2011-12 Hall of Fame News
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By Tom Kendra

Legendary Muskegon hockey player and coach Moose Lallo used to tell
fans tongue-in-cheek:

“Don’t clap, throw money.”

Moose uttered that line once again Saturday night as the 1962 Muskegon
Zephyrs, the team he served as player/coach, was inducted into the
Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame. And if the number of cheers
cascading through the banquet room had been dollar bills, each of the
nine members of that team on hand would have left with a wad of cash.

The induction of that championship Zephyrs team was the emotional
highlight as the local hall of fame started its second quarter century
with its 26th annual induction banquet on a picturesque night at
Muskegon Country Club.

“Muskegon is known as a hockey town all across North America,” Zephyrs
team member Warren Back, who spoke on behalf of the team, told the
gathered crowd of 275. “What you have here is very special.”

Joining the Zephyrs in the “Class of 2012” were Fred Storck, Trinity
Townsend, Distinguished Service Award winner Pete Gawkowski and
Student-Athlete honorees Lauren Hazekamp of Fruitport and Jason
Ribecky of Muskegon Catholic.

The new inductees bring the hall’s membership to 101 individuals, nine
teams, 22 Distinguished Service Award winners and 34 Student-Athlete

Here’s a look at the MASHF’s newest members:

Fred Storck
Storck may be 84 years old, but he remembers his glory days of
professional baseball as if it were yesterday.

“My first professional baseball job in Batavia, N.Y., they paid me
$125 a month,” Storck told the crowd. “Heck, I would have done it for
$25 or less.”

Storck, the pride of Muskegon St. Mary’s High School, played 11
seasons of professional baseball, advancing as high as the Triple AAA
level. His ascent to the big leagues was jettisoned when he was
drafted in 1950.

Storck returned to Muskegon after retiring in 1956 and worked 30 years
for the Muskegon Police Department.

Storck and his wife of 62 years, Yvonne, have five children and 14

Trinity Townsend
Townsend’s induction comes as a breath of fresh air amidst the turmoil
in the Muskegon Heights school system.

Townsend was a 400-meter state champion at Muskegon Heights in the
1990s, who went on to be an All-American at the University of Michigan
and to run in the Olympic Trials.

He credited his parents for getting him running down the correct path of life.

“My parents, honestly, were much more interested in the numbers on my
report card than any of my times in track,” said Townsend, who was
joined Saturday at the head table by his brother, Travis.

Both of the Townsend brothers were members of Heights’ award-winning
Quiz Bowl team in the 1990s.

Townsend credited his high school track coach, Mark Belrose, and his
brother for encouraging him to keep running when he wanted to give up.
Travis ran with him every day for a full year in Ann Arbor while
training for the U.S. Track & Field Championships.

Townsend is now an attorney with the King & Spalding law firm in Atlanta.

The 1962 Muskegon Zephyrs hockey team
Warren Back illustrated the toughness of his team during his remarks
on Saturday night, noting that players of that era rarely missed a
game with an injury.

“We got plenty of stitches, but that’s not getting hurt,” Back said,
adding, “I don’t remember ever seeing Ken Hayden (one of the Zephyrs
team members) without stitches.”

The 1962 Zephyrs finished with a 43-23-2 record for 88 points, winning
the International Hockey League’s prestigious Turner Cup championship.
The team was led by two of the IHL’s top scorers in Bryan McLay and
Joe Kastelic, who are both already members of the MASHF and now live
across the street from each other in Muskegon.

The team’s other wingers were Ron Stephenson, Stan Konrad, Ken Hayden
and Claude Boucher. The centers were Lyle Porter, Warren Back and
Larry Lund.

Muskegon only had three defensemen on the final roster, with one of
those being player/coach Moose Lallo, along with Gerry Glaude and Joe
Kiss. The star player in the Turner Cup finals was goaltender Jim

The Zephyrs, who were owned by Jerry DeLise, were the first hockey
team to bring a professional hockey league championship to Muskegon.

Pete Gawkowski
Gawkowski joked he could have catered Saturday’s dinner with Subway
sandwiches, but other than that, it was a perfect evening.

Gawkowski, the owner of 15 Subway franchises in West Michigan,
received the annual Distinguished Service Award for his tireless
support of baseball in the Muskegon area – specifically, his
commitment to the refurbishment of Muskegon baseball’s crown jewel,
Marsh Field.

“I stand up here humbled and somewhat embarrassed by this honor,” said
Gawkowski, a 1969 Muskegon Catholic Central graduate.

Student-Athlete honorees
Jason Ribecky didn’t show up until the very end of the banquet and he
arrived under-dressed, but he had a great excuse.

Ribecky led his Muskegon Catholic Central baseball team to a regional
championship Saturday in Mount Pleasant, then rushed back with his
family for the ceremony still wearing his MCC baseball uniform.

“Sorry to keep you all waiting,” said Ribecky, who thanked his family
and especially all of his teammates, adding, “Without them, I wouldn’t
have had the wonderful experience of high school sports that I had.”

While Ribecky closed out the evening, Lauren Hazekamp of Fruitport
started the night with an emotional speech using each of the letters
in the word SUCCESS.

Hazekamp, who was the setter and leader of the Fruitport volleyball
team which won back-to-back Class B state championships, concluded by

“I have learned a whole new definition of the word success and it’s
not about the trophies or anything like that,” Hazekamp said.


Moyes memories: Muskegon Heights loses an all-time great

By Jim Moyes | Special to The Chronicle
May 28, 2012
Ed Burton, whose basketball scoring record still stands at Muskegon Heights, addresses the crowd when his jersey was retired in 2005. Burton died Monday at 72.

The beleaguered city of Muskegon Heights took another hit today, and the passing of Ed Burton Monday morning may have been the most painful blow of all.  

Arguably this area’s greatest of all basketball players, “Big Ed” led Muskegon Heights to consecutive state Class A titles in 1956-57, eclipsing records during his epic journey that still stand today.

Ed followed in the footsteps of his older brother M.C., both on the hardwoods, and years later, into the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame. 

It was M.C. Burton and the Tigers who collared the first of the three state titles this proud basketball powerhouse earned over a three-year stretch beginning in 1954. 

The 1955 season would be the only year this pair of iconic roundballers would team up on the same high school team, and, oddly enough, was the only Heights team during this unprecedented run when the Tigers didn’t win a state championship.

 Its been well over a half-century since Ed and M.C. last donned a Tiger uniform, and yet the Burton brothers still rank 1-2 in career scoring at the Heights.

 Ed tallied 1143 points during his three-year stint for the Orange & Black, just two points more than brother M.C. scored during his career.

In addition to his still standing career scoring mark, the 6’7 Burton still holds the single season record of 45 points scored in a single game.

Someday, if Muskegon Heights still retains their school, perhaps somebody will eclipse some of Ed’s more than 50-year-old records, but lets put things into proper perspective.

