Everest Collegiate Begins Championship Era as Another Ends for Leland Legend

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

November 18, 2023

BATTLE CREEK – With the biggest serves of her volleyball career in front of her Saturday, Sarah Bradley did what she always does – took a deep breath and came through for Clarkston Everest Collegiate.

The junior served out the final three points of the Division 4 championship match, including a match-point ace to give the Moutaineers a five-set victory and their first Finals title.

“I believe very much in taking a deep breath when I’m serving and zoning everything out,” Bradley said. “In my head, I’m like, ‘All for you, God. All for you.’ Then I take a deep breath and I serve. Every single time. So I was very confident, and I went out there and did it.”

Bradley’s final ace put an exclamation point on an improbable comeback, as Everest trailed 2 sets to none, and 10-3 in the fifth before winning 24-26, 18-25, 25-22, 25-19, 15-13.

It also capped off a historic season for the 10th-ranked Moutaineers, who hadn’t won a Regional title prior to this season, let alone compete in Kellogg Arena. They more than made their mark in their first trip, with a pair of 0-2 comebacks, including a Semifinal win Friday over top-ranked Adrian Lenawee Christian.

“I’m blown away by these girls,” first-year Everest coach Danielle Walker said. “To come back two days in a row from two sets down. It’s just amazing.”

The Mountaineers’ Madelyn Krappmann sends a kill attempt toward a pair of Leland blockers. Playing five sets twice certainly wasn’t the plan for the Moutaineers, but they didn’t shrink in the moment despite having never been on this stage.

“We knew we had done it before, we knew it’s been done in the state Finals before, and we trust in ourselves,” said junior Madelyn Krappmann. “We trust in our ability as a team and in each other. We know our strengths, we know our weaknesses and we know how to adapt to the other team’s strengths and weaknesses. We really just dug in, took a deep breath and said, ‘All right, we did it yesterday, we can do it today.’ And that’s what we did.”

It looked early in the fifth set that the rally in sets 3 and 4 may have been for naught. Leland jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead and had stretched it to 10-3 before Everest was able to find its way back in.

The Comets took a 13-11 lead when Kelsey Allen and Abby Hicks teamed up for a block of Bradley. She came back immediately with a kill, however, and then served out the match.

“Honestly, it got me even more motivated,” Bradley said. “They blocked me, but I just kept going. I believe in myself, and I trust myself to get over it. Me and (junior setter Erica Walker) talked about what we were going to do different. It just all fit together. I got out there with all the confidence I can, because that’s how I know I can play my best.”

Bradley finished with a match-high 31 kills, tied for sixth all-time in a Finals match. Walker finished with 57 assists, tied for second all-time. The 64 team kills for the Mountaineers (32-4-2) are tied for fourth all-time.

“My little thing is, I want to succeed so my hitters can succeed,” said Walker, who didn’t start playing volleyball for Everest until this season, and was also a Finals qualifier in cross country. “I want them to have the spotlight, and in order to do that, I have to have good sets. I play with three of the best hitters that I’ve ever seen. To be able to set them up and see them succeed makes me so happy.”

Everest sets up its offense.While this weekend served as an introduction to the rest of the state for Everest – the Mountaineers are set to bring back all six starters in 2024 and graduate one senior – it was goodbye from a legend on the other side. 

Leland coach Laurie Glass, who has amassed more than 1,100 wins and three Finals titles in her 29 years leading the Comets, announced after the match that it was her last, and that assistant Travis Baker would be taking over.

“I’ve known all along that I wanted to see this group through and be there with them in this moment,” she said. “I’m proud to be from Leland. I’m proud to have coached at Leland, and I couldn’t have gone out in a better way. I wanted the season to be about them, 100 percent. I didn’t want to have big farewells and have a farewell tour of Laurie Glass’ coaching career. I wanted them to have their season. It’s time. It’s time to move on and pass the torch to Travis Baker, who really is the reason this season has gone as well as it has.”

The Comets finished Glass’ final season 41-17-2, and did so fielding a team of just seven players, five of whom were seniors. 

While they didn’t know Glass was stepping down until after the match, they very nearly sent her out with a fourth title. Getting to raise a runner-up trophy wasn’t a bad way to go out, though.

“There’s a lot of teams out there that would give their eye teeth to have this moment, even if they were crying,” Glass said. “There were only two teams left in the state, and we were one of them. I don’t think that’s a horrible thing.”

Fiona Moord led Leland with 17 kills, while Shelby Plamondon and Allen both had 12. Olive Ryder had 10 kills and 21 digs, Hicks had 45 assists and Mallory Lowe had 18 digs.

Krappman had 20 kills for Everest, while Addison Pearce added 11. Krappman and Bradley both had 18 digs, while Samantha Pietras had 15.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Clarkton Everest Collegiate’s Sarah Bradley takes a big swing on a kill attempt during Saturday’s Division 4 Final at Kellogg Arena. (Middle) The Mountaineers’ Madelyn Krappmann sends a kill attempt toward a pair of Leland blockers. (Below) Everest sets up its offense. (Photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

JoBurg 3-Sport Great Capping Career Filled with All-State Honors, Team Trophies

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

April 5, 2024

It won’t be hard for Jayden Marlatt to remember opening day on the softball field from any of her four years at Johannesburg-Lewiston.

Northern Lower PeninsulaAs a freshman, she missed the opener due to needing to quarantine. Her sophomore and junior years started on the road because the Cardinals’ field was under construction.  

This season the Cardinals will open up — weather permitting — on their brand-new field, hosting Mio on Monday, April 8.  Marlatt is slated to be the starting pitcher again and add to her school record collection.

