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Girls basketball wins semi-final, ends season at Districts

The Lady Red Hawks celebrate their semi-final win over Forest Hills Central last week. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Red Hawk Girls Basketball team advanced to the District Championship game this past week by defeating Forest Hills Central 42-38 in the District Semi-Final game that was played at Northview High School.

After losing to the Rangers by 9 points twice this season, the Red Hawks started fast building a 14-6 lead after one quarter. Sophomore Kaelyn Colclasure knocked down an early 3-point basket and scored off an inbounds play for five first quarter points. Classmate Maggie Prins chipped in four points on the quarter after the Red Hawks made the extra pass and broke the Central press.

The game remained close throughout the second quarter as Cedar headed into the locker room with a 21-15 lead. 

Sophomore Arianna Rau scored 8 third quarter points for the Red Hawks as she was the beneficiary of a multitude of assists from her teammates.  Cedar built a 12-point lead early in the third before FH Central ratcheted up the pressure defense forcing a couple of Cedar miscues.  Cedar Springs led 31-23 after three quarters.

The Lady Red Hawks maintained their composure throughout the final 8 minutes, handled the pressure of Central, and knocked down crucial free throws to seal the win and the right to play for the District Championship last Friday night, March 8.

The team was led by Senior Brighton Miller with 12 points, followed by Arianna Rau with 11 points and 9 rebounds. Kaelyn Colclasure chipped in 8 points, Sparling 7, and Prins finished with 4 points and 9 rebounds.

On Friday, March 8, the Red Hawks were geared up in hopes of winning their first District Title in 13 years as they took on Forest Hills Northern.  

A hot shooting Northern team jumped out of the blocks building an 11-2 lead. Cedar Springs kept the game within striking distance trailing 15-8 after the first quarter.

Northern’s hot shooting continued into the second and third quarters while Cedar tried to find its rhythm.  Northern made 10 three-pointers through the first three quarters and held a 34-16 lead at halftime and 52-24 lead after three quarters.  

The Lady Red Hawks continued to scrap throughout the night but the cards were not in their favor. The loss, 65-42, put and end to the Red Hawks season.  

Brighton Miller led the Lady Red Hawks in her final game finishing with 21 points. Maggie Prins followed with 6 points and 6 rebounds on the night.  The Red Hawks finished the season with a 10-12 over all record.

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Grace Christian University men’s basketball claims national championship

Associate head coach Dan George cuts down the net. Courtesy photo.


By Judy Reed

Grace Christian University (GCU) won its eighth DII Men’s Basketball National Championship in dramatic fashion last Saturday, March 9, in Greenville, South Carolina, as Kellum Bridgeforth hit the game-winning 3-point shot with 5.5 seconds left in overtime. The Tigers defeated No. 4 seeded and Mideast Region foe Great Lakes Christian College by the score of 84-83. Bridgeforth finished with 21 points and 7 rebounds, while Brandon Winchester-Jones had 18 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds in the win.

In their first round game, the No. 2 seeded Tigers defeated No. 7 Bob Jones University 74-52. Leading the way was Brandon Winchester-Jones with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists, along with Caleb Anderson who tallied 14 points and 3 assists. The Tigers then defeated No. 3 Johnson University Tennessee in the semifinals. In the 75-51 win, Austin Jackson had 13 points and 6 rebounds, while Adam Kregal finished with 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Head Coach Gary Bailey (second from the right) and Associate Head Coach Dan George (third from left) with the Grace Christian University men’s basketball team. Courtesy photo.

GCU’s Kellum Bridgeforth was named Tournament Most Outstanding Player as he averaged 13 points and 5 rebounds per game. See a complete list of awards, including All-Tournament Team, All-Americans, Scholar-Athletes, and more at https://thenccaa.org/sports/2018/8/28/DII_MBB_Awards_2019.aspx.

The team previously won national championships in: DIIA: 1994, 1995; and DII: 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. The last six (including this year) were with current head coach and Cedar Springs resident Gary Bailey and associate head coach Dan George, of Cedar Springs, who is also the current CTA Superintendent. 

“Every year we think we have an opportunity to do well in the tournament,” said Bailey. “I’m talking about the summer before basketball even starts. We really felt like we had the talent and the guys work ethic was really good. It is always important to be playing your best basketball at the end of the year. I felt like we were doing that. With seven seniors on our squad and seven juniors, we knew we had great leadership. This one hasn’t really sunk in yet because it has been a whirlwind in the last 48 hours. I am just very happy for our players and the students at staff at Grace Christian University. “

Bailey and George have a long history of playing and coaching basketball together. George was Bailey’s college coach and, in 2005 when Bailey became head coach at Grace, he asked George to help him. 

