After a rough summer, Thaine Nederveld is having a much better fall with the Whetstone High School boys cross country team.
The sophomore broke both arms in separate incidents during the summer, putting him behind in his training with the Braves.
"I broke my right arm playing baseball when I was sliding into home plate and that cost me seven weeks," Nederveld said. "I just had the full cast removed and had a brace on it when I broke my left arm. We were at Cedar Point, and I was running and chasing my brother to a ride and I stumbled and fell hard on my left arm.
"I knew it was broken right away because it felt just like it did when I broke my right arm. (Cedar Point officials) got me a medic and they drove me in a van to the hospital. It was an awful feeling."
Nederveld had a cast on that arm for four weeks before having it removed and replaced by a brace.
"I lost a lot of training time with my right arm because it hurt real bad to run," he said. "I had just started training when I broke my left arm, but I was able to begin training after two weeks with that one."
Last season, Nederveld was first-team all-league after placing fifth (18:05.7) in the City League meet. He went on to finish 42nd (17 minutes, 18.5 seconds) of 119 runners in the Division I, district 2 meet at Watkins Memorial, posting the fastest time by a freshman in program history.
"I'm getting closer to being back on the same pace I was last year at this time," said Nederveld, who finished 15th (19:16.5) in the Braves' Arrowhead Invitational on Sept. 19. "Considering all the time I missed, I'm pretty happy right now. I still want to help us win the City title, and I want to get at least down near 17:30 at district."
Whetstone had three of the top 15 finishers in the Arrowhead Invitational, as sophomore Matthew Conroy was seventh (18:41.5) of 146 runners and senior Emil Adams was 14th (19:16.3). Senior Colin Ramsby finished 35th (20:39.7) and freshman Reed Wilson was 126th (27:21).
The Braves finished seventh (159 points) in the 15-team meet, behind champion Watterson (39).
"Our top three are where we thought they'd be, considering the hot weather so far," coach Joe Monda said. "Training has been difficult, and we're low on numbers. But we're hoping we can lower the gaps between the top three and the others."
Senior Harper Daniel led the girls team in the Arrowhead Invitational, placing 17th (23:49.5) of 94 runners. Also competing were senior Elizabeth Cobbs (24th, 25:19.1), sophomore Micah Stromsoe-DeLorenzo (31st, 26:04.8), freshman Anya Ramey (32nd, 26:04.9) and sophomore Olivia Cobbs (67th, 30:02.1).
The Braves finished third (118) of six teams, behind Centerburg (17) and Watterson (38).
Football team posts first win of season
The football team outgained Linden-McKinley 402-86 in total yards as it rolled to a 36-0 win Sept. 21 for its first victory.
The Braves improved to 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the City League-North Division and are now preparing to play host to Northland on Friday, Sept. 28.
The Vikings are 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the league after beating Mifflin 54-12 on Sept. 21.
"I'm very happy for the kids," said Braves coach Tom Jones, who posted his first varsity coaching victory. "It was good to do it in front of the home crowd on homecoming and to do it in a dominant fashion. We played well in all phases.
"We had played well defensively against Briggs (in a 14-2 loss Aug. 31) but struggled offensively in the red zone, and we struggled defensively against Whitehall (in a 26-7 loss Sept. 7). We finally put it all together. It helped that we had some guys coming back from injury, like Lucas Waaland, who could sub and give our two-way players a breather rather than be so worn down in the fourth quarter."
Northland is led by a pair of brothers in running back John Branham, who had 243 yards rushing against Mifflin, and quarterback Kalil Branham, who passed for 165 yards and four touchdowns against the Punchers. The Vikings' leading receiver is Jesse Prewitt III, who had two touchdown receptions against Mifflin.
Northland defeated Whetstone 49-14 last year.
"Everyone knows about the Branham brothers and (John) used to play for Whetstone," Jones said. "But the key there is they have a very talented receiver in Prewitt and he gives them that third big threat. You can't just focus on stopping one or two of those guys because the other one will get you then. They have a lot more depth and have a lot of talented athletes."
Against Linden, Rashaun Broomfield rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns, scoring on a 20-yard run and a 1-yard run. He also accounted for six more points on three two-point conversion runs.
Darric McClinton got the game's first score on a 5-yard run and Dorian Jordan scored on a 10-yard run as Whetstone led 22-0 at halftime. Jordan finished with 98 yards rushing.
Gabriel Jordan returned a blocked punt 17 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to close the scoring.
"Our offensive line, led by Mike Woodard, a third-year starter, played well and we only had two holding penalties," Jones said. "Sam Mahan and Tyrique Edwards played well at guards and Elijah Rhein-Murray and Diesel Riccio did well at tackles. We rushed for 314 yards and we had nearly 300 total yards at halftime on 15 plays.
"Defensively, we had a lot of guys making plays. It was a fun night."
Girls tennis team reaches City final
The girls tennis team finished 4-0 in the City-North, never losing a court, to advance to the City championship match, where it will play West on Monday, Oct. 1, at Africentric. The Cowboys went 4-0 in the City-South.
The Braves, who returned just two starters from last season, are seeking their ninth consecutive City title after beating Independence 5-0 in last year's final.
"It's been an absolutely fun season because we have a great group of girls with great camaraderie," said coach Bucky Walters, whose team improved to 9-4 overall with a 4-1 win over Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 20. "All of them have improved tremendously, too."
The Braves competed in the City Coaches Tournament on Sept. 24 and 26. Their singles lineup was expected to consist of Stella Thompson, Alysia Swinehart and Anita Tamang at Nos. 1-3, respectively. Emma McAdams and Maizy Pratt have been playing at first doubles, with Melia Loar and Sally Brackville at second doubles.
Boys golf team preps for sectional
The boys golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Darby Creek, where the top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
The Braves remained in first place in the City League entering this week and were scheduled to make up league matches on Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 ahead of the league tournament Thursday, Sept. 27, at Airport.
Below are the coming schedules for the Whetstone cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 29 -- Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club
Sept. 27 -- City League tournament at Airport
Oct. 2 -- Division I sectional at Darby Creek
*Sept. 27 -- Home vs. International
Sept. 29 -- At Central Crossing
*Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Centennial
Sept. 27 -- At Hamilton Township
*Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Centennial
*Oct. 2 -- At Briggs
Oct. 1 -- City League championship at Africentric
*Sept. 27 -- Home vs. International. The Braves beat the Lions 25-8, 25-12, 25-17 on Sept. 4.
*Oct. 2 -- At Beechcroft. The Braves beat the Cougars 25-10, 25-7, 25-6 on Sept. 6.