BORN: JANUARY 23, 1971, ANN ARBOR, MI
Mark Grimmette is the only area athlete to win an Olympic medal, earning a
bronze and silver in doubles luge, while bringing attention to the community
and the luge run at Muskegon State Park.
He grew up across the street from Muskegon's Winter Sports Complex. Walking in the woods near his home, he stumbled upon the sport one fall when he found construction workers building a luge track near his favorite sledding hill. The group was looking for volunteers to carry boards and pound nails. Grimmette pitched in. It would change the course of his life.
After a ride down the newly created track, the teenager was hooked. The ride would lead him to Lake Placid, NY and training for the Olympics. The quiet, contemplative Grimmette made his Olympic debut in 1994 with partner Jonathan Edwards, placing fourth and narrowly missing out on a medal in Lillehammer, Norway.
Shortly thereafter, he teamed up with Brian Martin of California. Grimmette and Martin took the Luge World Cup circuit by storm in the 1997-98 season, culminating with a bronze medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan — the first-ever Olympic medal for the U.S. in luge. The duo did one better at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, sliding to a surprising silver medal finish.
After a disappointing crash at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy, the 39-year-old Reeths-Puffer graduate and Martin returned for one final Olympic run. Nicknamed "Papa Mark" by his fellow athletes, Grimmette was chosen to carry the U.S. Olympic flag at the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Games in 2010
The duo placed 13th at Vancouver, and shortly after the games Grimmette announced his retirement from competition. With Martin, he had won 65 international medals, including the six bronze medals at the world championships.
In April 2010, Grimmette was named the sports program director for USA Luge.
BORN: August 7, 1931, BEAVERTON, MI
A large number of Muskegon-area racquetball
players submitted a letter to the MASHF board, indicating that if the board
ever decided to honor their sport, that Lynn Hahn should be the first
inductee. The board listened.
Hahn earned widespread respect from all of his racquetball opponents during a career that began in the early 1970s and continued for many, many years. Hahn still enjoys visiting the Omni Fitness Center to visit with his old rivals. Hahn, a Whitehall resident who worked as a chemist at Howmet, said he fell in love with the sport the first time he played it. He began to beat all of his local competitors, so he started competing in state, regional and national competitions — where he made a name for himself with his talent and his sportsmanship.
Hahn's skills made him one of the first two inductees, along with Fred Lewerenz of Birmingham, into the Michigan Racquetball Hall of Fame in 1984. That honor led to the start of the Lynn Hahn Hall of Fame racquetball tournament in Muskegon, but the honor was hardly the end of Hahn's competitive racquetball career. In fact, Hahn said making the hall motivated him further. He remained a force in age-group competitions for most of the past 20-plus years.
One year before the movie "Hoosiers" immortalized tiny Milan High School's
magical run to the Indiana state championship, the Newaygo High School girls
basketball team took its small town on a similar, storybook run to the Class
C state championship.
Not once, but twice.
Newaygo, coached by native son Stan Thomas, stunned the state with a roster featuring no one taller than 5-7 — beating Pewamo-Westphalia for the 1984 Class C title and coming back to knock off favored Detroit St. Martin dePorres (which featured 6-3 center Daedra Charles) for the 1985 Class C state title. In 1984, senior Dawn Bulk and junior Keri Thomas led the Lions to an 18-2 regular season.
Other team members were seniors Kristen Westcott, Sonja Beckman and Sheryl Frye, juniors Sandy Wagner and Doreen Berger, sophomore Kristen Long and freshman Erica Thomas. The Thomas sisters are the daughters of Coach Thomas and his wife, Bonnie. Thomas had previously coached his two older daughters, Jodi and Jacki.
The 1984 Lions roared all the way to the Final Four at Western Michigan University's Read Fieldhouse, where their biggest upset was a 48-46 win over a much taller Flint Academy team in the semifinals.
|1984-85 Newaygo Lady Lions|
In 1985, only four members of the 1984 team — the Thomas sisters, Wagner
and Long — returned, making a repeat state championship seemingly
impossible. That returning foursome was joined by Lori Mauter, Tammy Morton,
Amy Saum and Amy Schenk. Newaygo finished one game better in the 1985
regular season at 19-1, then took off on another run.
The signature win in the 1985 postseason was the 46-43 championship game win over Detroit dePorres, a David vs. Goliath battle and a fitting finish to a truly incredible two-year run for the "Little Lions.
|1985-86 Newaygo Lady Lions|