Ogemaw Heights Finds a New Home in NMSL
WEST BRANCH – After exiting the Big North Conference at the conclusion of the 2015-16 school year, the Ogemaw Heights boys soccer team was left without a league to call home last year.
Following a five-year stint in the BNC, the Falcons played as an independent in 2016 before following the girls soccer program in the spring and joining the 12-team Northern Michigan Soccer League.
Although the West Branch school continues on as independent in its other varsity sports, the boys soccer team is flourishing in its inaugural NMSL campaign and leads the North division with a 5-0 record.
“We were in the Big North against teams that were like five times the size of our school, which is like impossible to take on,” senior Joseph Marentette said. “They just had way too much skill, and it’s a lot more fun to compete against teams that are at our skill level.”
Winners of five of their last six games, the Falcons (9-4) are coming off a 3-2 win over a quality Lincoln Alcona team.
“When we first started out, it seemed pretty unfair, considering we were so small and they were so big,” senior Mason Veltman said. “Now that I look back at it, that was a learning curve. Because now that we’re playing a little bit easier competition, it was nice to have that harder competition to get us ready.”
The Falcons have their sights set on winning a district title after falling in the district final each of the last two years. Ogemaw Heights will compete in a six-team Division 3 district at Standish Sterling, that features Clare, Gladwin, Pinconning, Tawas and the hosts.
Ogemaw Heights continues league play on Thursday, traveling to Burt Lake Northern Michigan Christian.