“He asked me to come help him for what was supposed to be a one year gig. I agreed and now we find ourselves completing year 14. It’s been a great ride,” said George. 

“I should add that Cedar Springs legend Nick Wolfe joined our staff as an assistant coach 2 years ago. He and assistant coach Lee Ash, who joined 4 years ago, have made a great impact,” noted George.

Under the helm of Bailey and George, the team has made it to the Final Four on 4 additional occasions; qualified for the national tournament 13 out of the 14 years; and won 11 regional championships during that time. They were also runner up in the national championship game once. 

Bailey has earned several honors during that time: named NCCAA National Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2010; Regional Coach of the Year eight times; Basketball Coaches of Michigan College Coach of the Year (2011); All-time Winningest Coach at Grace Christian University (315); Grace Christian Athletic Hall of Fame; 69 consecutive NCCAA wins 2008-12; and more. 

“It takes many things to win a national championship at any level,” explained George. “Preparation, skill, team depth, effort, and having the ball take the right bounces come to mind readily. But how you respond when the ball doesn’t take the right bounces may be more telling and that is when you can rely on experience and character to deal with those bad bounces. 

“Certainly, the three point shot by our freshman, Kellum Bridgeforth, with 5 seconds left, proved to be the winning basket but I believe it was Gary’s external calmness and focus on what was in our control in the face of two no calls by the official at the end of regulation and near the end of the game that were crucial to the outcome. I’ve been with him long enough to know he was probably seething inside but the players never knew it. He was respectful to the officials and he immediately turned the team’s focus to the task at hand. There are many things wrong in the world of sports but there are also coaches who run clean programs and do it right. I’ve always admired that in Gary. He would sacrifice a game, and even a national championship, to do it the right way. That’s why he’s a winner, and that’s why we have a winning program.”

Thank you to Grace Christian University for the use of their photo and recap of the game.

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CSY wrestlers win big at Belding

Cedar Springs Youth Wrestlers and their medals. Courtesy photo.

By: James Streeter

The CSYW team traveled to Belding this past weekend for the final regular season tournament before regionals this coming week. The Red Hawks made a sweep of three categories for the tournament ending the day in first place in pins with 40 (69:09), technical falls with 5 (16:47) and total match points with 609.

Coach Kevin Fitzgerald was pleased. “For the tournament we had more wrestlers medal than most clubs had participating so we are definitely headed in the right 

Chasyn Winchel continued to log the miles this weekend as he was the sole Red Hawk to travel to Battle Creek to participate in the South West Greights tournament, where he took first place in the 2010-2011 72lb weight class.

At Belding, in the 2012-2014 age group, Deacon Reynolds took 2nd in the 43lb weight class; Brycen Alber took 2nd in the 46lb weight class; and Hudson Cassiday took 2nd in the 52lb weight class.

In the 2010-2011 age group, Tucker Crystal took 1st in the open 61lb bracket; Dillon VanDyke took 3rd place in the open 64lb bracket; Avery Gitchel took 3rd in the novice 49lb bracket; Jayce Karafa took 4th in the novice 82lb bracket; and Tanner Wood took 4th in the novice 97lb bracket.

In the 2008-2009 open age group, Isaac Gitchel took 3rd place in the 66lb bracket; Spencer Schoenborn took 4th in the 69lb bracket; Deegan Pike took 3rd in the 72lb bracket; Blake Falan took 3rd in the 78lb bracket; and in the combined bracket of 85/90lbs Jonathan Libera took 1st place and Alex Hanes took 2nd. On the novice side John Elam took 4th in the 66lb bracket and Caleb Austin took 4th in the 75lb bracket. Kale Faurot took 1st in the 81lb bracket and Zachary Vu finished things off with a 1st place finish in the 110lb bracket.

The 2006-2007 open age group saw Kaiden Dreyer in the 95lb bracket take 4th place; Hudson Crystal took 1st and Gavyn Byxbe took 4th in the 100lb bracket. Dakota Winchel took 3rd place in the 158lb weight class; David DeWeese took 4th place in the 183lb bracket; and Wyatt Cooper took 2nd in the HWT bracket. On the novice side, Calvin Kerridge took 4th in the 95lb bracket and Beau Savage took 4th in the 100lb bracket. 

