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Success in this neck of the woods and beyond


It’s been a good 24 hours for Hillsdale County sports and HC alums. As I sit on my old futon watching “Kobe: Doin’ Work” for the second time (you say pitiful, I say phenomenal. For some reason I am obsessed with success in so many forms. Not really with being uber successful with what I personally do, but just seeing what makes successful tick — and Spike Lee does a killer job once again in this two hours of mono et mono with KB8) there are several good things from the area sports scene to report on from the past day. Here are a few snippets of the best of the good, with a promise of more on the way.

Reading Ranger girls are regional champs

Deb Price doesn’t mess around when it comes to success, speaking of that one attribute we all strive for, and her all-around great Ranger girls track team helped add to her trophy collection Saturday. Reading (149) was 56 points better than any other school (Hillsdale Academy, 93 points) at Hillsdale College Saturday to win yet another regional championship.

They had five individual champions crowned and won two team relays as they took control of the competition early and never let up. Tessa Pridgeon was possibly the star of the meet with victories in the 200 meter and 400 meter dashes, while also anchoring one of the winning relay squads.

The Rangers are undefeated this season, have a Big Eight tile to their credit, a runaway victory at regionals now and only the state meet in two weeks will truly tell how impressive this group of girls is.

The Reading boys came almost frustratingly close to a regional title of their own, taking second to Sand Creek by a score of 117-106.

If not for Sand Creek’s Brad Smith winning both the discus and shot put who knows what could have transpired. Nonetheless, the Ranger relay teams were strong throughout, piling up points and Trent Morris was tops in the pole vault competition.

It was also exciting to see Hillsdale Academy senior Thomas Lundberg win the 800, with his father Bill on hand, the man who will be his head coach on the very same track just months from now.

An entire rundown of the event, with commentary from Deb Price will be posted shortly.

Nicolet throws another touchdown, this time in a Blizzard blowout

It wasn’t necessarily the circumstances former Hillsdale College QB Mark Nicolet probably wanted to see the playing field again, but I’m sure he’ll take. After Green Bay Blizzard starting quarterback Gino Guidugli tore up the Peoria Pirate defense for three-plus quarters, Nicolet came in to relieve him.

Nicolet did throw his first interception of the season, but went 3-for-4 for 37 yards, including an 8-yard TD toss. Nicolet has now thrown six touchdowns against one interception in both spot and starting action for the AFL2 squad, and equally important is the fact the Blizzard are now 4-3 overall, right on target for a division title at this point in the season.

What should also be noted is that Nicolet was playing in front of a crowd of 6,376 at the Resch Center in Green Bay and whether you think so or not, that is something to write home to mom (and fellow Hillsdale College buddies) about. During the 2008 Charger football season, an official total of 9,488 fans attended the six Hillsdale College home games, or on average a little under 1,600 fans. The only time Nicolet played before such a large crowd in his entire college career was in Allendale against Grand Valley, where they regularly pack in 15,000-plus fans, something the Detroit Lions would be proud of.

A few more track stars rise to the occasion

In Friday’s division 3 track and field regional at East Jackson a few well-known local kids stepped up in the clutch.

Hillsdale senior Joe McAvoy, one of the area’s most decorated runners of all-time, advanced to the state meet in two weeks with regional final victories in one and two mile races.

Fellow Hornet Hilary Kast did the same, although she had to settle for second in the 3200 and a first-place finish in the 1600.

Jonesville’s Amber Smith won the regional crown in discus and the Comets Kristyn Jones was tops in the region in the 100 hurdles. Although no area teams had quite the success Reading did Saturday, there were plenty of memorable performances that could ultimately lead to medals at the state meet.

For now, it’s off to finishing some real work, finding a tape to record this Spike Lee joint, and getting some rest so my wife and I can go to the ordination of our associate pastor tomorrow. God is always present in my life, even when I forget to give Him due credit, and this young man getting ordained is a strong example of what can happen if you let the Lord direct your ways. In a sentence: He went from being a U of M grad with a good-paying accounting job who was on his way up,  to being convivted by the Lord’s call while on a field trip with some church kids one day and now he’s being ordained and is moving out to Kansas City in June where he will direct a new inner-city satellite church for one of the largest United Methodist churches in the nation. Only through Christ…

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About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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