By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Never underestimate the value of a talented kicker on a high school football team.
This season’s MHSAA Finals showed again just how much that unheralded player can contribute to a championship effort.
Birmingham Brother Rice senior Jason Alessi helped his team win its third straight Division 2 championship, tying the MHSAA single-season record with 16 field goals – on 18 attempts – and finishing second on the career list with 32 on 37 tries. He also made all 59 of his extra point attempts this fall and finished his career with 135 extra points total – good for sixth on that career list – including 122 straight, which is the second-longest streak of makes.
In Division 8, Muskegon Catholic Central junior Griffin Seymour helped his team to a championship season as well. He finished on a 72-straight extra point streak (fourth longest), with his 75 extra points total tied for the sixth-most for one season.
Theirs are among recent additions to the MHSAA online record books. Read on for details on more in football, baseball, boys basketball and volleyball.
- Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone made single-season lists for completing 190 of 281 passes for 2,782 yards and 25 touchdowns, and receiver Corey Lacanaria made single-season (65 catches/1,111 yards) and career (115/1,883 from 2011-13) lists in those categories. Defensive end Jack Dunaway made the single-season sacks list with 15, and Alessi also joined a list of 10 who have returned a kick at least 95 yards for a touchdown, doing so from that distance against Toledo St. John’s Jesuit on Sept. 6. (Former Warriors Anthony Jackson, Joey Henry and Devin Church also were added to the longest kick return touchdown list).
- It took more than 50 years to find its way into the MHSAA record books, but Bob Bentley’s 99-yard kickoff return touchdown for Corunna against Elsie on Oct. 5, 1962, has been added and is the oldest listing for this record-setting distance.
- A number of Holland Christian offensive standouts were added in a variety of categories. Among highlights: Quarterback Ross Schreur was added to four single-season lists after completing 195 of 319 passes for 2,752 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2012, and Caleb VanderLugt was added after throwing six touchdown passes against Holland last season. Schreur also completed 32 of 45 passes against Zeeland West in a 2012 game for 497 yards – eighth on the single-game passing list. Kyle Steigenga had seasons with 18 and 17 touchdown receptions, and finished his career with those 35 scores in addition to 112 catches (and 2,048 yards) total.
- Grayling is on a run for five straight playoff appearances with three straight seasons of nine wins, and much of that success can attributed to a high-powered passing attack. Quarterback Jake Swander was added for his 2012, 2013 and career totals in four categories – he finished his career last fall with 392 completions in 720 attempts for 5,281 yards and 51 touchdown passes in two seasons. Zane Tobin completed 194 of 365 attempts for 2,664 yards and 28 TDs in 2011, and Zach Wolcott threw for 2,404 yards in 2009. Tyler McClanahan finished his three-year receiving career with 160 catches for 2,378 yards and 25 touchdowns, and Cody Myers had 144 catches for 2,140 yards from 2008-10.
- Hale’s Kaydon Reimer is on his way to finishing his career this spring as one of the most hit batsmen in MHSAA history. He entered this season tied for 15th on the career hit-by-pitch list with 30. He made the single-season list in 2013 after getting hit by 15 pitches.
- Jackson High School ran like almost no team has before in MHSAA history, totaling the third-most stolen bases, 196, in 2013. The Vikings were led by Trevor Polewka, who had 46 steals to make the individual single-season list.
- Ann Arbor Rudolf Steiner and Adrian Lenawee Christian combined to make the second-most 3-pointers in a game in MHSAA history – 27 – on Feb. 24, 2012. Rudolf Steiner connected on 13 of its 17 3-point tries, and Lenawee Christian connected on 14 of 24 from behind the arc in going on to win the game 91-62.
- Teagan Reeves will graduate this spring as one of the top blockers in MHSAA history. The Three Rivers senior followed up her 236 blocks as a junior (third-most for a season during the rally scoring era) with 177 this fall. She finished with 622 blocks, third most on the rally-scoring career list.
- Onaway’s Mariah Ehrke will graduate as well this spring with multiple entries for kills. She made the single-season list with 592 this fall and finished on the career list with 1,419 over four seasons. Teammate Devin Bristley added 132 aces this fall to finish her three-season career with 310.
