2017-01-05 / Sports

Big, bold, ridiculous predictions

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff

Last week, we took a trip down memory lane and looked at the top 10 Leelanau County sports stories of ‘16.

That was the easy part.

This week, we’ll take a peek into the proverbial crystal ball and try to predict some of the top stories on tap in 2017.

If nothing else, let the preliminary prognostication serve as bulletin-board material, validation or simply something to laugh at in 12 months:

No. 1: The Glen Lake boys basketball team wins two titles. The lengthy backcourt duo of Xander Okerlund and Cade Peterson leads the Lakers to a one-loss season in league play, giving Buckley and Glen Lake a share of the Northwest Conference crown. The Lakers then top Traverse City St. Francis for the district championship on a “Space Jam” dunk from Peterson as time expires in the fourth quarter.

No. 2: Thomas Hursey has a huge year in multiple sports. Hursey closes out his junior campaign averaging more than 20 points per game, leading all Leelanau County basketball players in scoring. The junior then proceeds to put together his best year on the links, winning the Northwest Conference golf title. Lastly, he blossoms into a star tennis player, earning a spot on the Fall Sports Dream Team for good measure.

No. 3: Northport more than doubles its 2015-16 win total. Casey Wilcox and the Lady Wildcats continue to win games this winter, finishing with 14 wins. The team also plays every game on the schedule as snowed-out games become a thing of the past.

No. 4: The St. Mary softball team wins a district championship. Coach Teresa Szur leads the Lady Eagles to another 25-win season thanks to a heavy-hitting lineup led by senior Emily Holmes. The sophomore trio of Alexandra Kirt, Shannon Popp and Jenna Sumner also picks up where it left off with a monster year at the plate, landing some sort of “three-headed monster” nickname in doing so.

No. 5: Leland advances to the state championship. Allie Martin, Ella Siddall and Rowan Wilson and the Comets recapture the Northwest Conference volleyball title, roll through districts and regionals, and win at least one game at Kellogg Arena. Additionally, the Leland student section replaces its lucky dog portrait with a broom mascot to prepare opponents for impending postseason sweeps.

No. 6: St. Mary cross country runners return to Michigan International Speedway. Hanna Grant breaks her school record and the speed barrier, Lexi Schaub turns in a top-10 regional finish and the Lady Eagles crack the top three at regionals for a second straight year. Book it.

No. 7: Last but not least, Leland and North Bay share first place. Brett Dyer goes nuts with a 35-goal season for North Bay and Nick Saffell has a breakout year for the Comets but the teams split their regular season series and tie atop the Northwest Conference. A rule change allows the teams to break the tie in a special penalty shootout, which also finishes in a tie.

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