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Tribune Top Five Female Athletes: Honorable Mention

Tribune Staff • Jul 6, 2018 at 2:00 AM

With so many talented prep athletes in the area, it's difficult to narrow a list down to just five athletes when many more deserve recognition for their accomplishments.

Madeline Zenas, Gabby Hentemann and Anna Sytsema all excelled on three different varsity teams for the Lakers, Bucs and Warriors this year. They put their tireless work ethics and honed skills on display, regardless of their teams' overall prowess.

Let's check out their accomplishments this season.

Madeline Zenas

Zenas was a three-sport athlete for Spring Lake, excelling as a member of the volleyball, basketball and soccer teams this season.

On the volleyball team, Zenas used her length to anchor a crushing net defense for the Lakers and her mobility and instinct to rack up 898 assists over the course of the season to power their offense. The effort helped pace the team to their 30-win season, an O-K Blue Conference title and All-Conference honors.

Winter brings on basketball season for Zenas, where the name of her game is rebounding. Using tireless, physical play Zenas ate up rebounds on both ends of the court while also taking on a sizeable scoring role for the versatile Lakers. Disarming speed also made her a threat in transition, adding up to one dominant center and All-Conference honors.

Finally, Zenas hits the pitch in the spring. Her efforts on the soccer field were invaluable to the Lakers' run to the regional finals, including a dominant three-loss regular season and shutout run through their district championship.

At midfield, Zenas employed her field awareness to disrupt opposing attacks and her speed to spark transitions into the scoring third, often taking and winning battles for the possession along the sideline with deft ball handling skill.

Gabby Hentemann

Hentemann continued her stellar career for the Grand Haven cross country and track teams this season. Despite her track season being cut short by injury, the junior superstar runner still racked up accolades.

She kicked off the year leading the cross-country team through a successful season, culminating in an eighth-place finish at the Division 1 state meet, good for All-State Honors for the third straight season. Her efforts also earned an All-Conference nod. Her state meet time of 17:58 made her just the second runner in program history to break the 18-minute barrier.

A foot injury kept Hentemann out of Grand Haven's state lineup come track season, but that didn't stop her from dominating the field into the final weeks of the season. Against Rockford, the distance specialist made history, securing the 1,600-meter school record with a blistering time of 4:48.22, besting the old record by two seconds. She finished her final 400 meters in just 1:09, making for an astounding race. Her efforts eventually earned her All-Conference honors for the third year running.

Anna Sytsema

Sytsema represented the Warriors as an integral member of the Western Michigan Christian volleyball, basketball and soccer teams this season.

Sytsema started the year with the volleyball team, earning All-Conference honors for her part leading the Warriors to a 26-24-1 overall record.

The basketball season was more successful as WMC cruised to one of their best records in school history at 17-3. The effort clinches a Lakes Eight title and saw the Warriors advance to the district finals, only to lose to perennial playoff foe Kent City.

Sytsema grew into a vital rim protector, rebounder and scoring threat for WMC this season, routinely scoring in transition despite expending boundless energy scrapping in the paint.

Her fearless play in the paint gave way to a knack for finding the free throw line and boosting scoring totals throughout the season. She was recognized with All-Conference honors following the season.

On the soccer pitch, Sytsema paced the offense with regular assists, excelling at corner kicks and finding her teammates in traffic. The Warriors had an up and down season on the soccer field, finishing just about .500, but Systema's presence was always good for attitudes and frequent goals.

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