Local college notes: UM's Hatch, Cole getting hitched

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Michigan's Austin Hatch

Tis the season for wedding bells, apparently.

Two state college athletes recently made waves on social media by getting engaged.

On April 29, Austin Hatch, a prominent member of the Michigan basketball program — even if his playing days are over — surprised volleyball and basketball player Abby Cole with a ring on campus at Cliff Keene Arena.

"Thought this would be a nice graduation present," Hatch wrote on Twitter.

Hatch, 22, is a well-known figure on campus, given his history. Before arriving at Michigan on a basketball scholarship, he was involved in two deadly plane crashes, one that killed his mother, brother and sister, and another that killed his father and stepmother.

The latter crash took place during his senior year in high school, and it left him seriously injured. Still, Michigan basketball coach John Beilein honored his scholarship. He played briefly as a freshmen, before turning his attention to his studies.

Cole, 21, was a unanimous All-Big Ten first-team selection for volleyball this past season.

"Abigail Hatch has a nice ring to it, don't you think?" she wrote on Twitter.

A day earlier, across the state, a Grand Valley State softball player had the surprise of her life.

After a victory over Ferris State in Allendale, Mich., senior outfielder Kelsey Dominguez found her boyfriend, Nick Ameiss, waiting at home plate on one knee.

"He stole her heart at home plate," Dominguez's teammate, Courtney Reinhold, said on Twitter.

Oakland forms new spirit squad

After a shakeup with the dance and cheerleading teams, Oakland University on Friday announced the hirings of its new coaches for the new, consolidated squad.

Chelsea Estes, a Clarkston native and a sideline reporter for Oakland games on ESPN3, was named the head coach of the new spirit squad, and Kayle Feiffer, an Ohio native and a former cheerleader at Toledo, was named the assistant coach.

Oakland athletic director Jeff Konya announced last month that the two programs would be merged into one, ruffling some feathers initially.

Konya has since met with members of both cheer and dance, and appears to have smoothed things over.

The move, Konya said, was to get the groups to work and perform routines together, like at basketball games, to create a better game-day atmosphere. As separate teams, they rarely worked together, said Konya, who found that counterproductive.

"Both Chelsea and Kayle will bring so much energy and passion to those positions that the results are going to be fantastic," Konya said. "They are committed to the student-athlete experience."

Tryouts for the new team will be May 22-24 from 6-8 p.m. at the O'Rena. Students interested in trying out can email Estes at ceestes89@gmail.com.

This and that

Central Michigan men's basketball continues to replenish its guard supply, adding transfer Gavin Peppers from Cleveland State on Thursday.

Recently, CMU added junior college transfer Shawn Roundtree. Both are immediately eligible to play, Roundtree because he's coming from a junior college, and Peppers because he sat out last year with a medical redshirt. Both have two years of eligibility remaining.

At a community college before he landed at Cleveland State, Peppers averaged 18.7 points.

The Chippewas have a tall task replacing Marcus Keene and Braylon Rayson, who combined to average more than 50 points a game last season.

... In more Central Michigan news, receiver Austin Stewart has received an invitation to New Orleans Saints rookie minicamp, after playing just one year of football in college. In 2016, the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder caught six passes for 65 yards. He played four years of basketball for the Chippewas, averaging 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 122 games.

... It's been a rough year for Oakland baseball, thanks in large part to the weather. The Golden Grizzlies didn't play a home game until April 11, and have played just four in 31 games. And now this weekend's home series against Valpo is being moved to Valpo. Oakland's baseball field sits at the bottom of a hill, and doesn't drain well.

... Eastern Michigan women's gymnastics coach Sarah Brown has left to take the same position at Penn State. Brown spent just one season at Eastern Michigan, and led the team to its first Mid-American Conference regular-season championship.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984