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Top 5 Breakout Seasons

Top 5 Breakout Seasons

Freshman volleyball

The freshman volleyball team experienced a breakout season this year as they went undefeated in head-to-head matches. The stellar season for the girls started off with a solid performance at the first quad of the year—the East Kentwood Falcon Fest invite—where the girls went 3-2 in matches against East Kentwood, West Catholic, and Traverse City St. Francis. They would develop a streak of dominance which would last all season, but the first match this became apparent was against Forest Hills Northern where they swept the rival Huskies in two sets, 25-8 and 27-25. The girls would continue to win games, with notable victories coming against Mona Shores on the road, Lowell, and in-conference rival Cedar Springs; they would close out their season at the OK White tri, an event consisting of the Rangers, Forest Hills Northern, and Northview. The girls had already beaten FHN and Northview during the regular season and defeated both the Huskies and Wildcats again to clinch the tournament, capping off a great season. The freshmen will make their way to JV next year where they look to maintain their high standards as a group.

“I think the season was very good overall; there were a lot of strong friendships that were made throughout the season,” Emma Costello said. “Also, I think that we all became better volleyball players by learning different things about each other.”

Girls varsity golf

After finishing in seventh place at the state tournament the year before, the girls varsity golf team became even better after placing third at the state tournament this year. The girls started off the season with consecutive second-place finishes at the TCC Lober Invitational and the Forest Hills Central Ranger Invitational. They also notched other notable second-place finishes at the Ottawa Hills Jamboree where five players concluded with scores under 50, and the Northview Jamboree where senior Ally Ringler shot a 40 and senior Mandy Ehrlich shot a 41. They placed second at every event leading up to the Cedar Springs Jamboree. The team placed first at that event, which was played as a scramble: it posted a score of 110 and finished 8 strokes ahead of second-place Greenville. The girls achieved second place at each event remaining in the season. They stormed through the postseason with second-place finishes at conferences and regionals. The team shattered its expectations when it finished third at the state tournament, its best finish in history. 

“I am super proud of every single player on the golf team this year,” junior Maddie Knoor said. “I believe all of the players on the team were driven to be the best that they could be in order to help the team succeed.”

Boys varsity tennis

Compared to last year’s eleventh-place finish at states, the boys tennis team showed drastic improvement this year as the boys developed their skills more and earned themselves a sixth-place finish at states this year.  The boys really started to get on track this season with a dominant performance at a quad with Byron Center, Jenison, and Grosse Pointe North, beating all three teams and one singles senior Nick Sjolin going undefeated on the day. The team would continue to thrive with wins over Northview, and Midland Dow, and Flushing at the Midland Quad, where the fought hard against a highly-talented University of Detroit Jesuit team. Advancing into the postseason, the boys would finish second in the conference only behind a stacked FHN squad. The Rangers finished in second behind FHN yet again at regionals. Moving on to states, the one and two doubles partnerships both were able to make it to semifinals but ultimately fell. On the singles side, Nick and freshman Sammy Yin were both able to advance past their respective first rounds but Nick had to forfeit due to cramping and Sammie was defeated in the second round. This season was still a success as this impressive sixth-place finish at states will be the goal to beat next year for the boys when they return to the courts.

“The team overall came closer than ever and became a family. We worked harder than ever and the results followed. I was proud of all the boys from the start to the end of the season,” junior Chris Battiste said.

Equestrian

The equestrian team experienced a successful season this year. Its season kicked off with two district meets in which the girls finished in first place both times. Continuing on into the postseason, the team performed well in one of its most important events of the whole year: regionals. In an event consisting of six teams, and only the top two teams would advance to states, it was critical that the girls did the absolute best that they could. The girls were able to do just that as they finished in second place behind Vicksburg and qualified for the state tournament they had been striving for. At states, the team was able to achieve a seventh-place finish. Ludington was the team that finished in the position directly ahead of FHC and it was only by 16 points. The Rangers also finished near Gland Blanc as they were able to best Ludington by only 1 point. Vicksburg took first place solidifying the girls’ second-place finish at regionals. This small team performs trains just as hard as some of the bigger teams and will improve next year as some of the younger riders like freshman Masyn Cole and freshman Abby Satterthwaite gain experience in the world of equestrian and become even better than they were this year.

Freshman football

It was a successful year for the freshman football team as the team finished the season with an undefeated record. At the beginning of the season, the team shut out Jenison and West Ottawa 14-0 and 19-0, respectively. As their defense held steady throughout the year, the offense flourished, as was proven in two blowout wins against Greenville by 40 points and Ottawa Hills by 50. Even when the offense wasn’t at the top of its game, the defense showed out by holding Northview to no points in an abnormal 0-0 tie and posted another shutout in a 26-0 victory over Lowell. The boys even won a game where they played with the JV team 25-16 against Cedar Springs, who played with a similar freshman/JV hybrid team. Somehow besting the 8-1 record posted by last year’s freshmen, this year’s freshman football team showed itself to have prospects that can make an impact on the future of Ranger football.

“It was an amazing season, and it wasn’t just on-field stuff that made this season great. It was what all of our coaches taught us how to be off the field as well. Practice this year was much more intense than last year and I think that’s why we had such a good season,” said quarterback Levi McKenzie.

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