The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.

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.

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