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2007: a look back at year's top sports stories


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The Almont varsity football team takes time out for a photo after registering a district playoff win against Lake Fenton. The Raiders, who enjoyed a spotless regular season run, would go on to finish a 10-1 run during the 2007 campaign.

January 02, 2008
Tri-City Area — From start to finish, the year 2007 was one inundated with sports accomplishments.

So, from honorable mention to our number one, here are the sports stories we consider the year's best.

Honorable mention

Three Tri-City athletes were named to the Division 3 All-State Academic girls' cross country squad (November 21st issue).

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Almont's Marie Burkland and Lauren Deneweth along with Capac's Melissa Sawicki were chosen to the Division 3 All-State Academic girls' cross country squad which was released recently.

Competitors who finish in the top-half of the field at the state meet are eligible. First, a student-athlete's grade point is considered. Then, a student-athlete's grade point average if taken into account to rank the top-30 student athletes.

The Tri-City Area lands three girls on Michigan High School Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association Division 3 All-State lineup (March 28th issue).

The Tri-City Area lands three girls on the Michigan Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association Division 3 All-State lineup which was announced recently.

Capac senior Therese O'Brien earned an appearance on the six-member first team.

Almont sophomore Lauren Bone and senior Melissa McGarey were honored as well, both securing a spot on the six-member third team.

Almont's Neal Zott and Steve Brohl are named to the Associated Press All-State football team for Divisions 5-6 (November 11th issue).

Neal Zott, of Almont, was named to the Associated Press Division 5-6 All-State football lineup which was released this past week

The 6-1 and 175-pound junior receiver attained first team status, thanks to his 38 catches for 1,001 yards.

Almont senior quarterback Steve Brohl was also recognized, landing Special Mention accolades.

He completed 66 of 127 pass plays for 1,411 yards during the 2007 campaign.

The Almont and Dryden baseball teams fare well in postseason action (June 6th issue).

The Almont baseball team handed Brown City a 4-2 setback in a Division 3 district last Friday at Sandusky High School.

Eight days later, at Bad Axe, Almont ends its postseason run with a 6-1 regional semifinal loss to fifth-ranked Mayville.

The Dryden baseball team turned back Genesee, 7-4, in a Division 4 district baseball championship confrontation last Saturday at Genesee High School.

A week later, Dryden exits postseason action with a 12-2 regional semifinal loss to Royal Oak Shrine at Sterling Heights Parkway Christian.

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Michelle Fox, of Almont, reaches for a shot during a match this summer. Fox was a part of a large Almont contingent who participated at the Francis J. Robinson Tennis Tournament in Port Huron.

A pair of Capac bowlers gain mention with state's best (March 28th issue).

Capac landed a pair of picks on the Michigan Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association Division 3 All-State lineup which was announced recently.

Alex Moseley, a senior, landed a spot on the five-member second team unit.

His classmate, David Moore, also was acknowledged for his prowess on the alleys. Moore made the five-member third team.

The Capac and Imlay City girls' softball team were honored for their academic prowess (June 27th issue).

The Tri-City Area was well represented on the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association Division 2 and Division 3 Academic All-State squads announced recently.

In Division 2, Imlay City seniors Morgan Iloncaie, Katelyn Preisel and Marcia Van Dyk made the grade.

As for Division 3, Capac seniors Jessica Blackstock and Melissa Bullock drew plaudits for their classroom prowess.

In addition to those accolades, the Imlay City and Capac teams received Academic All-State attention.

The Dryden and Imlay City boys' track teams compete at their respective MITCA state meets (May 30th issue).

The Dryden boys' track team took eighth place last Saturday at the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Division 4 state meet hosted by Gobles High School.

Mario Volante, discus, 134 feet 8 inches; and Michael Warnars, 110-meter hurdles, 16.235 seconds; led Dryden with thirds.

The Imlay City boys' track team pulled up 10th at the Division 3 MITCA state meet the same day.

Kent City is where the action unfolded.

Angel Pizzaro, 300 hurdles, 40.15; led Imlay City with a first-place finish that day.

Stan Francis, pole vault, 13 feet; added a second to Imlay City's cause.

Holly Meadows Golf Course registers three aces, on the same hole, on the same day (June 14th issue).

