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Counting down the Kalamazoo area’s 25 greatest high school sports records

MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo logo MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo 6/25/2020 By Patrick Nothaft, mlive.com
a person hitting a ball with a racket: Loy Norrix's Jake Gumbleton returns a shot during the Division 2 boys tennis regional championship at Portage Northern. © Paul Morgan / MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Loy Norrix's Jake Gumbleton returns a shot during the Division 2 boys tennis regional championship at Portage Northern.

KALAMAZOO, MI - The saying goes, “records are made to be broken.”

Well, some fall more easily than others, and this week, MLive and the Kalamazoo Gazette were on the hunt for local sports records that won't go down without a fight.

We scoured the archives of the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations to find the greatest records that span anywhere from a quarter to a career.

Selecting and sorting the best wasn't any easy task, and some -- such as Kobe Clark's nine-touchdown game from 2018 or Jordan Langs seven career punt returns -- just missed the cut.

But we're confident the 25 state or national records listed below are some of the finest displays of athletic achievement you'll find around Kalamazoo, so follow along to see the elite teams and athletes that made the cut.

a basketball player jumping up in the air: Kalamazoo Central senior Trevon Gunter (22) attempts a three point basket against South Bend Riley during the third quarter of the Don Jackson Holiday Classic at Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. © Joel Bissell/Joel Bissell | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Kalamazoo Central senior Trevon Gunter (22) attempts a three point basket against South Bend Riley during the third quarter of the Don Jackson Holiday Classic at Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020.

25. Boys basketball: 3-pointers in a quarter

8 - Trevon Gunter, Kalamazoo Central

Gunter set a K-Central record by sinking 10 3-pointers in his team's 84-56 win over Richland Gull Lake on Jan. 17, 2020, and it turns out that his third-quarter performance in that game was good enough to break a 4-year-old record for treys in a frame. The Grand Valley State signee hit 8 of 9 from beyond the arc in the third quarter to eclipse the previous mark of seven set by Lansing Christian's Matthew Harvey. Gunter finished with 42 points in the contest, including 30 in that record-setting third period.

24. Boys cross country: Team state championships

11 - Kalamazoo Central

The Maroon Giants have claimed more cross country state titles than any other school, with 11 in a successful stretch from 1925 to 1954. Martin Shale coached K-Central to its first state title in 1925, before giving way to A. E. Stoddard, who led the team to its next eight in 1926, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1935, 1943 and 1946. Elf Pedler coached the final two Class A championship teams in 1950 and 1954, and even though the Maroon Giants haven't won a title in more than 60 years, they still lead Fremont, Concord and Napoleon, who all have nine state titles.

23. Softball: Runs scored in a season

88 - Kali Heivilin, Three Rivers

The coronavirus-canceled 2020 season spared the state softball record book from being rewritten by one of the best batters the Kalamazoo area -- and the state -- has seen in recent years. Heivilin, a University of Alabama commit, still managed to find her way to the top during her 2019 sophomore season, in which she crossed home plate 88 times in 39 games, which eclipsed the previous record of 86 held by Rogers City's Logan Fleming from 2015. Heivilin got to 88 in fewer games than each of the three players behind her on the list, and she's also tied for a state record with two home runs in an inning from the 2019 campaign.

22. Football: Career receiving touchdowns

60 - Matthew Cammire, Lawrence

No one in state history has caught more touchdown passes than 2015 Lawrence graduate Matthew Cammire, but you won't find his true total in the MHSAA record book because his first two seasons came in the 11-player version of the game, while his final two were in the 8-man format. All but seven of Cammire's touchdown catches came in his final two years at Lawrence, as he hauled in 27 during his 2013 junior year and 26 as a senior in 2014, when he helped the Tigers capture the 8-player state title with a 56-12 win over Cedarville. Ithaca 2002 grad J.T. Jones is currently in second place with 45 career touchdown catches.

21. Wrestling: Team pins in a season

470 - Allegan, 2006-07

Allegan bulldozed its way to its second state title in program history back in 2007 and did so by pinning more opponents than any team in Michigan high school history. Their 34-27 win over Lowell in the Division 2 finals featured pins from Greg Courtney (140 pounds), Brandon Rhodes (171) and Dan Craig (215). Courtney's second-period pin over Lowell's Rob Karasiewicz was especially clutch, given that the Red Arrows' 140-pounder defeated Courtney 19-3 a week later in the individual state tournament. At season's end Allegan added individual championship banners for Rhodes, Cameron Simaz (189) and Joe Rizgallah (285).

20. Boys tennis: Consecutive wins

84 - Jake Gumbleton, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix

Only one other tennis player in state history -- Midland Dow's Austin Woody -- has reached 80 consecutive wins, and no one else has claimed victory more than 56 times in a row, but the thing that stops Gumbleton from moving up the list is the fact that each of his 84 consecutive wins came at No. 2 singles, where he played behind future University of Michigan tennis player Davis Crocker. Still, 84 is no small feat, and while competing at No. 1 singles would've given Gumbleton a better chance to qualify for the state tournament, he can take pride in the fact that no one has made a serious run at his record since he set it in 2013.

