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Rockford gymnasts upend Lowell

Lowell gymnastics team suffered a conference loss at Rockford, falling to the Rams 132.975-121.525.

Top Lowell Individual Scores:


Lauren Browning 8.3

Kaezi Bladey 8.2

Morgan Taylor 8.2

Sarena Wilterdink 8.15


Bladey 7.075

Meghan Plutschouw 7.0

Browning 6.9

Wilterdink 6.9


Plutschouw 7.125

Taylor 7.025

Browning 6.675

Wilterdink 6.475


Bladey 8.75

Wilterdink 8.5

Kaczanowski 8.25

Plutschouw 8.0

Top All Around Scores

Kaezi Bladey 30.325

Sarena Wilterdink 30.025

Kaylee Wold 26.275


Lowell grounds Falcons in earning first league win of season

Despite missing contributions from Lauren DeHaan and Meghan Plutschouw, due to the flu, Lowell’s gymnastics team still had plenty plenty of firepower to overtake East Kentwood 127.475-116.175 and earn it s first conference win of the season.

Top all-around honors were awarded to Red Arrow gymnast  Sarena Wilterdink.

Wilterdink scored a team best 8.5 on the vault; 7.725 on the uneven bars; 8.15 on the balance beam; and 8.35 in the floor exercise.

Danielle Krajewski recorded top individual performances on the beam (8.05) and floor exercise (8.3).

Morgan Taylor tallied the Red Arrows top score on the uneven bars with a mark of 6.95.


Sarena Wilterdink 8.5

Morgan Taylor 8.45

Kaezi Bladey 8.55

Lauren Browning 8.55


Morgan Taylor 6.95

Bethany Kaczanowski 6.8

Lauren Browning 6.925

Sarena Wilterdink 7.725


Danielle Krajewski 8.05

Jorie Bennett 7.525

Colleen Cater 7.55

Sarena Wilterdink 8.15


Danielle Krajewski 8.3

Bethany Kaczanowski 8.45

Sarena Wilterdink 8.35

Kaezi Bladey 8.65


Bladey leads strong Arrow performance at Lowell Invite

A plethora of strong performances catapulted the Red Arrows to a third-place finish at the Lowell Gmnastics Invitational.

“I was very pleased with the team’s performance today!  Seeing so many of my gymnasts earn medals was so rewarding,” said Lowell gymnastics coach Michelle DeHaan.

At the top of that list was Kaezi Bladey who finished third overall in the all around and in three of the four events.

Bladey was third overall in the floor exercise with a score of 8.8.

“Kaezi (junior) had a great day overall, she really pulled things together and was strong on all four events.  Her floor score of 8.8 was a personal best.  She has a new floor routine this year and it seems to be suiting her well,” DeHaan explained.

Kaezi Bladey was third overall in ther all around at the Lowell Invitational.

Kaezi Bladey was third overall in ther all around at the Lowell Invitational.

Bladey tallied teem-leading 8.25 on the uneven bars, good enough for seventh overall. Her 8.15 placed her eighth overall on the balance beam. The Red Arrow garnered an 8.5 on the vault placing behind teammate Lauren DeHaan (8.575, eighth overall)) and Lauren Browning (8.55, 10th overall).

DeHaan was second overall on the balance beam with a splendid routine earning her a 9.0. She was fifth in the all around with a 33.475.

“DeHaan is the first gymnast to hit a 9.0 on beam since Kelsey Teft did three years ago!  Some routine requirements changed this year increasing the difficulty expected in bars, beam and floor making this an even bigger accomplishment,” DeHaan said.

Browning and Sarena Wilterdink (freshman) both had good showings.  Both girls worked so hard in their last few years in middle school to help them prepare for high school.  They have both proven already they are definitely girls to watch as they move up the high school ranks,” DeHaan said.

Browning was 11th overall on the bars with a score of 7.55.

Wilterdink, meanwhile, finished ninth overall on the bars, scoring a 7.675; and 11th on the beam with an 8.05.

Top Lowell Individual Scores


Lauren DeHaan 8.575 – 8th place

Lauren Browning 8.55 – 10 place

Kaezi Bladey 8.5

Sarena Wilterdink 8.45


Bladey 8.25 – 7th place

Wilterdink 7.675 – 9th place

Browning 7.55 – 11th place

Lauren DeHaan 7.15


Lauren DeHaan 9.0 – 2nd place

Kaezi Bladey 8.15 – 8th place

Sarena Wilterdink 8.05 – 11th place

Colleen Cater 7.975

placing from the B team on beam was

Danielle Krajewski 8.175 – 7th place


Kaezi Bladey 8.8 3rd place

DeHaan 8.75 6th place

Bethany Kaczanowski 8.15

Morgan Taylor 8.1

All Around

Bladey 33.7 – 3rd place

DeHaan 33.475 – 5th place

Wilterdink 31.975 – 10th place

Browning 31.55 – 12th place


Rockford A 140.15

Kenowa Hills/Grandville 132.125

Lowell A 131.475

Adrian 127.575

Tecumseh 120.00

Lowell B 111.575

East Kentwood 103.90

Coldwater 100.25

Rockford B 60.15


Strides on uneven bars continue despite loss to FHC

New bars have been raised and changes in the scores are the result.

