Russell Rates Among Top MHSAA Passers
May 8, 2015
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Grand Rapids West Catholic went a combined 34-8 over the last three seasons with back-to-back MHSAA Division 5 championships and a runner-up finish – and quarterback Travis Russell had two of the largest hands in that success.
He threw for at least 2,400 yards and 22 touchdowns all three of those seasons; his career passing yardage of 7,634 ranks fifth in MHSAA history, with his 435 attempts in 2012 second on that single-season list, his 987 career attempts also ranking second, his 224 completions in 2012 ranking seventh and his 546 career completions third on that list.
Russell’s 80 touchdown passes in 43 games tie for third on that career list, and he also ran for 2,269 yards and 32 scores during three full seasons plus four games as a freshman. He has signed with Ferris State University.
Click the football heading below to see the record book in full and read on for more of this week's additions in five sports.
- Russell's three-season teammate at West Catholic, Bryce Witham, was added for his 16 touchdown catches this fall and 22 for his career, and running back Andy Corey made the single-season carries list with 336 (for 1,682 yards) in 2012. Witham signed with the University of Minnesota, and Corey plays at Saginaw Valley State University.
- The four-year career of Coleman quarterback Adam Stremlow coincided with the most successful four-season run for the Comets in two decades. Coleman finished 26-14 and made the playoffs three times from 2011-14, with Stremlow playing in 30 games including all 10 this fall as the team finished 7-3. He finished with 18 entries in the MHSAA football records, including for 2,438 passing yards and 274 attempts in his final season. His 6,780 passing yards rank 10th on that career list, and his 735 career attempts are 17th. He also threw for five touchdowns in a half this fall and for six in two games, with his 78 career scoring passes are fifth all-time on that list. Teammate Mitch Franklin was added for a 99-yard touchdown run against Charlevoix on Sept. 13 and for 1,119 receiving yards this fall.
- Record-listing performances recent and old were added for Lansing Catholic and two now-closed Catholic schools in the city. Junior quarterback Tony Poljan led the Cougars to the Division 5 Final in the fall throwing 263 times, completing 171, for 2,802 yards and 35 touchdowns. His career yardage total, 4,373, also makes that list with a season to play. Zac Baker had 13 interceptions as Lansing Catholic made the team list in that category with 30 total, and kicker Jon Foy made lists with 58 extra points and nine in a game. Mario Villarreal (1987), Paul Rashid (1977) and Marty Castellon (1989) all were added for carrying at least 40 times in a game, and Don Blair of Lansing St. Mary Cathedral was added for his two 1958 interception return touchdowns against Bath and three total that season. Lansing O’Rafferty was added for three straight and four ties total in 1958, when it finished 2-2-4. Also, longtime Ithaca and current Lansing Catholic coach Jim Ahern was added for his 249-128-7 career record, including a 13-1 finish with the Cougars in 2014.
- Erik Pohlmann added to Menominee’s strong recent kicking tradition, making 82 of 85 extra points in the fall to rank fourth for most made in one season. That run included a streak of 41 straight and 10 in a game against Milwaukee Morse-Marshall.
- New Lothrop’s Logan VanSumeren joined a list of only 13 with kick return touchdowns listed when he ran 95 yards for a score in his team’s 60-26 loss to Detroit Loyola in a Division 7 Regional Final in the fall. He has signed with Stetson University in Florida.
- Macomb Lutheran North graduate J.J. McGrath already had three listings in the MHSAA records for longest field goals (his 57-yarder in 2012 is third), but was added for his 22 career field goals (tied for 11th-most) and 85 extra points from 2009-12. McGrath is on the Grand Valley State University football roster after previous stops at Mississippi State University and the University of Michigan.
- Grand Ledge had another fine season in 2014, finishing 30-8, and ranked as a team with 305 strikeouts. Pitchers Tyler Waldrop (0.69) and Nick Kamrada (0.81) also were added for single-season ERA. Keefer Johnson was added for getting hit by a pitch 13 times in 2013.
- Imlay City’s Ashton Combs made two record book lists after making 17 straight free throws Dec. 6, 2013, in a 53-50 win over North Branch. Her 17 were among the most made in one game, and she made 17 in a row to make another listing, missing only her final free-throw attempt of the night. Combs ended with 33 points total, including 17 during the second quarter. She was a freshman at the time and currently is a junior.
- St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic’s Danny McEachen capped his career in the fall with six listings in the MHSAA boys soccer records after scoring 41 goals and tallying 54 points in his final season. Both of those numbers made respective single-season lists, with his 144 goals over four seasons ranking ninth on for a career and his 197 career points ranking eighth.
- This spring, Marlette sophomore Hannah Kady became the latest of six players to knock in at least nine runs in one game, tallying nine RBI against Memphis on April 14. She had a three-run home run, plus three doubles – and each double brought home two runs in the 15-5, five-inning victory.
PHOTO: Travis Russell celebrates a Grand Rapids West Catholic touchdown during last season’s Division 5 Final win over Lansing Catholic.
Owosso Ace's Strikeout Total Stacks Up with State's All-Time Best
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
January 4, 2023
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.