Greenville’s Stephan Hilliker, above, works Forest Hills Eastern’s Ryan Roth into position for a pin during Saturday’s state individual districts tournment in Lowell. Hilliker would get the pin 1:44 into the match, giving him a district title in the 125-pound division. (Sports Pro Images | Jamie McNinch)

30-plus local wrestlers qualify at weekend individual districts

As the dust settles from Saturday’s state individual district tournaments, as many as 33 wrestlers qualified for the next round, the regionals, which will be next Saturday. The Carson City-Crystal Eagles, wrestling out of the 27-4 Hesperia district, saw 10 wrestlers qualify, which is the most among the area schools, followed by Greenville, which had eight qualify. Belding had six qualify while Tri County and Montabella each had four wrestlers who finished fourth or better to qualify for regionals. Central Montcalm finished with two qualifiers and Lakeview with one.

Belding’s Simone D’Errico goes up for a shot as teammate Josh VanDyke (10) opens up the lane for him against NorthPointe Christian Friday. (Sports Pro Images | Jamie McNinch)

Redskins fight all four quarters, fall short to Mustangs 34-27

  BELDING — “Under the weather” would describe the Belding boys basketball team, both in health and in shooting Friday night against NorthPointe Christian. In a low-scoring 34-27 loss to the Mustangs, the Redskins were playing without four of their players owing to sickness, while most of the rest of the team battled symptoms. Belding [...]

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.

By Ryan Schlehuber

HIT THE LINE HARD: What’s wrong with second favorites?

I have been a fan of all the Detroit pro sports teams all my life. But I also have second favorites. For some reason, that doesn’t sit well with others. I remember the very day I became a New England Patriots fan … are you done gasping? Ok. So, as I was saying, I remember the day I became a New England Patriots fan. It was the 1985-86 Super Bowl. If you can’t recall, they were thumped by the Chicago Bears 46-10.

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.