FHC Sports Report presents: Class of 2024 FHC Top 10 athletes

FHC Sports Report presents: Class of 2024 FHC Top 10 athletes
10. Alex Moeller

Alex Moeller’s athletic career is highlighted by one varsity letter as a member of the varsity men’s soccer team. But in his one year, Moeller was named captain of the soccer team and netted 30 goals for the  team this year which led the team in all scoring. He was named all-state first team, all-region, all-district team, and all-conference. He helped lead the team to a conference championship game and a district final with a final record of 16-4-1. Moeller was a focal point and a key contributor to this year’s soccer team.

How did you get into soccer at a young age?

“I have to say it’s my mom. She’s actually from Peru her family was a big soccer family back in Peru when she lived there. When she moved to the United States, she always told me that I would end up playing soccer and I’ve loved every moment of it so far.”

Who is your inspiration in soccer?

“There is an FHC soccer player who used to play here: Anthony Bowie. He’s always been someone I looked up to—he actually did end up playing at Western Michigan. But he’s always been someone I’ve looked up to athletically. I’ve always thought he was a great athlete, who did really well at Western Michigan, and now he’s onto a small pro career.”

What made you become serious about soccer?

“Just the fact I’ve always been relatively good at it, and I’ve always been told I should keep going at it and continue to the next level. It’s just built into a progression to end up playing in college and maybe even taking it to the professional level one day. It has just always been something I’ve had in my life.”

What is your favorite high school soccer memory?

“The team dinners we had every week before games. It was always a great team bonding experience, in particular when we had food at Will Banfield’s house—he brought some pretty good Costco Pizza. It was a fun night.”

Why did you de-commit from Western Michigan?

“It was more so for academic reasons; I was more looking at myself academically. I felt that Notre Dame would give me the materials and tools that I need to succeed academically.”

What new school have you now chosen to commit to?

“I will be attending Notre Dame in the fall. I spoke with their coaches after I was admitted academically and they gave me a roster spot in the fall.”

Did you like club or high school soccer better?

“One hundred percent high school soccer. The team bonding was completely different. It was an experience not a lot of people will have. And it’s definitely something I will be advocating to all FHC freshmen coming in. It turned out to be very fun for me.”

9. Jonas VanderWoude

Jonas VanderWoude has always been recognized as a star on the hardwood from behind the three-point line. VanderWoude has yet to commit to a college; however, he plans to play college basketball somewhere next year. He set the record school record for free throw percentage at FHC in a season with a 90.1% rate and he was a top ten all-time scorer at FHC in three years. He also earned  academic all-state honors due to his 4.25 grade point average.

How would you describe how meaningful it has been to play at FHC for three years and break multiple records?

“It means a lot to me. First off, ever since former head coach Ken George took over, FHC has had a storied program. Playing for coach Jordan George this year was incredible. We have a history of very successful programs, really good players, and send a lot of college players out. So, it just means a lot for me to be able to make an impact and not necessarily make a name for myself but be a part of that.”

How do you stay focused and motivated throughout your season?

“Basketball’s a long season. Sometimes there are days where you don’t want to go to practice, but the biggest part for me to stay motivated was I had 13 other teammates that probably felt the same way on certain days. So I was just doing it for them and not thinking about it as a job, but just that I get to go play my favorite game with my best friends.”

If you decide to go to college for basketball how different do you think the transition from high school to college will be?

“I’m an 18-year-old kid and I’ll be playing against 20-year-olds who are just all muscle, size, and athleticism. So, I definitely have a lot of work to do.”

What does it feel like to break school records when you weren’t just at FHC during your high school career?

“It feels good just because I know that I’ve worked very hard and breaking a record means a lot. It just shows my work. And it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished stuff, not just breaking records, but also with our record this year as a team. We did it really well this year. So that just shows.”

How would you describe your playing style?

“I like to shoot a lot of threes and I like to get to the free-throw line. I don’t really have a certain style, but if I had to say I like to play fast, but under control. Then I would like to take threes or layups and try to limit my tougher shots.”

How do you handle high-pressure situations during games?

“The biggest thing for me is during a game, never get too high when something good happens and never get too low when something bad happens. Just try to stay flat, flatline, a straight path. So in high-pressure situations I just tell myself, say I’m at the free throw line with one second left or something and it’s a big game and the score is tied. I just think I’ve shot thousands of free throws and I just picture myself alone in an empty gym.”

