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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
  • 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.
  • Front.homecoming Court
  • Cheer
  • Front.park.lights
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Sports round-up 06.09.2010

Written by David Green.

MORENCI TRACK: A school record fell last week at the county track meet and it wasn’t any ordinary record—it was an Angie Sneider record.

Sneider, whose name appears on the record board seven times, lost her mark for the 300-meter hurdles when Morenci freshman Brooke Bovee eclipsed it by two tenths of a second with a time of :47.1.

Sneider’s record was set in 1992.

Bovee was also the county champion in the 100-meter hurdles at :16.01 and she placed sixth in the 100-meter dash at :13.77.

Phoenix Duncan placed second in the high jump (5-2) and second in the long jump (16-0.25).

For the boys, Chas Frey took fifth in the 200-meter dash (:24.16) and sixth in the 100 (:12.06). Tyler Guelde was fifth in the 1600-meter run (4:54) and Luke Spaulding took fifth in the 3200-meter run (10:48).

Morenci’s 800-meter relay team placed third (1:36.49), the 1600-meter relay team also took third (3:36).

Garrett Mohr placed sixth in the discus (126-0.5), Max Gautz took third in the long jump (20-1) and Dustin Roller tied for third in the high jump (6-2).STATE MEET: Morenci junior Phoenix Duncan earned a third- and a fourth-place finish at Michigan’s Div. IV track and field meet Saturday at Jenison High School.

Morenci’s other six competitors returned home disappointed, but Duncan wasn’t all that pleased, either.

Duncan had a shaky start in the high jump. She missed her first two attempts at the opening height of 4-9, then kicked in for a better showing.

At 5-2, only four competitors remained and all four cleared the bar on their first attempt. But that was the end for Duncan. She could go no higher this year, unlike her 5-4 leap a year earlier. Megan Heffner of Kinde-North Huron won the event at 5-5.

In the long jump, Duncan came through with a 16-4.25 leap for third place, behind Kelly David of Beal City at 16-9 and second place at 16-6.25.

“I knew she had the talent to place in the top eight,” coach Brad Brown said, “but she was probably surprised, herself, with third place.”

Duncan made the finals with a 16-0 leap, then went on to make her career best.

“She certainly had higher aspirations in the high jump,” Brown said about Duncan’s disappointment. “To come over to the long jump pit and get in the proper frame of mind, I think that shows a lot.”

It would take a phenomenal effort, Brown said, but he thinks Duncan is capable of winning both events next year.

Freshman Brooke Bovee never had her chance to run against the best in the 100-meter hurdles. She made it through the preliminaries and was leading the pack in the semifinals when she tripped on the final hurdle and crashed to the track.

Bovee’s regional meet rival, Chantel Davenport of Athens, was called for a false start in that heat, and she also never made it to the finals.

Brianna Ratchford of Birmingham Roeper won the race at :16.18. Bovee ran a :15.5 at the league meet.

“I really think Brooke would have won the event,” Brown said.

The state meet marked the first time Bovee had run on the heavier, square bottom hurdles, Brown said, and when her trailing foot caught the hurdle, she went down. It was also the freshman’s first fall, and it proved to be an emotionally draining event.

Brown knew the 300-meter hurdle race would prove to be a big test for her, and she wasn’t ready for it, he said.

“I recently heard it said that when you don’t get what you want, you get experience,” Coach Brown said. “She got experience and I hope it makes her tougher and hungrier.”

There was plenty of top-notch competition in the 300 race. Megan Heffner of Kinde-North Huron set a new Div. IV record at :44.98. Bovee’s school record time set last week (:47.1) would have been good for fourth place.

Sophomore Max Gautz’s best long jump was 19-7, which was just short of making the finals. That’s a distance he would have been pleased with until the last couple of weeks when he cleared 20 feet, Brown said.

Springport’s Erric Garner was tops by an inch at 21-5.5.

Morenci’s 800-meter relay team turned in a 1:35.2—close to their season best but still a couple seconds away from earning points. White Pigeon won the event at 1:31.17.

New records were set in the girls pole vault (12-0); shot put (42-7); 100-meter dash (:12.4); 800-meter relay (1:46.06); 400-meter relay (:50.63); the boys 3200-meter relay (8:02) and the 1600-meter relay (3:25.86).