While Johannesburg-Lewiston is looking forward to playing on the new diamond, Marlatt and her teammates have high hopes of finishing the season almost 200 miles south. They’re looking to get back to Michigan State University – the site of the Division 4 Semifinals and Final.

The Cards have had their sites on that goal since they fell 4-2 to Mendon in last year’s Semifinal at Secchia Stadium. The loss ended a 30-4-1 campaign that saw the Cardinals play every game on the road for a second consecutive year, but come up only one victory short of a first championship game appearance.

The trip to East Lansing also came after the Cards won the program’s first District title since 2008 and advanced to the Semifinals for the first time since 1981.

“It has been a long two seasons on the road,” said eighth-year head coach Kim Marlatt, noting the team utilized a Little League field for practices during the stretch. “They’ve been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, so it is excited to get going.”

Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. The new field isn’t the only new things this spring. The Cardinals will have a junior varsity team for the first time during the Marlatt’s tenure. The JV squad is coached by Ryan Marlatt, who has been serving the program the past eight years as assistant coach. He also has been the head girls basketball coach at JoBurg the past two seasons.

The Marlatt coaches are the proud parents of Jayden, who continues to garner recognition as perhaps the greatest athlete in Johannesburg-Lewiston’s history. 

The three-sport star had a huge hand in all that JoBurg accomplished last season leading the team in batting average (.670), home runs (13) and runs batted in (61). As the team’s ace pitcher, she collected 249 strikeouts and compiled a 1.32 ERA.

“Jayden has put in the hard work,” Kim pointed out.  “She is a very humble athlete. ‘She doesn’t like to talk about herself. She likes to compete, and she likes to be on the top of her game for her teammates.”

Jayden has been named all-conference and all-state in softball, basketball and volleyball nearly every season over her four years at JoBurg. She’s led her teams to Ski Valley Conference, District and Regional titles along the way.

She’s also been named Player of the Year by multiple publications. And she’s a front runner to be voted the Most Valuable Player of the Ski Valley Conference in softball. Earlier this year, league coaches voted her the MVP for both basketball and volleyball.  

“The Ski Valley never used to vote on an MVP,” Ryan Marlatt said. “Hopefully she can add the triple crown and get softball this year.”

Jayden Marlatt, who has played all three sports all four years, acknowledged softball is perhaps her most treasured, and she’ll continue in that sport at Ferris State. Her career total of more than 500 strikeouts, and her 14 home runs last season, are both JoBurg school records. "I like them all but probably softball,” she confirmed when asked to name her favorite sport.

She averaged 12 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and four steals per game this winter helping the Cards basketball team to a conference runner-up finish. She was key to JoBurg's ability to put a 12-game winning streak together, and she topped the 1,000-point career mark along the way.

Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season.Her outstanding senior year on the basketball court and this spring’s possibilities nearly vanished as the volleyball season ended.

She suffered what looked to be a serious lower-leg injury in the final game of the JoBurg volleyball season. “She finished in the emergency room,” Kim Marlatt said.  

Diagnosed a high ankle sprain, it was an aggravation to an injury from her junior year in basketball. She wasn’t quite at 100 percent on the basketball court this season until the holiday break. She’s starting the softball season healthy, though.

Before the injury, Jayden led the Cards to their third volleyball conference championship over the last four years. After becoming JoBurg's all-time kills leader during her junior season, and with many of her teammates from her first three seasons graduating, Jayden had to fill a variety of roles while anchoring the offense from her outside hitter spot.

She ended up leading the team in both kills with 421 and digs, with 431, in her final season on the volleyball court. And she is listed among MHSAA’s all-time leaders in kills for a single match and career.

It’s more than Marlatt’s stats that stand out for Kristine Peppin, the school’s volleyball coach the past 15 years.

“It is not about the size of the school or the size of the player, it’s the heart that they have inside,” she proclaimed. “This girl would be a successful player on whatever team she was on. 

“Yes we’re a small school, small town,” she continued. “That kind of leadership and heart and drive to be the best is what’s given her that success.”

Marlatt’s work ethic is second to none, Peppin noted. She never saw Jayden give less than a “1,000” percent in practice or games in her career. 

Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt.“She’s a super hard worker and extremely modest for the kind of skill she possesses and the success she’s had,” Peppin said. “Her teammates think it’s amazing to be on her team.”

Marlatt’s volleyball skills caught the eye of at least one of her conference opponents’ coaches back in junior high. Ron Stremlow was performing one of his many coaching duties for Fife Lake Forest Area when he first saw Jayden on the volleyball court.

“I could tell then this girl was somebody special,” said Stremlow, who became one of the winningest coaches in state volleyball history with the Warriors. “When she got in high school, it just took off.

“She puts the time into it, and she works hard,” Stremlow continued. “Kids like that get what they deserve – they work for it.”

Stremlow, now retired, also acknowledged he’s enjoyed being able to watch the hard-throwing Marlatt on the softball field the last couple of seasons as Forest Area hosted the Cardinals consecutively due to JoBurg’s lack of a home field.

It’s something he’ll have to travel to do this year though, as JoBurg is scheduled to host the Warriors on April 15.

The Cardinals also will host a Regional on their new field June 8. The winners of District play at Rogers City, Harbor Springs, St. Ignace and Gaylord St. Mary will participate.

To play in the Regional, the Cards will have to emerge from the Rogers City District featuring the host Hurons, Atlanta, Hillman, Onaway, and Posen.

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Jayden Marlatt drives a pitch during softball season. (2) Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. (3) Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season. (4) Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt. (Action shots by Dylan Jespersen/Petoskey News-Review; family photo by Breya Domke.)