8. JT Hartman

JT Hartman’s athletic career is highlighted by his excellence in three varsity sports: football, basketball, and baseball. For Hartman’s senior football season, he was a key contributor to the Division 3 state championship team, named All-State, Academic All-State, and M-Live Dream Team, along with All-Region and several-time All-Conference. For the next four years, Hartman will continue his football career at Davenport. University.

Why did you choose Davenport for Football?

“I chose Davenport because I really liked the coaches and the campus. They are also a very successful program, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

How has your dad played a factor in your career?

“My dad has played a huge role in my career. He has always been there coaching and training me. His knowledge for the game has definitely helped me become a better player.”

What is your favorite between football, baseball, and basketball?

“My favorite is football because I have always been around the game of football since I was young. I loved playing the game and competing with my teammates.”

What is your favorite memory from any one of your sports in high school?

“My favorite high school sports memory was definitely winning the state championship this year in football.”

What does it mean to you to be a part of three very successful teams in your career?

“It means a lot being a part of three successful teams in my career. I love always meeting new people and competing with my teammates. I am also grateful for all the amazing coaches I have had.”

7. Lily Ohlman

Lily Ohlman made FHC history last spring when she became the first female number one singles player in school history to win a state championship. Her success marks her as the greatest female tennis player to ever grace FHC’s halls. In her freshman season, she played one singles and was All-Conference, then in her sophomore season, she played two singles and was All-State. Her time playing for FHC has been characterized by exponential growth: her freshman season, she had a losing record and came up short in conferences and regionals. She attributes her success now to a changed mindset and the help of her dad and coach. Last season, along with winning states, she won regionals and was All-State and All-Conference. Ohlman hopes to win states again this season and enjoy her last moments with FHC girls tennis.

When it came to tennis, who was your mentor at a professional/collegiate level? Did you try to model your game after them?

“Growing up, I always looked up to Serena Williams. Watching her last match at the US Open a couple of years ago was so, so sad. I never tried to model my game after any professional athlete but my dad would always show me videos of pros playing and give me tips.”

What teammates are special to you, and how did they impact your way of playing or how did they impact your mood towards tennis?

“I always warm up with Quinn Breslin. She’s a great player and very consistent, so I can get into a rhythm easily with her. All of my teammates are special to me. I’ve loved being around them so much and the girls tennis team is truly a great environment. It’s so bittersweet that this is my last couple of months on the team. Before my freshman year, tennis was all work and no fun; joining a team, especially with girls like them has taught me that tennis can be enjoyable.”

What does it feel like to be the first and so far, only number one state champion for girls tennis?

“It’s quite honestly still so crazy. Sometimes I think about it and am in disbelief that I’m that girl that younger tennis players at FHC look up to. I feel really lucky that I get to leave a legacy like mine behind.”

Are you able to go to the collegiate level? If so, which colleges were interested?

“I could have. I’ve beaten players that play for Hope College and other smaller schools around. I chose to not do college tennis because I’m passionate about environmental science and going to law school, so I wanted to focus on that in undergrad. I did not receive any offers as I didn’t reach out to any schools.”

What would you say is your best moment outside of winning the state championship?

“I think it’d have to be any moment I’m laughing and having fun with my team. I love being around them.”

What is your overall opinion on tennis?

“Tennis is challenging if you want to compete at a high level. It’s a lot of mental pressure, especially if you do singles, and being able to last through long matches is essential. But if you can find a tennis environment you thrive in, it’s so worth it. It becomes a lot of fun and it keeps you fit.”

Who is your favorite professional tennis player?

“I love Coco Gauff!”

6. Nolan Hartl

Senior Nolan Hartl has proven to be a key player for varsity football and varsity lacrosse teams, and he has shown his talent and hard work within these teams through prestigious awards. For football, Hartl was named All-Conference and All-Region his senior year. While on the lacrosse team, he was named All-Conference, All-State, and All-American his junior year. Hartl also helped lead his football team to the state championship title and back-to-back state championship titles with his lacrosse team. However, not only has he displayed his great physical ability through athletics, but he has also shown his dedication in the classroom by being named Academic All-State while on the football team.

