Saturday, the 2008 Spring Lake graduates had an opportunity to watch their former pupils compete on the big stage, as they were two of a large number of former Lakers’ soccer alumni in attendance at the Division 2 state finals at Athens High School.
“It’s awesome. I’m really proud they made it this far,” said Foster, who recently completed his senior season for the Alma College men’s soccer team. “We coached them at the Jeremy Thelen camps during the summer. It’s neat to see this team kind of grow up. I mean, I’ve known (Alec) Strahl my whole life.”
McDonald, who also recently wrapped up his senior season of collegiate soccer at Holy Cross College (Ind.), said he’s enjoyed the Lakers’ tournament run.
“I went to the semifinals, too, (at Plainwell High School),” he said. “I was planning on coming to the finals whether it was here or at East Kentwood. I didn’t want to miss it.”
Former All-State forward Jon Ritchie, a 2007 graduate, is in his first year of graduate school at Wayne State University and had a short drive from his current residence of Royal Oak. He was joined another former Lakers’ standout, Remzi Sipahi, who is finishing up his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan.
“I’ve been following them all season and they’ve had a great year,” Ritchie said. “It’s funny, because I remember them as just kids when they were so young.”
LAKERS OUT IN FULL FORCE
Despite facing over a three-hour drive to Troy, Spring Lake fans were out in full force at the state finals, filling a large portion of the home stands.
“There were no (spectator) buses. They all came on their own,” said Spring Lake Athletic Director Cavin Mohrhardt. “Really, I’m not surprised because we’ve traveled so well all season.
“We had a big pep rally on Friday and I asked the kids how many of them planned on making the trip, and more than half of the student body raised their hands,” he added. “And from the looks of the crowd, I think they’re all here.”
TITLE DROUGHT CONTINUES
With the Lakers’ soccer team failing to win a state title, the last team to earn the honor remains Spring Lake’s girls cross country team from 2001.