Top 5 Female Athletes to Watch this Fall

Josh VanDyke • Aug 15, 2016 at 1:39 AM

With the fall sports season rapidly approaching, the Tribune takes a look at some of the standout female athletes across the coverage area.

1. Anna Kramer (Spring Lake golf)

The senior golfer for Spring Lake is rolling into the fall season on a hot streak. Kramer is coming off a win at the 25th annual Golf Association of Michigan Women’s Championship in July, in which she carded a 4-over par 76 at the Polo Field Golf and Country Club in Ann Arbor.

Longtime Lakers golf coach George Bitner has nicknamed Kramer “Franchise”, because she has been the linchpin of the team in recent seasons. Kramer capped off an impressive junior campaign with individual medalist honors at the Division 3 state meet, helping the Lakers to a 70-stroke team win and back-to-back team titles.

Kramer hopes to repeat as a first team All-State golfer after being named to the Associated Press’ “Super Team” last fall, which is compiled of the five best golfers in the state, regardless of division.

2. Meghan Peel (Spring Lake swimming)

The Spring Lake senior swimmer is coming off back-to-back All-State finishes at the Division 3 state meet and will be looking to close out her high school career in style.

At the last year’s finals, Peel finished fourth in the 100-meter freestyle (54.36 seconds), as well as fourth in the 100 backstroke (58.69), just .16 seconds out of third place. She also helped the 200-yard medley relay team with teammates Jen Meulenbelt, Annie Brechting and Sara Mumby finish sixth with a time of 1 minute, 52.44 seconds.

Peel already owns two individual school records and has been a part of three record-setting relay teams and will be looking to add a few more records to her resume this fall.

3. Jennifer Meulenbelt (Spring Lake swimming)

The Lakers boast two standout swimmers on their team this fall, and Meulenbelt hopes to continue her own dominance in the pool. The senior swimmer forms a dynamic duo with teammate Meghan Peel, with both standouts thriving in the 200 and 400 medley relays.

Meulenbelt’s individual emphasis is in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. She finished seventh in the 200 individual medley (2:15.71) and sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.26) at last year’s Division 3 state meet.

She hopes to wrap up her decorated high school career by earning three consecutive All-State honors.

4. Gabby Hentemann (Grand Haven cross country)

In only her second year at the high school level, Hentemann has already made a name of herself in both cross country and track.

As a freshman, Hentemann finished 17th at the Division 1 state meet with a time of 18 minutes, 21 seconds. She finished second in the O-K Red Conference (18:11), which was the sixth fastest time in school history and the third fastest for a freshman.

Grand Haven cross country coach Scott Przystas believes Hentemann’s work ethic and growing knowledge of the sport will allow her to reach even higher this fall. If her spring season was any indication, expect a breakout season for Hentemann this fall for the Buccaneers.

5. Katie Cole (Grand Haven volleyball)

The Grand Haven senior and Indiana-Wesleyan University commit helped quarterback the Buccaneer attack last fall, earning Class A Honorable Mention All-State honors. As a junior setter, she used her elite athleticism and high-level volleyball IQ to make her teammates better.

She continually helped put her hitters in good spots to attack, finishing with 1,417 total assists on the season. She also added 74 kills, 351 digs, 35 aces and 55 blocks to the state sheet. Cole was a leader on a Grand Haven team that finished 48-8 overall finishing atop a loaded O-K Red Conference with state-ranked teams such as Rockford and Hudsonville. The Buccaneers went on to win their ninth straight district title and 14th in 15 seasons.

Honorable Mention: Morgan Ross (Grand Haven volleyball)

The Grand Haven senior and Ferris State commit elevated her play as a junior outside hitter last fall, finishing with 391 kills, hit .243, added 67 aces, 242 digs and 75 blocks. Ross was a key player for the Buccaneers, as her emergence helped the team overcome injuries to seniors Emily Bachmann and Ally Knoll. 

Ross continued to impress over the offseason, earning All-American honors at the AAU Junior National Championships in June.

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