ESCANABA - It's hard to believe another high school sports season has come and gone. Seems like only yesterday we were getting ready for football and volleyball, among other fall activities.
But the calendar shows early July and all that's left are the memories from an exciting last 10 and a half months. From the first cross country, soccer and girls tennis events in August through the state baseball and softball finals two weekends ago, there have been plenty of thrilling games and moments local sports fans will be talking about for a long time.
Here is my list, in chronological order, of the top five games I was fortunate enough to cover from this past high school season.
*September 28, 2009 - The Mid Peninsula volleyball team celebrates its first win of the season, a five-set victory over North Central (27-25, 18-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-7). Mid Pen dressed just eight girls that night and struggled with injuries all season.
*October 31, 2009 - Escanaba edges Cadillac 28-27 in a double overtime Halloween football thriller. Cadillac had taken a 27-21 lead in the second overtime, but Esky blocked the extra point. Mitch VanEffen plowed in from six yards out to tie the game and Travis Villeneuve added the extra point to give the Eskymos the pre-district win. Escanaba would bow out of the state playoffs the following week, losing at West Branch Ogemaw Heights 44-20.
*February 11, 2010 - Bark River-Harris tops Superior Central in girls basketball 56-54 on a shot at the buzzer by Amanda Zawacki. Zawacki grabbed a loose ball off the floor and put it back up as the horn sounded. The ball bounced three times on the rim before settling through the net. I told Zawacki after the game she was my favorite interview and to this day she still is because of the pure emotion she showed me that night when I asked her about the shot.
*March 15, 2010 - Gladstone boys basketball defeated West Branch Ogemaw Heights 55-41 in a Class B regional semifinal at Cheboygan. Ogemaw Heights boasted a tall front line, but it was Gladstone's quickness at the guard position and strong defense which prevailed. Two nights later, Gladstone would fall to Petoskey 65-43 in the regional final.
*June 18, 2010 - The Gladstone softball team came up two wins short of defending their state title with a 2-0 loss to Olivet in the Division 3 semifinals at Battle Creek. Olivet would go on to win the state championship with a 2-1 win over Allen Park Cabrini the next day.
It was extremely difficult to narrow the list to just five as there were many more games I found enjoyable to cover for various reasons.
Thanks to all of the teams, athletes and coaches who made this past high school sports season one to remember. Before too long, the calendar will show August and they'll do it all over again.