Holly Meadows Golf Course was the site of three aces, all occuring on the par-3 11th hole encompassing 130 yards of territory on Sunday, June 11th.

Chuck Underwood (Port Huron), Charlie Burden (Capac) and Chris Mayers (Brockway) were the golfers to negotiate the hole in one stroke.

Almont fares well at the Francis J. Robinson International Tennis Tournament (August 8th issue).

Bobbi Enos, of Almont, won the Girls' 14 and Under Singles title last Sunday at the Francis J. Robinson Memorial International Tennis Tournament in Port Huron.

Enos, the third seed, won the championship with a 6-1, 6-1 win against Port Huron's Kelsey Payton.

Almont's Lauren Bone competes in a LPGA Pro-Am (July 11th issue).

Lauren Bone, who will be a junior at Almont High School this fall, competed Monday at the Aquafina Junior Pro-Am as part of the LPGA Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in Toledo.

The event was contested at Highland Meadows Golf Course, an Arthur Hills-designed layout.

She was paired with France's Anne Marie Palli, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour, along with junior players Camille Walters, Kayla Groves and Ashley Skibski (all of whom are teammates at Monroe St. Mary's Catholic Central). They finished fourth.

Putnam hits 'The Shot' (December 12th issue).

Chanahl Putnam caught an inbounds pass, dribbled and connected on a three-point shot from well beyond the halfcourt line, lifting Almont to a dramatic 49-48 road victory over Marine City Cardinal Mooney in a non-league varsity girls' basketball battle last Thursday night.

And now for our top-10 selections for 2007, the cream of the crop.

tie 10th) The Almont boys' tennis team competes at the Division 4 state finals twice in the 2007 calendar year (May 23rd and October 24th issues).

Due to a change in the sports seasons, the Almont boys' tennis team is afforded the opportunity to qualify for the state finals twice during one calendar year. Not suprisingly, the Raiders make good on both chances.

In their first appearance, Saturday, May 31st and Friday, June 1st in Kalamazoo, Andy Schoen's semifinal appearance at fourth singles led Almont to a sixth-place finish.

Their second trip to states, on Saturday, October 20th and Friday, October 19th in East Lansing and Okemos, saw Almont net a tie for 20th place.

Matt Bulger (fourth singles) along with Logan McDermott and Kyle Henry (first doubles) led Almont with quarterfinal appearances in their flights.

By qualifying for the state finals twice, Almont now has made the highest postseason level for 24 straight seasons.

tie 10th) A pair of Tri-City athletes will be honored as part of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete Award Program (February 28th).

Imlay City's Katelyn Preisel and Capac's Shane Sinda are among a list of 10 student-athletes at Class B member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association who have been selected to receive scholarships through its Scholar-Athlete Award Program.

Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 18th year of sponsoring the award, will give a $1,000 college scholarship to 32 individuals in at least one sport in which the association sponsors a postseason tournament. The first 30 scholarships are awarded proportionately by school classification and the number of student-athletes involved in those classes; and there are two at-large honorees which can come from any classification.

Each of the scholarship recipients were honored at halftime ceremonies for the Class C Boys Basketball final game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on March 24.

tie 10th) Almont's Lauren Bone and Capac's Therese O'Brien rank among the best at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 Singles Bowling State Championship (March 7th issue).

Almont's Lauren Bone and Capac's Therese O'Brien advanced all the way to the quarterfinal round before seeing their respective paths end at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 Singles Bowling State Championship last Saturday at Airport Lanes in Jackson.

tie 10th) The Capac boys' bowling team wins a regional title (February 28th issue).

The Capac boys' bowling team earned a first-place finish last Saturday at a Division 3 regional held at Cherry Lanes in Dearborn Heights.

9) The Capac girls' and boys' bowling teams excel at the Division 3 state finals (March 7th issue).

The Capac girls' bowling team reached the quarterfinal round before seeing their tournament path come to an end last Saturday at the Division 3 state finals.

Airport Lanes, in Jackson, is where the action unfolded.

In the boys' competition, Capac finished their qualifying block with a 3,930 total. That left them ninth.

