Category Archives: Sports

Shocking Development out of the Big Ten Conference

Just two days after the Mid-American Conference announced it would forego fall sports and instead choose to reschedule games to the spring, the Big Ten Conference appears poised to cancel fall sports as well.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Big Ten has voted to cancel fall sports and most shockingly of all, Big Ten football. This comes on the heels of a statement from the Big Ten that seemed to offer some hope by allowing practice in helmets for the time being, though the release left future developments shrouded in some uncertainty.

While the move may not seem entirely surprising giving the current climate surrounding Covid-19 responses, momentum seemed to be heading in the other direction with marquee players such as Justin Fields (Ohio State), Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and others starting a hashtag campaign making their desire to play this fall clear.

Unlike smaller conferences, such as the MAC, which may benefit players having the opportunity to showcase their talent nearer to the NFL draft next spring, it seems that such a move by Power 5 schools will most certainly mean that top tier NFL talent will forego any rescheduled timetable. First round locks, such as Fields and Lawrence, appeared primed for at least one more run as college stars and instead will likely miss their final amateur seasons.

This story is still developing and we will keep you updated on any news as it breaks.

Mid-American Conference Postpones all Fall Sports

The Mid-American conference and its three Michigan member schools (Central, Eastern & Western) have announced that fall sports will be cancelled this fall and rescheduled to the spring.

The move comes just days after it was announced that Western University would maintain its lucrative matchup with Notre Dame. However, with most member schools losing their Power 5 contests and budget constraints put on programs playing games without fans, the MAC decided it would be best to postpone and hope for better opportunities to play in the spring.

While larger conferences benefit from tv deals, larger brand sponsorships, apparel sales, etc. the Mid-American conference, and football specifically, require a combination of Power 5 windfalls and fans in the stands to recoup costs of running programs.

We will provide updates as we become aware of any developing details. We now wait to see if this creates a cascade into other conferences and programs or if Notre Dame will have time to find a new opponent without casting another wave into schedules across the country.

Michigan & Michigan State Football Announce Updated Schedules

Michigan Football

  • SEP 5: PURDUE – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • SEP 12: MINNESOTA – MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.
  • SEP 19: PENN STATE – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • SEP 26: RUTGERS – PISCATAWAY, N.J.
  • OCT 3: MICHIGAN STATE – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • OCT 10: BYE
  • OCT 17: INDIANA – BLOOMINGTON, IND.
  • OCT 24: OHIO STATE – COLUMBUS, OHIO
  • OCT 31: WISCONSIN – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • NOV 7: MARYLAND – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • NOV 14: BYE
  • NOV 21: NORTHWESTERN – EVANSTON, ILL.

Michigan State Football

  • SEP 5: MINNESOTA – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • SEP 12: MARYLAND – MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.
  • SEP 19: NORTHWESTERN – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • SEP 26: PENN STATE – PISCATAWAY, N.J.
  • OCT 3: MICHIGAN – ANN ARBOR, MICH.
  • OCT 10: BYE
  • OCT 17: OHIO STATE – COLUMBUS, OHIO
  • OCT 24: RUTGERS – PISCATAWAY, N.J.
  • OCT 31: IOWA – IOWA CITY, IA
  • NOV 7: INDIANA – BLOOMINGTON, IND.
  • NOV 14: BYE
  • NOV 21: Nebraska – LINCOLN, NEB.


MHSAA Releases Updated Guidelines for Fall Sports

As students prepare to enter the 2020-2021 school year and athletes ready themselves to participate in early-season practices and tryouts, the MHSAA has a released their updated guidelines for fall sports programs. The full text of the release is below.

Dear MHSAA Community,

The Representative Council met this morning to discuss fall sports.  Here is a summary of the action taken.

