By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Ottawa Lake-Whiteford senior Jessica Bubacz has helped the Bobcats to three straight Tri-County Conference championships and 41 straight league victories, after Whiteford’s wins Tuesday against Clinton.
This fall has been a continuation of her strong play as a junior that sees her now listed in the MHSAA record book in two assists categories – including as the co-record holder for assists in a match.
Bubacz had 65 assists in a 3-2 win over Clinton on Oct. 22, 2013, good to tie for the single-match record during the rally scoring era, which began during the 2004-05 season. She finished 2013 with 1,460 assists, fourth-most for one season since the start of rally scoring.
She’s continued with 810 assists over 86 games so far this fall, an average of 9.4 per game. She had 80 assists over seven sets Tuesday. Whiteford, a Class C team, is 29-7-1 overall.
For more on Whiteford and all things Tri-County Conference, click for the league’s blog by historian and journalist Doug Donnelly. Also, click to view the MHSAA volleyball record book in full, and see more recent submissions to other sports’ listings below (click each sport heading for that record book).
- Madison Heights Bishop Foley coach Dave Joseph has joined the list of coaches with at least 300 victories, with a 322-271 record dating to 1987. He coached at Pontiac and Oakland Catholic from 1987-93, then at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep from 1994-2003 and has coached Bishop Foley since 2005, including to a 15-9 finish in 2013-14.
- Don Robinson capped Genesee’s 1983 season and his three-year varsity career with three touchdowns in a 33-19 win over Flint Academy. His final score came on a 95-yard kickoff return, one of now 11 of that distance or longer listed in the MHSAA football records.
- Brendon Fitch put up “video-game numbers” as the Flint Journal reported Sept. 14, 2013, of his previous evening’s performance. Fitch threw for a then-record 603 yards, completing 26 of 41 passes, as Swartz Creek edged Flint Kearsley 77-61. Six of those completions went for touchdowns. Fitch died unexpectedly Dec. 10.
- Dylan Walker and Jeff Mainhardt entered the record book at the end of September as one of six pairs on record to complete a 99-yard pass – Walker to Mainhardt for a touchdown in Fraser’s 42-25 win over New Baltimore Anchor Bay. Walker threw for 242 yards for the game.
- Jason Alessi’s senior season was one of the finest in the MHSAA’s decade-long history of boys lacrosse. The Birmingham Brother Rice standout finished with 85 goals – tied for third most in MHSAA history for one season – to go with 46 assists, and his 131 points rank third for one season. Also a standout kicker and defensive back during the fall, Alessi is playing his first season of football at Yale University.
- Wayland’s run to the Division 2 Semifinals this spring featured outstanding performances from a number of contributors – including one of the best run-producers in MHSAA history. Shortstop Sierra Mutschler not only scored 71 runs (tied for ninth for one season) but drove in 86, fourth most for one season. Her 81 hits also were ninth-most in that category. She finished her four-year varsity career with 229 RBI, second-most all-time, 184 runs, 51 doubles and 30 home runs (tied for 14th). Teammate Britt McLain scored 80 runs this season, second-most in MHSAA history, and Mallory Teunissen made the season pitching wins list with 35. Other Wayland standouts past and present added to record lists included Autumn Anderson, Samantha Merren, Macy Merchant, Hailey Houck, Abby Phillips, Nina DeCesare, Becca Phillips, Kaitlin Graczyk and Heidi Warmelink, whose 78 shutouts from 2007-10 tied for fifth-most on that list.
- Hudsonville Unity Christian’s Madeline DeGroot had a game for the record books – literally – against Byron Center on May 1. She hit three home runs, including a pair in consecutive at bats, and drove in seven runs total in her team’s 14-6 victory. The team’s leadoff hitter, she also had a single to finish 4 for 4.
- Kalamazoo Loy Norrix’s Jake Gumbleton didn’t lose a match over his final three seasons before graduating this spring, an MHSAA-record string of 84 straight wins. He played No. 2 singles almost exclusively and finished with a 96-4 high school career record, slotting again last season in the second spot behind eventual Mr. Tennis winner Davis Crocker. The previous consecutive wins record was 80.
- Longtime Gaylord coach Jeff LaJoie has been added to the growing list of wrestling coaches with at least 500 match wins. LaJoie, who took over the program for 1993-94, took a season off and then returned for 1995-96, has a 519-125-2 record after leading Gaylord to a 30-2 finish last winter.
PHOTO: Ottawa Lake Whiteford's Jessica Bubacz (10) finishes a block during her team's victories Tuesday against Clinton. (Photo courtesy of Tri-County Conference blog by Doug Donnelly.)