A switch from Class C to Division 3 in the MHSAA shakes things up a bit for the fall of 2018. Here’s a look at what teams should be among the top contenders to claim the state championship in Division…
A switch from Class C to Division 3 in the MHSAA shakes things up a bit for the fall of 2018. Here’s a look at what teams should be among the top contenders to claim the state championship in Division 3.
Bronson: The three-time defending champs in Class C will now look to add a fourth straight title as part of Division 3. The Vikings definitely won’t be lacking in talent, as they return three First Team All-State selections from last fall. 2019 hitter Ashton Wronikowski and libero Kiera Lasky join 2020 hitter Keona Salesman as the team’s leaders. They also will have back honorable mention All-State hitter, 2019’s Jolie Smoker. The championship pedigree of the program, combined with the experience it will return makes the Vikings the team to beat once again.
St. Mary Catholic Central: The 2014 Class C champs and 2015 runner-up could be another top contender in Division 3 in 2018. The Kestrels will return a pair of First Team All-State honorees in 2019 libero Abby Jackson and 2021 outside hitter Mikayla Haut. They are joined by 2019 middle hitter Maddie Haut to make for a talented trio. The Kestrels took Bronson to four sets in the quarterfinal and have the potential to chase the Vikings for the title this season.
Charyl Stockwell Academy: The Sentinels had a great 2017, but lost in the district opener to eventual Class C runner-up, Laingsburg. The 2018 season could be the year for Charyl Stockwell Academy to make a run deep into the postseason. Leading the charge will be 2020 hitter and setter Paige Gallentine, who was a First Team All-State selection as a sophomore in 2017. The Sentinels will also return 2019 libero Theresa Kehn while 2021 hitter and setter Jenna Vaske will play a bigger role.
Schoolcraft: Ranked in the top 5 of Class C for most of 2017, the Eagles lost in the regional final to Bronson in five sets. While losing some strong outside hitters in Brooke Crissman and Paige Gebben, the Eagles will bring back 2020 hitter Andelyn Simkins as well as 2021 setter Kayla Onken. Onken’s play should help the other hitters develop quickly to compliment Simkins, who was a First Team All-State selection in 2017. Being so close to upsetting Bronson last season, the Eagles will be plenty motivated in 2018.
Calumet: Calumet has reached the semifinals the last two years, doing so last year behind a senior-led group. The Copper Kings have established a winning program, but will be challenged with replacing two All-State players and five All-Region players that graduated. 2019 outside hitter Celia Kiilunen will be the focal point and vocal leader in 2018 for Calumet. The question is now, will this be a rebuilding year for the Copper Kings, or a reloading year?
Other contenders: Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, Laingsburg, Rogers City, Unionville Sebewaing, Cass City, Traverse City St. Francis, Charlevoix