Elk Rapids High School Varsity Golf Team 2021:
front row: Gabe Lavely, Christian Bush, Hope Hoedel, Preston Ball, Mitchell Emke. back row: Spencer Ball, Max Irelan, Josh Lavely, Charlie Ward, Owen Spencer, Coach Larry Lavely. Photo by Gary Smith, picturethisphotographystudio.zenfolio.com
Back in 2019 the Elk Rapids varsity golf team had one of the most successful seasons in the program history, winning the Lake Michigan Conference title for the second straight year, and finishing in sixth place overall at the Division 3 State Finals. That team was going to lose two seniors but was returning an abundance of talented players that were poised to make an even stronger run in the 2020 season. That goal, of course, was wiped by the virus cancellations.
Now in 2021 the Elks are back on the links with a strong squad of five returning varsity golf players, and four players new to the varsity team, but not to the game of golf. The Elks are led by junior Josh Lavely, a Division 3 first team all-state honoree as a freshman, and seniors Mitchell Emke and Preston Ball, both playing in their third season of varsity golf. A pair of second year returning juniors in Max Ireland and Charlie Ward round out the varsity experience, joined by newcomers junior Christian Bush, sophomore Spencer Ball and a trio of talented freshmen in Gabe Lavely, Hope Hoedel and Owen Spencer.
“This group is solid at the top and spread very evenly with talent through the rest of the roster, positions 3-7 are almost interchangeable,” said Elk varsity golf coach Larry Lavely. “We have a really good mix of seniors and underclassmen. They know each other from playing sports, they are an athletic group and there is a good chemistry between everyone. They encourage each other, it will be fun watching them develop.” The Elks will have a target on their backs as two-time conference champions; the conference match had Charlevoix, Elk Rapids and St. Francis finish first through third with just two strokes separating each position. There are two more scheduled 18-hole varsity meets, then a final Lake Michigan Conference championship. The Elks also came in at number six in the most recent Division 3 boys high school golf rankings.
“The weather was cold to start the season, we may not have had the snow we had in the past, but it was a cold spring. We still got out and practiced, working on our short game and on other areas,” Lavely said. A Petoskey Two-Man Invitational was held at Antrim Dells earlier this week, made up of 30 teams from the area, each consisting of two players. The Elks had a strong showing, Gabe Lavely and Spencer Ball finished first with 75, Max Irelan and Charlie Ward were third, shooting 78 and Mitchell Emke and Owen Spencer took fifth place with 79. The Elks finished in first place overall as a team, a solid sign of good things to come this season on the golf course.
VARSITY TENNIS Elk tennis bounces back in home win
Jaidi Schulte and Morgan Bergquist on patrol, manning the court as the second seeded doubles team. Photo by Kim Eardley Photography
The Elk girls tennis team snapped a two-match losing streak with a 7-1 downing of Traverse City Christian at home on Tuesday. The Elks swept singles play, wins coming from first seeded Ines Latorre (6-1. 6-1), number two seed Ella Croftchik (6-0, 6-2), third seeded Ayva Johnstone (7-6, 7-5) and fourth seed Lily Brown (6-0, 6-0). In doubles competition the Elks number four seeded duo of Portia Beebe and Jasmine King won on the court (6-0, 7-5). TC Christian had to forfeit the second and third seeded doubles matches handing the Elks the two wins.
The Boyne Invitational Tournament scheduled for Friday was postponed then canceled when several scheduled teams were not available for a makeup date. Instead, the Elks traveled to Traverse City West on Monday for an unscheduled match with the Titans. Facing the Division 1 Titans the Elks had some strong games but fell 5-3. All three wins came from singles competition, wins by one seed Latorre in a comeback (0-6, 6-3, 10-5), second seed Croftchik (6-1, 6-0) and third seed Johnstone (3-6, 6-3, 10-4) in another comeback.
The Elks suffered their first loss this season at home, losing 6-2 to Division 4 number one ranked St. Francis last Thursday. Elk wins were earned by number four seeded singles Lily Brown (6-3, 6-4), and the first seed doubles tandem of Caroline Ducharme and Jillian Acker (6-4, 6-1).
