By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Saginaw Swan Valley’s Alex Grace opened the 2014 football season two weeks ago with what has become a typical performance – 195 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
The Vikings’ senior running back already tops one MHSAA record book list, and could sit atop a few more when this fall is done.
Grace set the MHSAA single-season rushing record in 2013 with 2,962 yards on only 295 carries – an average of 10 yards per carry. Adding in his 2,163 yards rushing as a sophomore, Grace entered this fall with 5,125 total – good for 15th on the career list, and he’s already jumped to 10th with 324 yards he’s gained in two games this fall.
Grace also scored 36 rushing touchdowns in 2013 – 12th most for one season – and with his 27 as a sophomore has 63 total. He’s committed to sign with Western Michigan University for after graduation.
Those are just some recent additions to the MHSAA record listings; read on for more, and click each heading below for the complete records listing for that sport.
- Logan Huff’s incredible Friday night (Sept. 5) – six touchdowns in Johannesburg-Lewiston’s 75-14 win over Pellston – included a pair of interception returns for scores to make him the latest of 15 players to accomplish that feat. He also scored on two rushes, a reception and a punt return, will all six TDs coming during the first half.
- Zach Fish’s reputation as one of the top high school power hitters in MHSAA history got a boost with the addition of career numbers from his two seasons each at Kalamazoo Central (2008-09) and Richland Gull Lake (2010-11). Fish ranks second for most career home runs (47) and RBI (203) in MHSAA history, eighth for career runs scored (184) and fifth for hits (204). He also made the lists with three home runs and 10 RBI in a game against Portage Northern his senior season. Fish was named Big 12 Player of the Year this spring playing for Oklahoma State University, was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 11th round of the June Major League Baseball amateur draft, and just finished his first season as an outfielder with the franchise’s short-season rookie level team in Great Falls, Montana.
- Wyoming West Michigan Lutheran 6-foot-4 forward Jeffrey Hilliard finished his high school career averaging a double-double – 19.8 points and 15.7 rebounds per game – and grabbed 314 boards total to make the MHSAA records in that single-season category. He just missed the single-game category, grabbing 29 in an 85-45 win over Holland Black River. He’ll continue his career at Concordia University-Ann Arbor.
- Crystal Falls Forest Park’s Lexi Gussert finished her career in March with a Miss Basketball trophy and having carried the Trojans to the Class D Final at the Breslin Center. She also appears 14 times in the MHSAA girls hoops record book: most notably, she finished fourth in career scoring with 2,630 points, set the record as a senior for single-season 3-pointers (105) and finished second with 274 career 3-pointers, finished eighth as a senior on the single-season assist (193) list and is ninth on the career rebounds list with 1,108. She also tied for sixth with 104 varsity games played during her career, and will continue at Michigan State University.
- Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern’s run to the Division 2 Semifinals this spring included outstanding offensive performances from a pair of field players and strong play in net by a junior goalie. Bob Pelton tallied the third-most assists in one season, 64, and finished with the eighth-most points, 110. Teammate Luke Malec also made the single-season points list with 89, and both made a number of single-game lists. Goalie Grant Lardieri posted three of the top nine single-game saves totals, topped by 23 against Detroit Catholic Central on May 17, and also has posted three of the top eight season saves totals – his 232 this spring were the third-most. He has 657 career saves – 62 from tying the MHSAA record – with a season left in his high school career.
- Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard’s Matt Kolevar finished a solid career in 2010 with 57 goals and 38 assists – with his 95 points making that single-season list. He also made the career points list with 200, including 137 goals.
- Connor Flynn graduated from Rockford in 2012 with 715 career saves in goal, which now ranks second in MHSAA history. He had 24 in a 2012 games against South Lyon, with that total tying for third-most in a game. He’s now playing at the University of Detroit Mercy.
- Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Taylor Timko scored more than 30 goals twice and 124 during a four-year career that finished this spring. Her career goals rank 21st in MHSAA history, and her 176 total points (including 52 assists) rank 14th on that career list. Timko, who also was a track standout and the football team’s kicker and was crowned Homecoming queen last fall while in uniform, is starting for the University of Michigan women’s soccer team this fall.
- Gladwin sophomore Lauren Mose achieved a top-10 spot in the MHSAA softball record listings, scoring 71 runs this spring – good to tie for eighth-most in one season. She also hit .496 in 137 at bats. Sophomore teammate Dayna Fennell made the MHSAA single-season doubles list with 16 and hit a team-best .514 in a team-high 138 at bats.
PHOTO: Saginaw Swan Valley's Alex Grace (9) carries the ball during this season's opener against Saginaw Nouvel. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Owosso’s Macy Irelan earned 11 entries in the MHSAA record book over her three-year varsity career that came to a close last spring, most notably with her 1,157 strikeouts despite the 2020 season being canceled due to COVID-19.
Irelan’s career strikeouts were the second-most in the state since the pitching distance was lengthened three feet in 2011. She finished 31-7 last spring with a 1.43 ERA and 414 strikeouts in 229 2/3 innings in earning the Miss Softball Award for pitching.
She also hit .551 with 21 doubles last season, and her 55 career doubles over 117 games and three seasons made that category career list. She’s continuing her career at Kent State.