Teams in the Burton era played only 15 regular season games.  And, Muskegon Heights was only a three-year school.  Burton set these still existing records despite missing out playing a possible 30 games--- or more.

This reporter has witnessed many outstanding basketball teams over the years, but none could hold a candle to that great Tiger team in 1957.

After winning the state crown in 1956 with a convincing 10-point victory over Hamtramck, four starters and two other lettermen greeted veteran coach Okie Johnson for the start of the 1956-57 campaign.

Nary a single opponent threw a scare at this great Tiger team as Big Ed and his mates never saw an opponent come closer than 10 points throughout the entire season, a feat unmatched in MHSAA Class A basketball history.

In a quarterfinal romp against Traverse City, in front of a sold out crowd at Central Michigan University, Big Ed Burton put on a show that has yet to be equaled in Greater Muskegon History.  Ed tallied 44 points and pulled down 31 rebounds in the Tiger’s 79-52 thrashing of the outmanned Trojans.

Much ado has been printed over the years of the 1958 state final battle between Detroit Austin and Benton Harbor, featuring a pair of future NBA All Stars in Austin’s Dave Debusschere and the downstate Tigers’ Chet Walker.

Somehow lost in the shuffle over time was the 1957 state final four when Big Ed took both of these future stars to school. Burton and the Tigers polished off Walker and Benton Harbor 74-52 in a semi-final blowout win, and then took care of business in the state final by deposing of Austin 61-49 to claim their third, and final, Class A title.

Ed Burton (55) is pictured with the 1957 Class A state basketball champion Muskegon Heights team after defeating Detroit Austin 61-49 to claim the championship.

Burton was accorded All-State and All-American honors and was eagerly sought by a bundle of major college powerhouses.  Burton accepted a scholarship to Michigan State University, at a time when freshman were not eligible to compete at the varsity level.

However, the college way of life was not agreeable to Burton, and certainly took a back seat to his affection for his sweetheart back home in Muskegon Heights, Queen, who would become Mrs. Ed Burton for more than fifty memorable years.

Ed Burton left the campus of Michigan State to begin a two-year odyssey with the famed Harlem Globetrotters, where he was teammate with two of Basketball’s greatest icons, Wilt Chamberlain and Meadowlark Lemon. 

Following a couple of years with Abe Saberstein’s legendary Globetrotters, Burton became the first Muskegon area player to make it to the NBA when he joined the New York Knicks.

Following a brief tenure with the St. Louis Hawks, Burton would conclude his basketball journey by showcasing his remarkable basketball skills in the Muskegon Area by performing for the fledging Muskegon Panther franchise in the middle 1960’s.

Some of my most compelling moments were spent watching the Burton Brothers during the off-season. I would stay out of harms way when Big Ed and his brother would square off on the Baker Street court.

They were such dominating players that they rarely, if ever, played on the same team.  A team that would have included both Burton brothers would have created a horrific unbalance in talent.

A ferocious rebounder, as well as a dominating scorer, Burton was indeed a Tiger on the court but he was like a little lamb off the hardwoods.

Growing up in the Muskegon area when Burton was in his prime, Ed was the benchmark we all looked up to, not only as a player, but also as a person who was liked by all.

There was one occurrence many years ago when my long time sidekick, and dear friend of Ed Burton, Gene Young, informed me that Young would have to miss a broadcast.

I called Ed and asked him if he would like to take Gene’s place on the microphone for one game.  Following the broadcast Burton mentioned how honored he was to share this time with me on the air.   Ed had it all wrong --- it was me who was honored.

Ed Burton’s high school number of 55 became the first number ever retired at Muskegon Heights.

I truly believe my proudest moment in my many years in sports was when I received the call from Heights principle Danny Smith asking me if I would handle the introduction of Ed Burton’s number retirement.

What an honor!  For Ed certainly, a truly deserving accolade, but a thrill for me as well to be asked to take part in this moving ceremony.

To stand at midcourt and recap some of Ed’s innumerable accomplishments during his basketball career in front of a huge crowd at the new gymnasium was mind-boggling.

“Ed had been in declining health for the past few years, and despite his body taking a downward spiral, his infectious spirit always remained high,” said his pal Gene Young.

Gene was emphatic in today’s phone conversation that Ed should be remembered for being more than a dominant basketball player.  “He was also one of the nicest guy I ever knew.  He was always mild mannered and just a big, warm-hearted guy his many friends will never forget,” replied Young.

I have not been given any specifics as to the date, place, and time for Ed’s funeral arrangements, but I do know --- that with his multitude of friends and admirers--- there isn’t a church big enough to handle the crowd that will want to say their final goodbyes to one of this area’s greatest all time athletes, as well as a great guy and a gentle giant.

We may never again see another like ‘Big Ed.’


Lauren Hazekamp named Muskegon Area Female Student-Athlete of the Year

by Scott Brandenburg | mlive
May 24, 2012

http://hssn-media.advance.net/MLive.com/news/5d55313994b7924e858575f328ee82b2/Lauren%20Hazekamp%20setting.jpg Fruitport setter Lauren Hazekamp was a Miss Volleyball finalist in her senior season.
http://hssn-media.advance.net/MLive.com/news/63796af83cdb63d613eaf57163c3e45e/Lauren%20Hazekamp%20soccer.jpg Lauren Hazekamp has been a force as a midfielder for Fruitport's girls soccer team for four years.

As one looks at Lauren Hazekamp’s list of activities in her busy life a common theme stands out.

When Hazekamp gets involved in something, she’s not just a part of it, she’s leading the way.

Hazekamp was an integral part of Fruitport’s National Honors Society, Student Council and Spanish Club as president, vice-president and president, respectively. The senior is also involved in Student Athlete Leadership Team.

“I always like to be in control,” said the 18-year-old Hazekamp. “I like having control over things that I’m doing. I’ve grown comfortable being in those positions.”

Those watching Hazekamp play sports for the Trojans know all about her leadership capabilities.

Hazekamp’s run as the driving force behind Fruitport’s volleyball, basketball and girls soccer teams has been impressive due to her competitiveness, athleticism and ability to lead.

The combination set Hazekamp apart and led to her selection by the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame as the 2012 Muskegon area Female Student-Athlete of the Year.

Hazekamp will receive the award at the MASHF’s 26th annual induction banquet.

“It feels great,” said Hazekamp of her selection. “It’s kind of like after all these years it ties in all the hard work I’ve put in. I’m very excited.”

Hazekamp is the youngest of Dave and Julie Hazekamp’s four kids.

All of Hazekamp’s older siblings are brothers, and all of them were huge into sports growing up and at Fruitport.

Just because Hazekamp was the youngest, and a girl at that, didn’t mean Dan, Steve or David took it easy on her. Ever.

“I had my experiences,” said Hazekamp, who sported a 4.07 GPA. “I guess it made me tough. I always tried to trail behind them and it was tough to keep up.

“We played anything. It was frustrating at times then, but I guess it helped me now.”