The Elks will next compete in a tri-meet at St. Francis on Friday (5/14), then have their regular season home finale hosting Grayling on Monday (5/17).
VARSITY SOFTBALL Softball snaps four game losing streak
Arianna Starkey raises up a blanket of dirt sliding safely into home plate. Photo by Kim Eardley Photography
The Lady Elks ended a four-game losing streak at home Monday, with a long overdue sweep of Lake Michigan Conference rival Boyne City 10-5 and 14-4. The opener win broke a string of 17 straight losses to the Ramblers, dating back to April of 2012. In game one Boyne scored three first inning runs, the Elks countered with three in the first, added six in the second to a Rambler solo run for a 9-3 lead. The teams would each add a late score, but the Elks prevailed with the 10-5 win.
Reagann Merchant pitched six innings, allowed two hits, two earned runs, three walks and fanned six. Eight Elk errors led to three Rambler unearned runs. The Elks had eight hits, Sierra Molby had two and three RBIs, Cassidy Sincic knocked a double and two RBIs, five different Elks connected for singles in the opening win. In the nightcap the Elks scored seven runs in the second, added five in the third for a 12-0 lead, finishing with a 14-4 win. Morgan Wirtz pitched five innings allowing four hits, four runs, one earned, and struck out two. Ryleigh Yocom had three hits, four RBIs, Merchant slapped three hits and three RBIs, Aubrey Sincic had two doubles, Abby Platt, Nevada Molby and Wirtz all had two hits. The Elks feasted on the Rambler pitching for 16 total hits.
On Thursday, the Elks hosted Kalkaska for a conference twinbill, losing both games 15-2 and 19-8. Merchant started on the mound, lasting four innings with eight hits and three strikeouts, Yocom pitched an inning, allowing a hit and fanning two. The Elks had six errors for five unearned runs. The Blazers led 2-1 early, adding three in the third and exploded for eight runs in the fourth and a commanding 13-1 lead on the way to the 15-2 final. The Elks had five singles, Yocom had one RBI. In game two the teams were tied at three after one inning. Two Elk errors aided the Blazers in an eight run second inning and an 11-3 lead. The Elks fought back, scoring twice in the third and three in the fourth to cut the lead to 12-8 after four. Kalkaska sealed the win with a seven run fifth inning, rapping out four hits, aided by a wild pitch and three hit batters. Nevada Molby slapped three hits, with a double and four RBIs, Merchant had a dinger and singled racking up four RBIs, Yocom and Cassidy Sincic added two hits.
The Elks played last Wednesday in Charlevoix, losing both ends of a conference doubleheader 15-0 and 18-3. Merchant pitched game one, going 3.1 innings with 10 hits, four walks and two strikeouts. The Elks were guilty of eight errors for 10 unearned runs. At the plate, the Elks had just three hits, a double from Arianah Starkey and singles by Emma Eckerdt and Yocom. Wirtz pitched game two, throwing four innings with nine hits and fanning two, Merchant took the final inning, allowing three hits with one whiff. The Rayders scored three in the first and tallied 13 in the second to put the game out of reach. Yocom and Sierra Molby each singled, the only Elk hits in the nightcap. Errors plagued the Elks again, six total led to eight unearned runs.
The Elks (7-5, 4-4 LMC) host a tournament on Saturday (5/15) beginning at 10:00 a.m., then head to East Jordan on Monday (5/17) for a LMC doubleheader. Despite the four straight losses the Lady Elks are off to their best start in at least nine years!
VARSITY SOCCER Elks shutout St. Francis
The Elks had a week to think about the shutout home loss they suffered last week against Boyne City, then went back to work on Monday, downing conference rival St. Francis 4-0 on the road.
