Top 5 Underclassman
Rocco went through a rollercoaster of a season in his first year on the varsity hockey team; the freshman played in most games and scored his first career goal against East Grand Rapids. Gonzalez helped the Rangers to a few key wins over rivals such as East Grand Rapids and Catholic Central. All the training he put in during the summer paid off, as he had an impressive season and is looking to build on it next year.
“The goal against East was definitely one of my highs for the season,” Gonzalez said. “Team dinners were also very fun.”
Jonas Vander Woude
Heading into the Rangerball season, there was some uncertainty on what new transfer Jonas Vander Woude’s role would be. Despite this, he impressed everyone as soon as he stepped into the gym and stunned the coaches with his shooting ability. Vander Woude started the season off hot, nailing multiple threes in FHC’s first few games of the season. His role on the team slowly expanded until he was forced to step into the starting lineup. He kept his starting spot for the rest of the year and put up multiple double-digit games. Jonas started to gain more confidence as the season progressed, which should leak into next year’s potential for a breakout season.
“Losing against Rockford hurt a lot but beating Christian and hitting two free-throws at the end of the game was certainly satisfying,” Vanderwoude said. “Getting stronger and becoming a better defender is definitely an emphasis heading into next season.”
There were certainly high expectations heading into the first varsity season for freshman point guard Jordan Koning; she was the other piece to an impressive backcourt with Theryn Hallock. Although Jordan felt nervous, she grew comfortable with her teammates. Koning started the year hot, as she was a consistent scoring option for the Lady Rangers. Her three-point ability mixed with her playmaking skills created a lot of success for her and her team. She impressed her teammates and coaching staff in many spots this season.
“I was a little nervous going into the season, but my confidence grew as the season continued,” Koning said. “There were a lot of learning moments but I am grateful for all the help I received.”
Unlike many others on this list, Wes Baldwin has dealt with copious amounts of adversity. The sophomore started his career out slow as he was almost pulled; but, Wes battled through the adversity to start the year and blossomed it into an impressive season. He had his best matches against East Grand Rapids and Forest Hills Northern. Against the Huskies, Baldwin helped the Rangers in a team effort in their 20-10 win. Then, Baldwin had a season-high of 265 against East Grand Rapids in the team’s loss. Baldwin has many aspects of the sport to work on as he just finishes up his first season of bowling; his technique and form can be perfected heading into his junior season.
“My favorite part of the season was against East Grand Rapids when I bowled a 265,” Baldwin mentioned. “It was a breakout-type performance and it kept my confidence at a high level.”
Sophomore Ashley Schenck enters the list with potentially the most impressive resume amongst FHC’s top underclassmen. The growth in the girls’ side of wrestling is a key reason why Ashley’s season was spotlighted. Ashley performed well enough to make regionals, where she produced like she had all year and qualified for states. After she prepared for the big stage in Detroit, Schenck faced some fierce competition but still performed well enough to get seventh in the state. Ashley was also named an all-state wrestler in her outstanding sophomore season. She is looking to work on her takedowns so she can beat the best level of competition next year.
“The MHSAA is finally acknowledging and sponsoring girls wrestling this year,” Schenck said. “Girls also have the opportunity to qualify for states for the first time which made my season much more memorable.”