Always trying to catch up and/or match her brothers instilled in her a competitive drive called “relentless” by some.

Hazekamp always wants to win in the worst way, and big deficits just make her dig deeper.

Wins came her way, even in basketball, where traditionally they’ve been hard to come by at Fruitport. The Trojans finished 14-8 this season, a mark which may have been even better had she not missed 13 games due to a broken ankle.

Hazekamp broke her ankle at the beginning of January but made sure to get herself ready to help the team in the postseason.

“Lauren’s a winner,” Fruitport girls basketball coach Bob German said. “I don’t think I’ve met anyone in a very long time who is as competitive as she is. She knows things don’t come by accident. She works hard. She was very determined to make sure she came back to play this season.”

Hazekamp called those basketball games she had to sit out one of the worst experiences ever. She almost needs to be in the middle of the action, which is where she was in every match on the volleyball court.

Hazekamp ran the show as setter, a perfect spot for someone with her competitiveness and determination.

The Trojans made the state finals in three of Hazekamp’s four seasons, including winning the Class B state title in her junior and senior seasons.

It’s no surprise that, outside of the actual finals, Hazekamp’s favorite memories are when her Trojans were challenged by competitive teams such as North Branch and East Grand Rapids but still pulled out the victory in come-from-behind, dramatic fashion.

“I’m lucky to be a part of those moments,” Hazekamp said. “I don’t know how it could get any better, to be a part of games people still talk about.”

In those matches is when Hazekamp shown brightest.

She either kept her team focused, called and delivered the right set to a teammate, picked her spot for a kill as she was known for doing time and again, or contributed with all-out effort for a dig or block.

“We’re going to miss her,” said Fruitport volleyball coach Nicole Bayle, a former Trojan player herself. “As a coach you just hope you have someone like Lauren on your team at some point.  You can’t replace those kinds of athletes. We won’t replace Lauren. I’m just thankful she’s been here with us for four years.”

Hazekamp was selected a Miss Volleyball finalist as one of the top 10 seniors in the state this past season.

Hazekamp will set for Hope College this fall. She’ll pursue a career in physical therapy as well.

The 4-year setter credits teammates and coaches for much of the success at Fruitport.

“I couldn’t ask for anything better when it comes to coaches and the teams I’ve played for,” said the 5-7 senior. “We had a very athletic class. We’re all so competitive. You should see some of our practices. I think that’s what made us good. It wasn’t about ourselves. We wanted to win, and it made us all better players.

“I don’t know how you can choose just one (student-athlete). They’re all talented and they’re all smart. I never could have gotten here without family and friends.”

Hazekamp admitted to having to plan ahead weeks at a time to make sure her busy schedule worked.

While volleyball is where Hazekamp seemed most at home, she equally enjoyed her time on the soccer field.

Hazekamp’s played soccer the longest and has many bonds with teammates built up since she was four years old.

She said she loves soccer, that is has a different atmosphere from volleyball for her, but both were enjoyable.

Just as in volleyball and basketball, Hazekamp is in the middle of the action as a midfielder. Her ability to think the game through and deliver good passes stands out.

Hazekamp says it will be weird adding orange to her uniform next season and finds it hard to believe her high school career is drawing to a close.

“I hope I’m remembered for never giving up,” Hazekamp added. “I hope people could see that and know I was constantly pushing not only myself, but my teammates to make us better.”

Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame
Female Student-Athletes of the Year

Lauren Hazekamp.JPG

Lauren Hazekamp

School: Fruitport

GPA: 4.07

Sports: Volleyball (4 years), Basketball (4 years), Soccer (4 years)

Honors-Awards: 3-time first team all-state in volleyball, Miss Volleyball finalist, 2-time state champ, All-conference in basketball, 2-time all-region in soccer, team captain, Honor Roll, Meijer Scholar Athlete, Academic awards for Advanced Biology, Pre-Calc and History, National Honors Society President, Student Council Vice President, Spanish Club President, Student Athlete Leadership Team, will play volleyball at Hope College and pursue a career in Physical Therapy.


alissa jones.jpgAlissa Jones

School: Muskegon Catholic Central

GPA: 3.45

Sports: Swimming (4 years), Basketball (4 years), Softball (1 year), Track (4 years)

Honors-Awards: National Honors Society, all-state first team in 200 free relay, all-state honorable mention 400 free relay, 11th in state in 50 free, team captain, team MVP, 2-time regional champ in discus, All-Star Invitational discus champ, MHSAA Student Advisory Committee, Sportsmanship Summit Student leader, Women in Sports Leadership student leader, "Battle of the Fans" concept designer, National Honors Society, Green and Gold Honor Roll, YMCA swim instructor, lifeguard volunteer, Anti-bully program leader, Spring Lake Indoor Triathlon female winner, plans to swim for Hillsdale College.


Rachel_Karsten.JPGRachel Karsten

School: Western Michigan Christian

GPA: 4.09

Sports: Basketball (4 years), Soccer (4 years)

Honors-Awards: Grand Haven-area Excellence in Education event, team captain, Heart award, all-state second and third teams in soccer, MVP, Student Council, small group leader, concert choir, chamber choir, chapel praise team, missions trip to Tennessee, youth group, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, summer camp volunteer, Student Ambassador, will attend Wheaton (Ill.) College


Evie Lorimer.JPGEvie Lorimer

School: Spring Lake

GPA: 4.0

Sports: Volleyball (4 years), Basketball (3 years), Softball (4 years)

Honors-Awards: All-Region in volleyball, BCAM all-state honorable mention, all-state in softball, academic all-state, Math Merit Award, Partial Centralis Scholarship, Leadership Institution Scholarship, CMU softball scholarship, Student of the Month, National Honors Society treasurer, Student Council, Live 2 Free, Spring Musical publicity, Interact, Soup for All, Cancer Awareness Fundraiser, Business Persons of America, Vacation Bible School volunteer, signed to play softball at Central Michigan University and study health administration.


Rachel Swartz.JPGRachel Swartz

School: Mona Shores

GPA: 4.025

Sports: Golf (4 years), Basketball (1 year), Softball (4 years)

Honors-Awards: 3-time state champion in golf, 7-time academic all-state, all-state HM in golf, All-Regional and All-Area in softball, MHSAA scholar-athlete award finalist, National Honors Society, Optimist Club, Amnesty International, Kids Involved for Caring for Kids, will study business at Michigan State University.


Muskegon Catholic Central athlete earns Hall of Fame honor

by Mark Opfermann | MLive
May 25, 2012

Greg Lindstrom | Mlive.com
Muskegon Catholic Central linebacker Jason Ribecky chases down a McBain ball carrier in a game during the 2011 football season.
Matt Gade | Mlive.com
Jason Ribecky puts up a shot in a game against Western Michigan Christian. Ribecky was a strong inside scoring threat for the Crusaders.

The look of determination on Jason Ribecky’s face said it all.