PHOTOS: Birmingham Brother Rice’s Jason Alessi (left) and Muskegon Catholic Central’s Griffin Seymour put up some of the most impressive kicking performances in MHSAA history in 2013. (Click to see more from High School Sports Scene.)
Jada Bolhuis finished up her Otsego softball career this spring all over the MHSAA record book – and despite playing only three seasons because 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19.
Bolhuis owns 12 entries in the MHSAA record book including for 228 career runs (16th all-time), 230 career hits and a .622 career batting (sixth all-time) over 112 games and three varsity seasons.
She also made the hitting streak list twice, with a run of 44 straight games with a hit from April of her freshman year until the end of April of her junior season, and for a 33-game hitting streak during her junior and senior springs. The 44-game streak is the second-longest in MHSAA history.
Bolhuis also is a track sprinter and is slated to run at University of Tampa.
We’re continuing to catch up on adding record book listings. See below for more of the most recent added for softball.
Richland Gull Lake’s Savanna Disbrow had a par of significant run-producing games over the course of two weeks in May 2021. She drove in seven runs against Mattawan that May 5, then eight in a win over Delton Kellogg on May 20. She played this past season at Bemidji State in Minnesota.
Gabby Schloop put up a senior season to remember for Midland in 2021, posting the fifth-most runs scored (83) and tying for the fifth-most doubles (27) in MHSAA history, while also making the single-season hits list with 70 and career doubles list with 49 over three seasons. Taylor Sanborn also made the single-season hits list in 2021 as a senior, and also with 70. Sanborn continued her career at Calvin University, and Schloop at Northwood.
Maddisyn Miller also was added for RBI in a single game, driving in seven May 12, 2021, for Ovid-Elsie against Laingsburg. She is a junior this fall.
Rochester Adams earned its first softball record book entries in 2021. Then-junior Sabrina Lee was added for getting hit by 17 pitches over 34 games. Teammate Elizabeth Blaine, a senior that season, hit home runs in consecutive at bats, both in the second inning, of a game against Auburn Hills Avondale.
Potent offense helped drive Grandville to a 31-5 finish in 2019, with a number of top hitters in the record book. As a team, the Bulldogs are listed for 399 hits, 76 doubles, 34 home runs and 292 RBI that season. Then-senior Taylor Buiter was added for 10 home runs, including a pair in consecutive at bats, and then-junior Maddi Ungrey was added for three home runs in the same game all in consecutive at bats as well. Then-senior Lexi Dukesherer became the first player listed for being hit by a pitch twice in the same inning, and she also made the single-game list in that category for three. Additionally, former Grandville standout Carrie Mesman was added for her 17 doubles in 2015. Mesman went on to play at Aquinas College, and Buiter played at Ferris State.
Bath’s Bailee Buck has become the first entry for career times hit by pitches, as she totaled 30 over 99 games from 2017-19 (with her senior season of 2020 canceled due to COVID-19). She also made the single-game list with three HBPs as a junior. Teammate Ally Estrada was added twice for hitting consecutive home runs, five days apart during the 2019 season, and also for driving in seven runs in the first of those games May 18, 2019, against Algonac. Estrada graduated this spring.
Grosse Pointe South’s Shannon Dame became the second player added to the single-season hit-by-pitch list. She was hit by 20 pitches during the 2021 season, when she was a junior.
A trio of New Lothrop hitters were added for hitting during the 2021 spring, led by then-junior Jersey Hemgesberg who was added for 73 hits, 25 doubles and 12 home runs over 38 games – with the 25 doubles tying for seventh-most in MHSAA history. Additionally, Brynne Birchmeier was added for 20 doubles and Marissa Rombach for 17. Both are juniors this fall.
Bloomfield Hills sophomore Hannah Grant made the single-game lists for home runs and RBI during a win over Berkley on April 7. She had three homers and six RBI in the 9-7 win; the three homers tied for second-most in one contest.
Buchanan sophomore Hailee Kara also joined the single-game RBI list with nine during a 19-7 win over Vicksburg on April 21. The nine RBI tied for seventh-most in one contest.
PHOTO Jada Bolhuis makes a throw to first base during Otsego’s District Final win over South Haven this spring. (Photo by Gary Shook.)