MORENCI SOFTBALL: Just when Morenci’s softball hopes were looking up—10 wins in the past 12 outings—Waldron knocked them right back down.

The Spartans took advantage of every Bulldog error, said Morenci coach Kay Johnson, and some breaks went Waldron’s way. In the end, it was Waldron that moved on to the district finals by stopping Morenci 7-3.

The Spartans scored five runs against Whiteford in the finals, losing 9-5. The Bobcats scored four runs in the opening inning, then the two teams played fairly close for the remainder.

Johnson said her squad lacks big game day experience in any sport and it seemed to shake their confidence.

“As soon as something slipped, they got a little tight,” she said. “It was not our best pitching day, not our best hitting day, not our best defensive day, not our best base-running day and not our luckiest day.”

On a luckier day, Chanler McCaskey’s drive over the fence wouldn’t have been foul by five feet. Taylor Bryant’s hard hit wouldn’t have gone directly into the glove of an outfielder.

Morenci scored a run in the first inning when Mariah Bovee came home on Matea Garcia’s ground ball.

Waldron came back with two runs. Tia Tompkins walked the first two batters and bases were soon loaded. One runner scored on a base hit and another was thrown out at the plate when Michaela Merillat fired the ball in to Chelsea Tompkins. A second run scored on a passed ball.

Tia Tompkins was stranded on third in the second inning, but Morenci took the lead in the fourth on a two-RBI single by Hannah Jeffers.

In the bottom of the fifth, two Waldron batters at the bottom of the order drew walks, then another walk loaded the bases.

A ground ball made it through the Morenci infield and ended up at the fence because the outfield back-up was out of place and another scored on a ground out.

Three walks, two errors, no hits—and four runs.

Waldron added one more in the sixth for the final 7-3 tally.

ERIE-MASON—The Bulldogs ended the regular season with an 11-0 loss at Erie-Mason. The contest was a good chance for Morenci (14-19) to challenge itself, Coach Johnson said, but the squad didn’t meet the challenge.

ALL-DISTRICT—Three Bulldogs were named to the all-district team: Chanler McCaskey, third base; Meghan Smith, first base; and Hannah Jeffers, outfield.

MORENCI BASEBALL: The season officially ended with a loss for Morenci’s baseball team, but in coach Don Williams’ mind, it ended a few innings earlier.

That’s when the Bulldogs scored a 6-5 come-from-behind win against Waldron in their first game of the district tournament Saturday in Sand Creek.

“It was a really nice way to end the season,” Williams said. “They put a complete game together and really worked well as a team.”

Actually, the Bulldogs came through with seven hits in both games Saturday. The difference is they produced runs against Waldron. In the finals with Sand Creek, the scattered hits led to no runs in an 11-0 loss.

Cody Long gets a lot of credit for Morenci’s victory. He batted three for four and finished with four RBIs. It was that last time at bat that made all the difference.

With a tie game in the bottom of the eighth inning, Long stepped to the plate and drove the first pitch over the right center fence. Game over.

Long was also on the mound for the final three innings. He struck out the first two Spartans in the top of the eighth and Riley Burk fielded a fly for the final out.

The Bulldogs scored their first run on a passed ball in the second inning and scored three in the third. Austin VanBrandt led off with a single and moved to second on Isaac Jeffers’ base hit. An error loaded the bases.

Long drove two runners home with a base hit and Daniel Stutzman scored another with a base hit.

Nick Wilson singled in the fifth and came home on Long’s double.

Wilson pitched the first five innings, giving up three runs and striking out five batters. He came out in the top of the sixth after hitting a pair of batters.

Waldron tied the game 5-5 in the seventh and had the winning run heading home when base runner got caught in a rundown.

The ball went over the head of Morenci’s third baseman, but Eddie Cousino in left field made a game-saving play. He had moved in to play back-up and caught the errant throw on the fly. He threw back to the catcher and the runner was tagged out.

Sand Creek led Morenci 4-0 after four innings in the final, but that’s where the wheels came off, Coach Williams said. The Bulldogs didn’t have the pitching strength to make it through.

Jeffers finished with a pair of base hits. Wilson, Stutzman, Cousino, Burk and Matt Heinze each had single hits.

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