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  • Jim Townsend

To the high school senior athletes who never got to compete

In response to the COVID-19 virus, the Michigan High School Athletic Association recently canceled the Spring 2020 high school sports season.

While this decision is hard on all effected athletes, it is especially heartbreaking for seniors. Many of these seniors have participated in their select sport for years. The senior season is normally the pinnacle of their high school careers… a one final chance to compete for their school.

As a special tribute to the senior high school athletes of 2020, we decided to put together a piece recognizing the local high school seniors who will not be able to complete in their final spring sports season.

Portland Baseball

Coached by Chris Trierweiler

Owen Russell

Years on varsity: 2

Position: Pitcher/First Base

From the coach: We were looking for him to help us this year on the mound and a big target at first. Owen is an athletic kid that likes to joke and have fun in everything he does.”

Patton Russell

Years on varsity: 2

Position: Outfield

From the coach: “Patton is hard working player that loves to be part of a team and will do what the team needs and just wants to be around to help anyway he can.”

Ty Snitgen

Years on varsity: 2

Position: Second Base

From the coach: “Ty would have helped us a lot at second this year with the pitching rotation going on. Ty really turned into a good infielder.”

Blake Meyers

Years on varsity: 3

Position: Shortstop/Pitcher

From the coach: “Blake is a player that Loves baseball and works really Hard at it. This was his year to shine and he would have done some really big things.”

Gavin McGregor

Years on varsity: 2

Position: Outfield/Pitcher

From the coach: “Gavin is more athletic than he knows and brings a lot to the table with his speed and athleticism.”

Jake Smith

Years on varsity: 2

Position: First Base

From the coach: “Jake worked really hard at getting better and would have really helped us with his bat, he turned into a real good hitter.”

Andrew Seavey

Years on varsity: 2

Position: Outfield/Pitcher

From the coach: “Andrew was also one of them players that Loves baseball and nobody outworked him. He put a lot of time in his game and I believe he would have had a real good year on the mound.”

Brody Smith

Years on varsity: 2

Position: Catcher

From the coach: “Brody was a great catcher and would have done some great things this year, he was definitely a player to watch behind the plate.”

St. Patrick’s Baseball

Coached by Bryan Scheurer

Devin Fedewa

Years on varsity: 4

Position: P/OF

From the coach: “Won our District title, Regional Semifinal, Quarterfinal & State Final game as a Freshman (Starting/Winning pitcher). Has battled injuries ever since & has still been a major contributor... The fastest player we’ve ever had out of the box & on the base paths... He was finally, completely, healthy this year.”

Sam Mauren

Years on varsity: 4

Position: P/3B

From the coach: “He has hit & made highlight real plays at 3B his entire career... Great arm (from the IF & on the mound) w/ great pop @ the plate - He has a really high ceiling & is considering some college opportunities to potential extend his baseball career.”

Seth Hoppes

Years on varsity: 4

Position: CF

From the coach: “Came up for the playoff run as a Freshman & turned himself into a starter and a State Champion... He’s a great leader (vocally & by example), an extension of the coaching staff & really just buys into doing winning things... His speed and instincts really shine in the outfield & on base.”

Ryan Lay

Years on varsity: 4

Position: P/SS

From the coach: “Just a really good athlete & even better kid... Great hand eye coordination that shows at the plate, in the field & on the mound... He just has an infectious personality & attitude... The best Big Rock/role model ever for our son:)!”

Alex Kissane

Years on varsity: 4

Position: C/UT

From the coach: “Can argue that he is our hardest worker & most selfless player in the program... He is a very solid catcher & ascending hitter that has consistently improved from year to year... He has both good speed & quickness which shows on the bases.”

Zach Spitzley

Years on varsity: 3

From the coach: “Has great pop at the plate and can really run... Has been hitting for us since his Sophomore year & has really put in extra time (& seeing the results) leading into his Senior year... Nobody‘s voice was more positive, consistent or important in the dugout or on the field for us than Zach’s.”

Portland Softball

Coached by Brandee Novara

Emma Johnson

Years on varsity: 4

Position: Outfield

Natalie Linebaugh

Years on varsity: 4

Position: Second Base

Jada Walton

Years on varsity: 4

Position: Shortstop

Kenna Miller

Years on varsity: 2

Position: Third Base

Ella Gardner

Years on varsity: 4

Position: First Base

From the coach: “All girls will be greatly missed as they were returning starters for us. My hope for them this year was to win their 3rd District title. They worked very hard in the off season and were going to be great leaders on and off the field. I am very proud of the careers they had at Portland High School and wish them the best of luck next year.”