“We were back on track to playing our game this evening,” said Elk soccer coach Andrea Krakow. “I was proud of the girls as they connected passes and kept the game simple. We had several near misses as the ball hit the post or the goalkeeper was able to effectively stop the high shots. The girls kept shooting and kept pressuring the defense of St Francis. As we continue through this last half of regular season, I am also trying different options at offensive and defense to prepare for post season play.” Lauren Bingham had three goals in the game that saw all the scoring take place in the first half. Bingham scored her first goal three minutes into the game off a through pass from Gabby Krakow. Midway through the half Bingham got by the St. Francis defenders and sent a low kick past the Gladiator keeper toward the left post for her second tally. Minutes later Bingham recorded the hat trick after dribbling into the box and rifling a shot near the left post into the back of the net. With four minutes left on the clock until halftime Monika Gregorski scored the final goal on a lofting kick that floated over the keeper from 30 yards out. The Elks maintained control of the ball for most of the second half in windy conditions, but neither team would score. The entire Elk team saw playing time in the game.
Jorja Jenema tallied six saves in goal, Krakow was credited with an assist. The win kept the Elks in a three-way tie for first place in the Lake Michigan Conference with Boyne City and Charlevoix. The Lady Elks (9-2, 6-1 LMC) will have “Senior Night” on Thursday (5/13) as they host Harbor Springs in a conference game, then face Glen Lake in a non-conference matchup on Friday (5/14) in their regular season home finale. The Elks finish out the rest of the season on the road beginning at Grayling on Monday (5/17) in a conference contest.
VARSITY TENNIS Elk girls tennis on court with talent and new coaches
Elk Rapids High School Varsity Girls Tennis Team 2021:
front row: Jaidi Schulte, Ella Croftchik, Caroline Ducharme, Ines Latorre, Portia Beebe, Jasmine King. back row: Coach Keith Schulte, Lexi Kempisty, Lily Brown, Ayva Johnstone, Kelly Minidis, Morgan Bergquist, Jillian Acker. Not pictured: assistant coach Kelly Croftchik. Photo by Kim Eardley Photography
The Elk girls tennis team had a new coach in Keith Schulte last season, but the team managed just two indoor whiteboard practices before the tennis season was Covid-canceled. Two years ago, Elk tennis had just nine players total, including four seniors. Last year three players were seniors, adding up to 13 players graduating from a tennis program that had been struggling for numbers. Now in 2021, Coach Schulte began the first tennis practice with 12 girls, three returning with varsity experience in juniors Ella Croftchik, Caroline Ducharme and Jillian Acker. Also bringing tennis experience is Ines Latorre, a foreign exchange student from Barcelona that has been strong enough to earn her way to the number one singles seed. The remainder of the team is made up of first-time varsity players, a junior, two sophomores and five freshmen.
“We have some good experience returning at the singles spots and number one doubles,” Schulte said. “Then we have girls that are fairly new to the sport. They are all athletes and picking it up fairly easily. It’s been a fun group because they all want to learn, which makes coaching much more enjoyable.” The milder winter got the team outside on the court right away, and besides a few rainy days the girls have been able to have practice outside. This gave Schulte time to watch, teach and evaluate his players, and try and find the right place to have each of them play. “It’s finding the right fit in practice. I have to make sure that we put comparable players together so all can improve at the right pace,” Schulte said.
Schulte didn’t just fall into the position as the Elk girls tennis coach, he has an impressive resume in coaching tennis. “I coached two years of boys tennis at Midland High before the seasons switched back around in about 2006,” Schulte said. “I coached the girls tennis team for eight years at Midland High and then four years at Dow High. I played varsity tennis in high school. I played doubles.”
Schulte is capable of evaluating and teaching his team, and he is assisted by Kelly Croftchik, another very capable coach who runs the tennis program at Cherryland Middle School, but due to Covid is not being held this season.
The team has been successful early in this season, winning their first four meets, several in dominating style. “Our doubles teams two, three and four are all new to the game, but they are not new to sports or hand eye activities,” Schulte explained. “It’s taking their previously learned behaviors and applying them to a new game and teaching them the geometry and tactics of the game along with developing their skills.”