He was pouring his heart-and-soul and basket after basket into Muskegon Catholic Central’s game against Southfield Christian in the Class D boys basketball semifinals at the Breslin Center last March.

It was almost if his true grit was going to carry MCC to another victory.

Despite a game-high 37 points from Ribecky, it wasn’t meant to be. The Crusaders came up short, losing 78-74.

Two days later, Southfield Christian rolled to the state championship.

By then, Ribecky had already played in his first game of the season - in baseball.

For his leave-it-on-the-field attitude, will to win and versatility as a three-sport standout, Ribecky was chosen as the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame’s male student-athlete of the year.

Ribecky also carried a 3.24 grade point average and was involved in community service projects. He is the school’s first male athlete to win the honor, which was first awarded in 1996.

Ribecky and female winner Lauren Hazekamp from Fruitport will be honored along with the Hall’s 2012 induction class at a banquet June 9 at Muskegon Country Club.

The boys finalists also included Muskegon's Juwan Lewis, Whitehall's Dillon McCarthy, Hart's Michael Vella and Muskegon Heights' Evan Winston.

“I was shocked when I heard I won it,” Ribecky said. “Being the top male athlete in the area is a great honor.”

Ribecky’s competitiveness and connection with athletics and MCC started at an early age.

The son of Mike and Nancy Ribecky, Jason got involved with youth sports playing everything from basketball and soccer to hockey and football. He rarely remembers a day when sports haven’t been a part of his life, either conditioning, practicing or playing.

His dad played football at Western Michigan University and has been a longtime varsity assistant football coach under Mike Holmes at MCC.

“Mike and I were coaching with each other when Jason was born,” Holmes said. “He was our waterboy in middle school and always around. He played for me for three years and I watched him grow up and develop as a man.”

Jason said his father played a key role in his development as an athlete.

“He’s motivated me all through my sports career,” he said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be getting this award.”

Ribecky said he has a better understanding now for their father-son and coach-player relationship.

“At first, when he’s tough on you, you don’t like It,” Ribecky said. “But when you think about it, it makes you a better player.”

Mike Ribecky and Jason’s older sister, Lisa, are in MCC’s Hall of Fame, but Jason said his dad never made that a driving force for him.

“I felt obligated to keep the family tradition going,” Jason said. “But my dad said that’s just an award. He told me to play as hard as you can and I will be happy for you.”

Whatever the sport, Ribecky took that to heart.

In football, he got called up to the varsity for the playoffs as a freshman and got to play in a reserve role as MCC rolled past Crystal Falls Forest Park 40-0 for the Division 8 state championship in 2008.

He went on to win All-Area honors as a junior and senior and earned team most valuable player and all-state honors as a 6-foot-4, 210-pound linebacker/tight end.

“He was very consistent in his performance and performed well in big games,” Holmes said. “He was with us for three years and stepped in as a sophomore and did an outstanding job.

“He was a leader and that’s not easy when your dad is on the sidelines and the physical presence that he is. Jason became his own guy and did an outstanding job.”

He will play in the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association All-Star Game in June at Alma College.

In basketball, he was all-River Valley and All-Area his final two seasons and received all-state recognition as a center.

“He’s not the most skilled player in basketball, but he’s going to outwork everybody he’s going up against,” MCC basketball coach Dave Ingles said.

Ribecky said basketball is his favorite sport, but believes he’s too small to play the post position in college.

“I like the pace of the game,” he said. “I don’t know why, but it’s the most fun to play.”

Baseball is the sport Ribecky will continue to play in college. The left-handed hitting outfielder has committed to play at Muskegon Community College next year.

“I like the sport because it’s a little more relaxed and not so physical on your body. It’s a great game to play,” he said.

MCC baseball coach Steve Schuitema is expecting Ribecky’s talents to flourish.

“His best baseball days are ahead of him,” Schuitema said. He’s played three sports his whole life. Obviously with his physical attributes, the coaching he’ll get in college and the chance to do it year round, he has a great chance to play beyond community college at a higher level school.”

Before that, Ribecky hopes Muskegon Catholic can make a tournament run in baseball as well. If so, he can say he played at Ford Field, MSU’s Breslin Center and Battle Creek, home of the baseball finals, in addition to his many memories at MCC.

“I’ve been going there my whole life,” he said. “Playing under the football lights, playing in a packed gym, all the people cheering for you is a great feeling. There’s a great fan base at Muskegon Catholic.”

Off the field, Ribecky was known for his playful and upbeat attitude and strong character.

“You’re not going to find a better kid. He’s just a great kid, polite and does the right things,” Ingles said. “That’s how he is all the time. He’s one of my favorite players I’ve ever coached.”

As for his studies in college, Ribecky isn’t sure, but may pursue a career in criminal justice.

“I want to do good for the community and be somebody that can help people and be on my feet,” he said. “I don’t want a sit-down job.”

Ribecky volunteered time in service projects that included handing out meals and food to needy families.

“It was fun to talk with people and brighten their day,” he said.

Another volunteer project was helping with No More Sidelines, which helps disabled youth get involved as participants. Ribecky said he helped children bowl, refereed basketball games and helped set up other events.

“I’ve learned that I have a great life and it doesn’t matter who you are,” he said. “You can have a bunch of fun with whoever you are with.”

Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame
Male Student-Athletes of the Year

Jason Ribecky

School: Muskegon Catholic Central

GPA: 3.24

Sports: Football (4 years), Basketball (4 years), Baseball (4 years)

Honors-Awards: Honor roll, volunteer for No More Sidelines, service projects on feeding needy, All-Area and all-state in basketball, All-Area, all-district, all-region in baseball, All-Area, team MVP and all-state in football, Muskegon Catholic Central Hall of Fame honoree for football and basketball, signed to play baseball at Muskegon Community College

Juwan Lewis

School: Muskegon

GPA: 3.48

Sports: Football (4 years), Track (4 years), Swimming (2 years), Basketball (2 years)

Honors-Awards: National Honor Society board, Big Red band, all-conference, All-Area, all-state, honorable mention All-American for football, signed to play football at Eastern Michigan University

Dillon McCarthy

School: Whitehall

GPA: 3.96

Football (4 years), Soccer (4 years), Wrestling (4 years), Baseball (4 years)

Member of National Honor Society, honorable mention all-conference and All-Area in football; all-conference, All-Area and all-state in soccer; conference and city champion and state qualifier in wrestling, will attend Michigan State University

Michael Vella

School: Hart

GPA: 3.42

Sports: Football (4 years), Basketball (4 years), Baseball (4 years)

Honor roll, chemistry award, coach for youth sports camps, marching and concert band, freshmen mentor, volunteer for No More Sidelines, study hour tutor, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Grace Adventure field trip counselor, all-conference, All-Area quarterback, all-conference, All-Area basketball, West Michigan Showcase athlete nominee, signed to play football at Siena Heights University

Evan Winston

School: Muskegon Heights

GPA: 3.6

Sports: Football (4 years), Track (4 years), Basketball (2 years)

Honors-Awards: Involved with Mercy General Health Partners, Men’s Rescue Mission, Women’s Rescue Mission, Pound Buddies, All-Area, all-state, All-American nominee, signed to play football at Missouri


Snurfer art unveiled, Muskegon's Sherm Poppen inducted into business hall of fame June 7

by Dave Alexander | MLive
May 18, 2012

Muskegon will celebrate the ingeniousness of one of its own, winter outdoor recreation and public art in the downtown all in one event June 7.

