By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Ithaca, and quarterback Travis Smith in particular, are all over the MHSAA football record book after extending the program’s winning streak to 56 straight games in 2013.
The streak is the second-longest in MHSAA history and longest that's taken place entirely during the playoff era. And three of those four straight perfect seasons came with Smith running the offense.
He finished his career with 468 completions in 691 attempts for 8,044 yards and 104 touchdowns passing. The TDs are an MHSAA record and the yards rank second. He threw for 42 touchdowns in 2013, which ranked fourth for one season, and 3,278 yards, good for ninth-most. He will play his college football at Wake Forest University.
Teammate Logan Hessbrook caught 19 touchdown passes in 2013 to tie for ninth-most in a season. Kickers Sage DeMull and Alex Vanderploeg also were added after both connected on more than 70 extra-point kicks the last two years, respectively, and Markes Gadlen was added after tying the record for longest kickoff-return touchdown with a 99-yarder against Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary in 2012.
Click to see the MHSAA football record book, and read on for more recent entries for other sports.
- Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy quarterback Omar Salih threw a lot of passes last fall – 428, second most in MHSAA history for one season. He made the single-game attempts list five times, with a high of 60 throws against Dearborn Heights Annapolis, and completed a high of 30 passes (in 51 attempts) against Dearborn Heights Star International. He finished with 3,293 yards passing and 32 touchdowns, both in only nine games. Teammate Nate Drew finished with 69 catches last fall for 1,376 yards and 19 TDs. His 2,748 receiving yards over four seasons rank seventh on the MHSAA career list.
- Monroe Jefferson’s Tyler Castiglione got nearly around the bases more than anyone else in MHSAA history in 2013, with a record 15 triples that also helped him set the career triples record of 25. Both will make national record book lists, with the 15 last season ranking fourth in NFHS history. Castiglione also graduated with a .482 career batting average and 1.63 career ERA. He now plays for Spring Arbor University.
- Richland Gull Lake won more than 70 games over the 2011-12 seasons, and the MHSAA records reflect a few more performances that drove the run. Colton Bradley was added for 66 hits and 21 doubles in 2012, while Connor Owen made the single-season (19) and career (29) hit-by-pitch lists. The 2012 Gull Lake team moved to the top of the team hit-by-pitch list with 72, and Patrick Gaudard finished his career that spring with 38 over three seasons. Nate Stegman was added for his 1.34 ERA over two varsity seasons, as was Bob Cole for his 1.27 over 1980-81.
- A trio of Manistique players was added for accomplishments from a few decades ago. Bill Pistulka made the single-season rebounds list with 316 in 1974-75, and brother John Pistulka made the career list with 722 from 1975-78. Rob Ryan made the season free throw percentage list by hitting 87.7 percent of his attempts during the 1988-89 season.
- DeWitt’s Jackson Iciek just missed tying the MHSAA record for goalie saves in a 10-7 loss to Okemos last season. He tallied 23 saves, one shy of tying the record.
- With a season to play, Saginaw Heritage’s Lacy Tolfree has the sixth-highest career batting average (.580) in MHSAA history and also makes career lists with 181 runs and 43 doubles. She also was added for a 22-game hitting streak that ended last May and back-to-back grand slams that led to nine RBI total on April 22 of last year.
- Perry’s Lauren Aldrich joined an elite group who have hit at least 10 home runs in a season, doing so last spring in 81 at bats. She hit .531 for the season.
- Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Central’s Meika Ashby finished her high school career last season with her third MHSAA singles championship – and second at No. 1 – a final record of 94-1 after going 25-0 last spring, and the MHSAA record with 71 matches won 6-0, 6-0, during her career. Ashby is playing now at Western Michigan University.
- A pair of Onaway athletes were added for successes during the 2012 season. Megan Estep had 14 aces in a three-game match against Wolverine and 50 assists in four games against Fife Lake Forest Area to make those single-match lists. Teammate Devin Bristley had 112 aces to make the season listing.
PHOTO: Ithaca quarterback Travis Smith rolls out during his team’s Semifinal win over Montrose in November. (Click to see more from High School Sports Scene.)