What made you get into sports?

“When I was young, I would always play football, basketball, and lacrosse with the neighbors and my dad. I would also always watch football and basketball with my dad.”

 What sport do you like better lacrosse or football?

“I like lacrosse and football pretty equally.”

What is your favorite high school football memory?

“My favorite high school football memory is beating Dexter in overtime to go to the state championship in my junior year.”

What is your favorite high school lacrosse memory?

“My favorite high school lacrosse memory was beating DCD my sophomore year to win my first state championship.”

Are you planning on playing a sport in college?

“I am still deciding if I am going to pursue lacrosse in college.”

What will you miss most about high school sports?

“I will miss the brotherhood of all of my teams, and the feeling before playing in a big game.”

What does it mean to you to be a three-time state champion?

“It means a lot, and I’m very grateful to have been a part of these amazing teams with great players and coaches.”

5. Ashley Schenck

Ashley Schenck excelled in three sports all four years at FHC: water polo, swimming, and wrestling. In wrestling, she was all-state title in all four years of high school and Ashley will go down in history as the best female FHC wrestler in school history. Placing fifth her senior year in the MHSAA championship, first in the Kent County wrestling championship, and second in the Northview Girls tournament, she closes off with an incredible senior year. 

Who was your mentor? If so, was anybody your inspiration at the pro level or even college?

“No, not really. My inspiration mostly came from my oldest sisters who did it back when they went to high school.”

What teammates would you say were special to you?

“My sisters back when they played, but this year I enjoyed wrestling with the freshmen like Aidan.”

How did it feel to achieve MHSAA All-State four times?

“I was shocked and excited when I did it. I was ecstatic that I was able to accomplish something that no one else had been able to in the school’s history. “

What is your opinion on wrestling?

“I say especially as a girl that it’s a little unconventional to do wrestling, but it’s really fun once you give it a go and it’s really exciting to watch. There’s always action going on, and you never know what’s going to happen.”

Who do you model your game after?

“My sisters and I have very similar tendencies. For example, a pinning move called the Half Nelson was my sister’s signature move. And when I started doing it, it’s what I learned. It’s what I did. It was one of my favorite moves.”

Would you say you’re the best in FHC history for girls wrestling?

“I guess so because the program is so new and I’m the only one that’s made four all-state teams. But I’m excited to see how the program continues to develop and how new girls coming into sport do.

What was your favorite memory in sports?

“I say my favorite memories are always found around the camaraderie of the team. For example, when you go up to states, your teammates and assistant coaches all come and you can play games together. You just have a lot of free social time. That’s always really fun to have.”

4. Max Richardson

Max Richardson has been excelling on the field since he could remember. Every step of the way he has been a force, and this led to his commitment to Stanford University to play football. Max was a dominant tight end and defensive end. He was named two-time all-conference, first-time all-region, and first-team all-state. His talent and leadership were critical in this year’s football state championship. He also holds a 4.03 grade point average.

What was your favorite memory at FHC throughout your three years on varsity?

“I’ve had the opportunity to play on some of the best teams to ever come through the program, coached by one of the best coaches to do it. So, as you can imagine, there are plenty of sports memories to choose from. Notably the blizzard game vs. Dexter 2022, first state championshipgame in 2022, last-second score vs. Zeeland West in 2023, and of course, state championship victory vs. Mason. Regardless of some amazing games, the best memories I made were the ones outside of games, before and after practices, in the locker room, in the weight room, in the training room. It’s hard for me to pinpoint an exact memory, but I look back on those moments as some of the most fun and happiest of my time playing any sports.”

Describe the decision to commit to Standford University and forgo your last year in high school?

“Well I can start on December 26th, 2023, the day after Christmas around 9 pm ET. I got a phone call out of the blue from the director of player personnel over at Stanford. As a long-time commit, nearly six months at that point, we had a great relationship with almost all of the staff there. I was told over the phone that after the admissions department had taken a look at my credits I had the opportunity to graduate a year early. Obviously, it was a shock, I believed that I had at least another year at home, and my immediate reaction was “no.”After some conversations with family friends, family, and coaches who had advised me throughout my career, I decided that the pros outweighed the cons and it was the most ideal situation for me. I had taken visits to all places that I considered contenders in the race during the previous fall, but nothing stacked up quite like Stanford. After making the decision, it has been quite hard for me to wrap my head around staying for another year like I would have. I believe I’m ready for the challenge.”

