2017-12-28 / Sports

2017 Rewind: Hardwood heroes top the list

Glen Lake girls cap memorable season at Breslin

Editor’s note: Following is a list of our top 10 sports stories of 2017:

# 1

MARCH MADNESS

What a mad, mad month it was.

Leelanau County basketball teams captured three of four possible district championships in March — and added a regional title for good measure.

That regional title, of course, came courtesy of the Glen Lake girls.

The upstart Lady Lakers knocked off Class C powerhouse Traverse City St. Francis en route to a state semifinal appearance at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, where they would drop a 64-51 decision to Pewamo-Westphalia.

The Suttons Bay boys also made the most of their postseason, upsetting Frankfort in the district tournament and Bellaire in the regional. The Norsemen lost to Class D runner-up Buckley in the regional title game 56-37. Dream Team MVP Xander Okerlund and the Glen Lake boys won the other district title with a win at St. Francis.


GLEN LAKE basketball players celebrate their 63-52 quarterfinal win over St. Ignace in Gaylord on March 14. GLEN LAKE basketball players celebrate their 63-52 quarterfinal win over St. Ignace in Gaylord on March 14. Conference championship winners were the Glen Lake girls, Northport boys and Northport girls — who hadn’t won a league crown since 1976.

# 2

COACHING CHANGES

The Leelanau County coaching carousel spun often in 2017.

It started with Northport girls basketball coach Casey Wilcox, who stepped down in February amid a nine-game win streak. Leon Chimosky replaced Wilcox as the interim coach.

From there, coaching changes came fast and furiously.

Suttons Bay hired Dan Durkin as its 8-man football coach in April. Glen Lake girls golf coach Paul Christiansen retired in May, as did Northport boys basketball coach Dave Ginsberg. Dan Stowe replaced Ginsberg in June. Suttons Bay girls basketball coach David Wheelock stepped down in June. Jim Champion was named the North Bay girls basketball coach in August. Also in August, Glen Lake boys and girls soccer coach Andy Smith moved to another school district; Jared Boynton replaced him in time for kickoff. Lastly, St. Mary boys basketball coach Clint Couturier took a new job in September; Jim Dybevik replaced him in November.

# 3


LELAND SOCCER coach Joe Burda hoists the District 104 trophy following a 1-0 win over Elk Rapids in Maple City. Burda’s boys finished 23-2. LELAND SOCCER coach Joe Burda hoists the District 104 trophy following a 1-0 win over Elk Rapids in Maple City. Burda’s boys finished 23-2. TURF TALKS

A near-milliondollar decision was made official in June as the Glen Lake Board of Education voted to enter a contract with AstroTurf for the installation of a turf field.

Not all parents and community members were thrilled with the decision. Some argued the funds, which were estimated at $839,488, should have been spent elsewhere.

Emotions certainly ran high at the June 12 school board meeting as a handful of public commenters pleaded their case.

# 4

NORTH BAY

The landscape of prep sports on the peninsula changed after decisions were made to bring all but two Northport sports — boys basketball and volleyball — under the Suttons Bay umbrella.

Declining enrollment played a key role in those decisions.

Year one of the North Bay girls basketball program began late last month. The team is 3-3.

# 5

PLAYOFFS?!

For the first time in 16 years, both- Leelanau County football teams won a playoff game.

NMFL Leaders Division champion Glen Lake knocked off previously unbeaten Boyne City 28-7 in the first round before losing 13-0 at St. Francis in the district title game.

Suttons Bay, meanwhile, won its first-ever 8-man playoff game 38-24 over visiting Wyoming Tri-Unity. The Norsemen fell 58-26 to eventual 8-man Division 1 state champion Central Lake in the regional final.

# 6

LADY EAGLES FLY

St. Mary girls made Lake Leelanau proud in the spring and fall sports seasons with impressive postseason showings in softball and cross country.

The small-ball-savvy softball team posted a 7-2 win over Glen Lake in the district final before falling 4-1 to Rogers City in the regional semis. The Lady Eagles finished 23-10.

St. Mary girls didn’t have to wait long for a regional title, however. The Eagles won the regional cross country meet and turned in a sixth-place team finish in the Division 4 finals.

# 7

DECKING THE HALLS

Two Leelanau County coaches received top honors from their respective coaching associations in 2017.

The Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association (MIGCA) Hall of Fame Committee included Suttons Bay coach Todd Hursey on its list of inductees at the selection meeting in November, and the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association (MHSSCA) announced in December it would induct Glen Lake coach Gary Galla to the MHSSCA Hall of Fame.

Both coaches will join their respective halls of fame in 2018.

# 8

COMETS CATCH FIRE

Dream Team MVP Cobe Lund led the way this fall as the Leland boys soccer team put together one of the best seasons in program history.

Leland captured its fifth straight conference crown, won the district and appeared in the regional title game, losing 1-0 to Northwest Conference rival Buckley in penalty kicks (4-1).

The Comets finished 23-2.

# 9

UNDRAFTED, UNRUFFLED

The sheriff’s son had a heck of a year on the mound.

Elmwood Township product Walter Borkovich, a pitcher, posted the lowest ERA in the Big Ten as a senior member of the Michigan State baseball team — but all 30 teams passed on him in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Borkovich joined the Atlanta Braves organization as a free agent in June, however, and promptly made his presence felt. He worked his way up from the GCL Braves to the organization’s advanced rookie-league affiliate, the Danville Braves, and later pitched for the Rome Braves. His ERA through 16 total appearances and 27.1 innings of minor-league ball was 2.30.

# 10

NEXT-LEVEL LAKERS

Seven Glen Lake student-athletes signed with college programs in 2017.

Football player Duke Angers started things off for the Class of 2017 by choosing Saginaw Valley State in January. Softball player Kelly Bunek signed with Lansing Community College in February, and baseball player Jared Jackson did the same in March while teammate Jacob Penny chose Kalamazoo Community College. Football player Ryan Nadlicki made his decision in March, as well, going with Alma College. Glen Lake classmate Nichole Cox, who made her choice in 2016, joined the college golf ranks at Bowling Green this fall.

Cade Peterson, a football player who will graduate in 2018, verbally committed to Grand Valley State in July.

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