CC track, Burlington soccer coach among winners
It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a column.
The spring sports season has been super hectic and full of quality content, and yes, I have become a first-time father, so unfortunately I haven’t had much extra time to frustrate you with my first-person shenanigans.
Lucky for you, my ramblings are back just in time for the end of the spring sports season.
The baseball state tournament is under way as I write this Tuesday, and Southern Lakes Conference power Wilmot is trailing Kimberly, 5-1, in a Division 1 state semifinal.
So the season isn’t officially over, but area teams from Burlington, Catholic Central, Waterford and Union Grove are done. That means it’s time to take a look at the best of the best, the crème de la crème of the past three months.
Burlington girls soccer won its second consecutive conference title for the first time in school history, Waterford golf returned to team state for a second straight year and Union Grove softball was one game from state.
Individually, Burlington’s Leah Joslyn won a state title, and so did Union Grove’s Cassy Goodrich. Also, Catholic Central’s Jeff Stemper made his first appearance at the state golf meet.
But there can only be four winners, male and female athlete, coach and team of the spring.
It wasn’t easy to make my final selections, but here are your best of the spring winners:
Male Athlete of the Spring
Zach Nash, senior, Waterford golf
Nash was the best golfer on the best golf team in the area.
Averaging an impressive 77.25 per 18 holes throughout the season, Nash helped lead the Wolverines to a second consecutive state tournament appearance.
After finishing 12th at state in 2013, the Wolverines placed eighth at this year’s event, sparked by Nash’s 78 on day two of the competition.
Nash, a senior, was part of a Wolverines squad that won four straight conference championships.
Waterford golf coach Mike Harmeling said Nash along with seniors Grant Beck and Garrett Buri will be missed.
“The thing people don’t see is what they do behind closed doors,” Harmeling said. “From a work standpoint, a dedication standpoint – these kids work extra hard.”
A polite, articulate, humble athlete off the course, Nash was dominant at times this season.
He also helped the Wolverines to regional and sectional titles this season.
Nash was named the Southern Lakes Conference golf athlete of the year.
Female Athlete of the Spring
Cassy Goodrich, senior, Union Grove track
The hard-working Goodrich runs what some call the hardest event in track, the 400 meters, and she made it look easy this past spring.
She shattered the competition in the 400 at this year’s state track meet, winning first place in Division 1 by 90 seconds and registering a personal best with a time of 55.35 seconds.
Goodrich also took third in the 100- and 200-meter races. She ran personal bests in all three races.
Her finish in the 100 marked Cassy’s first time on the podium in the event. She did not advance out of the preliminaries in the 100 in 2011 and finished eighth in 2012 and 2013. She previously finished seventh at state in the 200 in 2012 and sixth in 2013.
Cassy finished ninth in the 400 in 2011 and second in both 2012 and 2013.
She told herself there would be pain in this year’s 400, but the glory that came was all worth it.
“It was, honestly everything I could have asked for in a senior year,” Cassy said a few days after winning. “Of course, work was put in to make it that way. Everything went really well.”
“I had to know I could physically handle that and had to mentally prepare myself, and I had to trust the training I received could get me there.”
Cassy was recently named the Southern Lakes Conference athlete of the year.
Team of the Spring
Catholic Central girls track
Regular season records are nice and all, but what separates teams is postseason performance.
Enter the Lady Toppers.
No other area team can say it had four state medalists.
For the girls, there was strength in teamwork, as all four medalists were relays. With precise handoffs and timing, relays demand the most chemistry in track.
In the Division 3 1,600 relay, the girls almost pulled off state gold, as Shelby Frederick, Alexis Reesman, Kathleen Straube and Cassie Reesman landed in second place by only .56 seconds.
The 3,200 relay team of the Reesmans, Kourtney Mulhollon and Straube put together its best race of the season, taking third place with a time of 9:55.80.
The squad improved on last season’s 8th-place state finish.
The 400 and 800 relay teams, which both consisted of Frederick, Monica Litman, Kellie Aldrich and Brianna Martin, both placed sixth.
Varsity veterans Frederick and Litman meshed well with newcomers Aldrich and Martin.
“These athletes work hard and are extremely motivated to achieve their goals,” said coach Keith Mulhollon. “As a head coach, I could not be more proud of them all.”
Coach of the Spring
Joel Molitor, Burlington girls soccer
Winning a game or two here and there isn’t all that difficult.
Turning around an entire program is.
That was the challenge Joel Molitor faced in 2012 when he took over a Demons squad that finished with just four wins.
Molitor helped that total double to nine in year one, and the past two seasons have made the Lady Demons a conference force.
Burlington finished 12-4-3 this year and achieved its second straight conference championship for the first time in school history.
A group of 11 seniors left a legacy of winning, and the future of Burlington soccer is bright.
“It’s one of the privileges of my life to coach a team like this,” Molitor said. “The seniors got me started. I don’t know what we’re going to do leadership-wise. This is a heck of a group.”