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Pennfield welcomes Saxons into I-8 competition

Hastings bowlers John Hinkle and Ashland Hoyt celebrate with their fifth-place medals following their performance at the Marshall Scotch Doubles Tournament Saturday.

Brett Bremer

Sports Editor

The Saxon varsity wrestling teams are 0-1 in the Interstate-8 Athletic Conference, but they are both officially in the Interstate-8 Athletic Conference now.

The Hastings boys' and girls' varsity bowling teams took part in an Interstate-8 Athletic Conference dual for the first time Tuesday, hosting Pennfield at Hastings Bowl. The Pennfield boys scored a 21-9 win over the Saxons and the Pennfield girls scored a 21-9 win as well.

“They absolutely love it. They feel so much more like a team (being a part of the conference),” Hastings head coach Andrea Rhodes said of her bowlers. “All of the players that were here last year that are here this year know exactly what they need to do and have been helping out those new kids that I have. I have a lot more seniors this year, plus bunches of freshmen that came in this year that are doing very well.”

It was as solid start for the Hastings boys, who split the two Baker games by winning one with an outstanding 209 score.

Pennfield outscored the Saxon boys in the two regular games 1903 to 1679. Gage Richmond and John Hinkle earned points for the Saxons, with Richmond rolling a 186 and Hinkle a 198. Jacob O'Keefe had scores of 186 and 213 in his two games.

The Pennfield girls rolled a score of 1664 in their two-game series with the Saxons, outscoring the hosts total of 1436.

Abby Zull earned a pair of team points, getting the first with a high-game of 148. Andrea Rhodes and Daisy Kerby won points for the Saxons as well. Ashland Hoyt had a high-game of 197 for the Saxons.

Hastings has plenty of bowlers for JV boys' and girls' teams too. The Saxon JV boys won 21-9 and the Saxon JV girls scored a 20-10 win over the green and gold Panthers.

The Saxons have been a part of four tournaments in the lead-up to the conference season. The Saxons were a part of the Marshall Scotch Doubles Tournament Saturday. Hinkle and Hoyt teamed up to place fifth out of 44 duos at the event. Teammates Andrea Rhodes and O'Keefe placed seventh.

Hastings had five twosomes at the event, with the team of Kerby and Richmond just missing out on qualifying for the match-play by placing 11th in the three-game qualifying series.

Hoyt and Hinkle were second in the qualifying, and Rhodes and O'Keefe were eighth in the qualifying – narrowly edging the ninth-place team by three pins.

The tournament included duos from Marshall, Hastings, Pennfield, Jackson Lumen Christi, Olivet, Coldwater and Sturgis.

Hastings is scheduled to head to Jackson for an I-8 match-up with Jackson Northwest this afternoon, and will go to the Lowell Invitational Saturday. Hastings is on the road in the I-8 twice in the week ahead, at Harper Creek Monday and at Lumen Christi Tuesday. The Saxons' next home dual is Jan. 21 against Parma Western.

It is a very different schedule than when the Saxon program returned to varsity competition last winter after a hiatus. The Saxons didn't have a slate of conference duals to compete in during the 2018-19 season.

“It will be a lot different,” coach Rhodes said, “the kids are going to be expected to practice one or maybe two days a week for these next two months and then the rest of the days are matches. They're going to understand that it is going to be a little bit of work for them. But honestly, from what I have this year it is going to be a good year.

“It is going to be a good year.”

“I am so excited.”

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