High School

Belding’s Olivia Stephan, right, tangles with NorthPointe Christian’s Kaycee Sluiter during the second half of Friday’s game. The Redskins won 67-47 to improve their record to 8-7 overall. (Sports Pro Images | Jamie McNinch)

Belding shows depth, tenacity in 67-47 win over NorthPointe Christian

After losing its best player to an injury and its head coach to a questionable ejection, one might think Belding would have folded against NorthPointe Christian on Friday. Not so.

Greenville's Paige Hallock, left, and Landon Kemp each signed their letters of intent to play at the college level, with Hallock set to play basketball at Grand Valley State University while Kemp will continue her long jump career at South Dakota University.

HIT THE LINE HARD: Enjoying the hype of committing

This is the time of year I always love, when “National Signing Day” is upon us. I love all the hype of which highly-touted high school football recruit is going where and which team has raked in the most studs and whose team is going to be crazy good next year, or so we think. One of the the trends I’ve gotten caught up in and enjoy watching are the creative announcements these recruits have been posting online lately.

Greenville senior quarterback Cal Syrjala (2) breaks through Belding defenders, juniors Andrew Gonzales (13) and James Daniel (2), en route to scoring a touchdown at Legacy Field in Greenville in last season's rivalry game, in which the Yellow Jackets won 49-6. (File photo)

JUST IN: Greenville-Belding football rivalry on two-year hiatus

The long-standing football rivalry between the Belding Redskins and the Greenville Yellow Jackets will be postponed at least for the next two years, a decision made by Belding Area Schools this week.

Belding’s Alexa Syrjala, in the center of the front row, signed a letter of intent with Siena Heights University run in track and field and cross country for the Saints. Syrjala is surrounded by, from left, in front, sister, Hannah, 9, mother, Lynette Syrjala, and her father, Darin Syrjala; in back, sister, Larissa, 19, brother, Levi, 15, Belding coach John Carlson and Siena Heights coach Kirk Richards. (Daily News | Ryan Schlehuber)

Belding’s Alexa Syrjala commits to Siena Heights for track and field

Alexa Syrjala has something to prove in her last year of running for Belding’s track and field. Despite making all-conference in cross country this past season, the senior wasn’t satisfied with how she did personally. And despite some health ailments that held her back, she strongly believes she can beat some of her personal records now. It’s this mentality and drive that attracted Siena Heights track and field coach Kirk Richards enough to recruit Syrjala to his program.

spt 0131 ward, mitchell 100 wins

Belding’s Mitchell Ward earns 100th career wrestling win

Belding’s Mitchell Ward said he had butterflies when he went for his 100th career win Wednesday. “I was very nervous. I was super-nervous,” he said. “I didn’t want to let anyone down.” Ward didn’t, getting an 11-3 major decision over Wyoming Kelloggsville’s Connor Moore for win No. 100.

After coming off the bench as a freshman for the varsity team last year, Levi Syrjala has matured into a starter and leader for this year’s Belding Redskins basketball team. ““He’s a very versatile player. He has matured not only as a player but also as a person,” said Lynette Syrjala, Levi’s mother.

Syrjala stepping up as one of leaders of young Belding team

On a team still finding itself in a rebuilding year, one player, in particular, is helping to keep all of his teammates together. “He’s the heart and soul of our team,” first-year Belding boys basketball coach Steve Saboo said about Levi Syrjala. The soon-to-be 16-year-old sophomore is in his second year on the varsity basketball team and has been leaned on to take on more of a leadership role on a team that is underclassmen-heavy.

Belding’s Justin McMaster (5) and Trent Collins wrestle the ball away from Kelloggsville’s Alex Guzman in the second half of Friday’s game. (Sports Pro Images | Jamie McNinch)

Despite loss to Kelloggsville, Belding’s bench players stepping up

The Kelloggsville Rockets know all too well what this year’s Belding Redskins team is going through. Though the Rockets (9-1 overall, 5-1 O-K Silver) looked superior in its 77-42 win against the Redskins (2-10, 0-5) Friday, it was only last year that they too had to go through the growing pains to get better as a team.

Belding senior guard Hallee Breimayer scored a game-high 30 points against Kelloggsville Friday. It was two points shy of tying her career-high in points in a game.

Belding’s Breimayer outscores entire Kelloggsville team with 30 in 69-24 win

In a game where one player outscored an entire team, one would think it would be all smiles on the winning coach’s face. Not the case for Connor Hoke. The first-year Belding’s girls basketball coach expected his team to win against an undermanned and inexperienced Kelloggsville team, which they did 69-24 Friday, but what he didn’t expect was his team making the same mistakes they have in past games.

Mikayla Linebaugh pumps her fist in the air as she and Belding volleyball team’s bench celebrate a match point win  against Ithaca in the district semifinal game in November 2016. (Daily News | Ryan Schlehuber)

Belding varsity volleyball coach Mikayla Linebaugh steps down after 15 years

When Belding’s volleyball team clinched its third district title in four years last November, Mikayla Linebaugh darted toward the center of the court, dived to the floor and slid into the open arms of her overjoyed team. It was a prime example of what she brought to the team: Energy, heart, confidence and, above all, passion. After 19 years of coaching volleyball — 15 at the varsity level — Linebaugh has decided to step down from the position, saying that it was just time.

Belding’s Tyler Smith, top, tries to roll over Traverse City West’s Audie Herrera during their 145- pound match at the Sparta Invitational Saturday.

Area wrestling coaches happy with Sparta wrestling invitational

SPARTA — Out of the three area coaches who had teams in the Sparta Invitational wresting tournament Saturday, none said they were really disappointed in their teams. Belding, Lakeview and Tri County were among the 17 teams at Sparta, which was an individual tournament, even though team scores were kept. Belding had one winner. Mitchell [...]