“The uneven bars has always been our weakest event and this year that is starting to change.  We were able to get a new set of bars over the summer so now we have two sets at practice and it is making a difference,” said gymnastics coach Michelle DeHaan.

The Red Arrow girls are now achieving higher skill levels, attributed to a new set of bars purchased over the summer.

“Having two sets of bars is making a difference,” DeHaan said. “They have more time on the equipment in practice with not having to wait for teammates to finish all the time.”

In Lowell’s 130.95-127.50 loss to Forest Hills Central, the Red Arrows tallied four scores of 7.0 or higher.

Kaezi Bladey continued to keep the top spot on bars.

“Her connections and release move have helped her,” DeHaan said.

Bladey recorded a 7.95 against the Rangers. Teammates Lauren Browning and Sarena Wilterdink each scored a 7.1 while Lauren DeHaan came off the bars with a 7.0.

DeHaan and Morgan Taylor continue to stand out on the balance beam.  DeHaan earned an 8.95 and Taylor finished with a mark of 8.5.

“Last year Morgan couldn’t stay on and this year she’s like a different person – focus and determination that I haven’t seen from her before,” DeHaan said  “She has a backwalkover/frontwalkover combination that she has struggled with that is unique and at the last two meets has nailed it!”

Lauren DeHaan has added difficult turning jumps to her routine.

“As long as she continues to stay on, we are guaranteed a high score for the team for her on that event,” Lowell’s coach adds.

Meghan Plutschouw and Bethany Kaczanowski added scores of 7-6 and 7.45 respectively.

The Red Arrows most balanced scores came on the vault. One-tenth of a point separated four Red Arrows.

Browning penciled in an 8.6 while Colleen Cater, Bladey and Dehaan all posted an 8.5.

The Red Arrow floor routines were led by DeHaan and Bladey with scores of 8.1 and 8.0. Wilterdink and Kaczanowski contributed with marks of 7.85 and 7.75.





AAU work notable attribute with Lowell freshmen gymnasts

A four-year hiatus may have given some reason to believe Michelle DeHaan lost interest in Lowell gymnastics.
The Lowell gymnastics coach, while not visible at all high school practices and meets, had her beam-like focus on the Red Arrow future.
“I was working with our younger gymnasts at the lower levels as they competed at the AAU level,” DeHaan explained. “At the AAU level the girls learn everything. They compete in all four disciplines. By competing as an all-around gymnast there is less of a fear factor for any one event when they reach the high school.”
The result is when those gymnasts reach the varsity their skills are as strong as those at the high school level.
DeHaan’s hard work will be on display in 2013, as freshmen Sarena Wilterdink and Lauren Browning, products of the RAYG program, will begin their four-year tenure at the varsity level.
The freshmen join returning gymnasts Lauren DeHaan, Kaezi Bladey, Meghan Plutschouw and Betheny Kaczanowski, as well as Danielle Krajewski an Morgan Taylor.
“These girls are definitely stronger, cleaner and have a higher skill set after an off season of taking lessons,” DeHaan said.
While qualifying for the team regional is in Lowell’s sight, competing for a league title may not be.
The returning conference champion Kenowa Hills and gymnastics powers Rockford and Forest Hills Central all stand in the way.
“Both Rockford and FHC all have Division I talent. That is hard to compete against,” DeHaan explains. “We have good balance and more depth, now the girls just need to clean up their routines and make the right connections,” Dehaan concludes.



Late field goal advances Muskegon past Lowell in district final, 15-13

A mention of Muskegon football conjures of thoughts of athleticism, speed and physical toughness.

In Friday night’s Division 2 district final 15-13 win over Lowell, the Big Reds added mental toughness.

After missing an extra point and having a second one blocked, Adrian Briseno tried with all of his might to wipe away those memories and any nerves as he lined up a 27-yard field go with 1:40 to play and his club trailing 13-12.

“I was really nervous. I didn’t know if I was going to make it. That’s how nervous I was,” Briseno explained moments after his kicked sailed high, true and through the uprights advancing Muskegon to the regional title game on Saturday to play Midland, a 28-16 winner over Traverse City Central.

Muskegon football coach Shane Fairfield admitted that in recent years he may have passed on a field goal attempt and instead went for a first down on fourth and six.

