Special Year Thanks to No Specialization

August 7, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

As we embark on another sports-filled school year Monday, we can look to a recent Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central grad for the value of a school year filled with sports.

As specialization at the highs school level continues to be debated, Bryce Windham will start his college baseball career this fall at Division I Old Dominion University – after playing baseball but also football and basketball for the Falcons.

The MHSAA has long advocated athletes taking on as many sports as they have interest instead of focusing on just one in pursuit of a college scholarship – a position that’s received plenty of public backing of late, be it from stars of the U.S. women’s soccer team after their World Cup championship run or former Lansing Waverly multi-sport athlete John Smoltz during his enshrinement in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

Enter Windham – who easily could’ve been excused for focusing on baseball, or even basketball as his dad is the St. Mary’s varsity boys coach. Instead, Bryce quarterbacked the football team to last season’s Division 6 championship – breaking Ithaca’s national-best 69-game winning streak in the Final – before being named Class C Player of the Year by The Associated Press in basketball and earning a Most Valuable Player honor at the baseball state coaches association all-star game at Comerica Park this spring.

All three of Windham's teams reached at least the MHSAA Quarterfinals.

“His participation in football and basketball helped land a Division 1 baseball scholarship to Old Dominion. They were able to see his athleticism in basketball and toughness in football, and ODU’s coach loved it,” dad and hoops coach Randy Windham said.

“He probably would’ve given up football, and that ended up his greatest memory by winning a state championship.”

Click to read about Windham’s multitude of accomplishments as reported last month by the Monroe Evening News.

Honors Abound

National coaching honors were bestowed on a trio of Michigan coaches over the summer:

  • Retired Trenton ice hockey coach Mike Turner – the winningest hockey coach in MHSAA history with a record of 629-126-52 from 1974-81 and then 1995-2014 – was named National Coach of the Year in Special Sports by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. His teams won 11 MHSAA titles and finished runner-up four times. “I was there when the MHSAA added hockey as one of their sanctioned sports and crowned their first MHSAA state championships in 1975. At that time there were 60-70 high school teams participating, and now there are 170,” Turner said. “It has been great to be a part of the advancements made in the sport of high school hockey, with more teams participating, more player development, and more opportunities that exist for players after high school.”

  • Traverse City Central boys track and field and cross country coach John Lober won his second national coaching honor of the 2014-15 school year, named the NHSACA Coach of the Year for track and field to go with a previous honor earned in January from the National Federation of State High School Associations. He has coached the Traverse City Central boys track and field team since 1977 and also the boys cross country team since 1989. His 1992 track team won the Class A championship, and he has coached 17 individual MHSAA Finals champions. He was inducted into the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006. 

  • Ann Arbor Pioneer assistant girls swimming and diving coach Liz Hill was named the Assistant Coach of the Year for all girls sports by the NHSACA. Hill, a former All-American at the University of Michigan and standout sprinter at Pioneer, began assisting her husband Denny Hill in 1983 before becoming his fulltime assistant a few seasons later. Together they’ve led the Pioneers girls to 15 MHSAA team titles, the last two as co-head coaches.

Michigan Mourns

Fremont and the high school athletic community statewide mourned the death July 21 of longtime coach Rich Tompkins, who led Fremont’s boys cross country teams to six MHSAA cross country championships including three and a runner-up finish during his last decade of coaching before retiring in 1997.

The Muskegon Chronicle reported that his boys and girls cross country teams and boys track and field team combined for 45 league championships, with his boys cross country team winning 116 straight duals from 1977-88. Tompkins was executive director of the Michigan High School Coaches Association for more than a decade and served on its board for more than two decades.

Click to read more from the Chronicle on Tompkins’ legacy.

Officials in the News

The Monroe County Officials Association took to the county fair to encourage passers-by to “Be the Referee” – and received 47 sign-ups from people interested in the avocation. Visitors to an MCOA booth at the fair were told in some detail what is involved with being an MHSAA official, and those who then signed up to find out more about officiating football, basketball, baseball or softball (sports the MCOA trains for and schedules) will be invited to an orientation session where they will become eligible for one of 20 complimentary registration fees for this school year.

The West Michigan Officials Association marked a decade of support at the start of this summer for the Visually Impaired Sports and Activity Day, sponsored by the Helen DeVos Children’s Foundation. The WMOA has contributed nearly $18,000 to the event over the last 10 years as well as taking part in the event, which includes a number of sports and other activities.

The Saginaw Athletic Officials Association sent along this photo of five members who worked 2013-14 MHSAA Finals, from left: Mark Jarlock (baseball), Tom Behmlander (softball), Scott Helmka (football), Dale Brown (softball and football) and Mark Schoenow (football). The Baseball Final was Jarlock’s first; the other officials had worked Finals in the past.

PHOTO: (Top) Monroe St. Mary quarterback Bryce Windham unloads a pass during last season's Division 6 Final win over Ithaca at Ford Field. 

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.