HYPE VIDEO (embedded below) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VJux2znFhk&feature=youtu.be
The rivalry between Alma and Olivet always contains a multitude of storylines.
And this year will be no different.
You will have two ranked teams just returned from the National Duals.
You will get battles between ranked wrestlers, and you won’t want to miss the night’s feature bout between Alma junior Jamie Jakes and Olivet senior Nick Allen.
Still the biggest story of January 15, 2015 – or better known as AC/OC #4 – won’t be about the tough guys in the center of the 10-foot circle.
The biggest story will be about the toughest guy in the room – four-year-old Zayne Warren.
Recently featured on a national broadcast of NBC Nightly News, Zayne’s story is one the wrestling community learned about during Springport High’s run to the MHSAA state finals a year ago.
“The floor at Kellogg Arena and the bleachers were covered with Team Z shirts,” said Alma head coach Todd Hibbs. “Coach Dave Pratt and the Springport wrestling community did something special when they put their support behind Zayne and the Warren family.”
Earlier last year, Jake and Jessica Warren became concerned when Zayne was experiencing headaches. They had him evaluated and it was determined that he had an optic glioma, a malignant and inoperable brain tumor on his optic nerve.
“I heard about Zayne’s tumor and I saw a photo of the family wearing the original Super Z shirts,” said Pratt. “I felt compelled to do something.”
Pratt attended Springport High with Jessica Warren, and he had been a wrestling teammate of Jessica’s brother-in-law Mike while in school. So he approached family members and gained support in having his team dedicate their season to Team Z.
“When I asked the wrestlers if they were willing to use the Super Z shirts for the year, they were all for it and have been following and supporting Zayne and the entire Warren family ever since,” said Pratt.
“I really had no idea when I asked the boys about the shirts that it would explode into the support from so many communities.”
Last year it was other high school programs calling and asking what they could do to help, and this year it’s Alma and Olivet at the college level throwing their support, prayers and more behind Zayne and the Warrens.
“You can’t be around this family and not want to fight every possible way you can for Zayne. They are remarkable people with huge hearts and would do the same for anyone – as we have done for them,” added Pratt.
Recently the Warrens were met with challenging news when it was discovered that Zayne’s tumor is still growing. After days of searching hospitals from coast-to-coast, the family landed in Houston seeking consultation from a specialist.
While compassionate six-year-old big brother Ayden, Jessica and Jake all continue walking hand-in-hand with Zayne – there are very big decisions ahead for the family. There will be decisions on treatment, destinations, doctors and whether to pursue any form of complicated and difficult surgery.
And during this time the prayers are coming in locally from friends and teams, nationally from Joel Osteen ministries, Joyce Meyer ministries and more. And information and support continues to stream onto a family blog by Jessica and sister Jamie Lightner at misguidedsisters.com.
“I am convinced that anyone who meets the Warren family absolutely knows that it is time to do something special,” said Hibbs. “It’s only left to each of us to determine what that special something will be.”
Indeed, the Scots and Comets are doing something special on Thursday.
First off, the teams will pass on rivalry colors and instead wear matching “Springport Blue” Team Z shirts, with the proceeds from purchases of extra shirts by fans going to the Warren family.
And it will be quite a sight when the arena lights are dimmed to shine 500 blue glowsticks during team introductions and as the Warrens are recognized.
In addition, there will be a free winter cookout at 6:30 p.m. with hot dogs, bratwurst and chips – again with any donations going to the Warren family.
And in keeping with the Scottish theme for Alma – Yes, there will be bagpipes, a William Wallace look-a-like contest, Scotty the Alma College mascot, claymore giveaways and a whole lot more.
Junior varsity start time is 6 p.m., with the varsity match at 7:30 p.m., and all festivities will occur in and around the Hogan Center (corner of Wright Avenue and Superior Street in Alma). #beatcancer #Team_Z #GoAlmaScots #ScotsWhaHae #OlivetAthletics #almawrestlesolivet
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A great sports rivalry with a big dose of perspective about what's really important. Well done Scots and Comets. And GO Zayne!
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