Local Sports Journal celebrates one year of reporting

By Jason Goorman
Local Sports Journal

In case you missed it, the Local Sports Journal celebrated its first full year of reporting on Muskegon area sports on June 10. Boasting is not our specialty, but we still can reflect on this great achievement in serving Muskegon area sports fans for a full year.

Our crew of dedicated writers, led by co-publisher Ron Rop, amassed more than 2,900 stories in 365 days. Those stories in print would take up nearly 400 pages of copy in a standard newspaper of today (if we had one).

Mike Holmes, center, is surrounded by his players after their victory over Mendon during this past season's playoffs. Photo/Tim Reilly

Mike Holmes, center, is surrounded by his players after their victory over Mendon during this past season’s playoffs. Photo/Tim Reilly

Ron Rop, Jason Goorman, Shawn Liverance, Dave Tomczak, Mark Lewis, Jim Moyes, Mike Mattson, Tom Kendra, Jim Goorman, Victor Skinner, Connor Marks, Marc Hoeksema, Doug Simms, John Morin, Joseph VanHarken, Bradley Rozier, and Tim Reilly all contributed to the LSJ machine.

Reilly gets a special mention by coming through with top-notch photos of our area athletes.

Rop’s 2012-13 work will be considered by many as one of the most remarkable years of reporting on Muskegon area sports by a single person. Rop published 1,932 stories starting on June 10, 2012 through June 9, 2013.

LSJ writers did not stop at online news. We published a hardcopy football preview, and came out with the area’s first-ever hard copy basketball preview. The issues were purchased by more than 5,000 Muskegon area sports fans.

Co-Publisher Jason Goorman produced 136 highlight videos and garnered more than 53,000 views on YouTube. Muskegon area sports fans watched more than 78,000 minutes of video highlights combined this 2012-13 season. That’s like watching Muskegon area sports highlights for 55 days straight.

The LSJ was there and we kept pinching ourselves along the way.

Grand Haven celebrates after winning the Division 1 basketball state championship

Grand Haven celebrates after winning the Division 1 basketball state championship

We were there for you in the fall reporting on the final season of Muskegon Catholic’s legendary football coach Mike Holmes. Coach Holmes actually sat down with LSJ reporter Mike Mattson for a video interview back in October.

The Muskegon Big Reds took us all the way to the 50-yard line of Ford Field at the Division 2 state football finals. Coach Shane Fairfield’s success surely made this year special.

Quincy Crosby (72) was one of the senior leaders on this year's Big Reds' football team. Here, Crosby, along with teammates Marcus Smith (4), Dejontaye Patterson (18) and Antwan Billings (74) walk to the center of the field for the pregame coin toss. Photo/Tim Reilly

Quincy Crosby (72) was one of the senior leaders on this year’s Big Reds’ football team. Here, Crosby, along with teammates Marcus Smith (4), Dejontaye Patterson (18) and Antwan Billings (74) walk to the center of the field for the pregame coin toss. Photo/Tim Reilly

This winter brought on new heights the Muskegon area will cherish for years to come. Grand Haven’s girls varsity basketball squad won back-to-back Division 1 state championships with a win over Westland John Glenn.

The basketball showcase at Muskegon High School was another highlight. Big Red Athletic Director Keith Guy ushered in some of the top high school basketball teams from the Midwest. Cliff Anderson’s five dunks for Chicago Curie on the Big Reds weren’t just impressive, they showed us what top prep talent basketball is all about.

This past 2012 fall and winter will live on as legendary in the LSJ’s short history book.

But here we are wrapping up the spring season. Holton softball being the last area softball team to fall in the postseason. The Red Devils dropped a tight 4-3 decision to No. 3 Unionville Sebewaing yesterday. Spring Lake’s girls soccer team came so close to a championship birth losing 1-0 in overtime to Richland Gull Lake in the Division 2 state semifinals on Wednesday. And Mona Shores, North Muskegon and Pentwater are vying for state titles in golf.

And then we had the event the ghosts of Muskegon all wish they could attend, the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame’s 25th annual Hall of Fame banquet.

Jim Goorman

Jim Goorman

MASHF inducted legendary coach Jim Goorman who finished his career coaching at Western Michigan Christian with the most basketball games ever won in the Muskegon area at 504. Goorman led five teams to state championships in 1992, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2010. Goorman’s first state championship in 1992 also would be won with his son Jeremy Goorman starting at the shooting guard position. Jeremy would also be along side his dad in the 1999 state championship season as the JV and assistant coach. Three of Goorman’s state championships were won by a single point.

Jack Sprague also was inducted to the hall as the areas most successful race car driver. Sprague finished in the Top 10 every year he raced in the Craftsman Truck series and won titles in 1997, 1999, and 2001. Many argued that Sprague was the best ever to race in that circuit.

Holton’s 1994 volleyball state championship team also made the grade to be inducted into the MASHF. Team members were Kelly Becklin, Dawn Long, Erin Monette, Jennifer Nichols, Dawn Peterson, Lori Swenson, Jennifer Thornton, Amber Trygstad, Amy Vandenberg and Amy DeLong. Coach Ed Bailey led the team that would win in two games over Pewamo-Westpahalia (16-14, 15-8) for the championship.

“Hello, sports fans.” Jim Moyes was the voice of that trademark introduction for 43 years of local high school sports. Mr. Moyes also was inducted into the hall as the Distinguished Service Award winner. The love of sports and to make kids better at their game drove Moyes to be involved in the heart of pushing the Muskegon area sports scene. Coaching many years of baseball at North Muskegon, Moyes also co-founded the West Michigan Track Club. The Memories of Moyes is a column that the Local Sports Journal considers extremely special for Muskegon area sports fan.

The Hall also brought in young blood with Reed Hrynewich and Abby Cole as the male and female student-athletes of the year.

It’s been a year this sportswriting crew at the Local Sports Journal will never forget. The LSJ is especially proud of our ability to break numerous stories before any other media outlet. We can attribute that to one thing – an experienced staff that knows Muskegon-area sports better than any other outlet.

Yes we do have plans for LSJ readers this summer.

Muskegon Local kiteboarding great Marc Hoeksema

Muskegon Local kiteboarding great Marc Hoeksema

We will be getting outside and are encouraging our readers to do the same.

Look for updates on the LSJ’s website each day. To engage you, we’ll be having a ‘video of the year’ contest which readers will be able to vote on the LSJ Facebook page for the best video of 2012-13. We’ll tally the winner by Facebook likes. Tune in so you can vote for your favorite video.

We are also kicking off a new summer contest: It’s a POST OFF!

Post your video highlights or picture highlights of summer sports onto the LSJ’s Facebook page. Votes equal likes here folks, and the winner will be who has the most.

We’ll be looking for pictures too, under the same exact terms. Votes equal likes.

Videos and pictures can be of any sport during the summer.

To enter any of the contests, all the applicant need do is copy, paste and post a link on to the LSJ Facebook page.

The videos and pictures with the most views will take home prizes that will be announced after the first weeks tally.

Stay tuned as more details emerge…

Yes we will be here this summer. But we expect you to get outside and enjoy the warm summer air.

2012-13 has been a year of incredible sports memories and we look for you to carry them into the summer with us.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *