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2018 proves memorable for teams, individuals



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January 02, 2019
TRI-CITY AREA — From beginning to end, the year 2018 was one filled with accomplishments for our Tri-City Area athletes. They made a name for themselves, not only versus conference rivals, but also excelled at the district, regional and state levels.

Here is a look at the top high school sport stories of 2018 along with a few others we believe deserve honorable mention recognition.

1) The Dryden varsity football team calls off the final two weeks of its season, then announces about a month later it will join forces next fall with Imlay City as co-op program (October 17th and November 28th issue).

Week in and week out the Dryden varsity football team faced an uphill struggle, often taking the field against foes with significantly larger turnouts.

This past week that formidable obstacle was removed from their path as their season came to an early halt, due to the aforementioned number problems.

In the end, Dryden (which had as many as 13 players on its roster at one point this fall) was down to just five or six players available to play.

That is when the move to forego the final two contests was made, according to Dryden Athletic Director Loraine Brinker.

"We made the decision on Tuesday, October 9 to call the remainder of the season," Brinker said. "It was made due to a lack of players," she noted.

"Too many of our players are injured and out for prolonged periods of time."

A little more than a month later, the decision was made to combine with Imlay City as a co-op program for the sport in 2019.

The team will compete in the Blue Water Area Conference under the name of the Imlay City Spartans.

One game will take place at Dryden for each level of the football program.

2) A pair of Imlay City grapplers place at the Division 2 individual wrestling state finals (March 7th issue).

Imlay City 119-pounder Eric Pawlaczyk registered a third and 130-pounder Wesley Hampton obtained a fourth last Saturday at the Division 2 individual wrestling state finals.

Ford Field, in Detroit, is where the action unfolded.

For their respective performances, Pawlaczyk and Hampton earned All-State accolades (reserved for the top-eight finishers in each weight class).

3) The Dryden boys' cross country team pulls up seventh at the Division 4 state finals (November 7th issue).

The Dryden boys' cross country team watched an outstanding season reach an endpoint with a seventh-place showing last Saturday at the Division 4 state finals.

Michigan International Speedway, in Brooklyn, is where the meet was contested.

Brendan Knuth led Dryden that day. Knuth stopped the watch at 17:00.3, paving the way to an 11th.

Ethan Rozanski, 13th, 17:03.31 posted the next quickest Dryden clocking.

For their performances, Knuth and Rozanski received All-State accolades (reserved for the top-30 finishers in the race).

A week prior to that, Dryden earned a second at a Division 4 regional.

Wagener County Park, in Harbor Beach, is where the action unfolded.

4) The Almont girls' golf team places ninth at the Division 4 state finals (October 24th issue)

Lindsey Albrecht posted a 178 over 36 holes and Brandi Kautz carded a 188, helping the Almont girls' golf team obtain a ninth-place showing last Friday and Saturday at the Division 4 state finals.

The Meadows Golf Course. at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, hosted the tournament.

For their performances, Albrecht and Kautz garnered Division 4 All-State honorable mention accolades

A week prior to that, Almont registered a first-place finish at a Division 4 regional.

Washtenaw Golf Club, in Ypsilanti, served as the tournament venue.

It marked the second straight year Almont had earned the distinction of regional champions.

5) The Almont football team posts an unbeaten regular season mark (October 24th issue).

The Almont football team closed out an undefeated regular season run with a 47-7 triumph against visiting Dansville on Friday, October 19.

It is believed to be just the 10th time in school history that an Almont varsity football team has accomplished the feat.

Almont followed it up with a 36-14 win against Birch Run in the opening round of the Division 5 state playoffs the following Friday, before bowing out with a 28-22 district title setback to Frankenmuth seven days later.

With the outcome, Blue Water Area Conference champion Almont wraps up a 10-1 campaign.

6) The Dryden girls' bowling team and Capac boys' bowling team impress at their respective state finals (March 7th issue).

The Dryden girls' bowling team excelled, securing a quarterfinal berth, before seeing their tournament path halted at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 State Championships last Friday.

M-66 Bowl, in Battle Creek, is where the action unfolded.

A week prior to that, the Dryden girls' bowling team made it back to back years as champions, accomplishing the feat at a Division 4 regional.

Richfield Bowl, in Flint, is where the action unfolded.

The Capac boys' bowling team places 10th at the last Friday at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 State Championship.

M-66 Bowl, in Battle Creek, is where the action unfolded.

A week prior to that, the Capac boys' bowling team took third at a Division 4 regional.

Richfield Bowl, in Flint, is where the action unfolded.

7) The Almont boys' golf team claims an 11th-place finish at the Division 3 state finals (June 13th issue).

The Almont boys' golf team registered an 11th-place showing last Friday and Saturday at the Division 3 state finals.

Forest Akers West Golf Course, on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, served as the tournament venue.

Jake Wendorff led Almont with a 172 over 36 holes. His effort included an opening round 89 and a closing round 83.

Thomas Manko furnished the next best Almont total. Manko managed a 177 output, featuring a first round 92 and a second round 85.

8) The Almont boys' tennis team nets a four-way tie for a 15th at the Division 4 state finals (October 24th issue).

The Almont boys' tennis team generated a four-way tie for 15th place last Friday and Saturday at the Division 4 state finals.

Kalamazoo is where the action unfolded.

Sam Bussone led Almont at the state finals. He reached the semifinals of the fourth singles flight before seeing his tournament path ended.

Almont advanced to the Division 4 state finals with a second at a regional hosted by Grosse Pointe Liggett on Thursday, October 11.

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett edged Almont, 15 points to 13, for team honors that day.

Tied for 9) The Capac boys' basketball team, Capac baseball team, Almont baseball team, Dryden baseball team and Dryden volleyball team all win district titles (March 14th, June 6th and November 7th issues)

Andrew Sams hit a clutch nine foot fallaway jumper with a shade over 10 ticks remaining, giving his team a 50-49 edge at the time, and that would prove the last points either side amassed as Capac held on for a heartstopping win against Marlette's boys' basketball team in a Class C district championship contest last Friday night.

Dryden High School is where the action unfolded.

It marked Capac's first district title since the 2003-04 campaign.

Three days later, Capac watched an outstanding 17-7 season reach an endpoint with a 67-19 setback to perennial powerhouse Flint Beecher in a Class C regional semifinal meeting.

Burton Atherton High School is where the action unfolded.

The Capac baseball team earned a first-place finish at a Division 3 district, accomplishing the feat with a 3-2 triumph against Brown City in the title game.

Lakeville High School is where the action unfolded.

It marked their first district title since the 2013 campaign.

A week later, Capac went 1-1 when regional play rolled around.

Capac started things off with a 3-2 win against Almont at Brown City, before bowing out with 12-0 championship game loss to Madison Heights Bishop Foley.

The team ended the 2018 campaign with a 13-18 mark.

The Almont baseball team outscored their opposition by a combined 22-2 count en route to atop finish last Friday at a Division 3 baseball district hosted by Memphis High School.

Eight days later, Almont bowed out of postseason action with a 3-2 regional semifinal setback to Capac at Brown City High School.

Almont finished the season at 11-19.

The Dryden baseball team saw to it that a Division 4 district title would belong to them, accomplishing the feat with a 10-0 championship victory over Mayville last Friday.

Dryden High School is where the action unfolded.

It was their first top district placing since the 2007 campaign.

Eight days later, Dryden concluded their postseason run with a 7-3 loss to Saginaw Nouvel in a regional semifinal clash at Kingston High School.

Dryden wrapped up the season as owners of a 20-8 overall mark.

The Dryden volleyball team saw to it that their postseason path would continue, pulling out a heartstopping 22-25, 27-25, 25-10, 19-25, 15-9 victory over Deckerville in a Division 4 district championship game it hosted last Friday night.

It marked Dryden's first top district finish since 1999.

Four days later, Dryden watched their memorable postseason run draw to a close with a 20-25, 25-21, 22-25, 19-25 regional semifinal loss to eighth-ranked Merrill.

Mayville High School is where the match was contested.

With the outcome, Dryden concluded a 12-4 campaign.

Honorable mention

The Dryden girls' cross country team places 23rd at the Division 4 state finals (November 7th issue).

The Dryden girls' cross country team registered a 23rd-place finish last Saturday at the Division 4 state finals.

Michigan International Speedway, in Brooklyn, is where the meet was contested.

Teagan Norman, 89th, 22:05.6; paced Dryden that day.

Hannah Peyerk furnished Dryden's next best performance at states. Peyerk stopped the watch at 22:32.5, good for 125th.

One week prior to that Dryden earned their first-ever trip to the Division 4 state meet.

Aided by a 95-point total, Dryden advanced with a third at a Division 4 regional at Wagener County Park in Harbor Beach.

Dryden standout John Delcampo nets his 1,000th career point (March 7th issue).

John DelCampo amassed 23 points, upping his career total to 1,017, and his effort helped host Dryden post a 55-32 win against Memphis in a Class C boys' district basketball opening round clash Monday night.

Delcampo surpassed the 1,000-point barrier, bringing his total to 1,001, when he drained a triple with 3:18 to play during quarter number two. The shot staked Dryden to a 20-10 cushion at the time.

The Imlay City girls' cross country team paces the field at the BWAC Meet (October 24th issue).

Mary Lengemann posted a 19:56.49 time for third and Jessica Denver registered 20:06.88 clocking en roue to a fifth, leading the Imlay City girls' cross country team to a first-place finish at the Blue Water Area Conference League Meet on Tuesday, October 16.

Algonac High School is where the meet was contested.

Imlay City edged Cros-Lex, 56 points to 58, for meet honors that day.

The Almont boys' tennis team wins the BWAC title (October 17th issue).

The Almont boys' tennis team pulled up first at the Blue Water Area Conference Tournament recently.

Play was contested Monday, October 8 and Tuesday, October 9 in Armada.

Almont's winning total was 42 points.

The Imlay City boys' soccer team wins the BWAC Tournament title (October 10th issue).

The Imlay City boys' soccer team saw to it that the distinction of Blue Water Area Conference Tournament champions would belong to them at game's end, posting a 2-0 win at visiting Yale's expense last Wednesday night.

Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.
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