St. Patrick’s Softball

Coached by Jocelyn Rockey

Ally Florian

Years on varsity: 4

Position: Left Field/Centerfield

From the coach: “Ally is a dynamic individual. She’s enthusiastic, funny, and leads quietly by example. Ally reaches out to underclassmen and unifies our team. Ally’s bat was essential in many victories over the past four years and she was a leader at the plate. Ally also held our outfield to great expectations and learned to read the ball off the bat. She reacted quickly and confidently and knew what to do with the ball once she fielded it. Her mental toughness, gravitational personality, and leadership will be missed this year!”

Samantha Teachworth

Years on varsity: 4

Position: Catcher/Centerfield

From the coach: “Samantha was born to lead. She does so in a knowledgeable and enthusiastic way. When you watch Samee’s enthusiasm and love for the game, you can’t help but raise two fists in the air and cheer on with her. With Samee behind the plate we had very few past balls, and she could calm our pitchers in a tough position. When Samee was needed in the outfield it was a pleasure to watch her read the ball off the bat, field the ball, and throw an absolute bullet from her location. Samee also led our team in power hits. Samee’s bat was so strong and capable of game changing at bats. Samee is someone who is infectious, exudes comic relief, and is as positive as they come. She excels in all aspects of her life and her homerun hitting, base stealing, larger than life energy will truly be missed.”

Emma Weller

Years on varsity: 4

Position: Second Base/Right Field

From the coach: “Emma leads by example each day on the field. She works hard, encourages her teammates, and sets goals for herself! Emma has speed and has the fastest bat speed on the team. Because of Emma’s determination and personal drive she was able to turn singles into extra bases, and sacrifice bunts into bunts for hits. While Emma worked on the Varsity she also gently guided those around her. She was calm, considerate and exuded a light that helped us rally from behind. Emma’s defense was quick and she was always working on closing that middle gap a little bit more at second base! Emma will continue to lead and shine in her next steps, but she will truly be missed on our field!”

McKenna Pixley

Years on varsity: 4

Position: First Base

From the coach: “McKenna is energetic, spunky, and a communicator! She worked so hard to make a play, and never gave up if the ball was headed her way. McKenna could stretch for a ball unlike many first baseman that we had. When McKenna joined our team she immediately impressed us with her ability to communicate to the younger teammates that surrounded her. She had a tremendous bat that ripped through on contact and we appreciated her bat speed against faster pitchers. McKenna will be missed dearly as she naturally handled so many tiny details for our team. She was a constant cheerleader, and encourager. We absolutely could not have had the dynamic we had without her.”

Olivia Fogarty

Years on varsity: 2

Position: Second Base

From the coach: “Olivia is our biggest fan and our biggest asset to our come behind victories. This girl joined our team her JR year - went 2:2 with 2 doubles and then broke her arm on a safe slide into second which put her out for the rest of the year. Olivia’s lack of experience was overcome by her ability to put in hard work, be coachable, and always striving for that extra base. Her career was cut short both years but we absolutely could not have had the year we had last year without her! Olivia showed up with her spunk, personality, and her rally cap whenever we needed it. She was most definitely our spark plug, energy, and the adrenaline we needed to continue fighting through our toughest battles. Olivia is a natural born leader, and the places she will go, will most definitely be exciting, logical, and driven. Olivia you will always have our vote! You will be missed!”

Portland Boys Golf

Coached by Jon Snellenberger

Adam Foote

Years on varsity: 2

From the coach: “2020 would have been Adam’s second year on varsity. Played as a number five or number six golfer in several matches as junior.”

Spencer Pohl

Years on varsity: 2

From the coach: “Played primarily as a number four golfer in several matches as junior; 2020 would have been Spencer’s fourth season playing golf for PHS.”

Jared Thomas

Years on varsity: 2

From the coach: “Played as a number three golfer and shot a usable score in all sixteen matches in 2019; Earned First Team All-Conference and award the 2019 Team’s Coaches Award as junior; 2020 would have been Jared’s fourth season playing for PHS.”

