Reed City football team top sports story for 2017

Reed City coach Monty Price has his team ready for Menominee.
Reed City coach Monty Price has his team ready for Menominee.

REED CITY — Plenty of memorable sports stories occurred in 2017. Here’s a top 10 listing for 2017:

1-Reed City football: It was another championship season for Reed City’s football team, but this season, it went one step higher. The Coyotes and coach Monty Price won their seventh straight Central State Activities Association Gold Division title. They claimed their third district title in the last four years and defeated long-time Upper Peninsula nemesis Menominee for the regional crown. The season ended with an 11-2 record at Greenville in the state semifinals with a 29-14 loss to Saginaw Swan Valley.

Running back Phillip Jones and lineman Anthony Pelton earned all-state first-team honors.

2-Reed City baseball: Coach Marty Schaffer’s Reed City baseball team enjoyed a banner season with a share of the CSAA Gold Division title and a Division 3 district championship. The Coyotes, led by the one-two pitching punch of Logan Straub and Hunter Morrison, went to extra innings with West Catholic in the regional finals before losing to the Falcons, 3-2.

3-Reed City basketball teams: The Reed City boys and girls basketball teams have both gotten off to impressive starts for the 2017-18 season. Coach Brian Koopman’s Coyotes, led by Emily Libey and Kamryn Myers, were 6-0 heading into the break and ready to take on CSAA Gold challenges in January from other league powers like Big Rapids and Central Montcalm.

Coach JJ Eads’ boys team lost to Cadillac in its opener but has won three in a row including impressive wins over CSAA powers Fremont and Newaygo. Senior Karsten Koopman had a career high 32 points vs. Newaygo.

4-Reed City-Pine River renovation projects: Previous millage approvals meant renovation work at Reed City and Pine River including new sports facilities. Both Reed City and Pine River football facilities now are surrounded by new tracks. Renovation work at Pine River included a new gym floor, new bleachers and a new wrestling room attached north of the cafeteria.

5-Pine River basketball teams: Both Pine River basketball teams won district titles. The girls squad, led by cousins Julie and Kiera Justin, won their first regional game and lost in the finals to Hemlock. Coach Shawn Ruppert announced later he would be stepping down from the position as he moved into the athletic director’s spot. He will continue as baseball coach.

The Pine River boys, led by Hunter Esiline and Mason Powell, won the district title. The Bucks football team had made it to the state semifinals the previous year and boys basketball practices were delayed. But the basketball team, which features several seniors, finally caught fire.

6-Evart track team wins regional meet: The Evart boys team had another strong outdoor track season and won the regional title. The Wildcats again had a strong distance team with the likes of brothers Alex and Austin Hamilton and Josh and Nathan Woods. Other Wildcats such as Danny Griffin, Cody Pritchard and Kyle Stokes also had strong seasons.

7-Reed City cross country seasons: In past years, Reed City had problems fielding full cross country teams. The 2017 season was different with the Coyotes not only able to field full teams for boys and girls, but having plenty of quality. Three of the runners qualified for the state finals with Abbigail Kiaunis for the girls and Brandon Worth and Calvin Rohde for the boys.

8-Evart volleyball coach: The student body, school district and community rallied around varsity volleyball coach Katie Nostrant who has been battling cancer. Nostrant coached the 2016 season after suffering a stroke and continued her duties in 2017 while dealing with cancer.

9-Pine River wrestlers: It was another strong season for coach Tim Jones and the Pine River Bucks, who advanced to the state semifinals for the second straight season.

10-Austin Hamilton, all-stater: Evart’s Austin Hamilton was a cross country all-stater. He was 28th at the Division 4 state finals in 17:06.