See below for more recent additions to the softball record book:
Unionville-Sebewaing’s dominating run to the 2021 Division 4 championship was filled with seven record book-worthy highlights, including many near the top of all-time lists. In going 40-3, the Patriots tied their season record for wins for the second time. Their 502 runs scored ranked third all-time, with their 493 hits tied for ninth, their 114 doubles second, their 49 home runs also tied for ninth, their 431 RBI also second and their 503 strikeouts thrown ranking third. Senior Brynn Polega completed her career with 13 record book entries despite her junior season being canceled because of COVID-19; she added listings for 71 runs, 79 hits, a third-best 28 doubles, 11 homers, 70 RBI, four perfect games pitching and 365 strikeouts, among others. Then-junior Laci Harris made lists with 77 runs, 83 hits, 22 doubles, 14 homers and 78 RBI, while then-junior Macy Reinhardt was added for 78 runs and then-freshman Gabriella Crumm was added for 16 doubles. Polega, Harris and Reinhardt also posted entries for single-game accomplishments. Polega is playing at Northwood and Harris at Madonna.
Big Rapids set a school record for wins in 2021 in finishing 34-7, a run which included a number of accomplishments that reached the record book. The Cardinals scored 439 runs – tied for 12th on that list – and also as a team were added for 428 hits, 82 doubles and 363 RBI, which tied for 10th all-time. Marissa Warren made the individual hits list with 71, while Hanna Smith earned an entry with 20 doubles and Rylie Haist followed with 19. Josie Cornell was added with 40 walks drawn. Warren, Smith and Haist were added for single-game accomplishments as well, as was Madison Affer from a 2019 game. Haist, Smith and Cornell are seniors this school year, and Warren is a junior. Smith has signed with Ferris State.
A pair of Bad Axe standouts earned record book entries in 2021 with their work at the plate. Haley Newland made the single-season doubles list with 19, and Brooke Messing was added for seven RBI in a game that saw her hit a grand slam and three-run homer. Newland graduated last spring and Messing is a senior this school year.
Montrose then-freshman Lainey Cannon made two record book lists with her performance April 25 against Montrose. She hit three home runs to make the single-game list in that category, and also made the single-game RBI list with eight.
Capac then-sophomore Madalyn Roberson made the record book three times with her performance May 9 against Brown City. She hit two home runs in back-to-back at bats, both during the fifth inning, and also drove in six runs for the game.
Spring Lake standouts now fill the record book after the addition of 55 individual and 23 team entries dating back to the 2000 season. Among listings ranking highest in their respective categories were Madelyn Nelson’s 81 runs in 2018, which tied for seventh all-time; Nelson’s 250 career runs from 2015-18) that rank seventh and Lauren Hellman’s 249 career runs also from 2015-18 that rank eighth on that list; Nelson’s 84 hits in 2018 that are tied for 12th-most all-time and her 264 career hits that rank 11th, Leah Vaughan’s 26 doubles in 2019 that rank seventh, Evie Lorimer’s 16 triples in 2011 that are tied for eighth and her 37 career triples from 2010-12 that are ranked fourth, Vaughan’s 23 career times being hit by pitch from 2016-19 which rank second, and Lorimer’s 92 stolen bases in 2012 that rank second (with all 92 coming consecutively to tie for fifth on that list) and 183 career steals that rank 11th. As a team, Spring Lake in 2017 ranked seventh all-time with 501 hits over 42 games, fourth with 109 doubles and eighth with 34 triples. The 2018 team ranks 11th with 441 runs scored over 41 games, 10th with 497 hits and tied for ninth with 100 doubles. Valerie Alter, Linsey Paggeot, Jenna Core, Molly Poole, Alicia Mumby, Leah Anton, Ann Marie Galloway and Rachael Adams also earned individual entries. Nelson went on to play at Grand Valley State, Vaughan plays at Aquinas College, Lorimer played at Central Michigan, Alter played at Jacksonville University (Fla.), Poole plays at Cornerstone University and Mumby played at Lansing Community College. Core plays volleyball at Hope College.
Freeland’s offense earned five record book entries during the team’s 26-12 season in 2022, including for 412 runs scored, 442 hits, 78 doubles, 336 RBI and a .400 team batting average. Three individuals also earned entries – sophomore Addie Steffen for a 20-game hitting streak and seven RBI in a game, junior Evelynn Rybicki for six RBI in a game and freshman Brynn Jaime for getting hit by a pitch twice in the same inning.
Chloe Parker hit .604 last spring and made the records with 20 doubles over 33 games for Niles Brandywine. She’s a junior this school year.
A series of record book entries were added for past and present Zeeland West standouts. Carly Sleeman was added for 73 runs, 75 hits, 27 doubles and 12 home runs in 2021 as a sophomore, while Lily Brower was added for 72 runs, 17 triples and 11 homers, plus 38 doubles and 29 triples over a four-year varsity career. Sleeman’s 27 doubles are tied for fifth-most in one season, and Brower’s 17 triples are tied for fourth on that list. Haley Hoogenraad was added for 70 hits and 17 doubles as a junior in 2015, 19 doubles as a senior, and 49 doubles and 24 triples over her four-year career from 2013-16. Kenzie Siersma was added for 17 doubles in 2017 and 54 over her career from 2016-19, while Courtney Sleeman made the season home runs list with 15 in 2015 and Sarah VanValkenburg made the career RBI list with 152 from 2014-17. Emily Brands was added for hitting consecutive home runs in the same inning, May 7 against Reese; she graduated this spring. Hoogenraad went on to play at University of Michigan, Courtney Sleeman played at Western Michigan, Siersma plays at West Virginia Tech, Brower played last season at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and Carly Sleeman has signed with Central Michigan.
PHOTO Owosso’s Macy Irelan unloads a pitch during the 2021 Division 2 Final.