Sherm Poppen
is the inventor of the Snurfer and has been
called the "father of snowboarding."

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County will unveil its “The Turning Point” sculpture at 477 W. Western across the street from the L.C. Walker Arena. With Muskegon’s latest public art work, artist Jason Dreweck honors Sherm Poppen – the inventor of the Snurfer.

Speaking at the event will be chamber President Cindy Larsen, Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington, Dreweck and Poppen.

With a water ski and a rope in 1965, Poppen created a winter recreational device that has been given him the title of “father of snowboarding.” For his life-long efforts in Muskegon, the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce will make Poppen its latest member of the Muskegon Business Hall of Fame.

A sculpture unveiling and hall of fame induction will be conducted at Fourth Street and West Western Avenue June 7 at 5 p.m. The chamber will further honor Poppen and his family at a Celebration of Business reception in the nearby Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor after the event.

A portion of the proceeds from the chamber Celebration of Business will benefit the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex at Muskegon State Park.

A Muskegon native, Poppen also has been the owner of Lake Welding Supply Co. in Muskegon, a community leader, Muskegon Lake sailor and major philanthropic contributor through the community foundation.

“The chamber hall of fame recognizes business excellence, innovation and inventions that have made lasting contributions to industry and the community,” Larsen said. “Clearly, Mr. Poppen’s invention changed the course of history in winter sports. This recognition is long overdue.

“It is our hope that the sculpture and the award will inspire others to see Muskegon’s role in winter sports development and see the Muskegon Lakeshore as a winter tourism destination,” Larsen said.

SnurferArtModel.jpg Here is a model of
"The Turning Point,"
 a public art sculpture by Jason Dreweck to be unveiled June 7.

The Snurfer was developed on Christmas Day 1965 when Poppen’s pregnant wife Nancy wanted their two daughters, Wendy and Laurie, to go outside to play so she could get some rest. Poppen created the Snurfer when the two girls couldn’t safely stand up on their sled to go down the snow-covered dunes in their backyard.

Poppen fastened together a pair of youth skis and put a rope handle attached to the front to create what Nancy Poppen called a Snurfer, combining the words snow and surf. The devices went on to be manufactured by Brunswick Corp. and later JEM Corp. until the early 1980s.

Poppen’s invention was recognized by the Snowboarding Hall of Fame in 1995, when he was inducted into the Banff, Alberta, Canada museum. He also became a member of the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

The original papers and designs for the Snurfer have been showcased in the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation, part of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

Poppen joins other Muskegon County icons in the Business Hall of Fame, including lumber titans Charles Hackley and Thomas Hume, industrialists C.E. Johnson of Sealed Power and Ross Judson of Continental Motors and Roger Jourden of Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park.

The chamber’s annual Celebration of Business is June 7 from 5-8 p.m. with a sculpture dedication after party: a Sushi Snurfertini Social. The cost is $25 for individuals for hors d’oeuvres, live music and a cash bar. Reservations can be made on line at www.muskegon.org or by telephoning the chamber at 722-3751.


Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame to honor Pete Gawkowski

Mark Opfermann | The Muskegon Chronicle
April 11, 2012 
Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award winner Pete Gawkowski is pictured at Marsh Field. His dedication and work to improve the baseball field and support of local baseball in general was a big part of him winning the award.
KWS Pete Gawkowski portrait 

MUSKEGON, MI – Pete Gawkowski isn’t in the construction business, but he still considers himself a builder of sorts.

The Norton Shores resident has worked to grow his ownership to 15 Subway franchises in the West Michigan area.

He also has invested his time and money to help with the refurbishing efforts on Marsh Field, the longtime home for baseball in Muskegon, and the sport in general.

For his efforts, Gawkowski has been named the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award by the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame.

He will be honored along with Hall of Fame Class of 2012 inductees Trinity Townsend, a standout track athlete from Muskegon Heights who went on to become an All-American at the University of Michigan, Fred Storck, a star in the 1940s at Muskegon St. Mary’s who went on to play 11 seasons of minor league baseball, and the 1962 Muskegon Zephyrs hockey team that won the IHL championship.

A top high school senior male and female student-athlete honoree will be announced in May before the banquet scheduled for June 9 at Muskegon Country Club.

Gawkowski, 61, a 1969 graduate of Muskegon Catholic Central, played football, basketball and baseball and ran track during his high school career and also played baseball at Muskegon Community College.

After his playing career ended, he remained involved in baseball as a coach, a board member for Roosevelt Park Youth Athletics, Mona Shores baseball boosters and Lakeshore Baseball Club and owner of indoor training facilities Line Drives and Extra Innings.

Gawkowski is quick to point out he is far from a one-man operation.

“It means a lot,” Gawkowski said of the honor. “I am humbled by it and somewhat embarrassed. Anything I’ve talked about is something I haven’t done by myself.”

Gawkowski credits his family, Lakeshore Baseball Club members Len Piasecki and Jim Grevel, Riptides travel baseball organizer Bob Cavanaugh and Extra Innings employee Matt Houseman, among others, for their efforts as well. Pete’s brother, Walt, is the current varsity baseball coach at Mona Shores.

Gene Young, president of the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame, said Gawkowski needed to be recognized because he’s the kind of person that doesn’t seek the limelight.

“The number one thing about Pete is he’s kind of a behind the scenes guy,” Young said. “He has historically, for over a decade, supported many different leagues and products. We wanted to say ‘hey community, this guy has done wonderful things and it’s a chance to stand up and cheer.’

“He really wants to see baseball make a stronger comeback. He’s always thinking about how to improve the facility for community use and that’s county wide. He really is a credit to the rebirth of baseball in the area and that’s why we’re honoring him. He’s a quiet guy behind the scenes with ideas and with financial contributions.”

The Lakeshore Baseball Club has taken over control of Marsh Field, but it remains property of the city of Muskegon. Among the recent improvements for the facility opened in 1916 include chair-back seating, a new scoreboard and sound system, renovated dugouts and a new grass infield.

The restoration of Marsh Field, located on the corner of Laketon Avenue and Peck Street, as the hub of baseball activity in Muskegon takes Gawkowski back to his roots.

He can remember playing pee wee football there and pitched in his first varsity baseball game against Muskegon in 1968. Back then, Muskegon, Muskegon Catholic Central and Muskegon Community College all called Marsh Field home.

