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Holland’s Kyle Bartholomew Signs with Spring Arbor Men’s Basketball

Bartholomew_signing5SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – The Spring Arbor University men’s basketball program is pleased to announce the signing of senior center Kyle Bartholomew from Holland High School in Holland, MI. Bartholomew becomes the third member of the 2015 SAU recruiting class as he joins guard Tommy Hamilton (Thornapple-Kellogg) and wing Luke Barber (Inner-City Baptist).

The six-foot-eleven Bartholomew anchors the Holland Dutch defense that is limiting their opponents to just 48 points per game. Kyle is controlling the paint while pulling down 8 rebounds per contest to go along with 3.9 points and 2 blocks. Currently, the Dutch are 12-3 on the season.

“Kyle continues to work hard and improve on the basketball court. He anchors our defense by altering and blocking shots inside. His best days as a player are ahead of him,” commented Holland coach Paul Chapman.

Kyle is currently carrying a 3.92 grade point average and plans to pursue a degree in accounting from Spring Arbor University. He is the son of Chuck Bartholomew and Anne Bartholomew.

“Kyle has tremendous potential. With his size and skill sets he adds a dimension to our program that we haven’t had before,” said coach Cottingham. “Kyle is a high character young man that will make an impact on and off the court. He is a great fit for the Cougar Basketball Family.”

Kyle was also a member of the highly successful West Michigan Lakers AAU Basketball Team where he played under Kevin Tringali, the Director of Basketball Operations/Co-Head Coach and Founder of the Lakers program.  Tringali made the following comments, “Spring Arbor is getting a solid young man in Kyle, in the classroom, on the court, and as a person. From a basketball standpoint, Kyle has the size and work ethic to be a dominant player for the Cougars. His 6-11 frame and skill set around the rim will be something Spring Arbor fans should be very excited about.”

Lumen Christi standout Caleb Chesney signs with Spring Arbor Men’s Soccer

CalebChesney_signingSPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Spring Arbor University men’s soccer head coach Nathan Miller is proud to announce the signing on local standout Caleb Chesney.

“Caleb is a top local talent that we are thrilled to add to our program,” said Miller. “We have seen him progress and develop over the past couple years, and we know he will work extremely hard and contribute to our team.”

Chesney helped lead Jackson Lumen Christi to a 17-4-1 record and a district title last season. He was a three-time All-Conference, All-District and All-Region midfielder for the Titans and garnered a Second Team All-State selection following his senior season.

“The versatility of our wingers is really important to our system, and he has the ability to impact the game with a change of pace,” Miller added. “Caleb is a tough kid and he will really add to our competitive culture that we have in training every day.”

“I have known about SAU for a very long time and the coaches and players were all so great to me on my first overnight visit,” said Chesney on why he chose Spring Arbor. “It felt like home when I was there! I’m very comfortable with everything.”

SAU Baseball signs two Homer High School Standouts

SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Homer High School duo Nate Sitkiewicz and Steven Salow are the latest commitments to the Spring Arbor University baseball team announced Cougar head coach Sam Riggleman Monday (Feb. 16).

Sitkiewicz is a 6-foot-0 left-handed pitcher and outfielder, and Salow, son of SAU alum Tom Salow, is a 5-foot-10 catcher.

Sitkiewicz and Salow are about to begin their final season playing for the powerhouse Homer program, which is coached by Spring Arbor Athletics Hall of Famer Scott Salow. Last season, the Trojans posted an impressive 36-2 record on their way to winning the Big Eight Conference title.


Weekend Broadcast Schedule

rkp_9451Saturday 1pm and 7pm and Sunday 3pm – St. Francis at Spring Arbor

Saturday 3pm and 9pm and Sunday 9pm – Hanover-Horton at Vandercook Lake

Sunday 1pm and 7pm – Grass Lake at Michigan Center Girls Basketball

Area Spotlight: Jackson Recreation Department

By Larry Jacobson  

Jackson, MI -  You’ve seen the public service announcements from the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball – and they all promote one thing: Get out there and get active!

It doesn’t matter what sport or activity it is, the message (promoted by some of the sports world’s biggest stars) is the importance of getting away from the computers and the video games and being active.

Andrew Sargeant , the Assistant Director at the Jackson City Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Department, supports that concept.

“We’re here for the community,” Sargeant said. “The role of the Recreation Department is to provide children and families with structured options for getting out there and living a healthy lifestyle and staying active. And we’re also an avenue for adults to volunteer their time and give back to the community.”

