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Cheer team places fifth at state

The Cedar Springs Competitive Cheer team placed fifth in the state in Division 2 at the Delta Plex last weekend. Courtesy photo.

The Cedar Springs Varsity Competitive Cheer team made history last week by earning 5th place at the Division 2 State Finals held at the Delta Plex on March 2. 

The Lady Red Hawks, led by seniors Gabby Endres, Melody Hugues, Elayna Male and Emily Pierson showed everyone that Cedar Springs Cheer is a force to be reckoned with. They earned a combined round three score of 771.94, just .7 of a point behind the 3rd place team and beating rival DeWitt, who had bested them in both the Districts and Regional Finals. Filling out the team’s roster is Sarah Adkinson, Zoe Castor, Sophia Dault, Olivia Endres, Olivia Esquivel, Harlow Hovarter, Rylee Kinzinger, Alexis Lee, Paige Pierson, Abbey Salisbury, Cory Shaffer, Nicole Skogster, Morgan Symon, Kira Vander Koii and Jasmine Zimmer.

Coach Anne Olszewski shared her reflections on this season: “It’s hard to explain how much hard work and dedication it takes to be good in competitive cheer. It’s even harder to comprehend how much time and effort it takes to be excellent at it. This team embraced all the goals we set at the beginning of the season and we went for it. I am just so glad we took this team to state finals! A new goal was to compete at the elite level, not just show up and be happy we had advanced that far. The girls worked hard, took instruction and fought through sore muscles, tired bodies and frazzled nerves to finish 5th. Top 5 in the state! I am thrilled, beyond measure, and so excited for the seniors who will be heading off to college in the fall. They finished what they started, and they led a great group of young women along with them. I love competitive cheer and I love this program. I enjoy watching young women set goals and smash them and support one another along the way. They quiet their critics and ignore the naysayers and keep reaching to be the best program they can be. What coach cannot feel lucky to have that? Thank you to the Cedar Springs community, the administration, family and friends for the support at State! This is a day we will never forget!” 

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Girls basketball heads to districts

Senior Brighton Miller drives past a defender in a recent game at Mona Shores. Photo by Lisa Lewis. 

Will play in district championship on Friday, March 8

Cedar Springs girls basketball headed into district tournament action this week after picking up a pair of wins on the road the last week of the regular season.  

On Tuesday, February 26, the Lady Red Hawks made the trip to the lakeshore to take on Mona Shores.  After giving up 16 points in the first quarter, the defense stepped up and only allowed 13 total points over the final three quarters to win 41-29.

Senior Brighton Miller led the Red Hawks with 18 points. Sophomore Maggie Prins hauled in 9 rebounds on the night.

On Thursday, February 28, the ladies closed out their regular season winning a nail biter at Lowell. Cedar Springs jumped out to an early lead, before Lowell answered for a three-point halftime lead. Lowell continued in the second half building an 8-point lead midway through the third quarter. Cedar Springs answered the run to pull within one point at the end of the third.

With Lowell leading by three with under a minute to play, Sophomore Avery Sparling found Junior Kyla Andres under the goal for an easy basket to cut the lead to one. After rebounding a missed Lowell free throw, Cedar Springs guard Brighton Miller put the Red Hawks in front with a layup with 16 seconds left in the game. Lowell was unable to score in the final seconds and the Hawks earned a 37-36 victory.

Miller led the Red Hawks with 14 points followed by classmate Courtney Pienta with 9. Arianna Rau hauled down 12 rebounds followed by Sparling and Andres with 7 apiece.

At press time Wednesday evening, we learned that the girls got a big win over Forest Hills Central in district semi-final action. They will play Friday night, March 8, at Northview High School, for the district championship at 7 p.m. Come out and support your Lady Red Hawks! 

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Morales wins state championship in bowling

Boys team finishes 14th

This is the second year in a row that junior Omani Morales made it to the girls individual state bowling tournament. Last year she didn’t make it out of the qualifying rounds, but this year she made it count. Out of 60 bowlers vying for a chance to compete, Morales seeded in 10th place, with the top 16 advancing to the state final competition last Saturday, March 2.

State bowling champion Omani Morales with Coach Tim Jackson.

Morales first took on the number 7 seed, senior Shayleen Half, of Adrian, in her first match play two-game series, defeating her 432 pins to 393. She then took on sophomore Carly Snyder, of Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg, and won the two-game series 418-401.

In the semi-finals, she played freshman Karli VanDuinen of Muskegon Reeths-Puffer and beat her 388 pins to 318. In the final matchup, Morales bowled against senior Lindsey Juhl, of Escanaba, and won the two-game series 416-328 to claim the first ever Division 2 girls state bowling championship for Cedar Springs.

Senior Jonah Drake competed at the boys individual state finals tournament. He placed 50th at state.

The boys bowling team also competed at the state finals and finished in 14th place in Division 2.

Boys bowling team finished in 14th place at the state finals.

Congratulations to all the Cedar Springs High School bowlers on a great season!

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Both cheer and boys bowling headed to state finals

Boys bowling team won their first ever regional championship. L to R:  Andrew Fliearman, Alex Steil, Jonah Drake, Dane Conely,Josh Beebe, Ethan Plummer, Cody Marshall, Coach Tim Jackson. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

History was made last weekend as the Cedar Springs Competitive Cheer locked in a bid to travel to state finals for the first time in nine years, and the boys bowling team won its first regional championship, enabling the team to travel to the state finals. Two individual bowlers—one from the boys team and one from the girls team—will also travel to the state finals. Turn to page 9 for all the info.

The Cedar Springs Competitive Cheer team will now head to state finals after placing third at regionals. Courtesy photo.

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CSY wrestlers medal at Hudsonville, place 7th at team state

Cedar Springs Youth wrestlers and their medals. Courtesy photo.

By James Streeter

The CSYW program again saw wrestlers travel far and wide to seek success this past weekend. Twelve wrestlers traveled to Hudsonville and five came away with medals while Cedar Springs was also represented in Kalamazoo at the MyWAY Team State tournament where the Red Hawks placed 7th in the state in only their 2nd team tournament of the season. 

Coach Jake Marsman was happy with the outcome in Kalamazoo. “We opened a lot of eyes by placing in the top 8 in the state as a team in only our second team outing against many programs that are perennial powers,” he said. “We’re slowly building a name for ourselves in the wrestling community.” 

The Red Hawks that traveled west to Hudsonville faced stiff competition but represented the program well. In the 2012-2014 age group Brycen Alber moved up a weight class and managed a 4th place finish in the 49lb bracket. In the Novice 2010-2011 group, Jayce Karafa took 2nd place in the 82lb bracket while on the Novice side of the 2008-2009 bracket Kale Faurot took 1st place in the 78lb weight class. The 2006-2007 age group saw two Red Hawks medal with David DeWeese taking 2nd in the 183lb bracket and Wyatt Cooper taking 4th in the Heavyweight bracket.

Kalamazoo’s Wings Event Center saw some of the best youth wrestling programs in the state come together to see who was best in a team format tournament. Cedar Springs did not disappoint with a 7th place finish in only their second team tournament of the season. The Red Hawks opened the action with a 55-15 victory over Linden that secured their place in the top 8. The next match was a tough fought loss to Dakota by the score of 24-46. The Red Hawks went on to wrestle three more times to decide their final standing. With a 24-51 loss to Lowell, followed by a 23-48 loss to Monroe, and finally a 40-28 victory over Tecumseh, Cedar secured their 7th place finish. 

Also while in Kalamazoo, two Red Hawks received all state honors for recording four or more victories. Tucker Crystal (60lbs) went 4-1 on the day while Luke Egan (80lbs) went 5-0 securing his all state status. 

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Boys Bowling team wins regional championship

Boys bowling team won their first ever regional championship. L to R:  Andrew Fliearman, Alex Steil, Jonah Drake, Dane Conely,Josh Beebe, Ethan Plummer, Cody Marshall, Coach Tim Jackson. Courtesy photo.  

The boys and girls bowling teams competed in regionals at Muskegon last Friday and came away with a team championship and two individuals heading to state

Jonah Drake (L) and Omani Morales (R) will advance to the individual state finals. Courtesy photo.  