Having 12 players is great for the program; it is the exact number needed to fill out all eight seeds, four in singles, four in doubles. This leaves no wiggle room for any quarantines, or anything else that might come up, and missing a player results in a forfeit. There is just one senior on the team however, leaving the future quite bright for the Elk girls tennis program.
Good luck to the tennis team, players and coaches! Nothing can charge a net like an Elk!
VARSITY GOLF Elks finish close second in LMC golf meet
Eight teams were on hand for the first Lake Michigan Conference golf invite of the season, taking place last Thursday at Grandview Golf Club in Kalkaska. Seven squads were playing with the goal to dethrone the two-time defending LMC champion Elk Rapids Elks. An early heavy rain and cold wind looked like it might cause some delay, but the weather settled down and play began. Charlevoix won the first meet with a 335, the Elks were just two strokes back in second shooting a 337 and St. Francis was in third, just four strokes behind the frontrunners with a 339. The Elks were led by Josh Lavely, shooting a 78, the second-best individual score in the meet, combining with Preston Ball (82), Mitchell Emke (86) and Max Ireland (91). The next conference meet was scheduled for Wednesday (5/12) at Antrim Dells, hosted by East Jordan.
VARSITY BASEBALL Elks looking to improve as post season nears
Mack Barnhard (32) rears back and unleashes a strike against Kalkaska. Photo by Kim Eardley Photography
Playing at home Monday night the Elks dropped both ends of a doubleheader to Lake Michigan Conference rival Boyne City, losing game one 9-1 and falling the late contest 10-0. Mack Barnhard pitched the opener, throwing four innings, allowing three hits, six runs, four earned, with seven strikeouts. John Hawkins came in for the final two innings, giving up two hits and three earned runs. The Elks had seven hits in the game, Chase DeArment and Izaak Huhn each had two. The Elks struggled at the plate with 16 strikeouts, making it hard to score runs. In game two the Elk bats were completely missing, the team had one hit and one man reach base on a walk. DeArment was the starting pitcher, going 4.1 innings, giving up nine hits and seven runs, six earned, while fanning three. Mark Meade pitched the last two thirds of an inning, allowing one hit and three earned runs in the five-inning mercy game.
Playing in their home opener last Thursday, the Elks faced conference rival Kalkaska and split with the Blazers, winning the opener 8-5 and losing the nightcap 5-1. In game one the Elks had a 6-0 lead after two innings, the Blazers crept back in scoring twice in the third and fourth, and once in the fifth, trimming the Elk lead to 6-5. Scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth gave Elks a cushion with an 8-5 lead and the Blazers taking their last at bat. The first Blazer popped out, then back-to-back singles and an error loaded the bases. The next batter grounded back to DeArment on the mound, who threw to home for the force out. The final batter popped up to the shortstop Emery Rubert, the Blazer rally was extinguished. Barnhard was the starting pitcher for 5.1 innings, allowing 11 hits, five runs, three earned, and struck out five. DeArment pitched the last two-thirds inning. Rubert and Barnhard had two hits, Izaak Huhn rapped a single with two RBIs. Each team had three errors, tallying three unearned runs for the Elks and six for the Blazers. In the night cap, four Elk errors allowing five unearned runs for Kalkaska in the 5-1 loss. DeArment started, throwing five innings and giving up three hits, five walks with three strikeouts. Hawkins threw the last inning giving up one hit and fanning one. At the plate Hawkins smacked a double and the Elks scattered four singles.
The Elks were at Charlevoix on Wednesday, splitting a conference twinbill with the Rayders by winning the opener 9-5 and falling in the nightcap 13-8. In game one, the Elks took advantage of seven Rayder errors to tally seven unearned runs. DeArment started, Barnhard, Hawkins and Rubert all took a turn on the mound, combining for six hits and four strikeouts. Mason Barnhard had four hits, three RBIs and scored three runs, Meade had two hits.