  • Approved a “phased-in” approach to fall athletics.
  • Eliminated scrimmages in all fall sports; the only occasions where students from different schools would be together is for official games, matches, meets and competitions.
  • Finalized the fall sports guidance documents for the safe return to activity.  This guidance includes general information along with sport-specific directives for students, coaches, staff, officials and media members.  Spectator guidance will be added once those number of individual limits are finalized by the Governor’s office.  These documents are posted at mhsaa.com on each sport page and comply with all Executive Orders from Governor Whitmer.
  • New competition limits in all fall sports were approved to limit the number of teams and individuals at any one competition site.  The concept is fall competition will take place as locally as possible with no large-scale events, invitationals or tournaments.  See the fall sport-specific guidance documents for these limits.
  • Allowed all low-risk sports to begin practice and competition as scheduled on August 12.  This includes golf, tennis, cross country and swimming.  Swimming can begin indoor practice and competition once pools are opened  with capacity limitations being followed.
  • Allowed moderate-risk sports of soccer and volleyball (pending the opening of school gyms) to begin practice as scheduled on August 12 but to delay competition.  Decisions on competition timelines (to start or to delay further) would be made on or by August 20.
  • Delayed the start of football practice with full player pads and equipment until Monday, August 17.  The week of August 10 shall only include practice sessions that consists of conditioning, physical training and skill work but without player equipment other than helmets.  This week of acclimatization (August 10-16) is similar to the allowed summer activities with helmets, only, that have been ongoing since June.  Decisions on competition timelines (to start or to delay further) would be made on or by August 20. 

The MHSAA will continue to be nimble and flexible in these uncertain times.  The Council will be meeting regularly and we will continue to provide updates and possible modifications based on the most current information, directives from state government and health department officials and member school feedback.

Thank you.

Mark Uyl
MHSAA Executive Director

Top Prospects 16U-Houseman Takes 1st of 64 Teams in Byron Center

The Top Prospects 16U-Houseman softball team battled back from a 6th inning deficit in the tournament quarterfinal to pull things even with two 2-run homers (Emma Houseman & Kylie Gould) heading into the final inning. The squad pulled ahead in the final inning and carried that momentum into back to back shutouts in the semifinal and tournament championship game as the bats kept humming and the team rode the strong arm of pitcher, Cierra Laska.

The effort placed them in the top spot of the 2020 Blue Chip Summer Slam tournament out of an astonishing 64 teams that packed into 8 diamonds over the course of four days during Fourth of July weekend. They finished the weekend with a record of 8-1.

Kent City Completes Season Sweep of Morley Standwood to Win District Final

Just under a year ago, the Kent City Eagles competed in a post-season matchup in which they controlled things most of the way until poor free throw shooting allowed the visiting team to overtake them in the final minute.

That team was eventual state champion Pewamo-Westphalia, and while there is no guarantee the regional win would have given Kent City the same results, they certainly are justified in wondering what could have been. This year, the Eagles welcomed Morley-Stanwood to The Nest for the teams’ third matchup of the season and the District Championship on the line.

In a scene that was very reminiscent of a season prior, the Eagles led the Mohawks all night but left an opening at the end as free throws missed the mark in large numbers.

Morley Stanwood made great strides from an earlier season showdown at The Nest when the Kent City Eagles shot the lights out and ran away with a lopsided victory. The Mohawks were not dismayed and closed the gap between the teams to 10-points in the second matchup a few weeks later and just 6-points in the district final. The game got as close as 3-points in the final few minutes of play.

The tale of the night was undoubtedly the second consecutive game where the Eagles struggled from the field.

In the district semi-final, Kent City managed to get solid looks, but continually failed to turn those chances into points. Friday night looked very similar. The Eagles were able to work the ball through their offense and get open shots, but continued their cold streak and allowed the Mohawks to stick around until the final seconds ticked away.

Both games proved Kent City can win even when its shots aren’t falling. The Eagles can win games on the defensive end when needed and that is something they will once again need to do to advance this coming Tuesday.

The Mohawks end the season 19-4 with 3 losses coming against Kent City. They graduate a host of seniors, but will also return a number of impact players for the 2020-2021 season. The conference battle between the two schools should be back in full force next season and basketball fans are sure to be in for a treat when they meet again.

