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Beal City's Ty Rollin named Morning Sun 'Athlete of the Year'

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Every school year there are one or two local athletes that seem to make the paper more than most.

In every instance the individual in question is a star athlete who plays multiple sports and excels in every one of them.

About two months back while covering a baseball game at Beal City senior Ty Rollin was called off the field by head coach Brad Antcliff and told to pop a squat on the pine for the remainder of the game as the Aggies had pretty much put the game out of reach in the middle frames.

Camera in hand I took a photo of Rollin sitting on the bench, thinking to myself ‘we’ve taken plenty of photos of Ty over the years but probably never one where’s he riding the pine.’

In truth Rollin has been at the very center of what has been arguably four of the best prep seasons in school history at Beal City, at least in terms of back-to-back-to-back-to-back for the boys programs.

On the football field he was an absolute delight to watch at running back, safety and kicker.

In week six of his freshman campaign he was called up to play for Lou Rau’s varsity football team and promptly took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. Later in the game he returned a punt inside the McBain 10-yardline to set up another score.

This one game kind of foreshadowed what was to come in the next three seasons as Rollin rolled from season to season and got his photo in the paper to the point of ‘Morning Sun poster boy’ status because he was always mired in the middle of the mix.

On the football field he led the Aggie to a record of 42-9 and two appearances in the Division 8 state finals. On the baseball diamond he was nearly unbeatable on the hill as he led Antcliff and company to four straight Highland Conference titles and a record of 128-23. Additionally the Aggies made one Division 4 semifinal appearance (2011) and two appearances in the D4 state title game (2013-14).

Statistically speaking Rollin saved his best for last too as he earned All-State honors in both football and baseball as a senior all while rushing and pitching the Aggies state runner-up status in both.

Considering all his numbers and achievements one Ty Rollin proved to be the best male athlete in The Morning Sun coverage area in 2013-14 and thusly he has earned our ‘Athlete of the Year’ honor.

“You’re expected to give everything you have to it at Beal City and come out with a W,” said Rollin, who also sports a 3.95 GPA. “I pushed myself and my teammates also pushed me, that is the way it works at Beal City. For me it’s hard to see it all end because it was an amazing experience, how many people get to play in four state finals?”

Last fall Rollin earned first-team All-State football honors by rushing for 1,233 yards on 124 carries (9.9 yards per carry) all while scoring 24 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes for 354 yards (21 yards per catch) and had three TDs receiving. Moreover he also started at safety and was the placekicker.

“What separates him from the pack is his work ethic and desire to win,” said Rau. “Not many kids are willing to make the sacrifices he made, I mean after our workouts at school he’d go home and work out some more, how many kids do that? I was lucky enough to coach him for four years and he was like Barry Sanders out there because he could bust out a big play at any time.”

Rollin closed his career with 508 carries for 4,008 yards and 80 touchdowns, all school records. His 7.89 yards per carry also ranks first all time as does his 634 career points.

Over the course of this past winter he averaged 12 points and three assists per game at guard for Cam Gatrell’s team which finished 13-8 and played in one of the toughest districts in the state. He earned first-team All-Highland Conference honors as well.

Then this spring Rollin and the Aggies won a 12th straight conference title and fourth straight district title en route to the D4 baseball final in East Lansing.

For the season he went 13-1 on the mound and finished with a 1.22 ERA. He struck out 95 and walked 29 in 92 innings of work and earned first-team All-State honors for a second straight season. He also hit .453 out of the lead-off spot with 13 doubles, five triples, three home runs, 34 RBIs, 57 runs scored and 28 stolen bases.

“What makes him so good is that he was so versatile at so many positions,” said Antcliff of Rollin, who also played shortstop and some outfield. “Ty brought the total package and he led by example. Basically if he got on base he was going to score. He was our team leader and as much of a coach as I was this year. His desire to be the best is second to none.”

As a four-year player for Antcliff he hit .350 with 164 runs scored and 123 RBIs.

He also had 40 doubles, 13 triples, 11 home runs, 84 walks, 91 stolen bases and was hit by a pitch 22 times.

On the hill he went 30-9 and finished with an ERA of 1.41. He worked 252.1 innings and struck out 290 batters while walking 96.

Rollin owns school records for runs scored in a single-season (57), triples in a season (5) and wins in a season (13).

“For me, I think the fact that this group has been playing sports together for so long really helped,” said Rollin, who plans on walking onto CMU’s baseball team this fall. “The coaches know who’s good at what and puts us in a position to take advantage of that.”

Last Updated: 7/5/2014 3:34:10 PM EST