In game two the Elks led 8-5 after three innings. The Rayders took advantage of four Elk walks and an error, surrounded by two singles and a double for an eight run fourth inning and a 13-8 lead in the comeback win. Meade was the starting pitcher, giving way to Ethen Huhn and Garrett Schell. The trio allowed just three hits but gave up eight walks with two strikeouts. The Elks had six errors, resulting in six unearned runs. Rubert had two hits with an RBI, Izaak Huhn had a hit and two RBIs.
Elk Rapids (4-8, 2-6 LMC) are idle until Monday (5-17) when they travel to East Jordan for a LMC doubleheader.
VARSITY TRACK Elks run strong at Charlevoix
Competing in just their second meet of the season at the Charlevoix Invitational last Friday, both Elk track teams made their presence known, the girls finished in second place out of nine teams total, the boys wrapped up third place out of 10 teams in competition. The invitational was originally slated to be a quad meet but grew in size.
“This started as a quad meet and then grew as limits were lifted. We did not have any medals or trophies,” said Charlevoix athletic director Travis Garrett. “If we host this event in the future, we will go all out with trophies and medals.” The medals are always nice, but the stats behind the hardware are what is important, and the Elk track teams both had some good numbers on the field. The boys third place total tallied 77, Joburg was second with 97 and Charlevoix was first with 144. The East Jordan squad was close behind the Elks with 71, Harbor Springs right behind them in fifth with 70.
On the girls side, the Elks second place tally was 101, edging out East Jordan in third with 99. Joburg won the girls met with 136. The Elk girls have finished in second in both meets they have run in this season. Both teams had several personal records (PR) set at the meet.
Earning points for the boys in the sprints were Ethan Comai (5-12.38 PR), Charlie Parrish (7-12.58 PR) and Corbin Murphy (8-12.61 PR) in the 100m, Bradley Fitzpatrick (1-25.66 PR) and Comai (2-25.71 PR) dominating the 200m, Fitzpatrick (3-55.61 PR) in the 400m. Long distance points came from Lachlan Beebe (3-5:03.12 PR) and Charlie Ward (4-5:12.06 PR) in the 1600m and Christian Kerfoot (8-11:24.80 PR) in the grueling 3200m. In the 4x800 relay race, Beebe, Fitzpatrick, River Goss and Ward finished fifth (9:05.44). The Elk boys were led in field events by Caleb Melton finishing first in the shot put (42’04), and seventh in the discus (93’11), along with Ward (3-5’6” PR) and Kerfoot (7-5’0” PR) in the high jump and Comai (3-18’00 PR) and Parrish (5-17’02 PR) soaring in the long jump.
For the girls, points in the sprint events were earned by Nevada Molby (1-13.30) and Paige Fosdick (3-14.48) in the 100m, Molby (1-29.63) and Fosdick (4-30.55 PR) again in the 200m, Sierra Molby (2-1:11.52), Katie Gorno (4-1:14.34) and Jaida Schulte (5-1:15.81) running the 400m. Long distance points were by Clara Leahy (6-2:53.15 PR) and Catherine Leahy (7-2:53.61 PR) in the 800m, and Eva Pray in the 1600m (4-6:23.91) and 3200m (3-14:10.73 PR). Addison Jacobs earned points in the 100m hurdles (7-20.57 PR) and 300m hurdles (7-1:00.93), joined in the latter by Zoe Macaluso (8-1:03.91). The girls dominated in the relays. Fosdick, Lila Rubert, Sierra Molby and Nevada Molby were first in the 4x100 (55.66) and second in the 4x200m (2:00.11) and Gorno, Catherine Leahy, Clara Leahy and Schulte ran third in the 4x400 (4:55.84). In field events, points came from Schulte (6-24’08 PR) throwing the shot put, Heidi Kay (7-49’01) hurling discus and Sierra Molby (3-14’04.50) flying in the long jump.
The Elks are next scheduled to run in the 12-team East Jordan Invitational on Thursday (5/13).
Elk Rapids News 212 River Street P.O. Box 176 Elk Rapids, Michigan 49629 231-264-6670 Phone 231-264-6685 Fax