Grand Rapids Christian High School
Announcements and Important Events
Friday night we had the opportunity to celebrate our Winter and Spring State Champions! Here is what we heard about them.
Bowling (1)— Zeke Heerema joins us to be honored as the first ever state champion in bowling for Grand Rapids Christian. Zeke led the toughest bowling conference in the state to earn overall conference champion with a 215 average. The lefty qualified for state and used a dominating consistent average of 233 in the state finals through 6 qualifying games and 8 games of match play to claim the Division 2 state individual state title. Congratulations Zeke!
Boys Swim and Dive (not pictured) — We celebrate Senior Ben Sytsma as a state title winner again, this time in the 50-yard freestyle! Ben was also runner-up in the 100 freestyle where he was a champion last year. The team this year finished in 5th place at the division 3 state championship under head coach Jeremy Pyper. 2023 Swim highlights for Ben include setting new school records for the 50 Freestyle in 20.57 seconds, passing his own record (21.03) from 2022. In the 100 Freestyle Ben set the new school record of 44.96 seconds, passing his own record (45.63) from 2022. He was conference champion in his two individual events: 200 yard freestyle and 100 yard freestyle. Ben finished with All-Conference, All-State and with All-American honors. Ben will be an Aggie and swim at Texas A & M next year. Congratulations Ben!
Girls Tennis (3)
- #1 Singles: Brynn Uchman made a lot of noise as a freshman including winning the conference championship in the tough OK White at #1 singles. She continued her roll with a Regional title. Brynn finished the season in the same style, beating Notre Dame Prep in the finals in convincing fashion winning 6-1, 6-1 . . .barely breaking a sweat. Brynn finishes the season with an undefeated 30-0 record and never losing a set on the season. A truly remarkable feat unheard of in high school girls tennis. And she did this all as a freshman. Congratulations Brynn!
- #2 Singles: Natalie Poortenga got her state tournament rolling with a convincing Regional title at 2 singles in Portland. Natalie continued her strong play, beating several traditional powerhouses to get to the state finals. Natalie then beat Cranbrook 6-4, 6-1 in the finals. Natalie started off down 0-3 in the first set and then came storming back to only lose 2 games the whole rest of the match. Natalie didn't lose a set on the weekend and won in dominating fashion. Congratulations Natalie!!
- #3 Doubles: Olivia Cook/Avah Jerke This duo opened their run to states with a convincing Regional title win also in Portland. This team went into the tournament as the #6 seeds and underdogs and ended up winning in dominating fashion. These girls did not lose a set on the tournament and a team didn't get more than 3 games on them in a set. Beating Holland Christian, Marian, and Cranbrook to get this championship was an impressive run, especially for a freshman and sophomore. Congratulations Avah and Olivia!
Track and Field (4)
- 4 x 400 Relay- Ethan Lenters, Reuben Wiering, Jonah Knoester, and Jordan Rodgers. The final race of the State Championship Meet was the 4x400 meter relay, where the Eagles were seeded 6th. This relay team never even ran together until Regionals. Ethan, a senior who had never run track, ran a great first leg, putting the Eagles in first place. Reuben kept them there then put on a furious kick to pass a runner who had passed him. Jonah ran with shear guts down the stretch to keep the Eagles in contention. He handed the baton to Jordan who ran an incredible anchor leg to hold off two other teams. Winning the first boys event state title since 1979! Congratulations Ethan, Reuben, Jonah and Jordan!
- 3200m- Natalie VanOtteren. Natalie won the 3200 running away from everyone with 2 laps to go, this after going 5th in the 1600. Natalie had a great season, running just off the school record in both the 1600 and 3200, as well as our fastest leg in the 4x800 relay. Injuries prevented her from winning the conference title but the rest and healing paid off! Her individual state title win in the 3200 was the third straight for the Eagles Girls Track team in that event. Congratulations Natalie! Congratulations
Boys Golf (5) — Expectations were high for a group that returned the top 7 players from last year’s 4th place finish at the State Tournament. This group won the OK White Conference Championship for the second consecutive year and showcased why they were the deepest golf team in the state with securing 6 out of 10 possible All Conference spots. There are only 5 starters in any given golf match which makes that a very impressive feat. They won the Regional title in convincing fashion. The state finals, however, were a different story. On Friday the Eagles shot 300, a very solid score, but it was 10 shots behind back-to-back reigning state champion Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice with a 290.
The Eagles stormed back from 13 shots behind, In the final seven holes of Day 2 at the Fortress to win the State Championship in Division 2 over Brother Rice’s team by 2 shots. Led by Coach Kevin Broene, the Division 2 Coach of the Year, ultimately 15 shots were made up on the final stretch of very difficult golf holes where the Eagles played solid, not perfect, golf under extreme pressure to win.
Members of the Varsity Team
Junior – Ford Erickson
Junior – Nicholas Sherman
Junior – Nate VanOtteren
Senior – Alex VandenBerge – The unquestioned leader of the team. Alex is playing golf at Calvin University this fall.
These are the golfers who played in State Finals and who each earned All-State honors, in Alphabetical Order
Sophomore – John Cassiday
Junior – Dylan Clark
Junior – Max O’Grady
Freshman -- Sawyer O’Grady
Freshman – Cooper Reitsma
Junior – Adam Workman
Congratulations Eagles Golf!!!
Baseball (6) — The Eagles have been on a mission ever since last year’s state runner-up finish. No team outworked them across the state and it showed with a 29-5 regular season and conference championship in the brutal OK White. The Eagles defeated the Sailors 4-0 for a district championship, then moved on to beat Catholic Central in the Regional semifinal. The Regional Championship was satisfying over a tough Stevensville Lakeshore squad.
Flint Powers went down 4-0 to the Eagles in the State Semi and then the Eagles faced the show also known as University Liggett. The Eagles won 2-1 behind tough pitching, timely hitting and no errors all weekend in the field. This is the third state championship under Coach Gates, who was selected Division 2 Coach of the Year and who we want to issue a special thank-you and farewell as he heads to Davenport University as an assistant baseball coach.
1 Carson Custer Jr
2 Cannon Paul Inf Jr
3 Jackson Groen C Jr
4 Parker Seth Inf Jr
5 Zeke Heerema OF Jr
6 Isaac Hubka Inf Sr
7 Luke Gelderloos C Sr
8 Cam Seth Inf Sr
9 Charlie Kileen P Jr
10 Will VanWingerden OF Jr
11 Ty Uchman Inf Sr
12 Josh Winkle OF Sr
15 Ben DeYoung OF Soph
17 Kyle Remington Inf Sr
18 John Bakker OF Soph
19 Will Doezema Inf Fr
20 Joe Lukezich OF Jr
21 Jace Porter OF Jr
22 Parker DeHoek C Soph
24 Jackson Isaacs OF Jr
Congratulations Eagles Baseball!
Thank you to the Grand Rapids Christian parents, community, athletic boosters and staff for all your support for Eagle Athletics!