Quinn Nofziger, North Central junior Derick Wyrick and freshman Anthony Kidston, Hilltop junior Nick Smith and Edon senior Brandt Thiel.

Hylander finished on top of the Eagles’ offensive statistics with a team-leading 220 points, ahead of next-best Griffiths with 180 points. Hylander averaged 10.5 points a game and Griffiths came in at 8.6.

Griffiths had the top shooting percentage at 52.8, followed by Tyler Keefer (48.0) and Hylander (45.7), among the leading scorers.

Hylander finished with a 37.1 percent tally in three-point shots and he put up the most shots (26/70). Evan Stoltzfus connected on 17 of 53 for a 32.1 percent average.

Darrell Randall was sent to the free throw line most (37) and hit 63.8 percent. Stoltzfus was the best shooter from the line at 88.2 percent, followed by Hylander at 73.5.

Griffiths collected the most rebounds (117), ahead of Keefer with 98, and led the team in steals with 20. Franks finished with 18 steals.

Hylander gave 35 assists and Franks gave 29. Keefer finished the year with eight blocks and Hylander made six.

ALL-TCC: One Morenci player was chosen for All-Tri-County Conference basketball team in voting by coaches last week.

Bulldog junior Clayton  Wolf, one of the leading scorers in the conference, was selected along with Summerfield junior Eric Cogan, Whiteford junior Jake DuPree, Madison junior Jamison Webster and Clinton sophomore Nic Greenwood.

Morenci’s Joseph Perez was named to the all-sportsmanship team.

Summerfield won the league title with two conference losses, followed by Clinton with three losses, Whiteford with four, and Whitmore Lake and Madison tied with six each.

Sand Creek finished the season with 10 losses, Morenci with 12, Deerfield with 14 and Britton with 15.

MORENCI SOFTBALL: Please ignore that pre-season rating, says Morenci softball coach Kay Johnson.

Clinton in the number four spot in Div. III? She probably wouldn’t challenge that. Not only do the Redskins have their starting pitcher from Sand Creek back, they also have a student from Tecumseh who will throw the ball.

Summerfield as number three in Div. IV? Their young team was very strong last season and most everybody is back.

Whiteford claims an honorable mention listing in Div. IV, and the Bobcats have everybody back—including their best player who missed last season with an injury.

Morenci is listed in the number 10 position in Div. IV—they advanced to the regional finals last season and pitcher Jade Pfund is back—but there’s more to it than that, Coach Johnson said.

She lost three starters through graduation, including all-stater Brooke Barrett, plus two underclassmen are gone. One decided not to play this season and another who would have moved into a starting role is out with an injury.

Johnson does have some very good talent back, but she has her concerns.

“We’ve got work to do,” she said. “We’ll take our lumps early on.”

Players didn’t give much thought to softball over the winter season and hitting still looks pretty rough.

Hitting and filling the catching position remain the two biggest early-season challenges.

Sophomore Chelsea Tompkins is working on the catching position. Chanler McCaskey, a junior, might see some time behind the plate, also. Whichever one isn’t catching will play at third.

“Defensively we’re looking pretty solid,” Johnson said.

In addition to McCaskey at third, senior Nicolette Swimmer returns to shortstop and junior Mariah Bovee is back at second base. Pfund is back for her final year on the mound and sophomore Tia Tompkins will take over at first base to replace Barrett.

Four players are competing for outfield positions. Senior Megan Cox was a starter and senior Jackie Paris put in some time in the outfield last season. Sophomore Tess Ramsey was also a starter and freshman Matea Garcia is hoping to work into the lineup. Ramsey can also serve as a backup infielder.

Also on the squad are sophomores Barbara Hollstein and Ashley Smith and freshmen Paige Slor, Amber Wright and Shaden Olmstead.

In addition to the top league teams listed earlier, Whitmore Lake should improve with the return of their strong pitcher who missed last season. Sand Creek still has some good talent, also, plus a new transfer student to serve as catcher.

“Our league probably continues to be one of the strongest small-school leagues in the state,” Johnson said.

The Bulldogs started the season with a game Tuesday at Manchester. In addition to Tri-County Conference play, Morenci will compete in a new tournament this season played at Adrian College with Addison, Lenawee Christian School and Hudson.

Another tournament features Adrian, Hillsdale and Hudson. Finally, a tough tournament awaits later in the season at Ida.

Coach Johnson hopes the tough season will prepare the Bulldogs for a good showing in the district tournament. Until then, she’s got to get those bats swinging and connecting.

MORENCI BASEBALL: Don’t look for a stable, experienced team when the Bulldog baseball squad takes to the field. This year for Morenci, even the seniors are rookies.

High school principal Nate Parker is serving as interim coach while awaiting the return of Roger Pontious, and he’s getting some help from Jason Bryant and Jamie DeVoe.

“It’s a very coachable group, but there’s not a lot of experience,” Coach Parker said.

His two leading pitching candidates are sophomore Nick Wilson and junior Cody  Long who saw limited action a year ago.

Issac Jeffers, a junior, will catch. Long and freshman Jay Howard will vie for the third base spot. At shortstop, senior rookie Josh Hauser and returning sophomore Brett Bovee will compete for a starting position.

Four rookies are trying out for second base: senior Justin Benjamin, juniors Joseph Perez and Johnny Gilbert, and freshman Daniel Stutzman. Wilson returns to the first base position.

Outfield candidates are senior rookie Anthony Tompkins, sophomore rookie Trevor Fletcher, freshmen Simon Jeffers and Riley Burke, and two returning players, juniors Eddie Cousino and Lauren Delmonico.

Parker expects to get some good innings from Long and Wilson on the mound and he’s working with four other players to see how they might fit into the rotation.

“It’s really a good group of kids to work with,” Coach Parker said, “we just have a lot of holes to fill.”

The Bulldogs started the season with a contest Tuesday at Manchester. Addison is scheduled to visit Monday before Morenci takes a break for vacation.

FAYETTE SOFTBALL: Fayette’s first-year softball coach Sarah Skolmowski has only one hole to fill from graduation last May, but it’s not all that easy.

There’s also the issue of two key injuries from basketball season. Katelyn Downing and Rachel Seiler will both miss this softball season while knee injuries continue to heal.

But she does have a lot of returning talent as she takes over the reins for the 2009 season.

The Eagles will tune up with a pair of scrimmages and the regular season gets underway April 13 at North Central.

Coach Skolmowski will go with veteran senior Shenae Nuoffer on the mound, with another returning senior, Mara Raker, in the catcher’s position.

The infield remains solid with returning seniors Danni Wyse at short stop, Trisha Bates at third and Brittany Seiler at first, plus third-year junior JeriAnn Lewellen at second base.

In the outfield, senior Katie Borer returns, along with sophomores Leah Brinegar, Taylor Makula and Lorena Arias-Vega. Only Brinegar was on the team last season.

Sophomore Brooke Croskey is out for the first year—showing promise at a variety of positions—along with freshmen Janaye Smith and Emily Logsden.

The only other sophomore, Mary Ludeman, is expected to join the team soon.

Skolmowski will take her mix of new and experienced players and figure out a starting lineup.

“We have several new players and we’re still looking for the best fit,” she said.

Nuoffer brings plenty of experience to the mound, but she’ll be backed up by Wyse and Borer if needed.

Some good hitters return to the team and the younger ones have yet to prove themselves.

The young players are going to be needed when the six seniors are gone on the class trip and at another time during the Spanish Club trip.

Coach Skolmowski is assisted by Jenny Bates and Steve Hartman. She marks the fourth Fayette coach in four years.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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