When his sons, Dan and Pete, were old enough to play baseball, Gawkowski helped with baseball clubs through RPYA and at Mona Shores. When they were done playing, he looked for a different way to impact baseball and purchased Line Drives in 2003.

Line Drives later combined with Elite, another local indoor facility, and closed down for three years before Gawkowski opened another indoor facility called Extra Innings in 2009, which is still open..

Gawkowski said his reason behind the indoor facilities isn’t about financial gain. He’s fine with breaking even monetarily if he can see real strides made in field upgrades at Marsh and successful middle school, high school and summer baseball programs.

“It’s always been a hobby to me. It’s never about money and I never intended to make money. I wanted to contribute to the sport and bring baseball back to where it was in Muskegon - or help do that.”


Aggressive Muskegon stuns Muskegon Heights for second-straight year at Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Holiday Classic

Tom Kendra | The Muskegon Chronicle
December 29, 2011

(Chronicle photo | Greg Lindstrom)
Muskegon's E'Montae Briggs, left, and Juwan Loudermill (5) celebrate the Big Reds' win over Muskegon Heights during the MASHF Classic at Reeths-Puffer High School on Thursday, December 29, 2011. Muskegon won 68-62.

Muskegon coach Bernard Loudermill knows that beating archrival Muskegon Heights one time can be written off as a fluke or dismissed as an aberration.

Winning two in a row is a different story.

"Validation," a sweaty Loudermill said after the Big Reds stunned the favored Tigers, 68-62, in Thursday's finale of the annual Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Holiday Classic in front of 3,000 fans at Reeths-Puffer.

"We needed to win this one to validate what we did last year. To beat a great team like Muskegon Heights two years in a row is very, very special for our program."

Fluke or aberration had nothing to do with this win, which was all about the older and maybe not-as-talented Big Reds playing aggressive and taking the fight to the younger and more timid Tigers.

Muskegon (3-2) did it by pressing full-court for the entire 32 minutes.

Heights (3-1) roared out to a 9-1 lead, before the Big Reds' pressure started to have its desired effect. Muskegon snapped out of its second-straight slow start with a 17-8 run to take the lead, 18-17, early in the second quarter.

Juwan Loudermill, who scored 17 points with four assists and three steals, then made all three of his 3-pointers during a two-minute stretch late in the second quarter as Muskegon went into halftime with a 29-24 lead.

"We showed our youth," Muskegon Heights coach Keith Guy said of his team's 22 turnovers, most coming against the Big Reds' press. "Congratulations to the Big Reds, they played great. We'll take our lumps and keep getting better every day until March."

D'Vonte Dockery scored four points to key an 8-1 Heights run late in the fourth quarter, which was capped by 6-5 junior standout Juwon Martin's offensive rebound and putback off a missed free throw with 2:35 remaining. That cut Muskegon's lead to 59-58, and it appeared at that point that Heights would again find a way to beat its rival.

However, Muskegon persevered, mainly because it never stopped playing aggressive.

View photos from the game

Instead of trying to hold onto its slim lead, the Big Reds kept pushing — with Laquinton Miller hitting a key baseline jumper with 1 minute remaining for his only points of the game and Travell Oakes and Loudermill sealing the win with baskets off assists from senior point guard Jhamonte Melton.

"We thought if we kept the pressure on them, we could get them to turn it over," said Melton, who transferred to Muskegon from Texas.

Melton finished with 15 points and five assists, while Oakes had 17 points, 11 rebounds (eight offensive) and four steals.

The good news for Muskegon is that it has now won rare back-to-back basketball games against Heights.

The bad news for the Big Reds is that they may be done beating the Tigers for a few years.

Heights starts two outstanding sophomore guards in Deshaun Thrower and Aaron Sydnor. While Sydnor struggled on Thursday, Thrower showed his toughness with a team-high 17 points.

Dockery and Martin, both juniors, scored 16 points and 12 points, respectively.

"This will be good for us in the long run," Guy said, lamenting his team's 17-of-31 shooting from the free-throw line. "We will grow up a lot from this game."

Heights certainly has the makings of a team that could make a long postseason run.

But for now, city bragging rights remain with the Big Reds.


Muskegon 68, Muskegon Heights 62

• Game ball: Muskegon's Travell Oakes, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, finished with 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, including eight offensive rebounds. He also had a game-high four steals.

• Key play: Muskegon stayed aggressive to the end, with senior Laquinton Miller hitting a key baseline jumper with 1 minute remaining for his only points of the game.

• Key stat: The Big Reds, who have struggled shooting all season, made 16-of-30 shots in the second half.

• Notable: Heights won the first five games against Muskegon in the annual Holiday Classic, but Muskegon has now won three of the past five games, including two in a row. 

• Quotable: "We wanted to be in their face and pressure them and then hit the boards. My goal for rebounding is to try and get every one" — Muskegon's Travell Oakes.

By Staff reports
Posted Dec 29, 2011


Mona Shores girls runs past Fruitport, Muskegon pulls away from Reeths-Puffer at Hall of Fame Classic

David Tomczak | Muskegon Chronicle
December 29, 2011


Host Mona Shores used a 22-3 second quarter run to put Fruitport down 34-7 by halftime. The Sailors' pressure defense gave the Trojans few open looks while picking up 21 steals in the game.

 "I'm proud of our defensive effort," Sailors coach Brad Kurth said. "We could've had a let down after (beating) Muskegon."

Mona Shores' frontcourt of Jasmyn Walker and Brigid Kiley combined for 28 points and 18 rebounds, with both players scoring 14. Both girls created scoring chances for themselves, grabbing rebounds and going the length of the court for baskets.

 "We have a really athletic team this year," Walker, who had 10 rebounds, said. "We like to get out and run."

Meredith Smith added 11 points and seven steals for Shores (3-2). Debbie Pekel and Rachael Folkmier had four points each for the Trojans (5-2).


Muskegon's girls basketball team likes to get out and run. That strategy didn't work in a loss to Mona Shores Tuesday and it almost came back to haunt them against Reeths-Puffer Thursday.

But the Big Reds got help from their sophomore forward and held off the Rockets, 58-47, at the Muskegon Chronicle-Muskegon Sports Hall of Fame game at Mona Shores. The Rockets (0-5) trailed 20-10 at halftime but rallied against the Muskegon (3-2) press defense and took a 23-22 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter.

"We got down a couple times and we got impatient," Muskegon coach Tashuana Churchwell said. "In the second half (Puffer) sped us up a little, but we kept our composure."

The Big Reds would take a 34-30 lead into the fourth quarter and that's when sophomore forward Jade Paige took over. Paige controlled the boards all game, finishing with 15, but it was in the fourth that she found her shooting touch. Paige scored 12 of her 20 points in the final frame, posting up low or scoring off of putbacks.

"She just took over," Rockets coach Brandon Barry said. "She did a good job getting early position and they got her the ball."