19. Softball: Home runs in a state title game

4 - Mattawan, 2011

Mattawan co-head coaches Alicia Smith and Teri Clark couldn't have asked for a better time for their players bats to catch fire, as the Wildcats rolled to a 12-0 win over Anchor Bay in the 2011 Division 1 state title game thanks to home runs from Hanne Stuedemann, Loren Nagy, Abby Stoner and Allie Havers. The four sluggers were part of a loaded Mattawan lineup and all four went on to play Division-I sports in college, with Nagy and Stoner playing softball at Western Michigan, Stuedemann bringing her bat to Ball State and Havers playing volleyball and basketball at Nebraska.

18. Softball: Strikeouts in a state title game (7 innings)

18 - Keri DeJong, Kalamazoo Christian

18 - Jackie Bowe, Galesburg-Augusta

This state record happens to be shared by two of the best to ever take the circle, in future MSU Spartan Keri DeJong and future Notre Dame hurler Jackie Bowe. DeJong's 18-strikeout performance in 1996 led Class C K-Christian to a 2-0 win over Bay City All Saints and its first state title in program history, while Bowe's effort led Galesburg-Augusta to a 5-0 upset win over Allen Park Cabrini in the 2008 Division 3 contest, also marking her team's first championship. DeJong also fanned 17 in a 2-1 win over Richmond in the 1998 Division 3 state title game, marking and end to her stellar prep career.

17. Boys basketball: Points in a season

971 - Dylan Jergens, Marcellus Howardsville Christian

Strength of schedule caveats are the only things keeping Jergens from moving up on this list, but make no mistake -- scoring more points in a basketball season than anyone in Michigan history is a big deal, no matter who is trying to guard you. The future Central Michigan Chippewa led Howardsville Christian to the Division 4 state quarterfinals during his unforgettable 2018-19 senior season, in which he averaged 40.5 points per contest with a high of 59. He wrapped up his career third in state history with 2,782 points.

16. Softball: Home runs in a season

26 - Lydia Goble, Schoolcraft

We're in the midst of a power surge in Michigan high school softball, with the top 17 single-season totals coming since 2012, and the top seven career marks coming in the last decade. Still, Goble's memorable 2018 season, in which she slugged 26 homers in just 33 games, remains tied at the top with Harrison Township L'Anse Creuse's Brooke Nadolny, who needed 37 games to belt 26 bombs.

15. Boys basketball: Free throw makes in a game

29 - Luke Toliver, Paw Paw

Toliver's 45 points in a triple-overtime win against South Haven on Dec. 22, 2017 gave him 1,000 points for his career, but it was what he did at the charity stripe that represents the enduring achievement. The future Western Michigan Bronco sank a state-record 29 free throws on 32 attempts to break the previous mark of 25 set by Owendale-Gagetown's Brett Stockton from 2013. Toliver also holds the MHSAA record for 3-pointers in a playoff game from Paw Paw's 2016 district tournament matchup with Vicksburg, in which he sank 12 of 14 from beyond the arc.

14. Softball: Baserunners allowed in a state title game

0 - Tricia Van Der Slik, Kalamazoo Christian

Michigan's only pitcher to toss a perfect game in the state finals, Van Der Slik's unforgettable gem in the Comets' 2-0 win over Saginaw Swan Valley in the 2002 Division 3 title game included five strikeouts and gave her team its sixth championship.

13. Football: Interceptions in a career

27 - C.J. Nightingale, Mendon

A two-time all-state selection, Nightingale led Mendon to a state title in 2007 and earned a chance to continue his football career at Wheaton College thanks in large part to his ball-hawking abilities. The 5-foot-10 defensive back's 27 career picks from 2006 to 2009 surpassed the 26 pulled down by Frankfort class of 1993 graduate Kyle Klein, and no one has eclipsed 20 career interceptions since Nightingale took over the state record.

12. Hockey: Goals in a game

10 - Craig Humphrey, Kalamazoo Central

Humphrey's double-digit goal game against rival Loy Norrix on Jan. 27, 1990 is not only tied for a Michigan record, but also the national lead with fellow Michigander Ron Rolston, who scored 10 goals in a 1984 game as a member of the Flint Powers Catholic team, before he went on to play at Michigan Tech and coach the NHL's Buffalo Sabres for two seasons. But don't confuse Humphrey's 10-goal game for a sign of selfishness, because the former K-Central star displayed his team-first mentality later in his career on the baseball diamond, when he moved over from shortstop to second base to make room for a freshman named Derek Jeter.

11. Girls basketball: Blocked shots in a career

723 - Asia Robeson, Kalamazoo Central

The 6-foot-4 forward earned honorable mention All-American recognition as a senior at K-Central largely due to her ability to protect the rim better than any girls hoops player in Michigan basketball history. Her career blocks total is not only a state record, but also ranks sixth all-time and is just 71 shy of superstar Brittney Griner.