The girls team, back to back conference champs, and previously undefeated this season, finished in fourth place and were unable to advance to state as a team. Omani Morales finished in second place in individuals (just 14 pins out of first place) and will advance state.

The boys team came away with their first ever regional championship, and are headed to state on March 1 and 2 at Sterling Heights. Jonah Drake placed ninth in individuals and will advance to state.

Congratulations to both teams!

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Girls basketball action

The Cedar Springs Girls Basketball Team wrapped up another busy weeks playing three games in four days. 

L to R: Seniors Courtney Pienta, Nicole VanderHoef, Brooke Weeks, Brighton Miller, Mikayla Lewis-Frank, and Ashley Wise were honored on seniors night, February 21.

Maggie Prins led Cedar Springs with 13 points and 13 rebounds, followed by Brighton Miller with 11 points and Avery Sparling with 8.

On Tuesday, February 19, the ladies traveled to Kent City High School to take on the 2nd ranked (Division 3) team in the state. Cedar Springs battled through out the night but a hot shooting Kent City Team (14 three-pointers) built a double-digit lead early in the second half that was too much for the Red Hawks to overcome. Kent City won the game 60-45.

The lady Red Hawks welcomed Forest Hills Central to town on Thursday, February 21, for the team’s final home game of the season and senior night. Seniors Courtney Pienta, Brighton Miller, Brooke Weeks, Nicole Vanderhoef, Mikayla Lewis-Frank, and Ashley Wise were honored prior to the contest.

After a tight contest for most of the night, FH Central came out on top by a score of 40-31. Avery Sparling led the Red Hawks in scoring with 14 points on the evening.

The ladies were back at it a night later as they traveled to Greenville. In a game in which Cedar led most of the evening, Greenville used a strong fourth quarter to defeat the Red Hawks 39-38. Brighton Miller and Maggie Prins each scored 10 points and Avery Sparling and Kyla Andres chipped in 8 points each.

Cedar Springs will play its final game of the regular season on Thursday, February 28, as they travel to Lowell to play the Red Arrows. 

District Tournament brackets are out and the Lady Red Hawks will play the winner of Greenville and Forest Hills Central on Wednesday night, March 6, at Northview High School. That game will start at 5:30 p.m. The District Final game will also be held at Northview High School on Friday, March 8, at 7:00 p.m.

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Cedar Springs Competitive Cheer to compete at State Finals

At the beginning of the season, the Lady Red Hawks Varsity Competitive Cheer team set one lofty goal: to earn a place on the mat at the State Finals on March 2. Since November, these ladies have been working hard and for the first time in 9 years, Cedar Springs High School will compete at the Michigan Division 2 State Finals. 

The Cedar Springs Competitive Cheer team will now head to state finals after placing third at regionals. Courtesy photo.

Advancing to the state finals was not an easy task. The Lady Red Hawks had to face 12 of the best teams in the area at the regional finals at Kenowa Hills on February 23 and had to place in the top 4 to advance to State. 

With heightened nerves, the team took the mat and performed strongly and entered Round 3 in 4th place. Determined to defend their position, the girls stepped onto the mat, pushed their nerves aside and performed one of their best Round 3 performances of the season. As the final scores were being announced, all the teams were huddled on the mat hoping to hear their school announced as one of the top 4 teams.  

The Lady Red Hawks jumped to their feet in excitement when their name was announced as finishing in 3rd place. “This team is passionate and performed their rounds with so much excitement and they executed!” said a proud and enthusiastic Coach Anne Olszewski. “Our Round 3 is one of the most difficult and they performed it to an appreciative crowd. Having parents and alumni in the stands makes a huge difference. I am just so glad to be sending four seniors that have been in our program since Rocket cheerleading! I am just so excited myself…I feel like we broke a barrier…it’s amazing! Everyone is going to know who the Red Hawks of Cedar Springs are after next Saturday.” 

The State Finals begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 2, at the Delta Plex in Grand Rapids and will showcase the top 8 teams in the state of Michigan. These teams represent the best that Division 2 High School Competitive Cheer offers in our state. Congratulations and good luck Lady Red Hawks! One dream…one mission…the road to state. #EARNIT!