Zach Pier

Years on varsity: 4

From the coach: “Zach has been Portland’s number one golfer since his freshman year 2017; Earned Team’s Most Valuable Golfer Award all three years; Earned First Team All-Conference all three years; Numerous First Place (Medalist Honors) in stroke play matches and eighteen hole invitational tournaments over his three year career; Lansing State Journal Boy’s Golf Dream Team and All Area for three years; Ionia County All Area Golf Team all three seasons, Ionia County Golfer of the Year in 2017 & 18; First Team All-State in Division 3 in 2017 & 18; Qualified and played in three Division 3 State Finals as an individual with his best finish a third place in 2017.”

“Zach will continue to be a Raider this fall playing collegiate golf as a student athlete at Grand Rapids Community College.”

“Had the 2020 high school boy’s golf season not been cancelled, Zach would have been competing to possibly have become the first Portland High School golfer to have ever qualified and play in four consecutive high school golf State Finals. Even with having his final season cancelled by this historical health pandemic, Zach has earned a special place in Portland High School athletics and boy’s golf history as one of the best golfers to have ever played for Portland High.”

St. Patrick’s Golf

Coached by Aaron Thelen

Jeff Davlin

Years on varsity: 2

From the coach: “Jeff spent most of his time as the number 1 or 2 golfer on varsity and was on track to have a really good senior season. He’s always been a good leader and a great example of how to act on a golf course, even if his round wasn’t going well.”

John Schneider

Years on varsity: 1

From the coach: “John was convinced to play golf after deciding he wanted a break from track in his senior season. We were excited to add him to our roster, as he would always brag to me about his weekend rounds during football season.” More from the coach: “It’s really unfortunate that we didn’t get to see what these two could have added to our team. I think we could have made some noise in the conference this year and these two would have been at the center of it.”

Portland Boys Track

Coached by Bart Simpson

Shane Brandsen

Event: Thrower

Gabe Hankey

Event: Thrower

From the coach: “Gabe was one of the top 2 throwers in the league, BUT had also gotten himself into great running shape and was gonna hit the track as well.”

Kobe Kazamer

Event: Thrower

From the coach: “After a great football year and strong winter of lifting, sprinter/thrower Kobe Kazamer was going to concentrate fully on the throws.”

Devin Foote

Event: Hurdler/sprinter

From the coach: “Was our top hurdler and also sprinted”

Chris Teachout

Event: Sprinter/high-jumper

From the coach: “Sprinted, ran relays, and was one of the top high-jumpers in the league.”

Chris Walker

Event: Pole Vault

From the coach: “Former mid-distance runner Chris Walker converted to the Pole Vault and was chomping at the bit for his senior year.”

Brendan Wartella

From the coach: “One of three newcomers “who we were going to try out in several areas to find their niche.”

Ryan Watkins

From the coach: “One of three newcomers “who we were going to try out in several areas to find their niche.”

Bryson Kreiger

From the coach: “One of three newcomers “who we were going to try out in several areas to find their niche.”

Andrew Pace

From the coach: “Andrew was going to run distance, as he gets ready to leave for the service.”

Paton Russell

From the coach: “Paton was gonna split some time with baseball, BUT was excited to see what he could get to as a former Lansing Honor Roll vaulter in middle school.”

More from the coach: “Energy was very high headed into our 2020 Boys Track Season. The guys did a GREAT job recruiting and our boys numbers had tripled. Many athletes not playing a winter sport had been working out all winter and excitement was high!”

“My heart breaks for our seniors. I am always most excited to see what the seniors do, because it’s their biggest, strongest, and fastest year physically. Couple that with the great turnout and they were likely going to experience their most successful season yet as a team.”

St. Patrick’s Track

Coached by Dawn Fedewa

Tyler Coyne

Event: Mid-Distance/Distance

Years on Varsity: 4

From the coach: “After continuous improvement each year, Tyler was on track for a phenomenal senior season with the goal of qualifying for State Finals in the 1600. While Tyler's leadership and strong work ethic will be very much missed, he graduates as part of the 4x400 relay that set the school record during the 2019 season.”

Veronica White

Event: Mid-Distance

Years on Varsity: 4

From the coach: “Veronica improved significantly throughout each year of her career, running as part of the school record setting 4x800 relay and as an alternate on the State qualifying 4x400 relay team during the 2019 season. Her leadership, maturity, strong faith and team first attitude will be greatly missed.”