Allegan Hall of Fame welcomes new members
It’s a trait for which athletes and teams strive. And it’s a trait that was displayed by Terry Loll, Jeff Schruer, Steve Balgoyen and Dave Hagger as the four members 880-yard relay for the Allegan High School boys’ track team between 1963 and 1965.
Just how consistent was this foursome?
“One of the most significant accomplishments may have been while running together for three years, the team never missed an exchange,” Schreur said.
But the quartet was also very good, amassing many victories and honors during their three-year span together. And its for that combination of consistency and high level of performance that Loll, Schreur, Balgoyen and Hagger were recently inducted as a group into the Allegan High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
The oldest two of the wrestling Simaz brothers—Eric and Cam—were also enshrined into the Hall of Fame, as was Katie (Wendt) Hartsock.
1965 880-relay team
Loll, Schreur, Balgoyen and Hagger first competed together in 1963 when Loll, Schreur and Hagger were sophomores and Balgoyen was a freshman. And while they were a force to be reckoned with all three years they competed together, the foursome did its best work in 1965.
With the senior trio of Loll, Schreur and Hagger serving as Allegan’s tri-captains, the relay team ran a time of one minute, 32.2 seconds at the Class B state finals to set a new school record. Prior to that, they also set records at the Wolverine Conference Meet and the Portage Optimist Relays.
In addition to the group’s work in the 880, they also excelled in the 440 relay as they broke the school record in that event as well in addition to setting the meet record at the Portage Optimist Relays.
The quartet also placed in the Central Michigan Relays and Champions of Champions Meet in Kalamazoo.
Eric Simaz walked through the doors of Allegan High School as a freshman in 2001. And thus began more than a decade of wrestling dominance by the four Simaz brothers.
Eric set the tone for his younger siblings—Cam, Taylor and Kyle—by garnering numerous accolades during his four-year stint as a varsity wrestler: he served as team captain, was named team MVP and earned several All-Conference, All-County and All-State honors.
The pinnacle of his mat success from an individual standpoint came during his senior season in 2005 when he captured the state championship in the 171-pound weight class.
By the time his high school wrestling career ended, Eric held numerous school records, including most wins with 192, most wins in a season with 59 as a senior, most pins in a career with 119 and most pins in a season with 41.
While wrestling was the sport for which he will be best remembered, Eric earned a total of nine varsity letters at Allegan. The other five included two each in football and baseball and one in track.
After graduating from Allegan, Eric continued his wrestling career at Central Michigan University, again setting the tone for his younger siblings as all three of them also wrestled at the NCAA Division 1 level. He was a four-year letter winner, a two-year starter and a one-time national qualifier.
Many of the wrestling records set by Eric Simaz proved to be short-lived thanks to younger brother Cam.
Upon graduating from Allegan in 2007, Cam had 10 varsity letters to his credit: four each in wrestling and baseball and two in football. But like his older brother, it was on the wrestling mats where Cam really made his name as he established himself as not only one of the best grapplers in Allegan history, but also the state.
Using a combination of athleticism and finesse, Cam secured a reputation as a skilled technical wrestler who set school records with 237 career wins and 138 career pins. He also set a new school mark for most takedowns in a season with 304.
Included in his 237 victories were three in title matches at the individual state finals as he took home state titles at 140 pounds in 2005 and 2006 and at 189 pounds in 2007.
Cam also led Allegan to a runner-up team finish at the state finals in 2006 and a Division 2 state championship in 2007. During that 2007 season, Cam showed his leadership and team-first mentality by wresting at 189 pounds despite weighing in at 171 pounds as doing so made the team stronger as a whole by opening up 171 for another talented wrestler.
After graduation, Cam continued to rack up wrestling honors at Cornell University. In addition to being a four-time NCAA All-American, he was an Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association champion, the Ivy League wrestler of the year for 2011 and 2012 and was named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic team.
Cam put an exclamation mark on his wrestling career at Cornell by securing the NCAA national championship at 197 pounds in 2012.
Katie (Wendt) Hartsock
A 1997 graduate, Hartsock earned nine varsity letters during her prep career in a total of three sports: track, basketball and volleyball. As a testament to her leadership, she was named team captain in all three sports.
While Hartsock enjoyed success in all three of her chosen sports, it was track where she excelled the most.
And it didn’t take long for her ability in that sport to come to the forefront as, as a freshman, she was part of the 800-meter relay team that earned All-Conference honors and qualified for the MHSAA state finals.
After focusing on the running events during her first two seasons on the track, Hartsock expanded her repertoire to include the field portion of meets as a high jumper. She again enjoyed near-immediate success, as she received All-Conference honors in the event.
She also earned All-Conference accolades as part of the 800 and 1,600 relay teams that season.
As a senior, Hartsock replicated her accomplishment of the previous season by earning All-Conference honors in the high jump. This time, though, she also qualified for the state finals.
By the time Hartsock’s track career came to an end, she had amassed 527.5 points to put her in sixth place on the school’s all-time scoring list. She led the Tigers in scoring twice in her four years with the team.
In basketball, Hartsock was named the Most Improved player in her sophomore year and as a junior she earned the black and blue Hustle Award, was named team captain and received the Coach’s Award.
Hartsock was the Ackerman Sportsmanship Award winner and earned the Allegan County News Award as the top female senior athlete for 1997.
She went on to attend Michigan State University, graduating in 2001 with a degree in elementary education before earning a master of arts in curriculum and teaching in 2005.