Year in Review 2021-22: Sports

Editorial Staff

Moving On Up? GV Athletics disputes football recruits’ claims of a move to DI

GVL Archives

As one of the most successful schools in Division II football, Grand Valley State University has been dogged for years by speculation that the school is looking to move up to Division I. Recently, these rumors have gained momentum.

As the verbal commitments for GVSU’s 2022 recruiting class started coming in, quarterback recruit Aidan Lucero gave an interview to Tim O’Halloran of that seemed to confirm the rumors of a 2023 move to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in 2023.

“GVSU is also leaving D2 and will be playing at the FCS level in the Ohio Valley conference in 2023 so it’s really exciting times for the school and the football program,” Lucero told O’Halloran.

To read more of Editor-in-Cheif Zack Goodrow and Sports Editor Holly Bihlman’s coverage of GVSU’s move to DI, click here.

Team captains celebrate milestones, building the future of GV DI hockey

GVL / Lauren Seymour

As the men’s DI club hockey team gears up for seat announcements in the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL) Conference at the end of the month, team captains Zach Borchardt and Shane Haggerty already have a great deal to celebrate.

Just three weeks ago, Haggerty hit his 50th point in the 2021-22 season, followed by Borchardt’s 50th season point just two weeks ago. Along with this accomplishment, Borchardt also hit his 50th career goal earning himself the Franchise All-Time Goals Per Season record with 39; though, the pair of captains are practically in-step with each other when it comes to putting pucks in the back of the net.

To read more of Sports Editor Holly Bihlman’s coverage of the DI men’s club hockey team, click here.

Allante Leapheart’s journey to GV: a decade in the making

GVL / Lauren Seymour

The recruitment process for the Grand Valley State University football team doesn’t begin and end with statistics and headshots, especially when someone like Allante Leapheart enters the room. When coach Matt Mitchell evaluates new recruits to build his team, high character personalities are what he looks for first and foremost.

When Leapheart entered the transfer portal at 28-years old, he had already played football for a number of years at several schools. Mitchell was interested in meeting the person behind the impressive statistics that Leaphart racked up since his high school graduation.

To read more of Sports Editor Holly Bihlman’s coverage of Leapheart’s journey to GVSU, click here.

GV Men’s Basketball senior Jordan Harris talks team leadership and going pro

GVL / Lauren Seymour

This season’s roster for the Grand Valley State University men’s basketball team has a healthy number of returning seniors filling leadership roles, one of which includes senior guard Jordan Harris. In order for a team to be successful the coach always needs a leader. This is where Harris seems to have found his spot.

The 6’1″ 170-lbs guard is a big part of GVSU basketball’s success so far this season. Harris transferred to GVSU in 2020 after two years at Adrian College. During his sophomore year there he took off leading the squad in minutes played with 860 and came up three short of the team lead for a career-best with 430 total points.

To dive deeper into Shawn Robinson’s interview with Jordan Harris, visit this link

Unsung heroes of record-breaking women’s basketball season

GVL / Dominic Stankiewicz

When a sports team is in the midst of a special season, it can be easy to only pay attention to who’s scoring the most points or coaching the team to success. However, there’s a lot more that happens behind the scenes in a successful college basketball programs and that includes the players on the bench.

This is no exception for the no. 2 Grand Valley State University (25-1) women’s basketball team, who just ended their regular season on a school-record 20-game winning streak.

“Our bench is definitely one of the best or the best in the conference,” said senior guard Emily Spitzley. “There have been instances even during the game where I’m guarding someone and they’ll turn to me and they’re like, ‘Hey, your bench is just really getting into it right now.’ They bring a ton of energy for us.”

To further explore Justice Steiner’s coverage of the GVSU women’s basketball bench mob, go to this link

GV Soccer revels in their back-to-back championship win

Courtesy / Isaiah J. Downing

The Grand Valley State University women’s soccer team knew that the road to winning a championship wouldn’t be easy heading in this season. Coming off a year without soccer and the hiring of new head coach Jim Conlon, the team’s success this season sets a new precedent for the strength of GVSU soccer.

Despite all the obstacles created by COVID-19 as well as regular season ups and downs, the Lakers battled through the year and achieved their back-to-back national championship in a 3-2 overtime victory against Saint Rose on Dec. 11 in Colorado Springs. The win marks the Lakers’ seventh national championship since 2009.

