Evart wrestler, softball team head top 10 sports list for 2022

Reed City sports also recognized

Here’s the top 10 stories of 2022 from Osceola County sports:

1-Cole Hopkins, state champ

It was a perfect wrestling season in so many ways for Evart wrestler Cole Hopkins.

As a junior, Hopkins at 171 pounds was 55-0 with 39 pins/tech falls. He won conference, district, regional and state championships.

In 2021, Hopkins won all of his matches before falling in the state title match. But he wasn’t going to be denied this year.

With a 15-7 victory over Noah Elre of Westland in the Division 4 171-pound division at Ford Field, the Evart junior was crowned state champion in March with a 55-0 record.

2-Evart softball state runners-up

Evart’s softball team came oh-so close to winning a state championship in the spring, falling 3-2 in extra innings to Millington in the Division 3 state championship game at Michigan State University.

It was the Wildcats’ first appearance in a softball state championship game.

“We’re second place out of all the Division 3 teams in the state,” Evart coach Amanda Brown said. “That’s a big deal. I think we did surprise people. It wasn’t until we talked about it in practice that we had lost last year in nine innings in the regionals and would want to come back next year. They did it and they should be very proud of themselves.”

The Wildcats were 14-0 as Highland Conference champions and won district, regional and league titles. They had a 33-9-1 overall record and Brown was the Pioneer Dream Team coach of the year and the squad was the Team of the Year.

The leader of the team was All-Stater Addy Gray, who had 252 strikeouts with a 1.519 ERA and a .420 batting average with 49 singles, five doubles, nine triples and 30 RBIS.

3-Reed City football state semifinalists

The Reed City Coyotes won a share of the CSAA football title and were Division 6 district and regional champions. They lost 13-12 to Negaunee in the state semifinals.

For Reed City, a 6-0 win over Millington secured the regional title.

“This team made goals on the first day of practice and they have almost hit every goal they made,” Reed City coach Scott Shankel said. “They are the second team in school history to win a regional title.”

There were many standouts including Seth Jackson, Bryson Hughes, Noah Morgan, John Ondrus, Caleb Hetrick, Carter Gawne, Kyle Crusan, Logan Langworthy, Spencer Hansen, Aiden Storz, Teddy Szymanski, Max Hammond and Xavier Allen. 

Reed City threw for over 700 yards, and rushed for nearly 4,000 with 52 touchdowns on the ground and 13 in the air and the defense was very stingy.

4-Evart football district champs

The Evart Wildcats won the school’s first district title ever and came up barely short of a regional crown, losing 34-33 at Iron Mountain.

Cole Hopkins rushed for 1,247 yards (8.8 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns and had 221 yards receiving and two scores. He was the leading tackler on defense with 97 tackles, two sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. 

Preston Wallace led the entire state of Michigan in touchdown passes with 32, amassing 2,337 yards passing and completing67 percent of his passes.

5-Reed City baseball district champs

It was an impressive championship season for the Reed City baseball team, which won conference and district titles and advanced to the regional title game before calling it a season.

Eric Grannis was in his second season of coaching the Coyotes, who had a 22-15-1 overall record and 11-2-1 Central State Activities Association Gold Division title record.

There were plenty of standouts on the team, but leading the way was Pioneer Dream Team player of the year Max Hammond, a sophomore.

For Reed City, Hammond had a .419 batting average with 52 hits, eight homers, 37 RBIs, 51 runs scored and 16 steals. As a pitcher, he went 56 innings and had a 9-3 record, only allowing 13 earned runs while walking 35 and striking out 128. His ERA was 1.615.

6-Reed City boys cross country, state qualifiers

It was an historic season for the Reed City boys cross country team, which brought home its first conference title since 1983. 

Winning the CSAA championship meet in rainy and windy weather, the Coyotes saw runners place second with Gus Rohde and eighth with Anthony Kiaunis in the final jamboree of the season. Reed City won with a team score of 62, beating Central Montcalm.

7-Change in Reed City boys basketball coaches

Reed City started and ended the 2021-22 boys basketball season with coach Steve Ernest, whose father Jerry coached the Coyotes to the 1980 Class C state title. Ernst resigned at the end of the season and was replaced by Brennan Walsh, how had been serving as an assistant in Big Rapids.

8-Evart girls basketball team wins 15 games

The Wildcats had a solid 15-7 record for the 2021-22 girls basketball season, led by Addy Gray with 14.9 points per game. Coach Matt Tiedt resigned from the position and was replaced by Carrie (Isanhart) Kunkle who led Evart to a state runner-up finish in the 1980s as a player.

9-Change in athletic directors for Pine River

Athletic director Shawn Ruppert retired from Pine River but indicated he would stay on as baseball coach. He was replaced as AD by Terry Martin.

10-Reed City wrestlers start off strong

Reed City’s wrestling squad started off the 2022-23 season strong, led by returning All-Stater Bryson Hughes, who got his 100th career win during the 2021-22 season.