The #3 ranked Kent City Eagles advance to the round of 32 to face #1 ranked and defending state champion, Pewamo-Westphalia. The matchup marks the third consecutive year the two squads will face off in a post season contest with each year coming a round earlier than the last (2018 – round of 8, 2019 – round of 16, 2020 – round of 32). The teams will meet this Tuesday at Morley Stanwood High School.

Stay tuned for our preview of the game and opinion piece on some improvements that need to be made by the MHSAA.

Kent City Advances to District Final with Win Over Hesperia

The gym at Kent City High School could have been temperature controlled off the scorching hot shooting of the Kent City Eagles, alone, on Tuesday night in their opening match of post-season play.

Any energy savings that were accumulated earlier in the week were quickly spent on Thursday night as the Eagles went stone cold much of the night when they faced the Hesperia High School Panthers in the semi-final.

The Eagles managed to create open looks through their offense early and often, but were unable to capitalize. Shot after shot was off the mark and, at times, fans could have been forgiven for wondering if a prankster had fastened plastic wrap over the rim.

In lieu of their trademark three point barrage, the Eagles relied on their defensive pressure to separate from their opponent. The Eagle press kept the ball on the Kent City side of half court most of the evening and gave the cold shooters plenty of time to warm up the rims for Friday’s third clash of the season against Morley Stanwood. So, despite significant shooting woes that most fans of the Eagles have rarely seen in recent years, Kent City led 34-7 at the half.

The uncharacteristic shooting may have been a timely, though unexpected, positive. The early shooting woes meant Eagles had to call upon additional scorers further down the typical stat sheet than junior standouts Kenzie Bowers and Jenna Harrison. The Eagles got their primary offense from underclassmen Lexie Bowers (Kenzie Bowers’ freshman sister) who was also aided in stretches by sophomore Taryn Preston. The pair will undoubtedly have to contribute as significant scoring options when the Eagles move on to face state ranked competition later in the post-season, should they advance that far.

Lexie Bowers finished the Game with 19 points and Preston Finished with 7. Harrison finished with 10 points and K. Bowers ended the night with 13 points; an altogether quiet evening for the duo on one of the few remaining nights this season that they will not be needed to be electric in order for the Eagles to advance.

Despite the obvious shooting slump, Kent City managed a 61-26 victory while running through substitution lines and getting JV call-ups some varsity action for much of the second half.

Kent City will undoubtedly have to shoot better on Friday to secure their third win over the Mohawks this season. After a blowout first matchup, the Mohawks played a tighter game just a few weeks ago and will look to build on that performance Friday evening at “The Nest.”

Michigan Sweeps Women’s Gymnastics Weekly Honors

For Immediate Release
March 3, 2020

Wolverines’ Brooks, Wilson and Wojcik claim weekly awards

Gymnast of the Week
Natalie Wojcik, Michigan 

So. – Douglassville, Pa. – 21st Century Cyber Charter School – Spanish

  • Won two of her events and the all-around to help the Wolverines defeat New Hampshire
  • Claimed the outright title on bars (9.950), floor (9.950) and in the all-around (39.675), while tying for second on beam (9.900) and placing fourth on vault (9.875)
  • Matched her career high on bars and floor, while becoming one half of the first duo in Michigan’s program history to score 39.650 at the same meet
  • Earns her ninth career Big Ten Gymnast of the Week award and fourth of the season
  • Last Michigan Gymnast of the Week: Natalie Wojcik (Feb. 25, 2020)

Event Specialist of the Week
Gabby Wilson, Michigan

Fr. – Ypsilanti, Mich. – Skyline – Undeclared

  • Recorded podium finishes on all three of her events to help the Wolverines defeat New Hampshire
  • Won vault for the fourth time this season with a season-high 9.925
  • Tied for third on bars with a season-best score of 9.875, while placing third on floor (9.900)
  • Collects her first career Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week honor
  • Last Michigan Event Specialist of the Week: Abby Brenner (Feb. 25, 2020)

