Did you see that?

May 21, 2012

Track and field, tennis and lacrosse teams have begun their marches toward MHSAA championships, but a number of sports are making offseason news as well.

Here's our sampling of some of the most intriguing from all over the state last week. 

Track and Field

Setting up a showdown: In perhaps the most notable race of last week’s Regionals, Birmingham Seaholm’s Aubrey Wilberding edged Southfield’s Latipha Cross in the 400-meter dash in Division 1 at Farmington. Wilberding ran the race in 56.48 seconds, 19 hundredths of a second faster than Cross, who set an all-Finals record in the race in 2011. Click the link next to each Regional site for results. (MHSAA)


Shooting for 67: Lake Fenton sophomore Jordan Newman scored a combined eight goals in the semifinal and championship games of the Genesee Area Conference tournament to lead her team to the championship. She has 54 goals this season – only 13 shy of the MHSAA single-season record with Districts beginning next week. (Tri-County Times) (Flint Journal)

KVA belongs to Kalamazoo Christian: The Kalamazoo Valley Association soccer championship came down to two of the top teams statewide in Division 4 – and No. 2 Kalamazoo Christian edged No. 3 Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Central 1-0 in the final. The two were flip-flopped in the rankings heading into the game. (Kalamazoo Gazette)

Athletes of the Year

Pinning down a major award: St. Johns wrestler Taylor Massa and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek's Gabby Yurik received the annual Michigan Student-Athlete of the Year Awards from the Detroit Athletic Club, from a group of nominees including Holland's Courtney Bartholomew, Birmingham Marian's Jaynie Pulte, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett's Madison Ristovski, Plainwell's Lauren Saar and Charlotte's Raychel Wolever, and Grand Blanc's Zachary Carroll, Saginaw Heritage's Evan Chiplock, Bay City Western's Matt Costello, Lowell's Gabe Dean and Oxford's Prescott Line.


Plymouth rocks: The Wildcats topped a field that included 17 state-ranked teams in claiming the East Lansing Invitational with a two-round score of 595. The tournament was played at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers West and East. Scroll to the bottom of link for full results. (Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association)


Match points: Five of the top seven ranked teams in Division 2 emerged from two suburban Detroit Regionals to advance to the Division 2 Finals: No. 1 Birmingham Marian, No. 2 Bloomfield Hills Andover, No. 3 Birmingham Seaholm and co-No. 7s Bloomfield Hills Lahser and Farmington Hills Marcy. Click next to each Regional site to see who qualified for their respective Finals. (MHSAA)


Perfect, again: Breckenridge’s Sam Willman threw her fifth perfect game this season, striking out 18 and 64 for the day as her team won the Montrose Snowball Tournament on Saturday. She also threw a perfect game two days before. (Midland Daily News)

Stacking numbers: Decatur senior pitcher Erika Southworth won her 100th game last week, then notched her 1,000th strikeout two days later. (Kalamazoo Gazette)


Detroit mourns coach: Southeastern High girls coach Lisa Blackburn died Saturday at the age of 52. She was a former Detroit Pershing star who went on to play at the University of Detroit. (Detroit News)

Stolz legacy ends: Longtime Okemos boys basketball coach Dan Stolz retired with a record of 428-99 and a winning percentage of .812 in 18 seasons at Okemos and five at Williamston. Stolz took over the Chieftains program from his father Stan, who coached the varsity from 1968-93. (Lansing State Journal)


New coach at St. Johns: The reigning three-time Division 2 MHSAA team champion now will be coached by assistant Derek Phillips, who was promoted last week to take over for the recently-resigned Zane Ballard. (Lansing State Journal)


Longtime editor announces retirement: The state’s print media will wave good-bye to another valuable member when longtime Escanaba Daily Press sports editor Denny Grall retires in two months. He’s been putting pen to paper for 42 years and is especially legendary across the Upper Peninsula. (Escanaba Daily Press)

Editor's note: Did we miss something? Comment below and tell us about it. Is there an event coming up that we should make sure to note? Comment or e-mail [email protected]

Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

May 26, 2023

Mendon’s run to the Division 2 Final last fall included some of the strongest rushing performances over the history of 8-player football.

The Hornets ran for 4,317 yards, second-most all-time, on the second-most attempts (520) and with a record-setting 682 yards Oct. 14 against Marcellus. Mendon also set the record for total offense with 692 total in that game, and made the single-season touchdowns list with 76 including 66 rushing (also second on that list).

Junior Jack McCaw made the single-season scoring list with 212 points, most coming on 29 touchdowns, and Evan Lukeman made the single-game rushing list with 401 yards against Marcellus. Mendon’s defense also earned praise, twice making the fewest-first-downs-allowed list with a low of three.

See below for more recent additions to the 8-player portion of the football record book:

8-Player Football

Athens’ Landon Bennett earned a pair of record book entries after reaching the end zone seven times during his team’s 72-0 win over Burr Oak on Sept. 8. His seven scores are tied for third-most in 8-player history and included three rushing, three on punt returns and one on an interception return. The three punt return touchdowns are a record. Bennett is a junior.

On the night Powers North Central broke its 8-player record for consecutive wins, claiming its 28th straight, senior Luke Gorzinski tied Jets great Jason Whitens for the record for interception touchdowns in a game with two, scoring on returns during the second and fourth quarters. Gorzinski has signed with Michigan Tech, and North Central’s winning streak is 37 games and counting.

