Winter sports teams gearing up for 2017-2018 seasons
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The preseason for Grayling High School winter sports got started on Monday, Nov. 6, with official practice sessions for girls basketball, and the other programs – boys basketball, wrestling, and skiing – were allowed to start this week on Monday, Nov. 13.
The girls basketball program for Grayling will play in its season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at Roscommon, starting with the junior varsity contest at 6 p.m. The girls basketball teams will host Lake City on Friday, Dec. 1, at 5:30 p.m.
The coaches for the program – Joe Powers (varsity) and Dan Brandt (junior varsity) – are both back with the teams following absences. Powers coached the varsity squad for three seasons (2010-2011 through 2012-2013). Brandt led the JV team from 2013-2014 through 2015-2016.
The GHS girls basketball program will not have a freshman squad due to insufficient player numbers.
“If we had the numbers we definitely would have one,” Grayling High School Athletic Director Nate Maury said. “Numbers in girls basketball in general are down.”
“With Joe taking back over his focus is building the entire program, not just varsity,” Maury said. “His goal is to win the very first district title in girls basketball history for the school.”
The Vikings are in District 62-B this year for the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs. According to the MHSAA, the tournament will feature Grayling, Gladwin, Harrison, Standish-Sterling Central, Tawas, and West Branch Ogemaw Heights.
It’s a different postseason grouping for the Vikings than in recent years, Maury said, and the Vikings have been participating in scrimmages, “playing teams south of us we’ll see for districts” in an effort to get ready for it.
The boys basketball program from Grayling High School started its official practice sessions for the new season on Monday, Nov. 13.
Coaches for the program are Rich Moffit (back as coach of the varsity squad), Craig Hofman (new JV coach), and Jeremie Mead (new freshman coach). Hofman is a longtime varsity assistant and former GMS boys basketball coach.
The varsity team is expected to be senior-heavy this year.
“It looks like most of them are returners. Winning districts this year is definitely a possibility for them,” Maury said. “They’re going to be guard-heavy. They’re going to run a lot.”
The boys are also in District 62-B. Their possible playoff opponents include Gladwin, Harrison, Standish-Sterling Central, Tawas, and Ogemaw Heights.
The varsity and junior varsity boys basketball squads will open their 2017-2018 seasons with home games vs. Gaylord on Wednesday, Dec. 6, starting at 5:30 p.m. The two squads will host Blessed Cardinal Newman Catholic (from Ontario, Canada) on Saturday, Dec. 9, beginning with the JV contest at noon.
Andy Moore is back as coach of the Grayling High School wrestling program. The wrestlers started their official practice sessions on Monday, Nov. 13.
“He’s got about 20 kids right now,” Maury said prior to the start of official practices. “They’re going to be strong again. A lot of returners. Expect them to have a strong season overall.”
The wrestling team’s first meet of the season is slated for Wednesday, Dec. 6, at Petoskey. The Vikings will host the Grayling Invitational on Jan. 13. GHS will host individual districts in February of 2018.
Brad Wagner, longtime GMS ski coach, is the new coach of the high school ski team.
“He’s stepping into a program that’s had two of the best coaches in the state. He’s been an assistant the last few years so he knows what’s going on,” Maury said.
The ski team’s first scheduled meet is slated for Jan. 4 at Nub’s Nob. The Vikings will host the Grayling Invitational at Schuss Mountain on Jan. 22. The state finals will also be held at Schuss Mountain this season.