8) Capac's Melissa Sawicki and Brendan Pfeifer place at the Division 3 cross country state finals (November 7th issue)

Melissa Sawicki, of Capac, stopped the watch with a blistering 19:11.6 time (the second swiftest time in her school's history) last Saturday at the Division 3 cross country state finals.

Michigan International Speedway, in Brooklyn, is where the action unfolded.

In the boys' race, Brendan Pfeifer of Capac pulled up 30th with a 16:26.4 clocking.

For their performances, both earned All-State accolades (given to the top-30 finishers in their respective races).

7) The Almont football team finishes with a 10-1 mark (November 7th issue).

Ninth-ranked Almont closed out an outstanding 10-1 campaign with a 54-28 road loss to second-ranked Madison Heights Madison in a Division 5, Region 4, District 2 championship showdown last Friday.

Almont, which went unbeaten versus league rivals and overall during the regular season, reached that matchup with an opening round playoff win against Lake Fenton.

6) Almont's Patrick Lawrence, a 112-pounder, places fifth at the Division 3 state individual wrestling finals (March 14th issue).

Almont 112-pounder Patrick Lawrence posted a 4-2 mark on his way to a fifth-place finish in his weight class at the Division 3 individual wrestling state finals.

The Palace of Auburn Hills is where the action unfolded.

For his effort, Lawrence earned All-State recognition (given to the top-eight finishers in each weight class).

Lawrence concluded his senior season with a 48-9 mark.

tie 4th) The Capac wrestling team and the Imlay City boys' track team place second in regional action (February 28th and May 23rd issues).

Third-ranked Richmond, the defending state champion, made Capac absorb a 54-15 loss in a Division 3 regional wrestling championship confrontation it hosted last Wednesday night.

With the outcome, Richmond (33-5) advances to the state quarterfinals. Capac finishes at 36-4.

Earlier that night, Capac reached the title tilt with a win against Highland Park.

Six days prior to that, Capac locked up their third straight district title with a 40-25 win against Imlay City at Cros-Lex.

The Imlay City boys' track team claimed their second-place finish Saturday, May 19th at a Division 3 regional hosted by New Haven High School.

3) The Dryden boys' track team brings home a share of a regional title (May 23rd issue).

The Dryden boys' track team tied Royal Oak Shrine for honors, each amassing 121.5-point outputs, en route to a number one showing last Saturday at a Division 3 regional hosted by Brown City High School.

"We knew coming in that it would probably be between us and Royal Oak Shrine," Dryden Coach Shelley Litkovitz said. "The performances both teams turned in before the meet suggested it would be very close," she noted.

"It came down to the last race where our 1600 relay team of Michael Warnars, Doug Ladner, Brandon Gierman and Mark VanHaverbeck won it (with a time of 3:42.35) and Royal Oak Shrine finished fourth (with a clocking of 3:49.29). It was an exciting finish to the meet."

2) Almont's Lauren Bone attends Junior Olympic Shooting Competition in Colorado Springs, Colorado (October 31st issue).

Whether it is rolling a ball down the alley (where she ranks among the top Division 3 bowlers statewide) or hitting a golf ball to within a few inches of the flagstick (where she has won the Blue Water Junior Golf Association 18-hole title), Almont High School junior Lauren Bone has been making it a habit of being on target when it comes to her respective sports pursuits.

Recently Bone added yet another accomplishment to her growing list of laurels when she participated in a Junior Olympic Shooting Competition in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

1) The Imlay City varsity softball team snaps Richmond's 120-game conference winning streak (April 25th issue).

The Imlay City varsity softball team snapped Richmond's 120-game conference winning streak (including contests in the Blue Water Area Conference, Southern Thumb Association and Macomb Area Conference) with a 12-11 win in a diamond confrontation Monday afternoon.

"We fell behind 6-0 early on but still we knew there was plenty of time left to make up that deficit," Imlay City Coach Jean Bannister said. "The kids showed a lot of character, believed in themselves and were able to bounce back from that slow start," she noted.

"They took a 12-10 lead into the last inning of play, Richmond got one run closer, bit we kept them off the scoreboard the rest of the way. The win is a good confidence booster for our team knowing that we can play with a ballclub such as Richmond."

Castle Creek
12 - 10 - 17
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