5 Things to Watch this Week

Josh VanDyke • Sep 26, 2017 at 4:00 AM

The only thing hotter than the temperatures along the Lakeshore might be the prep sports action this week, as many teams are chasing conference championships, celebrating homecoming events, or sending off seniors with their final home contests of the fall season.

Here’s a look at a few noteworthy events that will be worth the price of admission this week:

Spring Lake boys soccer vs. Allendale

When: Today, 6:45 p.m.

Where: Spring Lake High School

The Spring Lake boys soccer team will host their Senior Night celebration against Allendale tonight in an O-K Blue Conference clash.

The Lakers have 12 senior players on their roster who will be playing with plenty of emotion and passion in hopes of wrapping up their final home match of the season with a win.

The Lakers are coming off a narrow 1-0 loss to Reeths-Puffer, but the team has shown signs of being a postseason contender, after a slow start to the season.

Spring Lake has relied heavily on a strong defensive unit, anchored by senior keeper Adam Boes and sophomore keeper Clayton Glasglow.

Other key Lakers to watch include: senior Ben Bouwhuis; senior Keaton Kval; sophomore Malachi Mulder; and juniors Thomas Fine, Charlie Parker and Eli Denslow.

Spring Lake cross country hosts jamboree

When: Wednesday, 4:45 p.m.

Where: Rycenga Park in Spring Lake

The Spring Lake boys and girls cross country teams are both ranked in the top 10 of the latest Division 2 polls, and will finally get a chance to showcase their talents at home, as they host an O-K Blue Conference jamboree at Rycenga Park in Spring Lake.

The boys squad is coming off a runner-up finish in Grand Rapids on Saturday and will be led by junior Andrew Hylen.

Other key runners for the Lakers are: Cameron Thalhammer, Ben Hylen, Matthew Vanderwall, Will Brown and Callen Carrier.

On the girls side, the Lakers finished fourth as a team in Grand Rapids. The young squad continues to improve on their times with hopes that the comfort of their own course will help push them to new heights.

Runners to watch for the Laker girls are: Eva Tilton, Maggie Cooper, Kate Gilchrist, Julia Bajt, Taylor Rebone and Maddy Windberg.

Grand Haven boys tennis vs. Grandville

When: Thursday, 4 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven High School

The Grand Haven boys tennis team will honor their seniors Thursday, as they take on Grandville in their final home match of the regular season.

The Buccaneers are winding down their season, but appear to be picking up steam as they motion down the tracks of the O-K Red Conference slate. Sophomore Noah Bachmann continues to impress at No. 1 singles, as he finished with top honors at Saturday’s Forest Hills Eastern Invitational.

Also winning their flights at the event were: Spencer Sortman (No. 2 single), Riley Wilton (No. 3 singles) and Nathan Sexton (No. 4 singles). The No. 1 doubles team of Dylan Shenefield and Mason Price finished runner-up at the event, but continue to show improvements with each passing match.

Grand Haven girls swim team hosts Rockford

When: Thursday, 6 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven Aquatic Center

The Grand Haven girls swim team will take on O-K Red Conference rival Rockford on Thursday at the Grand Haven Aquatic Center.

The Buccaneers are hoping to carry the momentum of their recent win over Grandville last Thursday into this week’s tilt against the powerful Rams.

At last week’s meet, Kathryn Ackerman claimed two Grand Haven Aquatic Center records and one varsity record on the way to two individual victories.

The sophomore standout first took down her own pool record in the 200-yard freestyle, with a first-place finish in 1 minute, 52.43 seconds. Freshman Ocean Veldhouse followed in second place, finishing in 2:03.22.

Ackerman returned to the pool for the 100 butterfly, winning in 56.24 seconds, eclipsing the varsity record of 57.56 and the pool record of 57.34, each set in 2007.

Grand Haven also had a strong performance from their 200-medley relay team of Georgia Basil, Mary Violet Springer, Annah Taylor and Alonna Clark (1:57.66).

Clark returned to the pool for a victory in the 200 I.M. (2:17.91), closely followed in second place by Basil (2:18.91). Basil grabbed her gold in the 500 freestyle, touching first for a 14-second victory (5:26.81).

Katalin Kovach joined Clark, Veldhouse and Ackerman for a convincing two-second win in the 200-freestyle relay (1:43.12), just 0.22 second off a state qualifying time. Springer (1:04.14) teamed up with Kirbey Colella (1:04.53) and Ellyn Skodack (1:04.82) to sweep the 100 backstroke, finishing 1-3.

Finally, Veldhouse, Basil, Taylor and Ackerman took home the final event of the night with a five-second victory in the 400-freestyle relay.

The squad appears to be surging forward with their crew of underclassmen standouts, and will hope to measure up against Rockford in their home pool.

Grand Haven football hosts Caledonia

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Gene Rothi Field

The Grand Haven football team has had a tough go of things so far this season. The winless Buccaneers showed grit and pride last Friday on the road against Rockford, but couldn’t hold off a powerful Rockford Rams squad.

The Buccaneers return home this Friday to host Caledonia for their annual Homecoming game at Gene Rothi Field.

If Grand Haven can take an early lead and ride the momentum and emotion of their home crowd, they might be able to get into the win column for the first time this season.

On offense, senior quarterback Adam Nelson along with senior tailbacks Charlie Young and Malic Love will be key playmakers with the ball in their hands. Junior wideout Kellum Bridgeforth has become the team’s downfield threat in the passing game.

On defense, Bridgeforth leads the team in tackles on the season, with Logan Naperila and Brandon Diaz also shaping up to be hard-nosed playmakers on that side of the ball.

Grand Haven won’t be in the playoffs this season, but a home victory Friday could be a positive change in momentum after a tough start to their season.

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