We had a great turnout for the winter sports update from AD JT Hogan of Spring Lake Schools.  Prior to the presentation of coaches and athletes, a couple matters of keen interest were mentioned:  Our Liberian vehicle project has finally come to fruition, with the delivery of a new Land Rover type vehicle to an accessible location not far from the Clinic it will service.  Hoorah for Ernie Petrus’ effort, and as Bob Bate used to say when tasked with shipping a Subaru to Trelawny in Jamaica, nothing comes easy, and all the usual delays can be expected…second..Chris Burns reported that a new housing project will be built for qualifying seniors nearby to the Presbyterian Church.   It will be sponsored and developed by Samaritas, and when completed will provide a needed 52 apartment style homes with other amenities to area folks.  Again, what a great addition to our community as in some studies there is a need for over 1000 living units for all area residents.   Having one of the fastest and greatest growth curves for people locating to our area in the State requires being able to accommodate locals and newbies to our beautiful and capable area!
 
Our capable Athletic Director, who is quite familiar with West Michigan as he has served previously in the Allendale School District, and now Spring Lake.  Along with JT, the coaches for Boys Basketball, Bill Core and our own long serving assistant coach Randy White were present with some of their players.  Also, the Boys Swim and Dive Coach was present with several of his younger swimmers, who all were pleasant youngsters trying to do better every day.   The girls swim team and basketball team come to our Rotary Club on the even years, so that explained to some guests why the Boys sports were featured this year.   Last year it was the young ladies..
 
Sports commented on, included the following, besides the focus on basketball play and swimming: 
 
  1. Hockey co-op with Grand Haven, which has 5 Spring Lake boys on the hockey team, which is primarily staffed by Grand Haven Schools players. 
  2. Downhill Ski Team, which has to travel north about 150 miles to find ski conditions for training.   Back in the day (1980’s and early 1990’s skiing was good at Mulligans Hollow and the Grand Rapids hills, but delayed now about a month).  Some of the ski team kids go to Boyne, Crystal, and a couple have ventured to the out West mountains over the holidays.   They  will be well prepared to be competitive when the meets begin, according to the AD.
  3. Cheer Team us doing excellent with the ladies involved setting a School Record for points achieved in competition in Division 2 meets.
  4. Wrestling is really a multi student participation sport in Spring Lake.   There are student athletes competing in every weight class, with backups, and about 30 high school varsity athletes compete.   The JV also is full, and in the lower grades about 60 students practice and compete.  The level of competition at SL continues to outdistance many other schools in the area, a statement of the fact that the students are having fun.
  5. Competitive Dance, as a Club Sport, is doing well and the participants recently brought home a trophy for 2nd place in the Hip Hop category.
 
Introductions were made by Coach Core of his basketball team, which has a record before Friday evening of 3-1 in Conference, tied with Hamilton and Coopersville in the OK Gold division.   Coach Core, who has been the head coach of basketball for several years, and before that the JV coach, has plenty of younger players on the squad.  Also, every game in the Gold division is very competitive.  The team has mostly Juniors, with a couple Seniors and Sophomore players.  The team is fun to coach, and he introduced a few of his players:  Carter Ball, who is the younger brother of the previous Ball Boys.  Carter will be recruited as a student athlete, as he has the qualities that will carry him far in life.  Jack Duggars is an all around student athlete that fits well into the scheme of the basketball plays.   Matt Schlef is a multi sport junior who is a co-captain of the team and brings athletic ability and leadership to the team.   Coach Core is having fun coaching this team and looks forward to their eventual success in the Gold division.
 
Coach Nick Zajac, high school swim coach, introduced some of his swim team members.  Many of us recall when Coach Zajac was coached in Spring Lake by his mother and dad, who both volunteered when he was at Spring Lake about 12 years ago.  There are continual dual and quad meets with other schools and the swimmers from Spring Lake are young, and competitive.  Introduced from the Swim Team were John Wachter, a familiar name to Spring Lakers (4th generation) who is a state champ in shorter course swims.  Also working on their times are Noah Fletcher, a sophomore swimming in the 200 and 400 meter relays, with team standings of top 8 in the state.  The final swimmer introduced was Tyler Edgar, who fills in on many events and is ranked in the conference.   We had the pleasure of sitting at lunch with Noah and Tyler, and believe me that each of these young men are a credit to our School and the swim team!   
 
While some might state that the Swim team is in a rebuilding year, it appears that by the time the conference and state meets are held later this winter, the swim team members will have improved their times and skills to not only obtain their fair share of medals, but also to have set the stage for next year’s swim competitions.  
 
AD Hogan also stated that the SL program has attracted a highly qualified girls swim coach, so the future is bright for the swim teams and some of the spring sports, as many of the participating student athletes in winter sports will also be competing in the spring sports of track and field, tennis, baseball and some club sports.  Overall, about 70% of Spring Lake High School students participate in a student athlete sport, and nearly 100 % participate in organized student non-classroom activities, in addition to their regular scheduled classroom courses.   Thanks for the presentation by all who participated.   The SLCC provided a nice lunch for all. 
 
Several possible members were guests of various members and visitors so just a reminder to continue to invite potential members to our weekly luncheon.  
The 50/50 drawing winners were Lisa Ashcraft and his honor, Tracy Straight!  Sorry Leon and other snowbirds who were not present, and therefore could not win…Maybe next time..
 
Your Scribe,  Tom Boven.   PS…I visited with Pete Sherwood, our elder statesman in SL Rotary, and he may come to a meeting with us if things are favorable for the timing and other events.   For you youngsters, Pete grew up in the home next to mine in Grand Haven, was active around Grand Haven, and flew a fighter jet for the Air Force in Japan and over some unfriendly skies along the western waters off Japan.   Now our grandkids have the privilege of protecting our friendly nations, just as Pete did nearly 60 years ago..