“That kid (Briseno) comes out here in the cold and kicks and kicks. With people in front of him tonight, he nailed it. I cashed one in on the football Gods,” Fairfield explained.

Lowell football coach Noel Dean’s Red Arrows were unable to muster any last minute heroics from their own 33 yard line.

“I wished the kid was kicking an extra point at the end instead of a field goal,”quipped Lowell football coach Noel Dean. But it was a nice kick in a pressure situation. Good for them.”

Not so good for Lowell who fails to advance to the regional final for the first time since 2006. Ironically, it was Muskegon, then, who knocked the Red Arrows out in the district final.

“It was a heck of an effort that came right down to the end. I am very proud of them,” Dean said about his club. It was a tough out. I’ve known these kids since they were little boys. My son has grown up with this crew. It’s hard to watch these seniors who you care about so much graduate because you want more for them.”

Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield and his Big Reds wanted a post-season win over Lowell something that has eluded in each of the previous two years.

“Since arriving here at Muskegon, we’ve lost six games. Two of those came to Lowell. It makes tonight’s victory more special than most,” Fairfield said. “I talked to these kids all week about displaying mental toughness and discipline and not allowing little things get in the way of achieving success.”

An electric 52-yard run by Jalen Smith set up Muskegon’s first-quarter touchdown with Deshaun Thrower bursting in from the two-yard line.

Lowell grabbed the lead in the second quarter when Kyle Shurlow connected with Benjamin Bigham on a 47-yard pitch and catch, giving Lowell a 7-6 lead.
The Red Arrows extended their lead to 13-6 in the third quarter when Titan Anderson busted in from the one yard line, capping a 14 play, 56 yard scoring drive.

Muskegon answered as it went 42 yards in four plays on it next possession with Thrower finding Marcus on a 46-yard wheel route. The extra point was blocked and the Big Reds trailed 13-12.

“The victory tonight is the biggest win of my coaching career,” Fairfield said. “It was a hard nosed win over a tough-nosed football team. That’s one of the best defenses we’ve seen all year. Lowell was better tonight than they were before and that’s what you’re going to get from a Lowell football team.”

Muskegon finished with 248 total yards agians tthe Red Arrows. Lowell (8-3) accumulated 260.





Lowell defense stifles Northview, 21-0; Red Arrows advance to play Muskegon

Northview, making its first ever high school football playoff appearance, got harassed and pushed around by the physical playoff savvy Red Arrows Friday night on Bob Perry Field before departing with a bruising 21-0 defeat at the hands of Lowell.

“We like to bring pressure and keep our opponents out of rhythm,” said Lowell defensive end Pierce Watson. The senior authored one of three Lowell touchdowns with a third-quarter block of a Northview punt at the Wildcat 15 yard line. He recovered the ball inside the 10 yard line before picking it up and racing into the end zone.

“Their kid came off the ball slow and I was able to get around and get a clean strike of the ball,” Watson explained.

For Lowell’s it was its 13th straight first-round playoff win. “We’re excited about the win and a chance to maintain a rivalry (Northview),” said Lowell football coach Noel Dean.

Kyler Shurlow was undeFrida    Kyler Shurlow was under center Friday night in Lowell’s 21-0 shutout over Northview in the opening round of the playoffs high splayoffs. Lowell advances to play Muskegon on Friday. The Big Reds defeated Kenowa Hills 34-14.

And while the Red Arrow defense was exciting to watch if you were a Lowell fan, offensively the Red Arrows continued to stumble over itself.

Lowell committed three turnovers in the red zone – at Northview’s three, 16 and 21 yard lines.

Turnovers will again be critical in Friday’s district championship game when Lowell travels to Muskegon to play the Big Reds in a playoff atmosphere. The meeting will mark the fourth consecutive year the two clubs will meet in the post season, with Lowell having won the last three. The Red Arrows however, dropped a 36-21 regular season tilt earlier this year at Muskegon. The Big Reds defeated Kenowa Hills 34-21 Friday night.

The Red Arrows scored the game’s first touchdown in the first quarter on a 40-yard touchdown scamper by quarterback Kyler Shurlow.

Lowell made it 14-0 earlier in the second quarter when Titan Anderson busted through the line for a 28-yard touchdown romp.

Northview was held to a negative 49 yards rushing while throwing for 108 yards. Chad Watson caught five passes for 72 yards.

“Lowell was just too physical for us. That’s the bottom line,” said Northview coach Greg Ganfield. “They (their defense) brings seven at you and you must be able to execute against that pressure. We haven’t been a good blocking team all year.”

Contrarily, the Northview coach felt his defense played well. “Defensively, we played a hell of a game, however our offense did nothing.”

Lowell ran the ball for 255 yards and threw for 88. Anderson rushed for 102 while Shurlow amassed 92 on the ground.

