Best of the Best: Tribune's top prep athletes

For the fourth consecutive year, The Tribune sports department has picked five male and five female athletes upon completion of the prep sports season and designated them as the "Best of the Best.' Being selected for the honor means the following athletes displayed an undeniable talent in multiple sports, often shined on the big stage at championship events, and won the admiration from their coaches and fellow teammates for their dedication on and off the playing field.
Tribune Staff
Jun 25, 2011

 

Congratulations to those who earned the recognition and provided several worthwhile memories during another tremendous year of prep sports in West Michigan.

BOYS (in alphabetical order)

Collin Breit, Western Michigan Christian (soccer, basketball, golf)

Breit totaled an amazing eight MHSAA state finals medals during his career at Western Michigan Christian, including four in the sport he excelled at more than any other — golf. At the June 17-18 Division 4 finals, he finished ninth individually, and led the Warriors to a team finish of sixth. A year earlier, WMC suffered a heartbreaking runner-up finish at the finals, where Breit turned in an eighth-place showing. In soccer, Breit recorded 25 goals and 17 assists during the Warriors’ Division 4 championship season. He scored the game-winning goal with 4:50 remaining in a 2-1 victory over Ann Arbor Greenhills in the title game. Breit also played basketball for three years, and was a reserve on two of the Warriors’ Class D state championship teams.

Joe Duff, Grand Haven (cross country, track and field)

Labeled by his coaches as the best male distance runner in school history, Duff proved time and time again that the label was accurate. Duff closed out his impressive prep career by earning all-state honors with a seventh-place finish in the 3,200-meter run at the Division 1 state finals on June 4. He was a Division 1 regional champion in the 3,200 three times, and also broke the school record in the event. In cross country, Duff was an O-K Red and Division 1 regional champion during the fall. More importantly, he led the Bucs to a share of the O-K Red Conference title, their first regional championship  since 1989, and a state finals apperance, where they finished 10th. Duff will continue in both sports at the college level with an athletic scholarship to Grand Valley State University.

Trevor Tidswell, Spring Lake (football, basketball, track and field)

Coaches raved about Tidswell’s tremendous athleticism and leaping ability, which paved the way for him shining in three sports and winning Spring Lake’s highest athletic honor, the Len Fase Award. In football, Tidswell was the Lakers’ big-play wide receiver where he finished with over 700 yards and seven touchdowns. Spring Lake won a share of the Lakes Eight Conference title and earned a berth to the Divison 4 playoffs. Tidswell will continue his career on the gridiron with an athletic scholarship to Hillsdale College. On the basketball court, Tidswell averaged over 11 points per game for a Lakers’ squad that finished 17-6, and in track, Tidswell was one of the Lakes Eight Conference’s best in the 400-meter dash.

Jerry Westerman, Grand Haven (football, wrestling)

Grand Haven may not have produced a more hard-nosed athlete in recent memory than Westerman, who was a tackling machine on the football field, and a gritty technician on the wrestling mat. During the fall — in which the Bucs football team won a share of the O-K Red Conference title and reached the Division 1 playoffs — Westerman led the team with 111 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss from his linebacker position. In wrestling, Westerman posted a 34-8 record and earned all-state honors by placing seventh at the Division 1 state finals.

Doug Zelenka, Grand Haven (hockey, baseball)

With the arrival of Zelenka and his younger brother Tommy to the lineup, the Grand Haven hockey team flourished during the winter. The Bucs went unbeaten in O-K Red Tier II Conference, claiming the program’s first league title at that tier. Zelenka was a blur for the opposition at the forward position, as his combination of speed and puck handling helped him score over 30 goals and dish out over 20 assists on the season. In baseball, Zelenka led Grand Haven with a .452 batting average, helping lead the Bucs to their first district title in 15 years.

GIRLS

Lindsey Burnside, Grand Haven (volleyball, basketball, soccer)

The 6-foot Burnside was an effective front row hitter in volleyball and a versatile forward in soccer, but her speciality was on the hardwood. Her defense, hustle and offensive production were unmatched in the low post for the Bucs, a key reason why they finished the regular season 20-0 and advanced to the state semifinals. She finished with averages of 7.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Burnside was also awarded Grand Haven’s top athletic honor, the Sluka Award.

Abby Cole, Grand Haven (volleyball, basketball)

Cole, a sophomore, has just begun to scratch the surface on what could be a dominating career at Grand Haven. Blessed with a tremendous reach and equally impressive athleticism, the 6-foot-5 standout was a third-team all-state performer on the volleyball court, where she swatted 1.6 blocks and 3.4 kills per game as a feared middle hitter. In basketball, Cole was a game-changer as a shot blocking presence in the paint. She broke the Bucs’ single season record for blocks with 141 and also averaged eight points and seven rebounds per game, helping Grand Haven reach the Class A state semifinals.

Lauren Hazekamp, Fruitport (volleyball, basketball, soccer)

Hazekamp, a junior, added a state championship trophy to her already illustrious volleyball career at Fruitport, as the Trojans rallied to stun North Branch in the Class B finals on Nov. 20. The dynamic setter earned first team all-state honors after averaging 8.8 assists, 2.5 digs and 0.74 aces per game. She also played a key role as a defensive-minded point guard in the Trojans’ surprising rejuvinated season in basketball, helping the team sport a winning record at 12-9. In soccer, Hazekamp helped the Trojans earn a share of the Lakes Eight Conference title as an attacking midfielder.

Lauren Merz, WMC (volleyball, soccer)

Merz, a Spring Lake resident, transformed into a team leader on the volleyball court and soccer field, earning all-state honors in both sports during her senior season. The 5-foot-9 Merz was the Warriors’ top force at the net during the fall, tallying 2.74 kills and 0.72 blocks. More recently, she completed another strong season in goal for the soccer team, earning honorable mention all-state honors in Division 4. She was also WMC’s valedictorian, sporting a 4.18 grade point average.

Rosie Seitz, Spring Lake (cross country, basketball, track and field)

Seitz was known for her athletic versatility at Spring Lake, which helped her win the Len Fase Award. She thrived in running, where she was one of the Lakes Eight Conference’s best in cross country, and a key sprinter and relay runner on the Lakers’ league championship squad in track. Seitz hopes to continue both sports at Albion College. Seitz also earned all-conference honors in basketball after averaging eight points and eight rebounds per game. 

 

 

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