Muskegon's Janiece Levelston added 13 points and had five assists and Jemauree Neal scored 10. Reeths-Puffer's Britnee Dye scored 11 fourth quarter points to keep her team in the game, and finished with 15. Christy Schultz and Grace Swanson added 12 points each and Schultz added six steals.


Zeeland East starts fast, endures Muskegon rally to win opener at Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Classic

By Tom Kendra | The Muskegon Chronicle
December 28, 2011

Muskegon and Muskegon Heights had completely different "tuneup games" on Wednesday in preparation for tonight's clash in the finale of the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Holiday Classic at Reeths-Puffer.

Muskegon had to show everything in its arsenal and use plenty of energy trying to come back in a 63-47 loss to tournament newcomer Zeeland East in Wednesday's opener.

Muskegon Heights, meanwhile, was able to conserve energy and emotion in an 87-30 rout of tournament host Reeths-Puffer in Wednesday's second game.

"Yes, we played a tough opponent, but we didn't play with any passion," Muskegon coach Bernard Loudermill said. "Hopefully, we will be more hungry for it (tonight)."

Heights coach Keith Guy doesn't think the outcome of Wednesday's games will have much impact in tonight's 7:30 p.m. tournament finale.

"When Heights and Muskegon play, it comes down to who can handle the the moment the best," Guy said.

Muskegon will certainly need to get off to a better start than it did against Zeeland East, which came in unbeaten and just three years removed from an appearance in the Class B state championship game.

The Chix bolted to a quick 21-6 lead against the sleepwalking Big Reds and then weathered a third quarter storm.

Muskegon came out pressing and energized in the third quarter and — led by the trio of Juwan Loudermill (13 points), Jhamonte Melton (10 points) and Travell Oakes (7 points) — trimmed the Zeeland lead down to three points.

But the experienced Chix never lost their cool, pushing the lead back out to eight points at the end of the quarter (41-33), then sealing the win with a strong press break and free-throw shooting.

"I think we caught them sleeping a little bit in the first quarter," said Zeeland East coach Mickey Cochran, whose team moved up to Class A last year. "Then we were very resilient when they came after us."

Nate Poll led Zeeland East (6-0) with 17 points, including three 3-pointers, and Josh Groenhof added 10 points.

The question now is how much the opening day battle and loss took out of the Big Reds, who shot just 20 percent (13 of 64).

Muskegon and Heights are similar in that both are deep, talented and lack dominant post players. The biggest difference between the teams is experience, with Muskegon being a veteran team while Heights has one of the youngest teams in Guy's tenure.

Heights has won seven of the first nine meetings between the schools in the Hall of Fame Classic. Muskegon's only wins came in 2007 and last year, which was a lopsided 64-41 Big Reds' win.

"Our goal is to validate last year's win and prove it wasn't just a one-year thing," Loudermill said. "Hopefully, our senior leadership will make a difference. But we have to be hungry for it or that won't matter."

View photos from the game


Mona Shores runs past Muskegon, Fruitport gets past Reeths-Puffer in Muskegon Sports Hall of Fame Classic

By David Tomczak | Muskegon Chronicle,
December 27, 2011

Mona Shores girls basketball team wasn't afraid to try and match its speed against Muskegon.

The host Sailors ran whenever they could and stood toe-to-toe Tuesday night with the Big Reds Tuesday at The Muskegon Chronicle-Muskegon Sports Hall of Fame Classic.

Running right at the Muskegon press, Mona Shores (2-2) used a big second quarter to earn a 54-41 victory and will face Fruitport Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in the tournament's final game.

The Trojans beat Reeths-Puffer 37-26 in the evening's opener. The Rockets face Muskegon at 6 p.m on Thursday.


"We start five guards and this is the most athletic team we've had," Sailors coach Brad Kurth said. "It's the first team I've ever had that ran on a Muskegon team."

Tied 10-all after one quarter, the Sailors took advantage of the Big Reds' cold shooting and got the ball to Brigid Kiley in the post or in transition.

Kiley scored nine of her game-high 17 points in the second quarter as Mona Shores outscored Muskegon 17-9 for a 27-19 halftime lead.

"We just tried to get the ball to the open player and get on a run," said Kiley, who also grabbed 13 rebounds. "We expected the press and Muskegon brought it and we did a good job against it."

The Sailors' lead was trimmed quickly early in the third quarter, as the Big Reds' Janiece Levelston hit a trio of 3-pointers to cut the lead to 31-27.

But Muskegon (2-2) could get no closer as the Sailors outscored the Big Reds 15-12 in the quarter. Their defense was able to get out on the perimeter and shut down the long-range attack.

"We just had some shots that didn't fall for us," Big Reds coach Tashuana Churchwell said. "It was a battle of effort is all it was and they outworked us tonight."

Jasmyn Walker added 11 points and eight rebounds for Mona Shores, Jenna DeVoursney had four assists and Meredith Smith and Morgan Smith each finished with three steals.

Levelston led the Big Reds with 13 points and seven rebounds, Raven Moore had six assists and Kimyonna Thompson had nine points and eight rebounds.

View photos from the game


Fruitport scored as many points in the third quarter as it had in the entire first half in winning the opening game of the tournament.

Both teams started off slowly, as the game's first basket came with 1:35 left in the first quarter. The Trojans led 5-2 after one quarter and 15-10 at halftime. But Fruitport (5-1) scored 15 points in the third as Kaelyn Laufersky scored all eight of her points in the quarter.

"We got the win so we'll smile and be happy," Trojans coach Bob German said. "But that wasn't the kind of game we want to play."

Lauren Hazekamp and Amber Carmean each had eight points and seven rebounds for Fruitport and Laufersky added four steals. Reeths-Puffer's Taylor Walker finished with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.

View photos from the game



Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Holiday Classic basketball tournament reaches double digits

Saturday, December 24, 2011
The Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Holiday Classic has reached double digits.

In its 10th year and now featuring both boys and girls tournaments, the annual event between Christmas and New Year's Day has been a success story on several different levels.

"It has really turned into a social event over Christmas break," said tournament director and MASHF board member Mike Mack. "I've had all kinds of people tell me that coming out to the tournament is something they look forward to when they're home over break. It's worked out great."

In addition to the social aspect, the Holiday Classic has been a financial boost for the four teams that participate each year.

The MASHF has given back more than $100,000 over the past nine years to area schools. Proceeds from the event are divided five ways — between the four competing schools and the Hall of Fame, Mack said.

This year's boys event is Wednesday and Thursday at Reeths-Puffer. Tickets are $6 per day.

Wednesday's games feature Muskegon vs. Zeeland East at 6 p.m. and Muskegon Heights vs. Reeths-Puffer at 7:30 p.m. Thursday's games are Reeths-Puffer vs. Zeeland East at 6 p.m. and then the annual feature game between Muskegon and Muskegon Heights at 7:30 p.m., which always attracts a crowd of more than 3,000.