Through the air, Shurlow was 6-of-11 for 88 yards in his first start as a varsity quarterback.
Dean said he club had been struggling on offense over the last six quarters and thus the decision for a change.


Quick scores, strong defensive play leads Grand Rapids Christian to 21-7 win over Lowell

A quick-hitting, fleet-footed Grand Rapids Christian football team claimed its second consecutive O-K White Conference Championship Friday night with a 21-7 win over Lowell.

The top ranked team in Division 3 needed just six plays to score three first-quarter touchdowns in under four minutes en route to its eighth win of the season.

Lowell’s defense which was victimized by the big plays in the opening eight minutes, settled in and shut down the high powered Eagle offense the rest of the way.

The defense, however, received little help from the Red Arrow offense. Costly penalties, turnovers and the inability to sustain much of an offense against a strong and equally quick defensive Eagle unit.

Lowell’s only score of the evening came early in the second quarter on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Titan Anderson to Kyle Shurlow. The touchdown reception capped an 11-play, 71-yard scoring drive.

The Red Arrows furthest penetration into Eagle territory in the second half was the Christian 15-yard line. The drive ended on a missed 33-yard field gaol attempt.

Grand Rapids Christian opened the scoring with 7:47 to play in the first quarter when Michigan State Bound Drake Harris got around the right end from the Eagle 27 and raced 73 yards for a touchdown.

Two minutes later, following an interception of a Lowell pass, Zeth McIntosh broke through the Lowell line for a 32-yard touchdown romp.

After a four-and-out Lowell possession, Christian needed three plays to drive 83 yards fro its third and final touchdown of the night. The big play was 78-yard pitch and catch from Alex VanDeVusse to Seth McIntosh.

Lowell finishes the regular season at 7-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play.

Christian enters the post season at 8-1 overall and 5-0 in league play.

Both teams now await the announcement Sunday evening of their first round playoff opponent.

Lowell, Caledonia battle to 1-1 overtime tie

The O-K White’s fourth-place Red Arrows salvaged a 1-1 tie with Caledonia in a battle with the third-place Fighting Scots.

Neither team was able to find the net in regulation, however, both clubs found the back of the net in the first overtime.

Caledonia netted the game’s first goal when Taylor Hill punched one pass Lowell Liam Kelly.

Moments later, Lowell’s Josh Rocco tied the score as he booted one past Scots’ goalie Joe Fifer.

“I thought that we moved the ball well, and the transition from offense to defense was good, but we struggled with the offensive breakthrough,” said Lowell soccer coach Rich O’Keefe. “Both teams played well defensively, which made it difficult to get good shot opportunities.”

Grand Rapids Christian 2, Lowell 0

The Red Arrows were unable to break through against the Eagle defense in a 2-0 loss to Grand Rapids Christian.
The Eagles finished second in the O-K White behind Jenison (7-1-1)while

Lowell (6-9-4) was fourth and Caledonia placed third.

Lowell overcomes five turnovers in 14-7 win against Caledonia

No where in the definition of a “pretty win” can one find five turnovers.

Then again, nowhere in post season statistics are wins defined by pretty and ugly.

So, while Lowell’s 14-7 win over Caledonia Friday night wasn’t how Coach Noel Dean would have drawn it up, the result was a victory which will send the Red Arrows into the final game of the season against Grand Rapids Christian with a chance to win the O-K White Conference Championship.

Lowell tallied two first-half touchdowns and then leaned on its defense to hold onto a victory against the home-standing Fighting Scots.

“It was a good win, against a quality opponent, coaching staff and football program,” Dean said.

The Red Arrows got on the board late in the first quarter on a Titan Anderson nine-yard touchdown pass to Zach Huver.
Anderson then added a second touchdown in the second quarter on a seven-yard run from scrimmage, giving Lowell a 14-0 halftime advantage.

“Defensively, we played outstanding. We have played great defense all year. But whenever you play a team like Lowell, you have to figure out how to get first downs and sustain drives. We weren’t very fortunate to do that tonight,” Caledonia football coach Steve Uyl said.

Caledonia was unable to muster a scoring drive against the Red Arrow defense. It’s third-quarter score was provided by the defense on a 10-yard interception return by Heath Hoogerhyde.

“I’m so proud of the kids and the effort they gave,” Uyl explained. “Lowell is a very good football team. Its defense was very physical, fast, and it was hard for us to sustain drives and get anything going offensively.”

Anderson led all Lowell runners with 68 yards on the ground. Jeff Houston led on receivers with three receptions for 32 yards.
Anderson was 10-of-17 for 99 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

Lowell (7-1, 4-0) has outscored its O-K White opponents through four games 144-66. The Red Arrows have averaged 36 points a game in O-K White play while giving up 16.5 points a game.