In the 2004-2005 age group, Jack Sherburn took 3rd place in the combined bracket of 80/85/90lbs; Gabe Gair took 4th place in the 130lb bracket; Carter Falan took 1st in the 138lb bracket; Logan Troupe took 2nd in the 145lb bracket; Antwuan Nicholls took 2nd in the 155lb bracket; and Maston Wood took 3rd in the combined bracket of 195/220lb bracket.

The lone Red Hawk to medal in the high school division was David Erxleben, who took 4th place in the combined bracket of 138/143lbs.

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WMP at Belding, Battle Creek, Ithaca

Pictured is 90 lb Champion Ayden McClurken.

By Barbra Chong

This past weekend, West Michigan Pursuit spread out to compete in three different competitions. 

The South West region hosted the Greights tournament in Lakeview Battle Creek. Six grapplers entered this competition. 46 lb Kooper Witte, 4/6 age group was our only morning grappler and he finished 2nd. The other five entered the afternoon session and all claimed Championship Titles. Greights Champions are 69 lb Evan Andrews, 9/10 age group; 80 lb Alex Buskirk, 11/12 age group; 54 lb Carter Giles, 9/10 age group, 80 lb Tyler Parmeter, 9/10 age group and 75 lb Josh Vasquez, 11/12 age group. 

66 lb Kellen Weckesser, 9/10 age group was the only grappler to travel to the North Region of Ithaca. Weckesser went undefeated and claimed a Championship Title.

The remainder of the team stayed in the West Region at Belding. WMP had fifteen enter to compete and eleven finished in the top four. 58 lb Dylan Russo, 7/8 age group and 112 lb Isa Starr, 11/12 age group finished 4th. 67 lb Jaxen Bowyer, 7/8 age group finished 3rd. 64 lb Desmond Smith, 7/8 age group finished 2nd. Belding Champions are 75 lb Quinten Cassiday, 9/10 age group; 58 lb Tatianna Castillo, 7/8 age group; 52 lb Brody Compau, 7/8 age group; 75 lb Luke Egan, 11/12 age group; 90 lb Ayden McClurken, 11/12 age group, 95 lb Blake Peasley, 11/12 age group and 55 lb Blake Werkema, 7/8 age group. 

Next weekend is Regionals and will be held at Northview High School for those looking to enjoy watching a great weekend of wrestling. 

“These kids are stepping up their training and are pushing each other at practice to secure their spot for an opportunity to compete at the State Finals.  I have the highest confidence in these kids to do so,” said Head Coach, Dave Andrus.

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Red Hawk baseball player to play for Calvin College

Pictured Dylan Williams and family when Dylan signed his letter of intent to play baseball at Calvin College. Pictured from L to R is Logan (Dylan’s brother); Dylan’s mother Debbie; Dylan; and Dylan’s father, Keith. Courtesy photo.

Thursday, March 7, marked a milestone for Cedar Springs senior baseball standout Dylan Williams, as he signed his letter of intent to continue his baseball career next year at Calvin College.  

Dylan will be entering his fourth year of Varsity Baseball at Cedar Springs, where he has been a standout pitcher and catcher for the Red Hawks. He has also had a great deal of success offensively to be one of the Red Hawk’s leaders the past four years. Dylan also has had an extensive travel baseball background, playing the last few years for Elite out of Grand Rapids.  

“Dylan is everything a coach wants in a player,” said former varsity coach Mike Schaub. “He is dedicated, intelligent, talented, responsible and a great teammmate.” 

Dylan conducted his ceremonial signing surrounded by numerous teammates, school personnel, coaches and friends. It was a big day for his entire family, and as Dylan’s dad, Keith Williams stated, “All of his hard work has paid off.” Dylan took the opportunity to publically thank his teammates and coaches, and Dylan is excited for the challenge and opportunity ahead of him next year at Calvin College, but he remains focused on his senior season at Cedar Springs right now.

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Wrestlers make dream team

Congratulations to Cedar Springs Red Hawk wrestlers Ryan Ringler and Sage Serbenta for making the Michigan Grappler Dream team! Both won the state championship in Division 2 at their respective weights. From www.michigangrappler.com:

Senior Ryan Ringler (left) and junior Sage Serbenta (right) are state wrestling champs. Courtesy photo.

171 – RYAN RINGLER (CEDAR SPRINGS) SR

The future Chippewa, Ringler, won his second Division 2 title and went a perfect 48-0 during his senior campaign. He ended his career with four straight top-three finishes at the state tournament, all at 171 pounds. Ringler also helped lead Cedar Springs back to the Team State for the first time since the early 90s.

