Each week I'll post links to stories that interest me most during my travels in online sports land. I was going to wait for next week for this first installment, but these seemed worthy of telling you about now.
See something high school sports-related that you think others would find valuable? Send me a link.
These two teams provide multiple reasons why 8-player football has been such a strong addition -- most notably, it is providing our smallest schools with an opportunity to still play football despite fewer players, and succeed. The sport took off in this state in 2009, and this weekend mark the start of the first MHSAA 8-player Tournament. Akron-Fairgrove will play its first postseason game since 1992, while Owendale-Gagetown will play its first since 1979.
I covered Olivet and coach Dean Peters for more than a decade, including during last season's first-ever Eagles run to the MHSAA football finals. One of the great people in high school coaching, he needed emergency double-bypass surgery earlier this month but is back in the coaching booth. Olivet faces Lansing Catholic in a Pre-District game.
This is a neat story about a runner who is second-best on her team and has never won a race -- but also is likely the second-best to ever run at her school. Usually, we hear only about who finishes first.
Standley Lake football player Rhett Gutierrez overcomes eye disease (The Denver Post)
Almost always, links I post will be Michigan-related. But this story is just incredible. We've seen athletes with different degrees of vision impairment do incredible things in high school athletics. But this is the first time I've heard of someone overcoming that obstacle to play quarterback for his football team.
1. HOCKEY Goalie Ryan Nickerson was among standouts as Division 1 No. 2 Brighton defeated No. 3 Clarkston 3-1 – Livingston Daily Press & Argus
2. GIRLS BASKETBALL Braylin Johnson’s basket with 5.2 seconds to play was the difference in Mason County Eastern’s 36-34 win over Bear Lake – Ludington Daily News
3. BOYS BASKETBALL Saginaw followed TJ Stevenson Jr. to a 78-70 win over Davison – Mid-Michigan Now
4. BOYS BASKETBALL Center Line earned another close win, 60-57 over Eastpointe – Detroit News
5. GIRLS BASKETBALL Kalamazoo Central earned its first victory, downing rival Battle Creek Central 62-42 – WWMT
6. BOYS BASKETBALL Evart came back from a six-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to defeat Lake City 47-37 – Cadillac News
7. GIRLS BASKETBALL Ishpeming went on the road and defeated Gladstone 41-26 – Escanaba Daily Press
8. BOYS BASKETBALL Macomb Dakota also earned its first victory, 61-44 over Romeo – Macomb Daily
9. GIRLS BASKETBALL Riverview earned a notable nonleague victory 61-46 over Trenton – Southgate News-Herald
10. BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING Midland Dow – No. 10 in Lower Peninsula Division 2 – earned nine first places in defeating Lapeer 142-43 – Midland Daily News