Heights has dominated the Classic over the first nine years, with a 16-2 overall record. Both of those losses have come against Muskegon, in 2007 and again last year.

The Hall of Fame went outside of the area for the first time this year, bringing in Zeeland East. Mack hinted that bringing in out-of-town teams, even a team from the Detroit area, might be done occasionally to create new buzz for the event.

"We are always looking at it and looking at ways to make it better and keep it fresh," said Mack, who noted that the boys junior varsity tournament is held on the same days in the afternoon at Muskegon Heights, with the freshman tournament at Muskegon.

The MASHF started a girls tournament last year, with the varsity, junior varsity and freshman games all held at Mona Shores and under the direction of Shores athletic director Ryan Portenga.

The girls tournament is Tuesday and Thursday with an admission charge of $5 per session.

On Tuesday, Fruitport plays Reeths-Puffer at 6 p.m. and Mona Shores plays Muskegon at 7:30 p.m. On Thursday, Muskegon plays Reeths-Puffer at 6 p.m. and Mona Shores takes on Fruitport at 7:30 p.m.

Fame Games

Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame
Holiday Classic

GIRLS (at Mona Shores)

Tuesday: Fruitport vs. Reeths-Puffer, 6 p.m.; Mona Shores vs. Muskegon, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday: Muskegon vs. Reeths-Puffer, 6 p.m.; Mona Shores vs. Fruitport, 7:30 p.m.

BOYS (at Reeths-Puffer)

Wednesday: Muskegon vs. Zeeland East, 6 p.m.; Muskegon Heights vs. Reeths-Puffer, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday: Reeths-Puffer vs. Zeeland East, 6 p.m.; Muskegon vs. Muskegon Heights, 7:30 p.m.



Muskegon Zephyrs of 1962, Fred Storck and Trinity Townsend to join Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame


Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame officials know there are plenty of future inductees currently playing professional sports — Nate McLouth, Justin Abdelkader and Todd Herremans are a few who immediately come to mind.

But there are also plenty of deserving "old-timers" vying for a spot in the prestigious hall.

The MASHF has chosen two of its three Class of 2012 inductees from more than a generation ago — Fred Storck, a star at Muskegon St. Mary's who played 11 years of professional baseball; and the 1962 Muskegon Zephyrs hockey team, the area's first professional hockey team to win a league championship.

The third inductee is former Muskegon Heights and University of Michigan runner Trinity Townsend, who became one of the country's top half-milers.

"People know there are a lot of great young athletes from Muskegon out there right now," MASHF president Gene Young said. "But I think this induction class proves that we have not closed the book on the past."

The MASHF Class of 2012 will be inducted June 9 during a banquet, which will be held at Muskegon Country Club for the first time.

The Class of 2012 will also include a Distinguished Service Award winner, to be announced in February, and a male and female Student-Athlete Award winner, to be announced in May.

The non-profit MASHF, which was started by former Muskegon Chronicle sports writer Dick Hedges in 1986 and has a 14-member volunteer board of directors, started in a small room at what is now the Lakeshore Museum Center.

The hall now showcases its exhibits on the concourse at L.C. Walker Arena in downtown Muskegon. Information on the hall of fame and its past inductees can be found on the hall's web site at www.mashf.com.

Here's a thumbnail sketch of the Class of 2012 inductees. 

Fred Storck

Fred Storck was a reliable bat and a popular player throughout his 11-year professional baseball career from 1946 to 1956.

Fred Storck

Storck, a prep star at Muskegon St. Mary's who started his professional career as a pitcher, was a journeyman outfielder who enjoyed his best professional seasons at Fort Worth, Texas, and Pueblo, Colo.

Storck had a huge year at Class AA Fort Worth in 1950, batting .297 in 98 games. He was expected to join the Brooklyn Dodgers of the major leagues in 1951, but he was drafted into the Korean War in the fall of 1950.

After serving his country for two years, Storck resumed his baseball career. He had back-to-back big seasons at Pueblo, knocking in a career-high 83 runs in 1954 and smacking a career-high 22 home runs in 1955.

Storck's final season was 1956, after which he returned home to Muskegon and started a 30-year career as a detective with the Muskegon Police Department.

He retired from the police department in 1987. Now 83, Storck still lives in Lakeside and remains active.

Trinity Townsend

Trinity Townsend is a Muskegon Heights kid who delighted in exceeding expectations.


Trinity Townsend

He led the Heights' Quiz Bowl team to state prominence, but it was on the track where he left his biggest mark. Townsend was a 400-meter state champion who went on to become a four-time All-American runner at the University of Michigan.

Townsend was a Big Ten champion in the 800 meters, which became his main event at the college and post-collegiate level. He placed third at the 1998 U.S. Nationals in the 800 meters, a performance that would have given him a spot on the U.S. Olympic team if it had been an Olympic year.

Townsend placed fourth in the 800 meters at the 1996 NCAA Nationals, fifth at the 1999 U.S. Nationals and sixth at the 1998 Goodwill Games. Last year, he was inducted into the Michigan Men's Track & Field Hall of Fame, an elite fraternity which includes just 54 members.

He has continued to do his hometown of Muskegon Heights proud after hanging up his running shoes.

Townsend, 37, taught high school in Ann Arbor for several years while completing his law degree. He is not an attorney with the King & Spalding law firm in Atlanta.

Muskegon Zephyrs 1962 hockey team

MU1218ZEPHYRS.jpgThe 1961-1962 Muskegon Zephyrs hockey team, which was the first Muskegon professional team to win a league championship. The Zephyrs beat favored St. Paul four games to none in the Turner Cup finals to capture the International Hockey League title.

 A good way to start a fight, or at very least a heated discussion, is to get some former Muskegon professional hockey players and fans together and ask them what was the greatest single team in Muskegon's 50-year professional hockey history.

One thing that is not disputable is the first team to bring Muskegon a professional league championship.

That prestigious honor belongs to the 1961-1962 Muskegon Zephyrs, a group which was small in numbers (carrying just 13 players for much of the season) but long on talent, winning the International Hockey League's Turner Cup title.

The 1962 Zephyrs were led by two of the league's top scorers in Joe Kastelic and Bryan McLay, both already members of the MASHF. The team's other wingers were Ron Stephenson, Stan Konrad, Ken Hayden and Claude Boucher. The centers were Lyle Porter, Warren Back and Larry Lund.

Muskegon only had three defensemen on the final roster, with one of those being player/coach Moose Lallo, along with Gerry Claude and Joe Kiss. The star player in the Turner Cup finals was goaltender Jim McLeod.

The Zephyrs finished with an outstanding 43-23-2 record in the regular season, but really caught fire in the playoffs.

Muskegon beat Indianapolis in five games, Minneapolis in five games and then a stunning four-game sweep of favored perennial power St. Paul in the finals, led by the acrobatic goaltending of McLeod.

The team was owned by Jerry DeLise. Frazier Gleason was the team's trainer and Dick Bittner the office manager.