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Five Things to Watch this Week

Tribune Staff • Updated May 22, 2018 at 12:15 AM

The quick sprint that is the spring sports season is entering the final stretch, with some sports already entering regional and state tournament preparations. This week offers plenty of pivotal playoff matchups, exciting local competitions, and even Bucs Pride doubleheaders on the baseball and softball diamonds.

Here's a deeper look at a few events you won't want to miss this week.

40th annual West Michigan All-Star Track Meet

When: Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.

Where: Reeths-Puffer High School

One of the most exciting events of the spring sports season is the West Michigan All-Star meet. The event, which features athletes from across the area, will pit the best of the best against each other in the 40th running of the exhibition meet.

There will plenty of local standouts from Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Fruitport and Western Michigan Christian at the event, including several athletes looking to defend their All-Star meet titles from 2017.

Fruitport's Kallie Fehler won the 100 (15.9 seconds) and 300 (46.4) hurdle events last spring and looks primed to defend her crown after a strong finish at last weekend's regionals. The Fruitport boys 3,200-relay team has won their respective race the past two years and will be looking for a three-peat Wednesday.

Senior standout Cam Oleen, a Michigan State University track commit, will be a runner to watch in both the 400 and 800 runs. Oleen won the 800 run last spring with a time of 1:58.76.

The girls' pole vault event will have an event champion not named LeRoux for the first time since 2012. Allie LeRoux of Spring Lake won the All-Star meet competition in 2013-14, while her younger sister, Bella, captured the crown from 2015-17.

The Laker girls squad will hope to defend their meet championships in the 800 (1:46.12) and 400 (50.84) relay races. On the boys' side, Andrew Hylen will challenge for top honors in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.

For Grand Haven, senior sprinter Charlie Young will be among the favorites in the 400 dash, while senior Jenny Ryan will look to defend her title in the 200 dash (26.56).

Junior runner Gabby Hentemann won't be in action for the Bucs after suffering a foot injury that kept her out of the regional competition last weekend. Hentemann was the two-time defending meet champion in the 1,600 (4:51.4) and 800 (2:13.61) events and currently holds the meet record in the 1,600 race.

For Western Michigan Christian, Jack Kim hopes to retain his crown in the long jump (20-11), as the Warriors are riding high after sweeping the Division 4 regional meet last weekend in Holton.

Division 1 girls lacrosse regional

When: Wednesday, 5 p.m.

Where: Rockford High School

Who: Grand Haven vs. Zeeland East

The Grand Haven girls lacrosse team is hoping to make a historic run through the playoffs now that five-time defending state champion Rockford has been moved to the other end of the regional bracket.

The Buccaneers (6-7) will host Grand Rapids Christian in their season finale today, and then begin planning for a Zeeland East team that has had its fair share of struggles this spring. The Chix have only one win on the season, according to LaxPower.com, which should make Grand Haven a heavy favorite to advance. If the Buccaneers are successful, they will take on the winner of Grandville (13-4) and Portage Northern (10-8) in the regional semifinals on May 30.

Division 2 boys lacrosse regional

When: Wednesday, 7:15 p.m.

Where: East Grand Rapids High School

Who: Spring Lake vs. Holland Christian

The Spring Lake boys lacrosse team (8-8) battled through a unique zone defensive look from Petoskey in their playoff opener Friday, prevailing in an 8-2 home win. Now, the Lakers turn their attention to a Holland Christian (7-7) team that edged Traverse City St. Francis (14-9) in the other regional playoff opener.

In their regular season matchup, Spring Lake defeated Holland Christian 9-4 at home. If the Lakers can continue to use their dynamic defensive effort to hold opponents at bay, the offensive attack should have more than enough firepower to push the squad into the regional semifinals, where they would likely meet East Grand Rapids (13-4).

Fruitport girls soccer vs. Western Michigan Christian

When: Wednesday, 5 p.m.

Where: Fruitport High School

The Fruitport and Western Michigan Christian girls soccer teams have both hit the restart button this spring, as large senior classes last season have resulted in both programs starting a large portion of underclassmen in key positions. Despite some early season losses, both the Trojans and Warriors have found their groove as of late, and are contenders in the O-K Black and Lakes Eight Conference races, respectively.

While Wednesday's non-conference tilt won't help or hurt either teams’ chances in the league races, a win over a quality opponent could help push the winning team into a positive momentum wave that could carry them into a deep playoff run next week when the postseason begins.

Bucs Pride Games

The annual Drawbridge Classic showdown between Grand Haven and Spring Lake has drawn plenty of attention on the basketball court and on the soccer pitch, but the last few seasons have seen some wildly entertain games on the baseball and softball diamonds, too.

Grand Haven baseball vs. Spring Lake

When: Friday, 4 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven High School

Last year's Drawbridge Classic saw the Grand Haven baseball team take a dramatic win over the Lakers in extra innings of the opener of the doubleheader, while Spring Lake battled back for a 12-4 win in the nightcap to split the series.

This year's matchup could prove to be just as entertaining, as the Buccaneers are surging forward with their allotment of young players and Spring Lake is leaning on its battle-tested veterans to carry them into the postseason.

Both teams rely heavily on defensive prowess, so both games could come down to one or two plays in the infield.

Spring Lake softball vs. Grand Haven

When: Friday, 4 p.m.

Where: Spring Lake High School

The matchup between Grand Haven and Spring Lake in softball, however, is likely to be a fireworks display.

Last spring, a four-home run game by Jackie Crow powered the Buccaneers to a 9-4 win in the opener, while the Lakers squeezed past Grand Haven in the nightcap, 5-4. Both teams appear even stronger this season, with the Lakers still undefeated at 30-0 and Grand Haven in the mix for the O-K Red Conference crown.

The key matchup will be the Grand Haven batters against Spring Lake ace Leah Vaughan, who is averaging double-digit strikeouts every start. Regardless of the outcome, the rivalry matchup will push both teams as they prepare for districts next weekend.

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