TRHS inducting athletic duo into HALL OF FAME
THREE RIVERS — Pride will be at an all-time high Thursday night inside the Three Rivers High School gymnasium.
Three Rivers hosts South Haven in the Wolverine Conference boys’ basketball championship game at 7:15 p.m.
In addition to the game, Al Heivilin and Sally Fetch-Lovejoy will be inducted into the Three Rivers High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Both will be in attendance.
The Hall of Fame Ceremony will take place during halftime of the varsity game.
Preceding that game will be a freshman game between Three Rivers and South Haven at 4:15 p.m. followed by the jayvee contest at 5:45 p.m.
Heivilin is a 1967 graduate of TRHS, where he earned two varsity letters in basketball, three in football and four in track and field. He was also captain of the Wildcats’ 1967 track and field team.
“My son Shawn helped me put together the information so it was both our hope I would someday be nominated. I am very honored,” Heivilin said.
It was on the oval where Heivilin excelled the most.
In 1967, Heivilin set a school record in the long jump of 21-11 1/4 that would stand for 17 years.
During the 1966 season, Heivilin was part of the Cats’ 880-yard relay team that set a school record.
Heivilin still holds the school record in the hurdle relay that he set his senior year. He also established an indoor hurdle relay record at a meet held at Western Michigan University the same year.
As a sophomore, Heivilin set a record in the Broad Jump Relay in 1965.
Heivilin excelled at the regional level, finishing second in the 880 relay in 1966 and third in 1967. He was regional long jump champion his senior year and helped the 880-yard relay team to a third-place finish at the state meet his senior year. He earned all-state honors his senior season.
“We were a bunch of cocky kids that could afford to be that way. I wasn’t the only standout. We walked into a lot of schools and ran away with a lot of meets,” Heivilin said.
After high school, Heivilin went on to participate at the collegiate level at Ferris State University before an injury in his freshman year ended his collegiate career prematurely.
In the 1968 season at Ferris, Heivilin finished third in the regional meet in the Triple Jump. Heivilin also had several first, second and third-place finishes in dual meets that same season.
Heivilin came back to reside in Three Rivers, where he has been a leader in the community and heavily involved in youth sports.
He was on the first committee that started the Rocket Football Program in Three Rivers in 1980. He also, along with Karen Armstrong, served on the board of directors that started Youth Soccer in Three Rivers. He spent a total of 10 years coaching in the TR Rocket Football Program, eight years in coaching youth basketball and coached youth soccer for four years.
“That makes you feel good when you can affect the lives of youths in a positive way,” Heivilin said.
Heivilin also served as a referee for Adult Recreational League basketball and softball for 10 years and a registered MHSAA game official in basketball, softball and baseball for 31 years.
Heivilin, the grandfather of Three Rivers’ starting sophomore guard Jalen Heivilin, has received many other awards for his community involvement, including lifetime membership in the Jaycees, Kiwanis and Three Rivers Citizen of the Year.
“It’s frustrating to go to the ballgame and see so very few students in attendance. When I was in school everyone went to the football and basketball games, the stands were full and you had a pep rally before every game. Everyone in the community was on board. You used to have cheerleaders that cheered for the team and now that is a sport in itself,” Heivilin said. “It’s still nice though to see that taking place in football.”
Fetch-Lovejoy, who now resides in Traverse City, is a 1974 graduate of Three Rivers where she participated in girls’ tennis, basketball and cheerleading.
“I was surprised and feel very honored to be in the company of many talented athletes that have attended Three Rivers,” said Fetch-Lovejoy.
Her biggest memory is the many friendships she developed with her coaches and teammates during her career.
“I had a lot of good teammates, great coaches and I was fortunate to build some good friendships along the way,” she said.
Cindy Metzger was one of Fetch-Lovejoy’s most influential coaches.
“I just loved competing and pushing myself in both practice and games. Tennis is a unique sport because each match is a one-on-one competition that challenges you individually,” Fetch-Lovejoy said.
Fetch-Lovejoy held down the No. 1 singles position all four years of her career in girls’ tennis and never lost a conference match.
During her senior year she served as Three Rivers’ team captain and was conference champion, a regional champion and played on an undefeated team that finished the season 13-0 and were Wolverine Conference champions.
She served as team captain on the Three Rivers cheerleading squad her senior year.
In basketball, Fetch-Lovejoy earned three varsity letters in girls’ basketball and was a three-year starter. She served as the Lady Cats’ co-captain her senior year in 1973-74 season and earned All-Wolverine Conference honors while helping Three Rivers finish the season 16-2 as conference and district champs and earned a spot in the regional semifinals.
Fetch-Lovejoy went on to play four years of women’s tennis and women’s basketball at the collegiate level at Alma College.
In basketball, Fetch-Lovejoy earned a spot on Alma’s varsity team. She became a starter her junior and senior years and was voted team MVP her senior year.
In tennis, Fetch-Lovejoy was MIAA champion at No. 3 singles for the Lady Scots her sophomore year and also played No. 2 doubles.
As a junior in 1976-77 she earned the No. 1 singles spot and also played No. 1 doubles on the varsity team.
During her senior year, Fetch-Lovejoy played No. 1 singles, served as team captain, voted team MVP and became Alma’s first MIAA champion in school history and also played No. 1 doubles.
After college, Fetch-Lovejoy coached varsity girls’ basketball at Allegan High School from 1978-1983. The Lady Tigers won conference titles under her in 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1983 and were district champions in 1980, 1982 and 1983. She compiled a win-loss record of 104-32.
After Allegan, Fetch-Lovejoy went on to coach boys’ and girls’ tennis and basketball at Traverse City West High School before her retirement.
Fetch-Lovejoy was fortunate to be able to coach her three children — daughters Emily Baumann, Lydia Lovejoy and son Kace Lovejoy — in tennis while they were in high school at Traverse City West.
Kace is a three-time national qualifier for a men’s travel team.
“That was a great experience being able to coach my own children,” she said.
Fetch-Lovejoy feels the biggest challenge in high school sports today is holding youth accountable for their own actions.
“I really enjoyed coaching because you have the opportunity to watch kids grow as people in various aspects of life in terms of values and how they perform in the face of adversity,” Fetch-Lovejoy said.
“Coaching is a wonderful profession. You are changing lives and helping kids grow into successful adults in society.”
Fetch-Lovejoy is active in her community and is Caretaker for the Grand Traverse Yacht Club.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.