189 – SAGE SERBENTA (CEDAR SPRINGS) JR

Serbenta capped off a junior season with a state title in a deep bracket in D2 after two previous all-state finishes. He went 46-1 on the year and did not lose a contested match (1 loss by DQ).  Serbrenta also won a title at the Goodrich TOC during the season.

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Ringler and Serbenta place the cherry on top

Senior Ryan Ringler celebrates his state championship. Courtesy photo.
Junior Sage Serbenta takes his opponent airborne in the state finals. Courtesy photo.

Senior Ryan Ringler and junior Sage Serbenta iced the cake and placed the cherry on top of Ford Field to close out an epic season for the wrestling Red Hawks. 

In his final tournament wearing the Red Hawk singlet, Ringler triumphed to his second straight MHSAA Division 2 wrestling championship in the 171lb division with an unblemished record of 50-0. Ryan will graduate as the most decorated high school wrestler in school history with two state championships, four state medals, four conference championships and 207 victories.

Serbenta captured his first MHSAA wrestling championship at the 189lb weight class. Sage finished the season at 48-1 and will look to repeat in 2020. 

Senior Lucus Pienton once again took home the consolation championship for an unprecedented third time. Pienton will graduate his outstanding prep career as a Cedar Springs wrestling legend. Over four years, Lucus compiled three state medals, qualified for the state tournament as a freshman, claimed two conference championships and won nearly 160 bouts for the Red Hawks.

Trevor “Pee Wee” Marsman scraped his way to the podium with three solid victories and a seventh place All-State finish. Marsman will enter his junior season with 81 Cedar Springs victories. 

Senior Aaron Smith concluded his wrestling days with a top 12 finish and over 120 victories.

“The team was able to pull together and rise up at the right time to capitalize on one of the most memorable post season runs in Cedar Springs Sports history,” said head coach Nicholas Emery, a former Red Hawk wrestler and graduate of the class of 2001.

Wrestlers Ryan Ringler and Sage Serbenta are Division 2 state champions.

The team as a whole had a great season, winning the district title for the first time in over a decade, and the regional championship for the first time in 23 years. They went on to state, but lost to state champs Lowell in the quarterfinals. 

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Powerlifting championships to receive support from MHSAA

The Michigan High School Powerlifting Association is pleased to announce this season’s State Powerlifting Championships, March 9-10 at Ionia High School, will receive support from the Michigan High School Athletic Association. 

Powerlifting is not an MHSAA-sponsored sport; that is, the MHSAA does not host postseason competition or provide rules and regulations for the sport’s oversight. However, most athletes who will take part in the Powerlifting Championships—and many of their coaches as well—also participate in MHSAA sports during other seasons.

The Powerlifting Championships will be conducted by the MHSPLA, the governing body for high school powerlifting in Michigan. Boys varsity competition begins at 9 a.m. March 9, followed by boys junior varsity beginning at 2 p.m. The girls meet is March 10, with varsity competition starting at 9am, followed by the junior varsity at 2pm. 

More than 100 schools will have athletes competing in each division. Students in grades 7-12 are eligible. There are 13 weight classes for each division, and the top 10 lifters in each will receive medals. The top five teams in each division also will be awarded. 

“Powerlifting has been around for a long time in Michigan, but in the past 10 years we have seen tremendous growth of participants, specifically in the women’s division,” meet director Mike Holes said. “This year the MHSAA has agreed to be a sponsor of our sport, which we believe helps the validity of what we are doing with our association.

“The state championship meet is a big deal for Ionia to host this year. We are expecting over 1,100 lifters to qualify and compete throughout the four lifting sessions that will take place on March 9 and 10. Ionia has hosted a successful regional qualifier the previous seven years, and we are proud to be the host of the state championship meet this year.” 

A total of 107 Michigan high schools reported a total of 2,570 athletes participating in competitive weightlifting during the 2017-18 school year, according to data collected annually by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). A total of 1,043 girls from 91 Michigan high schools competed in 2017-18, and the MHSPLA has recently added a girls junior varsity division due to a large increase in girls participation. 

Also during the Powerlifting Championships, the MHSPLA will award its annual scholarships to a male and female lifter based on their lifting and academic achievements.

The MHSAA will serve as a presenting sponsor for the event, providing financial support, messaging and signage. 

Varsity boys competing in the greater Cedar Springs area include: Jarrett Railing, 207 lbs, Grant; and Jaiden Friesen, 242 lbs, Rockford.

JV boys competing in the greater Cedar Springs area include: Jonah Nelson, 114 lbs, Grant; Brendan Keelean, 165 lbs, Grant; and Treyton Railing, 181 lbs, Grant.

