Howell Puts Heart Into Memorial Meet

August 29, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

An online tribute to Mackenzie Watts describes how she “made the people and world around her better.”

The Howell swimming and diving community continues to work so that her memory makes those who come after her safer as well.

Watts died in 2005 after suffering a cardiac arrhythmia. She was a 15-year-old sophomore and key cog on her high school team.

This past weekend, for the sixth straight season, the Highlanders hosted the Kenzie Classic, an invitational that served as a fundraiser for the Howell program and annual Mackenzie Watts scholarship – plus served to promote heart screenings by local National Diagnostic Services in their “HeartMobile” parked outside the pool.

NDS, which also has held screening events at Northville, Canton and Middleville Thornapple Kellogg schools among others, screened 20 students during this Kenzie Classic, said Wellness Director Heidi Enders. 

Tests are ultrasound-based and non-invasive, and include an EKG to examine the heart’s electrical system for arrhythmias and an echocardiogram to examine the heart’s structure in case there is a thickening of the muscle (known as hyperthrophic cardiomyopathy). Adults were charged $199 and students $75, with discounted rates for adults in groups and children.

Click to check out coverage of the event from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

Records Revamp

While tracking down 660 football schedules (give or take a few) took up most of the summer, there still was time for a few additions to the MHSAA record book – with more to come.

Track and field fans will notice records from retired yardage events (pre-1982 or earlier depending on the MHSAA class) have been added to the online records here for boys and here for girls.

Cross country fans should check out our lists of top MHSAA Finals times for every division and every class, plus overall top 10 lists for both boys and girls since the race was set to five kilometers in 1980. Click here for girls and here for boys.

Also added or updated were team championship counts for both cross countries, volleyball and girls golf. Click to check out girls golf here and volleyball here.

Fond Football Memories

It has been 30 years since former Genesee all-state running back Don Robinson became the fourth player in Genesee County history to run for more than 300 yards in one game – which he did in gaining 317 on Sept. 23, 1983.

High school football and those memories remain close to his heart even after going on to play at Eastern Michigan University, a stint in the U.S. Navy and a move to Georgia.

He’s paid attention over the years as that “300 club” has grown to 22 players including current New Orleans Saints back Mark Ingram, Jr., and the University of Michigan’s Thomas Rawls.

He’s also a regular reader of Second Half, and asked to send along some words of wisdom to those who will be taking the field to begin the season this weekend:

“When you run out onto the field this season, do me a favor. At least once, pause.

“Look around you. Look at the lights in the sky. See the faces of those that have come to see you play. Listen to the band and the cheerleaders. Look into the eyes of your teammates ...

“Take it all in. When you’re older and miss this amazing game that you are playing, you’ll be glad you did.”

PHOTOS: (Top) A swimmer takes the lead during a race at Saturday's Kenzie Klassic at Howell High School. (Photo courtesy of Howell High School.) (Middle) Genesee graduate Don Robinson runs the ball during the 1983 season. (Photo courtesy of Don Robinson.)

Record-Setting Saving, Historic Scoring Send Grosse Ile to 2018 Boys Soccer Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

May 17, 2024

Grosse Ile’s Division 3 runner-up season in 2018 included multiple MHSAA team records for defensive and offensive success.

The Red Devils set a record with 21 straight shutouts and 24 total over 29 games, and also finished third all-time scoring 158 goals.

Their 23-game winning streak that season remains tied for seventh-longest as Grosse Ile finished 27-2.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA boys soccer record book, and click the heading to see the record book in full.

Boys Soccer

Keeper Ethan DeJager and Grandville Calvin Christian were nearly unbeatable in 2020, finishing 19-1-2 and runner-up in Division 4. They set a record allowing only four goals for the season, while DeJager is fourth on the season shutouts list with 19 over those 22 games and tied for the second-longest shutout streak at 13. DeJager was a senior that season.

Seth Davidson capped his four-year varsity career this past fall on three records lists for shutouts – 15 over 22 games this past season, 26 for his career and nine straight as a senior. Berkley as a team also made the fewest goals allowed list, giving up only 11 in finishing 18-2-2.

Caden Saxton capped a memorable four-year Flint Kearsley varsity career in the fall with four entries in the record book. He made the assists list with 27 over 21 games as a senior and also the single-season points list with 65, and made career lists in those categories with 63 assists and 149 points, respectively, over 71 games.

Jonesville advanced in its District this past season with an 8-5 overtime win over Blissfield on Oct. 12, and Warrick Elder played a big part scoring six goals. He’s a senior.

Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep’s run to the Division 4 Semifinals saw contributions from several players, and junior James Whiting was among those leading the way. He made the assists list with 30 over 22 games, and also the total points list with 49. He also sits on the career assists list after three seasons with 66 and one more season to play.

Holland Christian made the team list for 12 straight shutouts from Sept. 8-Oct. 19, and 15 shutouts total over 20 games this past season. Junior Adam Bergman was in goal for all 15 including the 12 consecutive.

Muskegon Oakridge senior Arturo Romero-Serrano capped his career in the fall with his second season reaching 40 goals, netting 42 total to finish his four-year career with 105 and also on the MHSAA career points list with 125. He also added a second six-goal game, against Muskegon Catholic Central on Aug. 25.

Monroe Jefferson’s season came to an end Oct. 11 in a District game against Riverview, but senior Gabe Gelso finished with a state record. He made 49 saves in the 9-0 defeat as the Bears had only eight players total.

Ian Klenk added eight more shutouts in goal this past fall to finish his three-season varsity career with 25 in 60 games and make the career list in that category. He’ll continue his career at Kuyper College.

PHOTO Grosse Ile's keeper Brendan Ebler (1) gathers the ball and charts his next move during the 2018 Division 3 Final.