Freshman of the Week
Sierra Brooks, Michigan

Plainfield, Ill. – Oswego East – Undeclared

  • Recorded podium finishes on all of her events in the Wolverines’ dual-meet victory against New Hampshire
  • Tied for second on vault (9.900) and beam (9.900), and finished second on bars (9.925), floor (9.925) and in the all-around (39.650)
  • Posted a new career-high in the all-around and was part of the first duo in Michigan’s program history to score 39.650 at the same meet
  • Earns her seventh career Freshman of the Week honor and seventh in as many weeks
  • Last Michigan Freshman of the Week: Sierra Brooks (Feb. 25, 2020)

Michigan Senior Molly Garrett Named Big 10 Lacrosse Defensive Player of the Week

Michigan senior Molly Garrett (Winter Springs, FL) has garnered Big 10 Lacrosse Defensive Player of the week honors on March 3.

The senior midfielder, three-time letter winner and two-time team captain helped Michigan defeat Albany 12-11. She controlled eight draws, picked up two ground balls and scored one goal. Her eight draws marked the fourth highest in a game by a Wolverine in program history and helped slow the Albany attack.

Garrett is the second Michigan Lacrosse player to earn Player of the Week honors and the Wolverines have managed it in back to back weeks after Caitlin Muir Jr. received the nod for Offensive Player of the week on February 25.

Michigan sits at 4-1 overall after a dominating 20-7 win against #20 Colorado and a close 10-8 loss on the road against #16 USC (California). The Wolverines hope to carry some momentum in their next three matches against Vanderbilt, Cincinatti and Denver before their first conference matchup against Rutgers on March 20th.

2020 Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament Coverage on BTN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2020

Semifinals and championship game to air live on BTN and the FOX Sports app

CHICAGO, Ill. – With the bracket set for the 2020 Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, BTN today announced its coverage plans for the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game taking place over the next three weeks.

This weekend, Ohio State, Michigan and Minnesota will have home ice for three best-of-three quarterfinal series. The Golden Gophers will host Notre Dame with Friday and Sunday’s coverage appearing on FS2 and the FOX Sports app (if FS2 is included in your cable package), while Saturday night’s game will be on Fox Sports North Plus and BTN+. All quarterfinal games between Ohio State and Wisconsin, as well as Michigan and Michigan State, will be streamed live on BTN+.

Top-seeded Penn State earned a bye into the single-elimination semifinals, scheduled for March 14-15. Times are yet to be determined, however the highest-seeded team advancing from the quarterfinals will host the second-highest advancing seed, while the lowest-seeded advancing team will play at Penn State. Both semifinal games will be televised live on BTN and the FOX Sports app.

The championship game will take place on either March 21 or 22, once again airing live on BTN and the FOX Sports app.

2020 BIG TEN HOCKEY TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS
March 6-8 | Best-of-three series 
#7 WISCONSIN AT #2 OHIO STATE
Game 1:  Friday, March 6 – 7 p.m. ET – BTN+
Game 2:  Saturday, March 7 – 7 p.m. ET – BTN+
Game 3 (if necessarySunday, March 8  – 7 p.m. ET) – BTN+

 #6 MICHIGAN STATE AT #3 MICHIGAN
Game 1:  Friday, March 6 – 7 p.m. ET – BTN+
Game 2:  Saturday, March 7 – 7 p.m. ET – BTN+
Game 3 (if necessary)Sunday, March 8  – 5 p.m. ET– BTN+

#5 NOTRE DAME AT #4 MINNESOTA 
Game 1:  Friday, March 6 – 8 p.m. ET – FS2 and the FOX Sports app
Game 2:  Saturday, March 7 – 8 p.m. ET – FOX Sports North PLUS and BTN+
Game 3 (if necessary)Sunday, March 8 – 7 p.m. ET – FS2 and theFOX Sports app

SEMIFINAL COVERAGE
March 14-15 – Timing TBD – BTN and the FOX Sports app

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME COVERAGE
March 21 or 22 – Timing TBD – BTN and the FOX Sports app

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