A pair of Atlanta offensive playmakers and a top defensive lineman earned a total of seven entries in the record book for achievements last fall. Senior quarterback Tyler Currie threw for 30 touchdowns over eight games, and also made the records for six touchdowns and 419 passing yards against Whittemore-Prescott on Sept. 23; the passing yards are second-most for one 8-player game. Sophomore Landon Galea was added for 263 yards and five of those touchdowns against the Cardinals, and also for 1,418 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns over nine games. Junior teammate Tucker Kendrick made the tackles for loss list with five against Hillman on Oct. 6.

Adrian Lenawee Christian senior Brady McKelvey became the first to make the career extra points list in 8-player football this past fall. He bettered his previous single-season record making 64 of 66 extra-point attempts over 11 games and finishing his two-year varsity career with 123 extra points in 127 tries.

Sam McKissack reached the record book showcasing multiple skills for Crystal Falls Forest Park during the 2021 season – twice for rushing attempts in a game including with a record 59 against Ontonagon that Sept. 10, and then with a record 70-yard punt Oct. 30, 2021, against Lake Linden-Hubbell. Teammate Devon Basirico also made the record book with six fumble recoveries over 11 games that season. As a team, Forest Park was added twice for single-game rushing attempts – including 73 total in that Ontonagon game – and for 424 rushes over 11 games for the season. McKissack and Basirico are seniors this spring.

Nikolaus Lewis tied for eighth-most rushing touchdowns in an 8-player game when he reached the end zone six times for Carsonville-Port Sanilac in its win over Caseville on Oct. 7. He’s a senior this spring.

Bridgman has won 24 straight games over the last three seasons, and an exceptional offense – and exceptional offensive star – have played major roles. The Bees were added for 658 total yards in a win over Lawrence last season, that total ranking third all-time, and also 613 yards in a win over Eau Claire. Those included totals of 575 and 547 rushing yards, respectively, and Bridgman was added for 3,598 rushing yards (sixth on the list), 59 rushing touchdowns (fourth) and 76 total touchdowns (seventh). Senior Reid Haskins capped his four-year, 32-game varsity career with 13 record book entries, including for 254 points last season over nine games (tied for fifth all-time) and a record 620 career points, 41 touchdowns last season (fifth) and a record 95 for his career, 2,344 rushing yards last season (third) and a record 5,206 for his career, and 41 rushing touchdowns last season (third) and a record 94 for his career. Senior teammate Tanner Peters made the records three times including for 50 extra points last season (fourth) and 99 over 26 games and three seasons (second on the career list).

Mio's Austin Fox rewrote the 8-player passing record book this past fall, with his 621 yards in a game against Whittemore-Prescott setting a single-game record as he totaled four of the five-highest passing yardage totals. He also set a record with 3,516 over nine games for the season, another record with 289 passing attempts over those nine games and a third record for nine touchdown passes in that game against the Cardinals. His 41 touchdown passes total rank fourth. Teammates Gage Long and Nathan Hurst also earned several record book entries on the receiving end of those passes. Long’s 297 receiving yards against Whittemore-Prescott were tied for third most, and Hurst’s 266 against Alcona rank eighth. Long set a single-season record with 1,739 receiving yards, with Hurst sixth all-time at 1,321, and Long’s 14 receptions against the Cardinals and 70 for the season also rank second on those respective lists. Hurst set a record for longest 8-player kickoff return with a 99-yarder against St. Helen Charlton Heston. All three are seniors.

Peck was one of the first MHSAA 8-player champions, claiming the title in 2013, and Cody Abrego one of the state’s first 8-player stars. The Pirates were added to the MHSAA record book 52 times, and Abrego 14 times individually. Among the most notable entries for the 2015 graduate were for 462 points scored over his two-season career (ranking sixth all-time), 74 career touchdowns (sixth), 2,202 rushing yards in 2013 (fifth) and 35 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (sixth). Current senior Caleb Lentner was one of the stars statewide this past season, and he was added eight times including for 50 points scored in a game (ranking second), 272 points for a season last fall (fifth), eight touchdowns in a game (tied for second), 42 touchdowns in a season (fifth), an 8-player record of 2,694 rushing yards from last season, and 38 rushing touchdowns also last fall (fourth). Others to make the individual lists were Nathan Robar, Caleb Dudley, Steven VanConant, Kyle Abrego and Nathan Neihaus, Dudley for a record 20 career interceptions over two seasons and VanConant for a record 12 tackles for loss in a 2022 game and 36 tackles for loss for the season last fall. The Pirates also are all over the 8-player team record book, including for a record 97 touchdowns in 2013, a record 5,895 yards of total offense that season, 528 carries, 4,346 rushing yards and 73 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (all ranking second); and 24 interceptions in 2014, which ranks second on that list.

Senior quarterback JR Hildebrand was one of the most dynamic players in 8-player football in the fall in leading Martin to the Division 1 title. He had one of his most exciting nights in a playoff opener against Tekonsha, making the single-game touchdown pass list with six in a 68-6 victory.

PHOTO Mendon’s Jack McCaw (21) eludes a tackle during the 8-Player Division 2 Final in November at Northern Michigan University. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)