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N-H sportswriter looks back on his favorite moments of 2013-14 PHOTO GALLERY
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Whether it was a hot day in August, a chilly night in October, a sold-out gym in February or a sun-splashed track in May, 2013-14 was full of top-notch performances and memories that will last a lifetime for the players and fans.
As a sports reporter for The News-Herald, I usually have a chance to get close to the action. Aside from the view it offers, I get to capture the raw emotions throughout a game, meet or match and see just how much the sport really means to the players and coaches.
With that in mind, I decided to pick some of my favorite moments from the events I personally covered this past season.
It certainly wasn’t easy to narrow it down to just a few, as there are countless more than what I listed, but it would have been impossible to name them all.
Below are some my favorite moments of the 2013-14 season, organized by sport.
Week 6 Woodhaven at Trenton – What a Friday night this was. My assignment was Woodhaven at Trenton and just as a tie game looked to be headed for overtime, Warriors’ quarterback Niko France ran in a 63-yard touchdown as time expired. On this night, the out-of-town scores also had everyone at the game buzzing as news came in that Lincoln Park snapped its 66-game losing streak, Allen Park upset Truman and Carlson made a strong bid to upset Melvindale.
Roosevelt vs. Detroit King regional playoff- After rolling to a district title, the undefeated Bears faced King with a trip to the state semifinals on the line. While the locals ultimately fell by a score of 6-0, the atmosphere in Wyandotte was electric for this game as two heavyweight programs, both with Division 1-bound players, battled it out right down to the final seconds.
Divine Child at Riverview district playoff – With the season on the line for both teams, this one was about as intense as it gets. At the end of regulation the score was tied 2-2. It went on to take two 10-minute overtime periods and a pair of shootouts before Riverview came away as the winner, thanks to a Tyler Hunt goal and some big-time stops from goalkeeper Morgen Gardocki.
Inter-City vs. University Liggett regional title game – Playing for the regional championship, at Bishop Foley, the Chargers and Liggett faced off in an intense match that went 100 minutes without a goal and needed two shootouts to decide the winner. Despite the strong effort from Inter-City, it was Liggett that eventually carried off the regional trophy when it was all said and done.
News-Herald Meet – While some area cross country teams compete in different leagues throughout the season, the N-H Meet is a chance to see them battle it out at the same event. I covered the boys’ side of the event for the day and watched as only one point separated Woodhaven (51) and Roosevelt (50) for the boys’ title, with the Warriors’ Logan Kleam first overall and the Bears’ Jake Coulter in second.
News-Herald Meet – This year’s N-H Meet saw the Carlson girls take down defending champ Trenton for the title, with big days from Amanda Cameron, Tessa Glover, Olivia Trombley and Amelia Yacko. For Grosse Ile, Abby Miklos won the 500 freestyle for the fourth consecutive time, making her only one of two athletes to ever accomplish the feat.
Kennedy beats Truman – After getting out to a 12-0 start to the season, the powerful Cougars squad ran into in-city rival Kennedy and took their first defeat of the year, falling 57-46. Truman did go on to win the league title, however, as they beat Kennedy in the next league matchup and later crushed them in districts.
Melvindale’s Saeed hits 7 triples – Heading into this game, the Jags had a better record (9-6, 7-5 DRL) than the Cards (5-9, 5-7 DRL), but on this particular night, Wissam Saeed got the hot hand and couldn’t miss. Before it was over, he knocked down seven threes and scored 24 total points in Melvindale’s 51-40 victory.
Huron beats Grosse Ile for district title – While I only covered girls’ basketball during the playoffs, I got to see one of the better games involving Downriver teams. The Red Devils jumped out to a 14-0 lead in this game against Huron and early on it looked as if they’d coast to the district championship. Instead, the Chiefs charged back and behind 18 points from Savannah Floyd went on to win 47-45 and moved to regionals.
Click here for Frank's Tout videos from the 2013-14 season
Hillman breaks school record – At an early-season quad with Trenton, Anderson and Allen Park, I got to see Woodhaven’s Derek Hillman earn his 164th career win, which snapped the Warriors’ school record for victories. Hillman, went on to finish with 180 victories for his career and was a runner up at the state meet.
Regionals – At Division 1 regionals, hosted by Woodhaven, 10 area wrestlers qualified for the state finals, with Woodhaven’s Derek Hillman (189) and Anderson’s Logan Parks (140) winning regional titles that day. While at the D1 regionals, Downriver fans there were also excited to find out that 12 area wrestlers in Division 2 qualified for states and one in Division 3.
Trenton wins state title – With an easy 8-3 win against Hartland, I got to see the Trojans claim their 14th state title. A lasting image from this day will always be Trenton’s Mitchell Galea skating around during the post-game celebration with a bloody face and a Trenton flag draped over his shoulders.
Hodgson scores five goals – To kick off the season, Richard’s Michael Hodgson scored five goals in a 6-1 victory win Huron. It would be a sign of things to come, as Hodgson scored 54 goals this season and finished with 80 points for a Pioneers team reached the state quarterfinals.
Trenton plays in quarterfinal – After winning the region, the Trenton Trojans went on to the state quarterfinals at University of Michigan, where they took on defending Division 2 state runner-up Richmond. While the locals fell 6-1 in the contest, it wrapped up what was a great season, as the squad set a school record for victories with 34 and earned a share of the league title.
Division 1 Regionals – I made the trip to Saline to cover two Downriver teams and a Dearborn squad that had earned a spot at regionals. To start, the Lincoln Park Railsplitters fell only 2-1 to a state-ranked Saline team in the semifinals, while Kennedy knocked off Crestwood 3-2 in the next semifinal. For the championship, Saline got three early runs and hung for the victory against Kennedy, despite an overall strong outing from pitcher Tyler Butzin.
News-Herald Meet – Much like the cross country N-H Meet, the track meet was a chance to see all of our area teams in the same place, despite the league they regularly compete in. I covered the boys’ side and saw Roosevelt dominate with a total of eight gold medals, six of which were repeats from 2013. Roosevelt’s Danny May captured his fourth consecutive 800m and Dominic Davis won his third 3,200m event in as many tries at the N-H Meet. Lincoln Park was second and won four events for the day, with Robert Atwater taking the high jump, long jump and pole vault.
MITCA – For the second consecutive season, the Division 1 Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Team State Championships were held at Roosevelt. Overall, it was great to see many of our local athletes among the state’s best competition. Downriver was represented by the Bears, Lincoln Park and Carlson on the boys’ side and Roosevelt, Woodhaven and Allen Park on the girls’ side. Woodhaven took fifth on the girls’ side, Roosevelt was eighth and Allen Park was 10th, while Lincoln Park was 10th on the boys’ side, Roosevelt 11th and Carlson 12th. Among the elite athletes on the boys’ side was Lincoln Park’s Robert Atwater, who took first in the high jump, second in the long jump, and third in the pole vault, while teammate Joe Decoster was second in the high jump. On the girls’ side, Roosevelt’s Kyanna Evans took second in the 300m hurdles, Woodhaven’s Rianna Castelow, was third in the same event, Allen Park’s Sabrina Williams was third in the 1,600m and Maggie Pawelczyk was fourth in the 3,200m.
Last Updated: 6/20/2014 5:18:07 PM EST