And the volunteer numbers are indeed impressive.

Sargeant said the rec department fielded over 100 teams in soccer, football and basketball this year – and each team featured a volunteer coach and additional assistants.

“We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers,” he said. “The amount of time and energy they give back to their community to stay involved is amazing.”

Computers, social media, video gaming systems, cell phones and tablets can hold kids (and adults) hostage to technological stimulation that does nothing for the physical self and often hampers true social interaction. To that end, Sargeant said the rec department provides tangible benefits to anyone who gets involved.

Rec Photo

He pointed to seven specific touch-points.

#1- The promotion of exercise and a healthier lifestyle.

Sargeant: “It gets you up off the couch or away from the computer and out where you’re engaging with other people.”


#2- The ability to work in a team setting.

Sargeant: “It helps you interact with others in a way that focuses on working towards a common goal as a team.”


#3)- It helps teach discipline.

Sargeant: “It teaches kids the discipline to play or operate within a coach’s specific plan and within the game’s rules.”


#4)- Children get used to instruction and feedback.

Sargeant: “They learn patterns of behavior that are so valuable as they get older. How to listen to instructions and behave in a proper manner and how to accept that constructive criticism.”


#5)- Dealing with mistakes and improving self-esteem.

Sargeant: “We’re all human beings and we’re all going to make mistakes, whether you’re a child or an adult. This helps kids learn how to deal with those mistakes and, through practice and hard work, how to get better.”


#6)- Real social interaction.

Sargeant: “What we offer is a chance to kids to truly interact with other kids. This isn’t about text messaging or keeping your face down in a cell phone or a tablet, it’s about real interaction with others in a team setting or in a one-to-one basis.”


#7)- Player participation and HAVE FUN!

Sargeant: “At the rec department we’re here for the majority. There are opportunities as kids get older to specialize in a particular sport or activity, but this is about building that foundation and getting kids to participate and become involved. And we want them to have fun! We want them to learn from their experiences but we want them to smile while they’re doing it.”

After spending time with Andrew Sargeant, it’s clear he is passionate about the work he does and about the impact it can have on so many lives – young and old.

“This is also about teaching children the value of hard work,” he said. “It’s amazing so see a child take up a sport – for whatever reason – and see them practice and work hard to get better at it, and then see the look on their face when they realize just how much they’ve learned and improved.”

The goal: Get out there and get active!

The platform: The Jackson Recreation Department, its’ staff and volunteers.

The key: You!

“We’re here for everybody,” Sargeant said. “It’s a chance for kids to get up off their couches and away from their computers and video games and get active. They’ll practice, work hard and have fun. And the experiences will help them later in life.”

Sounds like a pretty good slogan.

SAU Names Betsy Martinez Head Volleyball Coach


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Director of Athletics Ryan Cottingham announced Friday (Feb. 6) that Betsy Martinez has been appointed the position of head volleyball coach at Spring Arbor University.

“We are thrilled that Betsy has accepted the invitation to become our volleyball coach,” said Cottingham. “She embodies the mission of Spring Arbor University and our athletic department. Betsy is passionate about her faith and she’s passionate about volleyball. Betsy will build a highly competitive program while impacting lives for the Kingdom.”

Martinez brings enthusiasm and experience to Spring Arbor from her playing days at fellow Crossroads League member Taylor University and after serving the past three years as a coach at Lenawee Christian School. She was the 8th grade volleyball coach for one season before being elevated to direct the varsity program for the past two seasons.

The Adrian, Michigan native has also been active in Lenawee Christian Ministries as the Director of the Elite Summit Volleyball Camp, as well as the Elite Sports Performance Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Martinez boasts impressive credentials from her playing career. At Lenawee Christian, she was a multi-sport standout, earning 12 varsity letters. On the volleyball court, she was a three-time All-State selection and named the Lenawee County Player of the Year during her junior and senior seasons.

After high school, Martinez went on to play at Taylor where she was a four-time NAIA All-America selection with the Trojans. During her time in Upland, Indiana, she guided TU to four regular season conference championships and two conference tournament titles while the team racked up a 135-32 record. Martinez garnered Crossroads League Setter of the Year honors three times while accumulating 6,087 assists – second most all-time at Taylor. During her junior season, where the Trojans posted a 35-8 record, she dished out 1,736 helpers – sixth-most in a single season at TU = which ranked third in the nation.

Martinez received her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Taylor in 2012. She, and her husband Colton, currently reside in Adrian, Michigan.