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WMP at Hudsonville, team duals and St. Johns

By Barbra Chong

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

West Michigan Pursuit wrestlers and their medals. Photo by Melissa Egan.

WMP had three grapplers compete at the MYWA Team State at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo. Alex Buskirk wrestled on the Lakeview team. He won two matches and his team finished 4th. Luke Egan and Tyler Parmeter wrestled on the Cedar Springs team. Egan went undefeated and Parmeter claimed three victories for the day. Their team finished 7th. 

One grappler traveled to the Central Region at St. Johns. 66 lb Kellen Weckesser, 9/10 age finished 2nd. 

The rest of the team stayed local to the West Region at Hudsonville, where team trophies as well as individual awards were offered. 58 lb Tatianna Castillo, 7/8 age group finished 4th. 80 lb Alex Russo, 11/12 novice age group and 58 lb Blake Werkema, 7/8 age group finished 3rd. Hudsonville Champions are 69 lb Evan Andrews, 9/10 age group; 80 lb Harper Cheng, 11/12 age group; 49 lb Brody Compau, 7/8 age group; 54 lb Carter Giles, 9/10 age group; 95 lb Blake Peasley, 11/12 age group; 52 lb Austin Rogers 7/8 novice age group; 75 lb Josh Vasquez, 11/12 age group; 43 lb Kooper Witte, 4/6 age group and Team West Michigan Pursuit. WMP brought home the team trophy with a total score of 226 points. 

WMP top scoring grapplers are as follows: Josh Vasquez 27, Blake Peasley 26.5, Austin Rogers 26.5, Harper Cheng 25, Brody Compau 23, Blake Werkema 22.5, Evan Andrews 21, Kooper Witte 20, Carter Giles 19.5 and Alex Russo 15. 

“It was a lot of fun this past weekend with the individual and format. Seeing our kids working together to reach a goal is great to see,” said Head Coach Dave Andrus.

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Varsity wrestlers punch tickets to State

The Cedar Springs Varsity Wrestling team claimed the title of regional champions last week. The last time they won that title was 23 years ago. Courtesy photo.

The Varsity wrestling team continued their magical post season run Wednesday night, February 13, against Reeths-Puffer and Allendale.

The stage was set in the Hawks Nest as the three evenly matched teams prepared to battle for the Regional Championship at Cedar Springs High School. The night would unavoidably end with dreams come true and broken hearts.

The Reeths-Puffer team had been tough all year long with solid wrestlers from head to toe. After eight classes and a 27-12 lead, it looked as though they would eliminate the Hawks after a nice season. However, Aaron Smith got things rolling with a MD (Major Decision) at 135 and sophomore Nate Elliston stole a match at 140. Lucus Pienton tightened the score to 27-23 with an MD at 145. 

In the 152 lb weight, class Anthony Brew turned legend. Brew, who had been hobbling on an ankle sprain for two weeks, chose to take the mat against an opponent who had defeated him 16-4 just days before. The acrobatic Brew bridged from his back to his feet and threw a chin whip on the way to pin his man and give the Hawks a two-point advantage. Alex Ream withheld a pin and State Champ Ryan Ringler finished the dual with a pin to close out the Rockets 35-31.

The following dual brought more fireworks. The Falcons of Allendale, led by local legendary coach Duane Watson, have reached the Regional finals five years in a row and are no strangers to the State tournament.

Xavier Anderson lit things up with an OT victory and the Hawks took the lead out of the gate. The Falcons came back to build a 24-9 advantage but once again Smith, Elliston and Pienton rose to the occasion and tied the dual at 24 a piece. After two consecutive pins from Allendale, there were only two weight classes left. Fortunately for the Red Hawks they had a few aces in the hole. Ringler pinned. Sage Serbenta pinned. The score was tied 36-36 and went to the officials for the tiebreaker. When the announcer rang, “Your winner on tiebreaker criteria C, Cedar Springs!” the hometown crowd erupted with joy and celebration. The Red Hawks had won their first Regional Wrestling Title since 1996. 

“That was one of the best sporting events I have ever been a part of!” said MYWA Coach James Streeter. “My kids were on the edge of their seats the whole time.” 

The boys now travel to Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo to represent the community at the MHSAA State Finals on Friday at 6:45 p.m.

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