10. Football: Touchdown passes in a season

56 - Eric Wenzel, Kalamazoo United

Countless quarterbacks have stepped under center in the history of Michigan high school football, but none have found the end zone as frequently as the future Western Michigan Bronco, whose 56 touchdown tosses in 2018 broke Mason Gee-Montgomery's record of 51 scoring passes from 2015. It took Wenzel 12 games to reach that number, meaning he averaged 4.67 touchdown passes a game for a Kalamazoo United team that won its first district title in Wenzel's senior season.

9. Football: Team rushing yards in a state title game

549 - Constantine, 2004

Jim Schragg set a state championship record by rushing for 307 yards in Constantine's 34-13 Division 6 win over Suttons Bay, but to exclude the other rushers who contributed to the runaway win, including twin brother Mike Schragg, would be an oversight. Constantine's rushing output broke the previous record of 532 yards from Detroit St. Martin dePorres in 1981, and it remains a record to this day, as does the Falcons' 75 carries in the title tilt.

8. Boys basketball: Consecutive free throws made in a game

31 - Allegan, 1998

Allegan hasn't won a district title since 1992, but the Tigers' 1998 squad could shoot the rock, and that was evident in their Jan. 27 matchup with Stevensville Lakeshore, in which the team set a state record by making all of its 31 free throws. The Tigers went on to make their next eight over the course of their next two games, giving them another state record for consecutive free throws made spanning multiple games. Jonesville and Jenison are the single-game runners-up, with 24 consecutive free throws made, both of which occurred in the 2001 season.

7. Football: Coaching win percentage (minimum 200 wins)

.853 - Larry Ledlow, Schoolcraft

One of the most decorated coaches in MHSAA history, Schoolcraft's Larry Ledlow captured three state titles and added two more state runner-up finishes during his 22-year run atop the Eagles program from 1982 to 2004, but the stat that has stood the test of time is his winning percentage, which remains a state record after being challenged by Mendon rival John Schwartz, who is second with an .851 percentage.

6. Softball: Team doubles in a season

126 - Mattawan, 2017

Led by Miss Softball winner Joanna Bartz, Mattawan mashed their way to the Division 1 state semifinals in 2017, tallying a state-record 126 doubles, which is 14 more than Three Rivers' 2018 season and just eight shy of the national record.

5. Baseball: Strikeouts in a career

623 - Mike Wisniewski, Bangor

A 2012 Bangor Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, Wisniewski capped his prep career with a 40-14 record from 1991 to 1994, setting a state record for career strikeouts along the way. His 623 Ks rank 13th nationally, and since his graduation, only one person -- Morley-Stanwood's Nate Wernette -- has come within 50 strikeouts of Wisniewski's record.

4. Baseball: Home runs in a season

24 - Zach Fish, Richland Gull Lake

The future Oklahoma State star had an unforgettable 2011 senior season, when he broke Drew Henson's record of 23 homers in a year. His 82 RBIs from that year are second behind Henson's 83 in 1998, and Fish's 47 career dingers are second in state history behind Henson's 70. No player in Michigan has eclipsed 15 home runs in a season since Fish's senior year, and with the MHSAA outlawing BESR bats in 2012 due to the dangerous exit velocity they generated, it would take an all-timer of a slugger launch more than 24 bombs.

3. Softball: Consecutive state championships

5 - Kalamazoo Christian

Few teams in any sport have shown the kind of dominance Kalamazoo Christian did under Marty DeJong in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the Comets captured five consecutive state titles from 1996 to 2000. K-Christian also holds the state record for championship game appearances, with 12 spanning from 1975 to 2019.

2. Softball: Strikeouts in a career

1,999 - LaTonya Coates, Bangor

Coates' high school career coincided with softball dynasties at nearby Portage Northern, Kalamazoo Christian and Stevensville Lakeshore, but even against that quality competition, the future Texas Longhorn set a state record for career strikeouts, and her total ranks third nationally.

1. Volleyball: Assists in a season

2,351 - Kim Schaper, Kalamazoo Central

One of the best setters to ever play high school volleyball in Michigan, Schaper's senior campaign in 1995-96 is memorable not only because it ended with a Class A state championship, but also because her season assists total set a national record that stands to this day.

More Kalamazoo-area sports coverage

Presenting the Kalamazoo area’s 10 best high school softball teams since 2000

Presenting the Kalamazoo area’s 10 best high school baseball teams since 2000

Presenting Kalamazoo Hackett’s 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Gobles’ 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Constantine's 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Schoolcraft's 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Marcellus’ 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Decatur’s 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Lawrence’s 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Martin’s 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Otsego’s 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Plainwell’s 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Richland Gull Lake’s 5 greatest athletes since 2000

Presenting Kalamazoo Loy Norrix’s 5 greatest athletes since 2000

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