Pioneer winter sports postseason previews

Boy’s Swimming:

With the state championship meet less than two weeks away, the Pioneer men’s swim team is rolling as they attempt to repeat as Michigan Division 1 state champions. 

“The season has been fantastic so far,” said senior captain Ryan Hume. “This year’s team has been extremely unified.”

After going undefeated in dual meets (9-0), Pioneer took home the Southeastern Conference Championship in dominating fashion, winning the meet by over 100 points. 

Led by Hume and seniors Jack Wilkening, Caleb Rice, and Teo Jaworski, fifteen Pioneer swimmers posted times fast enough to qualify for the state meet.

Hume also said there were other memorable moments. “We’ve had several pool, varsity, and SEC records broken so far this year.”

While Pioneer’s top swimmers crushed the competition all year long, Hume said the rest of the team performed well too. “This team also has a lot of younger talent that showed up at duel meets and our conference meet and supported us greatly,” he said.

Even though Pioneer is the reigning state champion, Hume says there is still room for improvement. “We would love to improve on our relay placements from last year,” he said.

In addition, the team is focused on getting more swimmers involved. “We want some of our underclassmen to score this year,” Hume said. 

Pioneer will contest the state meet on Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12 at the Holland Aquatic Center. 

 

Girl’s Hockey:

As the playoffs approach, the Pioneer women’s ice hockey team will look to build on their strong season, aiming for the first state title in school history. 

Senior forward and captain Abby Cheng is impressed with the team so far, particularly a recent comeback against Northville, the second-ranked team in the state at the time. “Northville had a 4-0 lead on us after the first period,” she said, “but we ended up going to overtime and tying 5-5. We don’t get down on ourselves if the other team scores. That determination is nothing I’ve seen on previous teams.”

After going .500 last season, Pioneer has seen major improvement, skating to a 10-7-2 record (7-7-2 in league play), keyed by leading goal scorer, senior Nadia Tuzinsky (33 goals scored) and sophomore goalie Maddie Grand (.752 save percentage).  

Cheng says this year’s team is different. “Our team’s performance has been amazing this year,” she said. “We build off each other, keeping a positive mentality and our heads up.” 

While the end of the regular season was tough, a 9-1 defeat to undefeated University Liggett, Cheng looks forward to seeing what the team can do in the playoffs.

“While we don’t have a perfect record, we are a strong team,” she said. “My hope is that we not only find ourselves in the championship game, but bring home the trophy too.”

She’s optimistic about that possibility. “We could beat any team in the league,” she said. “Rankings don’t scare us too much.”

Pioneer opens the state tournament against the combined Skyline-Huron team on Saturday, March 5 at Eddie Edgar Ice Arena in Livonia.