Readers decide West Michigan Conference 2022 fall sports Players of the Year

The CatchMark team received the VanDyk Mortgage West Michigan Conference Player of the Year Award for the 2022 fall three finalists in each sport.

It’s up to the readers to decide the winners. From last Friday until today, readers were judged by a fan poll. Now the final result is out.

VanDyk Mortgage West Michigan Conference Players of the Year: Hunter Hogan of Ravenna in soccer, Maddie Vaara of Ludington in volleyball, Ben Schlaff of Montague in boys soccer, Jessica Jazwinski of Hart in girls cross country, Seth Ackley of Hart in boys cross country and Ludington cross country. Emma McKinley in girls golf and Ludington’s Robbie Killips in boys tennis.

Polls were open from 8am on Friday 16th December until 8am on Friday 23rd December. Readers were allowed to vote once per poll per hour.

CatchMark Player of the Year and all finalists are invited to a reception to be held at the Viking Athletic Center, 541 E. Slocum St., Whitehall, on Saturday, January 14, 2023, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The dress code is business casual.

Each Player of the Year Award winner will receive a personalized trophy courtesy of sponsor VanDyk Mortgage. The trophy with the names of the prize winners engraved on it will be kept at the CatchMark office. All finalists will receive a certificate.

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Here are the details on each player of the year award winner, as well as how the voting was done in each sport.

FOOTBALL: Hunter Hogan, Ravenna

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior is arguably the MVP of the Western Michigan Conference (both divisions) when it comes to his team (7-4). … He literally did it all for the Bulldogs: starting quarterback, free safety, punt, punt, punt return, punt. … Completed 65 of 136 passes for 1,237 yards with 12 TDs and 8 interceptions. … Rushed 154 times for 938 yards (6.1 per carry) with 16 TDs. … Finished with 71 tackles and an impressive eight interceptions. … Also had two kickoff returns for TDs and one punt return for a TD, went 34-for-40 on PATs and 1-for-2 on field goals. … A first-team all-state selection as a defensive back in one edition and a specialist in another.

VOLLEYBALL: Maddie Vaara, Ludington

The 6-foot-3 junior middle hitter/setter/outside hitter finished the season with 486 kills, 232 digs, 61 aces, 50 blocks and 14 assists. … Ludington ran away as the West Michigan Conference Lakes Division champion, finishing with a 32-9-2 overall record. … Ludington lost in five straight district finals to eventual finalist Cadillac.

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Boys soccer: Ben Schlaff, Manistee

The senior center fielder was the glue that held everything together for the Chippewas, who finished 16-4-0 and won the Division 3 district title. … Schlaff threw one pass, but his play was controlling the defensive end of the field. … West Michigan Conference first-team selection as well as all-district, all-region and Division 3 all-state honors.

GIRLS: Jessica Jazwinski, Hart

The Division 3 state champion ran to the title in 17:36.70, beating the runner-up by nearly 40 seconds. … Won the MITCA Meet of Champions, breaking the freshman record with a personal best of 16:47.3, a state record as a sophomore. … Won every event he entered this season except for the large school West Ottawa Bredeweg Invite, which featured several top Division 1 and Division 2 runners. … Qualified for Champs Sports Cross Country in San Diego, finishing 11th and earning All-America honors.

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Boys Cross Country: Seth Ackley, Hart

The Pirates finished 12thth Won all-state title in Division 3 state finals with a time of 16:27.51. … Hart’s top three athletes to win team state championships. … Finished fifth at the MITCA Meet of Champions in 16:09.6. … Has seven top-three finishes this season, including four runner-up finishes.

GIRLS GOLF: Emma McKinley, Ludington

The Orioles’ juniors earned first-team all-state honors in Division 3. … Placed ninth individually at the Division 3 state finals. … Led West Michigan Conference individual champion, regional medalist and state finalist team. … Averaged 78.8 over 18 holes this season. … A top-10 medalist in all seven invitationals he participated in. … Personal best 71 at Tullymore. … Won WMC Championship with 75.

Boys tennis: Robbie Killips, Ludington

The junior, who played at No. 2 singles for the Orioles, finished the season with a 25-4 record. … Unbeaten since Aug. 19 until No. 2 seed in Division 3 state finals. … Conference and regional champion. …. The team was the Coast Conference champion and regional runner-up. … Ludington was the only team to advance to the state finals.


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