For more information visit saucougars.com

Customer Service, Community Investment keys to success for MVP Sports Store

By Larry Jacobson
JTV Sports

“This has been the MVP Sports Store Pre-Game Show brought to you by MVP Sports and Michigan Custom Embroidery…”

If you’ve watched JTV Sports over the last couple of years – all of those football and basketball games – then you’ve heard that line as part of the MVP Sports Store Pre-Game Show before each telecast.

And, like so many successful businesses, it started with an idea and a garage…

Ray Hines, co-owner of MVP with his wife Kelley, was involved with youth sports as a coach and was having difficulty finding t-shirts, uniforms, hats and paraphernalia for his various teams. Ray and a fellow coach began contemplating what it would take to create their own uniforms and shirts and the seed was planted. They started the screen printing business from scratch and initially started working out of his garage before moving to their current location on Ann Arbor Road and expanding.

“We celebrated ten years in 2014 and we’re very proud of that,” Ray said. “The only way we’ve been able to do that is by taking care of our customers and focusing on that service. Most of what we do in such a small market is based on being involved in the community and the focus on buying local. People recommend us and that’s how the word spreads.”

Hines, who earned an engineering degree from Easter Michigan University, said he really hasn’t seen a drop in business with the recent growth of companies that allow you to design your own artwork and handle everything online.

“I think it’s actually helped us,” he said. “Some of the sites allow you to create your own design and to picture what you want on your shirt or equipment. I have a lot of people that will use the web to design their logo or idea, and then they’ll e-mail me the graphics and ask ‘can you do this?’ Of course, we’re happy to help and it tends to make our job easier.”

Operating a small business, of course, takes a tremendous level of commitment with a lot of long days. But it has its benefits.

“We certainly put in some long days and work a lot of hours,” Ray said. “But there’s a flexibility that comes with it that we value, as well.”

Ray shares those long days – and those hours – with a staff of five employees and without them, well…

“We’d be lost without our staff,” he said. “They do an incredible job in all facets of the business and are the back bone of everything we do.”

The MVP Sports Store Pre-Game Show read concludes with ‘… promotional products and more…’ It’s the ‘… and more’ that resonates most with Ray and Kelley Hines whose greatest challenge is often staying on-top of a competitive and constantly changing business.

“With all of the changes and advancements in this business, there’s a lot to stay on top of,” Ray Hines said. “But our goal is to do it right.”

At the MVP Sports Store, Ray and Kelley Hines and their staff have the ‘do it right’ part down pat – stamped on their business like a logo on a team shirt.


Lumen Christi’s Willis and Girodat Set to Play D1 Football

willsJackson, Michigan –  It was about family and hard work. Those were the common themes at Lumen Christi High School Wednesday morning when a pair of Titan football players – RB Khari Willis and TE/DT Sam Girodat – signed Letters of Intent to play Division 1 college football.

Both student-athletes cited foundations built upon hard work, support from family, their faith and honoring their word to college recruiters as highlights of the special day.

“There are just so many people to thank for helping me get to this day,” Girodat said. “I definitely did not get here by myself and can’t wait to get started at the next level. I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I’m ready. This is definitely a dream come true.”

Willis echoed those sentiments.

“I’m just blessed to be in this position,” the future Spartan said. “Just having this opportunity is the culmination of a lot of hard work and support from my family, my coaches and my teammates. I’m ready to get to work.”

Girodat and Willis, in addition to acknowledging the support they’ve received during their high school careers, cited the importance of family in the next step in their journeys. In an era when high school athletes flip commitments and back out of promises right up to the last minute, both Titans stayed strong with their initial pledge.

“I made my decision in June last year,” Willis said. “I decided on Michigan State and then slept on it just to make sure. Once I made that decision to go with Coach Dantonio and the Spartans I felt obligated to honor that and I gave him my word. There’s such a sense of family at State that I felt very comfortable there. Whatever they need me to do, I’m ready to do it.”

Girodat felt the same way about Coach Chris Creighton at Eastern Michigan.

“I felt very comfortable visiting Eastern and getting to know some of the players and the coaching staff,” he said. “They treated me like one of the family and I think I can help them right away. I’m ready to play some football.”

On a day of excitement and anticipation, both Khari Willis and Sam Girodat took time to honor the foundation upon which that excitement and anticipation is built.

Michigan State and Eastern Michigan are getting two quality football players – but even more important: They’re getting two quality young men.



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