In the greater Cedar Springs area, only Grant High School has athletes competing in Varsity girls. They include: Kaitylyn Pasco, 105 lbs; Alexandria Castro, 165 bs; Abby Konicki, 181 lbs; Brecinda Hernandez, 198 lbs; Brittany Roosink, 242 lbs.

JV girls in the greater Cedar Springs area competing include Heather Crosby, 220 lbs, Grant.

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WMP at Huron, Tri County and Oxford

Pictured is 58 lb Champion Dylan Russo. Courtesy photo.

By Barbra Chong

This past weekend, West Michigan Pursuit spread out to compete in three different competitions. 

The East Region was hosted at Huron and attracted seven WMP grapplers. 69 lb Evan Andrews, 9/10 age group finished 3rd. 80 lb Alex Buskirk, 11/12 age group and 54 lb Carter Giles, 9/10 age group finished 2nd. Huron Champions are 85 lb Tyler Parmeter, 9/10 age group and 75 lb Josh Vasquez, 11/12 age group. 

The Northeast Region was hosted by Oxford where singlets were offered for first place. WMP had three grapplers enter. 72 lb Quinten Cassiday, 9/10 age group finished 2nd. Oxford Champions are 49 lb Brody Compau, 7/8 age group and 66 lb Kellen Weckesser, 9/10 age group. 

The North region was hosted by Tri County. WMP had nine enter. 80 lb Harper Cheng, 11/12 age group and 46 lb Emmett Russo, 4/6 age group both finished 3rd. Tri County Champions are 75 lb Luke Egan, 11/12 age group; 95 lb Blake Peasley, 11/12 age group, 58 lb Dylan Russo, 7/8 age group and 61 lb Desmond Smith, 7/8 age group. 

“These kids are peaking at the right time. I am excited to see how they finish at regionals in a few weeks,” said Head Coach Dave Andrus.

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Youth grapplers bring home hardware

By James Streeter

Cedar Springs youth wrestlers with their medals. Courtesy photo.

The CSYW Club traveled just up the road to participate in the North Region tournament at Tri County High School this past weekend. Twenty-eight wrestlers made the trip north and 23 came away with medals. The Red Hawks were also first overall in pins with 27 (42:16) and in total match points with 359. Coach Corey Pike was impressed with the outcome. 

“This was a great opportunity for our wrestlers to gain some valuable mat time building up to the regional tournament that’s in a few weeks,” noted Pike. “Our wrestlers showed up today and we were really able to dominate some of the weight classes we were in.” 

Chasyn Winchel was the lone Red Hawk that traveled elsewhere to wrestle as he participated in the East Greights tournament at Huron High School. He went 2-2 on the day and managed a 4th place finish against stiff competition in the 10/11 age group 71lb bracket.

Getting things started for the Red Hawks at Tri County in the 2012/2014 age division 43lb bracket was Deacon Reynolds who took 3rd place. The 49lb bracket saw a pair of Red Hawks Medal with Sierra Streeter taking 1st and Brycen Alber finishing 2nd.

In the 2010/2011 division it was much of the same as Avery Gitchel earned 3rd place in the 49lb weight class. The 52lb weight class saw Red Hawks take 3 of the top 4 places with Eli Gunderson taking 1st, Bryson Streeter taking 3rd, and Dawson Pike taking 4th place. Dillon VanDyke had another strong showing in the 61lb weight class with a 3rd place finish and Benjamin Streeter managed a 4th place finish in the combined bracket of 77/82lbs.

Cade Troupe started things off on the right foot for the 2008/2009 age group as he fought his way to a 4th place finish in the 63lb weight class. Red Hawks took the top two spots in the 69lb weight class with Deegan Pike taking 1st place honors and Spencer Schoenborn taking 2nd place. Blake Falan earned himself another 1st place finish in the 75lb weight class while Dayton Reynolds took 3rd place in the 85lb weight class. Wrapping things up for the age group was a 2nd place finish by Zachary Vu in the 130lb weight class.

In the 2006/2007 age division Rory Schoenborn had another good outing earning a 3rd place medal in the 85lb bracket. Kaiden Dreyer managed a 4th place finish in the 90lb weight class while Gavyn Byxbe took 3rd place in the combined 95/100lb bracket. David DeWeese earned 2nd place honors in the 183lb bracket as well.

The 2004/2005 age group saw three Red Hawks medal. In the combined bracket of 130/138lbs Carter Falan took 1st place with Logan Troupe taking 3rd. In the Open 145lb bracket Antwuan Nicholls fought hard for a 2nd place finish.

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