With each wrestler that walked onto the mats at the state individual wrestling finals, there is a story of hard work, dedication as well as triumph and heartbreak.
Four out of the past five years, the Sparta Spartans girls basketball team has ended Tri County’s season in districts play. On Wednesday, the Vikings looked to anything to buck the trend, including having their coach wear an ugly tie. “I reverted back to wearing the tie from 1994 that I wore when I interviewed at Tri County,” laughed Vikings coach Chris Overbeek after his team won 46-33 to advance to the district finals against Grant Friday. “We were just looking for anything, any sort of competitive advantage, to change things up a little bit. I told the girls that it’s so ugly that this was just something for Sparta.”
Though the Tri County Vikings boys basketball game against Fremont was all but lost, there was one person who came into the game that lifted the spirits of everyone in the gymnasium Friday. With 2:30 minutes left in the game and the Fremont Packers up by 20, 18-year-old Andrew Houghton’s name was called by Vikings coach Josh Delameter to check into the game. As Houghton walked onto the court, fans in the gymnasium applauded and roared as his name echoed from the announcer through the speakers.
The Tri County competitive cheer team is headed to the state finals this Saturday. The 18-member Vikings team clinched a spot in the eight-team Division 3 finals by finishing fourth in Saturday’s regionals at Rockford High School. The top four teams from that regional advanced to the state finals.
A total of 21 local wrestlers are going to The Palace of Auburn Hills to try to win a title. All 21 finished fourth or better at their individual tournaments across the state and will move on to wrestle at The Palace for the final time March 2 to March 4.
In the District 18, Division 3 competitive cheer finals Saturday, the host team, Comstock Park, took first place while Tri County finished second and Belding finished sixth.
As the youngest sibling in her family, Julia Hauenstein hasn’t had much chance to be a “big sister.” However, on Wednesday, she did, at least for a little while. As many as 70 youngsters from Howard City’s Early Childhood Center, ranging from 3 to 4 years old, filed into the center’s Edge gymnasium and were greeted by several players from both the Tri County girls and boys basketball team Wednesday, an outreach event to introduce youngsters to engage in school activities, says co-coordinator Dave Princer, who broadcasts Vikings sports through Michigan Sports Radio.
It was a series of near misses, but in the end, Kelloggsville bested Tri County in the first round of the Divison 3 wrestling regionals 39-31 Wednesday.
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.
Tri County’s boys basketball team was close for a half of basketball Friday night. Then the second half started and it was all downhill. The Vikings were outscored 25-7 in the third quarter and lost 64-39 to the Chippewa Hills Warriors Friday night.