We're heading into the final two weeks of the MHSAA fall season, which means playoffs for a few more sports, first practices for many others, and some catch-up on good stories that have made their way into my e-mail or onto my desk. Here are five more I've run across this week.
And again, if you see something high school sports-related that you think others would find valuable, send me a link at [email protected].
Walled Lake Central quarterback Zac Leimbach led his team to the playoffs this fall (WLC lost last weekend). He also is the oldest of three sons and now the man of his house in the wake of the summer death of their father after a battle with cancer. Mick McCabe's passage about Leimbach's final conversation with his father really struck me -- incredible.
Taylor was born with spina bifida -- "a hole in her back" -- and paralysis from the hips down. But she can leave her wheelchair behind when she takes to the pool as a member of the Zeeland swim team. Dan D'Addona tells us this inspiring story that has made waves on the west side of the state this season.
Doyle was the spokesperson for her team to the media after tough losses ended their last two seasons. But she was able to stand in once more -- joyfully tearful this time -- in accepting the Miss Volleyball award for 2011. Matthew B. Mowery wraps up her great career.
East Grand Rapids' win over Holland was the Pioneers' 28th straight in postseason play. That's a story unto itself, of course. But another big one for West Michigan high school sports fans was the return of the Press' Jane Bos, who is back in the press box after nearly a year working through medical issues. This is her return column, and I'm sure a loyal reader base is thankful to have her back.
This is a little old, but came back into the light this week with the start of college basketball season. It's a college story, but also a high school story, of a star hoops player who won $40,000 in scholarship money in a free-throw shooting contest -- and then gave it to the seven runners-up. You'll probably hear about Cal State-Northridge's Allan Guei at some point over the next few years. Here's why.
1. BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern was first and Battle Creek Lakeview second at the 76th Cereal Bowl Relays – Battle Creek Enquirer
2. GYMNASTICS Sophia Wagner set two school records in her team’s Escanaba Elks Invitational win – Escanaba Daily Press
3. BOYS BASKETBALL Curtis Ciborski also set a school record scoring 50 points in Bloomingdale’s 77-37 victory over Martin – Kalamazoo Gazette
4. BOYS BASKETBALL Matt Mellendorf scored the game-winner as Cass City edged Saginaw Nouvel 54-53 – Saginaw News
5. BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING Essexville Garber’s Connor Dowd won the Bobcat Pentathlon by a point – Bay City Times
6. HOCKEY Division 1 No. 4 Howell opened its weekend by handing Division 3 No. 8 Hancock its first loss, 3-2 – Livingston Daily Press & Argus
7. BOYS BASKETBALL Goodrich edged reigning Division 3 champion Flint Beecher 58-55 – Flint Journal
8. HOCKEY Division 3 No. 4 Traverse Bay Reps posted an 8-1 win over Alpena – Traverse City Record-Eagle
9. HOCKEY Romeo edged Lake Orion 4-3 after scoring three second-period goals – Macomb Daily
10-. BOYS BASKETBALL Benton Harbor rode a strong second quarter to a 72-62 win over Berrien Springs – St. Joseph Herald-Palladium
Also of note …
GRAND HAVEN Grand Haven superintendent Scott Grimes, the president of the MHSAA Representative Council, will retire at the end of this school year – Grand Haven Tribune
MEDIA Longtime Macomb Daily sportswriter George Pohly is retiring after 39 years – Macomb Daily