Local Sports Journal

The Muskegon area is known for its high school football excellence, but girls volleyball isn’t far behind.

Fruitport, North Muskegon, Whitehall and Grand Haven are among the area schools that have made long tournament runs to Kalamazoo, but one small school was the first to win a state championship – Holton High School in 1994.

For their accomplishments, the team will be inducted into the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame on June 8 in a ceremony at the Muskegon Country Club.

The Red Devils, coached by Ed Bailey, actually made it all the way to the Class C state championship match in 1993, before losing to Burton-Atherton. With many of those same players returning in 1994, Holton would not be denied, even when starting hitter Amber Trygstad went down with an ankle injury in the state quarterfinals.

Amy DeLong and Jennifer Thornton, both all-staters, and the rest of the team elevated their level of play and made a statement with a dominating 16-14, 15-8 victory over Pewamo-Westphalia for the state title – a day which is still remembered fondly in the small, northern Muskegon County town.

Bailey coached the team and Ryan Becklin was the student manager. Team members were Kelly Becklin, Dawn Long, Erin Monette, Jennifer Nichols, Dawn Peterson, Lori Swenson, Jennifer Thornton, Amber Trygstad, Amy Vandenberg and Amy DeLong.