This special feature is produced for the Boyne City Gazette by sportswriter Chris Graber. Following is an in-depth look at how former high school athletes from around Charlevoix County are doing in sports at the college and university level.
Zach Hankins (Charlevoix 2015) is continuing to add more prestige to his already illustrious career for the Ferris State University men’s basketball program as the Bulldogs hold an 18-1 overall record for the season.
On Jan. 16, the junior secured selection to the Bevo Francis Award Watch List, an honor given annually to best small college player.
Clarence “Bevo” Francis played for Rio Grande College and held the NCAA record for most points scored in a game with 116.
On Jan. 8, Hankins collected Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week for his efforts in an 86-80 triumph at home against Wayne State University (8-6) on Jan. 4 in Big Rapids.
In the competition, the junior and All-American contributed a season-high 27 points with 11 rebounds, six blocks and two assists.
In his most recent outing, he clinched his eighth double-double of the season in a 74-71 victory at home against Northern Michigan University (9-7) on Jan. 13 by providing 20 points with 10 rebounds, two blocks and two assists.
For the season, he’s compiled 18 double-digit scoring performances and averages 13.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.3 blocks and 1.6 assists per game.
Nathaniel Veldboom (Ellsworth 2014) opened the season by capturing an event title in the 1,000-meter run at home for the Calvin College men’s indoor track and field program against Albion College with a time of 2:54.03 on Jan. 11 in Grand Rapids. In the competition, the senior led the Knights to a victory by a 63-38 margin.
Corey Redman (Boyne City 2015) registered his 18th appearance of the season at guard for Central Michigan University (12-6) in an 82-76 loss at Ball State University (12-6) on Jan. 16 in Muncie, Indiana.
Marcus Matelski (Boyne Falls 2016) contributed three points and one rebound at guard for Northern Michigan University (9-7) in a 75-56 triumph at home against Tiffin University (4-9) on Jan. 4 in Marquette. For the season, the sophomore averages 1.1 points per game.
MEN’S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD
Winter Romeyn (Ellsworth 2015) placed 16th in the mile at the University of Michigan Invitational with a near career-best time of 4:18.55 for Michigan State University on Jan. 13 in Ann Arbor.
The meet was not scored.
Romeyn’s career-best time in the mile is 4:16.62.
Noah Carson (Charlevoix 2017) is a freshman distance runner for NCAA Div. II No. 6 Grand Valley State University, which swept the field of 12 teams at home in the GVSU Bob Eubanks Open on Jan. 12 in Allendale. For the season, he holds a season-best time in the 800-meter run of 1:58.6.
Nick Plude (Charlevoix 2016) is a sophomore distance runner for Saginaw Valley State University, which was set to host the SVSU Classic on Jan. 12. The event was cancelled due to inclement weather. For Plude’s career, he holds career-best times in the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run of 51.59 seconds and 1:55.74, respectively.
Jared McLean (Charlevoix 2017) adds additional firepower at sprints for Saginaw Valley State University.
WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK/FIELD
Amber Way (Charlevoix 2015) is a junior distance runner for Michigan State University, which returned to action at the University of Michigan Wolverine Invitational on Jan. 13 in Ann Arbor.
The meet was not scored and the junior has not appeared in a track and field competition since the 2017 Big Ten Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In the effort, she scored in the 10,000-meter run by placing eighth overall with a time of 34:22.78.
Kayla Keane (East Jordan 2015) is a junior distance runner for the University of Michigan, which opened at home. She did not make her first appearance of the season for the Wolverines but she returns a plethora of experience.
For her career, she holds a personal-best in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 36:17.44.
Kylie Hicks (Boyne City 2014) is a junior sprinter for NCAA Division II No. 3 Grand Valley State University, which resumed competition at home by hosting the Bob Eubanks Open on Jan. 12 in Allendale.
For the season, she holds top performances in the 300-meter run and with the 4×400-meter relay of 42.08 seconds and 4:08.2 respectively.
Jessica Schmidt (Harbor Light Christian 2016) is a sophomore sprinter for Lake Superior State University, which returned to action at the Northern Michigan University Challenge on Jan. 20 in Marquette. Results were not available at the time of press. Last year, Schmidt collected top performances for the Lakers in the 55-meter dash (8.43 seconds), 60-meter dash (8.84 seconds), 100-meter dash (13.43 seconds) and 200-meter dash (29.5 seconds).