How did you handle injuries and setbacks in your career?

“Unfortunately, I’ve had my fair share of injuries in my high school career. Just last year I tore three ligaments in my right ankle in a preseason scrimmage. While I was given a 6-8 week recovery time, I was happy to be practicing again in just three; safely, of course. I worked restlessly with Alex and CJ here, as well as many doctors around the area like Seth Leali at Paradigm Fitness, Dr. Shirley at Spine and Sport Biomechanical Rehabilitation Center, Dr. Kevin Manser at Chiropractic Unlimited, Lorraine Otte at Message for Health, Esra, and many staff members at both Spectrum Health Sports Medicine and OEM. Through so many resources, I was able to get well-rounded physical treatment and an abundance of mechanical and science-based treatments that allowed me to return to play quickly. 

Even more importantly than physical support is mental support. This last season was set up to be the most important one of mine, recruiting-wise and just team-wise, so not being able to contribute to either of those metrics was a huge letdown. I really made sure to rely on my internal and external emotional support systems to help fuel the drive back to being ready to play mentally and physically.”

How different do you think college will be from high school?

“There’s a lot of facets to this question. Obviously, sports-wise there’s a jump in the pace and level of the game including everything from game IQ to a new playbook and a whole new slew of offensive weapons. The flip side of that is that I’ll be isolated to only one position, whereas in high school I was playing 6 or 7. When it comes to the classroom, there will obviously be another large jump in difficulty, but reduced classroom hours and more independent work can definitely play in my favor both athletically and in the classroom, and I feel that both coaches and teachers have prepared me well for the endeavor ahead.”

3. Clara James-Heer

Clara James-Heer’s athletic career is highlighted by her cross country and track accomplishments as well as triathlons on a high level. As a vital part of the cross country team, Clara was a multiple All-State runner who continually helped the team compete on a high level including two trips to state championships as a team. For track, Clara led the team in the mile and 2-mile events, posting times of 4:48.96 and 10:32.15. Besides running, Clara also excels at swimming and biking to compete at the highest level of triathlons. She has taken the podium at junior national championships for multiple years and raced for the US junior triathlon team in Germany. She will attend the University of Michigan to run track and cross country.

What made you choose just running in college instead of triathlons? 

“My running probably needs the most work for triathlons, and I want to develop it more.”

What made you choose Michigan?

“They are going to let me do triathlons, and I really like the coaches. One of the coaches is a professional triathlon athlete, and the environment there is just really good.”

How has your dad played a factor in your athletic career?

“He’s played a big factor in coaching me since I was eight years old, and we’ve trained together my whole life.”

What is your favorite between cross country and track?

“My favorite is cross country because I like the variation and all the hills.”

What was your experience like competing at world championships for triathlons?

“It’s a really cool experience just to get to race with a bunch of really fast people. It’s fun and competitive outside of that.”

2. Brooke Bowers

Brooke Bowers–one of the most accomplished upcoming pole vaulters in the nation–is storming into her last high school season with one goal in mind: becoming a two-time state champion and placing first at New Balance Nationals. From a young age, Brooke’s dedication to pole vaulting has been impressive; she began at age nine and has continued steadily ever since. Her dad has played a large role in her success, having done pole vault himself in college. He signed Brooke up for lessons when she was about ten. Brooke currently holds many records, both at FHC and state-wide; her indoor state record is 13 feet and 8.25” inches. That ranks her fourth in the nation, meaning she is primed to win it all at New Balance nationals this spring.

What’s so exhilarating about pole vaulting?

“When I’m pole vaulting, especially at meets and I start to clear bars, I get a rush of excitement and adrenaline once I realize I made it over and I get an exhilarating feeling knowing I get to take jumps at the next bar.”

What are your pole-vaulting related goals for the future? (college and beyond)

“As I continue to vault in college, there’s many goals I’m reaching for. I want to be able to be successful early on into my college career so that I can hopefully find myself on the podium at the national championship meets. Another goal is to see a new facility record at GVSU at some point during my time there.”

Why GVSU over the other D1 offers you had?

“When I visited schools that were farther away like the University of Tennessee and Penn State, I really liked them but the thought of being away from my family was hard. My family has always been super involved and supportive during my pole vault journey and athletic career that it wouldn’t be the same without them there at some of my meets. GVSU also has great facilities, staff, and an awesome coach and team. When I took my visit, it felt like it could really be a second home to me.”

How did you qualify for New Balance nationals, how did you do there, what was it like and what did the path look like to get there?

“To qualify for nationals you had to jump a certain height. With all of the practice and training I did before the indoor season, I was able to qualify the first meet of the season. This year we decided to go to Nike Indoor Nationals in New York just to try somewhere new. I did not do as well as I had hoped, but it was a great experience and I got to see and meet many super talented athletes.”

What are your goals for your last high school season?

“For my last high school season, I was given the opportunity to be a team captain which is an important title to me. I wanted to make it a goal of mine to implement the importance of being a good team player as well as a good teammate so that it can carry on as people come and go. Another goal of mine would be to beat my previous school record in pole vault and win states again.”

If you could give your younger self a message, right when you first started pole vaulting, what would you tell them?

“I would tell my younger self to be more positive about the sport and just be patient. All the hard work you put in will pay off eventually.”

What age did you begin pole vaulting, and what were your accomplishments (pole-vaulting related) from ages 5-13?

“I began pole vaulting at the age of 9. Since then I’ve been able to set multiple indoor and outdoor state records throughout the years, as well as a big recent accomplishment being ranked fourth in the nation this past indoor season.”

1. Ty Hudkins

Division I Purdue commit Ty Hudkins has proven to be a force to reckon with in three sports at FHC. He finished his high school career with two-time honors in all-state, all-region, and all-conference in football. In both his junior and senior years, he helped lead his team to the state championships. However, senior year he was a prominent component to FHC taking the Division 3 state title over Mason with an interception, three tackles on defense, six catches for 115 yards, and a touchdown on offense. This and many other aspects throughout the 2023 season led to Hudkins being named AP Division 3-4 Player of the Year. Not only was he a key player on his football team, he also lettered in basketball and baseball. 

Who was your biggest inspiration in your athletic career and how did they impact you?

“I’d have to say first off my dad and then all the coaches I’ve had, as well. They’ve just made a great impact on me. Raising me as a kid all the way up until now and just making me a better person as well as a player.”

What made you realize that football was the sport you wanted to go into rather than others because even here you are a three varsity sport athlete?

“It’s a game that you can run into people and not get in trouble for it. So I think that’s pretty fun. And on top of that,  it’s been in my family. My dad’s been coaching, my sisters love it, and I have the right body frame for football, as well. So it just fits me perfectly.”

Losing states your junior year and going into your senior year, was there a shift that allowed you to not only win but become AP player of the year? If so what was it?

“For the team, I’d say just having the experience of playing there as juniors as young guys and then going back as seniors, I felt like we were way more prepared. We weren’t as nervous even though it was our last game playing together. We were like, alright let’s just go have fun. Let’s go do it. Individually, just having an entire year playing offense and defense as a junior playing against great competition, and then back in my senior year helped a lot.”

After de-committing from Northwestern, why was Purdue the final choice for you?

“Pretty much the coaches. I’ve really felt like all the coaches are really young, and it felt like the best option for me. On top of that, it’s a good school close to home, so it was just perfect. I would have chosen there over anything. The coaches got fired at Northwestern. Then on top of that, just Northwestern they do not have a lot of fans. Their games are super dead. They’re not very good compared to Purdue, which is a better football program. More fans, bigger school; I mean, it’s 50,000 students compared to 10,000 Northwestern.”

What are your plans for this summer, and what will you do to stay in shape?

“When school ends, I’m leaving and living at Purdue which is mandatory [for the entire team]. I don’t have a summer. I’m just living down there starting May 30. I’m doing workouts, practices, and lifts.”

Going into Purdue, what are your goals? Studies, athletics, accomplishments?

“My goal academically is just to get a good degree, come out with a selling in sales management or business degree. Then athletically I hope to play in the Big 10 someday and see what that career takes me hopefully.”

Overall, what have you taken away from not only football but all your high school sports?

“Just the amount of people that it’s brought together. It’s just crazy like most of my friends are guys I played sports with. It just creates crazy bonds that I will hold for the rest of my life.”

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