By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Grand Rapids West Catholic went a combined 34-8 over the last three seasons with back-to-back MHSAA Division 5 championships and a runner-up finish – and quarterback Travis Russell had two of the largest hands in that success.
He threw for at least 2,400 yards and 22 touchdowns all three of those seasons; his career passing yardage of 7,634 ranks fifth in MHSAA history, with his 435 attempts in 2012 second on that single-season list, his 987 career attempts also ranking second, his 224 completions in 2012 ranking seventh and his 546 career completions third on that list.
Russell’s 80 touchdown passes in 43 games tie for third on that career list, and he also ran for 2,269 yards and 32 scores during three full seasons plus four games as a freshman. He has signed with Ferris State University.
Click the football heading below to see the record book in full and read on for more of this week's additions in five sports.
- Russell's three-season teammate at West Catholic, Bryce Witham, was added for his 16 touchdown catches this fall and 22 for his career, and running back Andy Corey made the single-season carries list with 336 (for 1,682 yards) in 2012. Witham signed with the University of Minnesota, and Corey plays at Saginaw Valley State University.
- The four-year career of Coleman quarterback Adam Stremlow coincided with the most successful four-season run for the Comets in two decades. Coleman finished 26-14 and made the playoffs three times from 2011-14, with Stremlow playing in 30 games including all 10 this fall as the team finished 7-3. He finished with 18 entries in the MHSAA football records, including for 2,438 passing yards and 274 attempts in his final season. His 6,780 passing yards rank 10th on that career list, and his 735 career attempts are 17th. He also threw for five touchdowns in a half this fall and for six in two games, with his 78 career scoring passes are fifth all-time on that list. Teammate Mitch Franklin was added for a 99-yard touchdown run against Charlevoix on Sept. 13 and for 1,119 receiving yards this fall.
- Record-listing performances recent and old were added for Lansing Catholic and two now-closed Catholic schools in the city. Junior quarterback Tony Poljan led the Cougars to the Division 5 Final in the fall throwing 263 times, completing 171, for 2,802 yards and 35 touchdowns. His career yardage total, 4,373, also makes that list with a season to play. Zac Baker had 13 interceptions as Lansing Catholic made the team list in that category with 30 total, and kicker Jon Foy made lists with 58 extra points and nine in a game. Mario Villarreal (1987), Paul Rashid (1977) and Marty Castellon (1989) all were added for carrying at least 40 times in a game, and Don Blair of Lansing St. Mary Cathedral was added for his two 1958 interception return touchdowns against Bath and three total that season. Lansing O’Rafferty was added for three straight and four ties total in 1958, when it finished 2-2-4. Also, longtime Ithaca and current Lansing Catholic coach Jim Ahern was added for his 249-128-7 career record, including a 13-1 finish with the Cougars in 2014.
- Erik Pohlmann added to Menominee’s strong recent kicking tradition, making 82 of 85 extra points in the fall to rank fourth for most made in one season. That run included a streak of 41 straight and 10 in a game against Milwaukee Morse-Marshall.
- New Lothrop’s Logan VanSumeren joined a list of only 13 with kick return touchdowns listed when he ran 95 yards for a score in his team’s 60-26 loss to Detroit Loyola in a Division 7 Regional Final in the fall. He has signed with Stetson University in Florida.
- Macomb Lutheran North graduate J.J. McGrath already had three listings in the MHSAA records for longest field goals (his 57-yarder in 2012 is third), but was added for his 22 career field goals (tied for 11th-most) and 85 extra points from 2009-12. McGrath is on the Grand Valley State University football roster after previous stops at Mississippi State University and the University of Michigan.
- Grand Ledge had another fine season in 2014, finishing 30-8, and ranked as a team with 305 strikeouts. Pitchers Tyler Waldrop (0.69) and Nick Kamrada (0.81) also were added for single-season ERA. Keefer Johnson was added for getting hit by a pitch 13 times in 2013.
- Imlay City’s Ashton Combs made two record book lists after making 17 straight free throws Dec. 6, 2013, in a 53-50 win over North Branch. Her 17 were among the most made in one game, and she made 17 in a row to make another listing, missing only her final free-throw attempt of the night. Combs ended with 33 points total, including 17 during the second quarter. She was a freshman at the time and currently is a junior.
- St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic’s Danny McEachen capped his career in the fall with six listings in the MHSAA boys soccer records after scoring 41 goals and tallying 54 points in his final season. Both of those numbers made respective single-season lists, with his 144 goals over four seasons ranking ninth on for a career and his 197 career points ranking eighth.
- This spring, Marlette sophomore Hannah Kady became the latest of six players to knock in at least nine runs in one game, tallying nine RBI against Memphis on April 14. She had a three-run home run, plus three doubles – and each double brought home two runs in the 15-5, five-inning victory.
PHOTO: Travis Russell celebrates a Grand Rapids West Catholic touchdown during last season’s Division 5 Final win over Lansing Catholic.