To read more about Joshua Carlson’s coverage of the GVSU women’s soccer championship, click here

MMA to UFC: Grand Rapids fighter Brett Martin

Courtesy / Cageside Press

Local Grand Rapids fighter Brett Martin started his MMA career back in 2015. Ever since, he’s been forced to balance his pursuit of the UFC with the need to provide for his family, all while dealing with the crazy world of regional MMA.

For many MMA fighters, becoming a UFC fighter is a dream; unfortunately, the path to the top is a rocky road that athletes like Martin have to attempt to navigate.

To further explore James Herrick’s coverage of Brett Martin’s UFC journey, visit this link

Column: Stafford’s career-defining Super Bowl LVI Championship

Courtesy / From the Pride of Detroit

As 112 million people tuned in to watch Super Bowl LVI, Detroit Lions fans were excited to see Matthew Stafford compete in the final game of the season. Stafford’s first season with the L.A. Rams was his best chance to win a Super Bowl after 12 long seasons in Detroit. His hard work has clearly paid off, as he’s become a Super Bowl champion.

While some may not understand the excitement of Stafford’s big win, fans in Detroit wanted him to win more than their own team. The Detroit Lions organization tarnished the way that football analysts viewed Stafford’s career, but he’s silenced his doubters after this incredible season.

To read more of Brian Bloom’s column on Stafford’s Super Bowl win, click here

GV club lacrosse alumnus in the big leagues

Courtesy / Twitter (@CamHolding19)

On Nov. 29, 2021, the San Diego Seals of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) announced their roster for the 2021-22 season. Defenseman Cam Holding, a Grand Valley State University alumnus, was one of the names on the active roster.

Holding has had a successful lacrosse career, playing at the collegiate, professional and international levels while having an accomplished coaching career as well. However, his spot on the Seal’s roster has come with its challenges as just several years ago, he thought an injury would prevent him from ever playing lacrosse again.

Holding’s collegiate career started at GVSU where he was a member of the club lacrosse team from 2007-2009. He then played the 2009-2010 season at Florida Southern, an NCAA Division II school, which was a step up from GVSU’s membership in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA).

To further explore James Herrick’s coverage of Cam Holding’s lacrosse career, click here

GV club hockey celebrates and reflects on historical season

GVL / Lauren Seymour

he Grand Valley State University club hockey program consists of two teams — DI and DIII — and this season both teams ended with great reasons to celebrate. As a year-one team in the Great Lakes Colligate Hockey Conference (GLCHC) Division I, the Lakers walked away with the conference title their inaugural season, which has never been done by any team in the league. On that same night, the DIII team walked away with the Michigan Colligate Hockey Conference (MCHC) tournament win for the first time in the program’s history.

What’s even more serendipitous about both teams’ success this season was the fact that both wins were celebrated within 10 minutes of each other on Feb. 26 in double-overtime games. The DI team defeated Davenport University in the finals 6-5 with the 2OT goal by team captain Zach Borchardt, and shortly after, team captain of the DIII team Brendan Ramboer put the last goal in the back of the net to make the final score 3-2 against no. 1 seed, undefeated, Hope College.

To dive deeper into Sports Editor Holly Bihlman’s coverage of the GVSU club hockey team, click here

Bringing people together: Special Olympics Rally with the Rapids game returns

GVL / Justice Steiner

For the first time since 2019, the annual Rally with the Rapids Special Olympics basketball game was back in action after having the event canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19. The game is organized and run by students at Grand Valley State University in the sports management program.

It is a part of a yearly project for the Sport Facility and Event Management class, which is taught this year by professor Jon Coles.

“I give all of the credit to the kids,” Coles said. “They are the ones who did all of the work to set it up, organize, and run it.”

To read more about Justice Steiner’s coverage of the Rally with the Rapids team, click here

GV Men’s Basketball splits exhibition games against MSU and Alma

Courtesy / Lenny Padilla

For an exciting start to this year’s preseason basketball games, the Grand Valley State University men’s basketball team traveled to Michigan State University on Thursday, Nov. 4 and hosted Alma College on Saturday, Nov. 6. The team was able to compete against the Division I Spartans and the Division III Scots before their season’s official start on Sunday, Nov. 14 against the University of Indianapolis.

On Thursday, the Lakers took to the courts at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, winning the initial tip off to start the game. MSU put the first nine points up on the board five minutes into the game, with the first Laker basket made by Western Michigan University transfer senior Luke Toliver with a three-pointer. The Lakers struggled to keep up with the Spartans offensively, allowing a 15-point deficit ten minutes into the game before freshman Ethan Alderink made his first three-pointer of the night.

To further explore Sports Editor Holly Bihlman’s coverage of the GVSU men’s basketball exhibition games, click here