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Player of the Year

Readers decide West Michigan Conference 2022-23 winter sports Players of the Year

The banquet is set for 5-7 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Viking Athletic Center in Whitehall.

A CatchMark panel selected three finalists from each 2022-23 winter sport for the VanDyk Mortgage West Michigan Conference Player of the Year awards.

It was up to readers to determine the winners. For the past two weeks, readers have weighed in through fan polls — boy, did they ever, to the tune of more than 100,000 combined votes.

Now the results are final.

The CatchMark SportsNet West Michigan Conference winter sports Players of the Year have been determined:

  • Oakridge’s Anna Lundquist in girls basketball
  • Whitehall’s Camden Thompson in boys basketball
  • Mason County Central’s Nyveah Wendt in girls wrestling
  • Whitehall’s Shane Cook in boys wrestling
  • Oakridge’s Kira Twining in girls bowling
  • Holton’s Chase Albright in boys bowling
  • Mason County Central’s Emily Adams in competitive cheer

The polls opened at 8 a.m. March 30, and closed at noon today (April 13). Readers were allowed to vote once per hour in each poll.

CatchMark is inviting all Player of the Year award winners and finalists to a presentation banquet 5-7 p.m. Saturday, April 22, 2023, at the Viking Athletic Center, 541 E. Slocum St., in Whitehall. Dinner will be provided. Dress code is business casual.

Each Player of the Year award winner will be presented a plaque, while all finalists will receive laminated certificates. A trophy with award winners’ names engraved on it will stay in the CatchMark office.

Here are details about each Player of the Year award winner, along with how voting turned out in each sport:

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Anna Lundquist, Oakridge

The 6-foot-2 junior forward was a double-double machine and proved to be an inside-outside threat for the Eagles, who finished the season with a 16-7 overall record and placed third in the WMC Lakes Division. Lundquist averaged 15.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.3 steals, 2.4 blocks and 1.5 assists per game. 

BOYS BASKETBALL: Camden Thompson, Whitehall

The 6-foot-5 sophomore wing/forward led the Vikings to a 17-6 record and share of the WMC Lakes Division title along with Ludington. Thompson averaged 23.6 points, 14.4 rebounds (6.3 offensive), 3.4 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.2 blocks per game. He broke Whitehall’s single-season scoring record with 496 points. He was voted the CatchMark SportsNet WMC Player of the Year last winter as a freshman.

GIRLS WRESTLING: Nyveah Wendt, Mason County Central

The Spartans sophomore placed eighth at 110 points in the MHSAA girls individual state finals, which is one open division as opposed to four divisions. She finished the season with a 29-20 record. Last winter, Wendt became the first Mason County Central female wrestler to qualify for the all-female individual state finals.

BOYS WRESTLING: Shane Cook, Whitehall

The Vikings senior completed a dream run in his final season in the program. Cook captured the 285-pound state championship in Division 3 and finished with a flawless 62-0 record. He was the lone state champion from the West Michigan Conference. Cook is the fourth Whitehall wrestler to finish a season as an undefeated state champion, joining Ira Jenkins (2021, 2022) and Tim Cooper (1980). He closed his high school career 172-16 with 118 pins, 42 of them this season.

GIRLS BOWLING: Kira Twining, Oakridge

The Eagles junior averaged 168 and had a total pinfall of 2013 in 12 games during West Michigan Conference competition this season. Twining was champion of the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association tournament. At the Division 3 state finals, she finished fourth in the qualifying block and advanced to bracket play. Twining was a Player of the Year finalist last year.

BOYS BOWLING: Chase Albright, Holton

The Red Devils senior averaged 180 on the season. He was a team captain, a first-team All-West Michigan Conference selection and placed fifth in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association tournament. Albright, who also played basketball, rolled a school-record 279 in the Reeths-Puffer Invitational at Northway Lanes.

COMPETITIVE CHEER: Emily Adams, Mason County Central

The Spartans junior tumbler was a big reason why MCC teams each of the last two seasons qualified for the state finals. The strong, athletic and spunky Adams led the Spartans to the program’s first district title and an eighth-place Division 4 state finals finish last winter. This season, Adams helped MCC get back to the state finals for another eighth-place finish.

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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