Rivaling for a Cause

January 25, 2013

It’s impossible to include all the perspective we gain from every “Battle of the Fans” visit. 

But this anecdote, although it didn't make Tuesday’s story about our Frankenmuth trip, tells of another great example for what student cheering sections can accomplish.

Frankenmuth and Millington are heated rivals, to say the least, separated by 13 miles and made more competitive by plenty of championship-deciding matchups over the years.

But for their boys basketball game Jan. 10 at Frankenmuth, student section leaders from both schools almost completely on their own set up the game as a cancer awareness night, complete with Frankenmuth students in black shirts and Millington’s wearing pink.

The idea was the brainchild of a of Frankenmuth section leader, who then received help from a local bank and contacted Millington to get the ball rolling.

Battle of the Fans has shown us the obvious – these student sections need strong leaders – but also the special things they can accomplish with additional initiative.

“Never Forgotten”

Two more rivals, Fennville and Saugatuck, met late last month for their second “Never Forgotten” boys and girls basketball games with proceeds going to the Wes Leonard Heart Team for the purchase of AEDs.

Players wore jerseys with names on the backs of friends and family members who had died, and those jerseys were then given to family members after the games. Officials Ace Cover, Chris Dennie and Kyle Bowen also donated their game checks to the Heart Team, as did the winner of that night’s 50-50 raffle.

Leonard died from sudden cardiac arrest after making the game-winning shot in a basketball game March 3, 2011. The two schools played their first “Never Forgotten” games last season.

More support for less specialization

I’m asked once a year at least about sport specialization – that is, athletes focusing on just one sport, often from an early age, and if it pays off some way down the road.

Most of my evidence to support my belief in the well-rounded athlete has been anecdotal, based on conversations with people at the high school and college levels over the years. But a British study published this fall in the Journal of Sport Sciences by University of Birmingham researchers provides some interesting empirical findings.

The study of 1,006 people from the United Kingdom showed that those who participated in three sports at ages 11, 13 and 15 were “significantly more likely to compete at a national rather than club standard” between ages 16-18 than those who had practiced only one sport.

In other words, the study found that those who played more sports at earlier ages played at a higher level during their high school-age years, which seems to contradict the one-sport focus philosophy.

Click for more perspective on the study from Chris Kennedy, the Superintendent of Schools in West Vancouver, British Columbia.

PHOTO: The boys and girls teams for Fennville and Saugatuck pose together after their "Never Forgotten" games Dec. 21 at Fennville High. (Photo courtesy of Al LaShell.)

Record-Setting Saving, Historic Scoring Send Grosse Ile to 2018 Boys Soccer Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

May 17, 2024

Grosse Ile’s Division 3 runner-up season in 2018 included multiple MHSAA team records for defensive and offensive success.

The Red Devils set a record with 21 straight shutouts and 24 total over 29 games, and also finished third all-time scoring 158 goals.

Their 23-game winning streak that season remains tied for seventh-longest as Grosse Ile finished 27-2.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA boys soccer record book, and click the heading to see the record book in full.

Boys Soccer

Keeper Ethan DeJager and Grandville Calvin Christian were nearly unbeatable in 2020, finishing 19-1-2 and runner-up in Division 4. They set a record allowing only four goals for the season, while DeJager is fourth on the season shutouts list with 19 over those 22 games and tied for the second-longest shutout streak at 13. DeJager was a senior that season.

Seth Davidson capped his four-year varsity career this past fall on three records lists for shutouts – 15 over 22 games this past season, 26 for his career and nine straight as a senior. Berkley as a team also made the fewest goals allowed list, giving up only 11 in finishing 18-2-2.

Caden Saxton capped a memorable four-year Flint Kearsley varsity career in the fall with four entries in the record book. He made the assists list with 27 over 21 games as a senior and also the single-season points list with 65, and made career lists in those categories with 63 assists and 149 points, respectively, over 71 games.

Jonesville advanced in its District this past season with an 8-5 overtime win over Blissfield on Oct. 12, and Warrick Elder played a big part scoring six goals. He’s a senior.

Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep’s run to the Division 4 Semifinals saw contributions from several players, and junior James Whiting was among those leading the way. He made the assists list with 30 over 22 games, and also the total points list with 49. He also sits on the career assists list after three seasons with 66 and one more season to play.

Holland Christian made the team list for 12 straight shutouts from Sept. 8-Oct. 19, and 15 shutouts total over 20 games this past season. Junior Adam Bergman was in goal for all 15 including the 12 consecutive.

Muskegon Oakridge senior Arturo Romero-Serrano capped his career in the fall with his second season reaching 40 goals, netting 42 total to finish his four-year career with 105 and also on the MHSAA career points list with 125. He also added a second six-goal game, against Muskegon Catholic Central on Aug. 25.

Monroe Jefferson’s season came to an end Oct. 11 in a District game against Riverview, but senior Gabe Gelso finished with a state record. He made 49 saves in the 9-0 defeat as the Bears had only eight players total.

Ian Klenk added eight more shutouts in goal this past fall to finish his three-season varsity career with 25 in 60 games and make the career list in that category. He’ll continue his career at Kuyper College.

PHOTO Grosse Ile's keeper Brendan Ebler (1) gathers the ball and charts his next move during the 2018 Division 3 Final.