Sari Cicurel
Sari Cicurel

For the first sports column of 2019, let’s look back at some top sports stories of 2018.

* Former Detroit Tigers star and 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez receives the Hank Greenberg Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award on June 11 at the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation’s 28th annual Hank Greenberg Memorial Invitational golf outing.

* Sari Circurel is named executive director of the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation following the March retirement of David Blatt, who stepped down after 10 years.

* Karen Gordon coaches the U.S. 16U girls basketball team to a silver medal at the inaugural International Maccabi Youth Games in July in Israel. She has been involved in the Detroit Maccabi program for 30-plus years.

* Farmington Hills Harrison High School football ends, the victim of a school closure ordered three years ago by the Farmington Public Schools school board. And so ends Billy Slobin’s 33-year labor of love as the Hawks’ volunteer strength and conditioning coach.

* The Inter-Congregational Men’s Club Summer Softball League’s 23rd season: Playoff champions are Temple Israel No. 6 in the Greenberg Division, Temple Beth El in the Koufax Division and Young Israel of Southfield in the Rosen Division.

* Morgan Leib becomes the first girl to play for the Detroit ice hockey team at the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest.

* Detroit

dancers win medals in 15 of 20 routines at the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest in California.

* Detroit 14U basketball players Noah Kam, Carson Brodsky and Alex Mayoras help a mixed delegation team win a gold medal at the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest in California.

* Gary Klinger wins a B’nai B’rith sports triple crown. His teams win Brotherhood-Eddie Jacobson bowling league and Inter-Congregational Men’s Club Summer Softball League championships and he combines with Dale Taub to win the golf league team title.

* Bowler Dave Shanbaum of Windsor rolls his 17th career 300 game Jan. 15 at Country Lanes in Farmington Hills during Brotherhood-Eddie Jacobson B’nai B’rith league play.

* Rob Landaw is honored in March by the USA Softball of Metro Detroit organization for his 40 years of service as a slow-pitch softball umpire. Landaw has been the Inter-Congregational Men’s Club Summer Softball League umpire-in-chief for several years.

* Weightlifter Jeff Ellis of West Bloomfield competes in a national meet for the first time and wins a gold medal in the age 55-59 198-pound division with a 275-pound bench press. Ellis wins gold April 20 at the Amateur American Powerlifting Federation national meet in Grand Rapids. He had qualified for the 2016 and 2017 AAPF national meets, but he couldn’t compete each year because of an injury.

* Birmingham Marian High School girls soccer coach Barry Brodsky guides his team to its second consecutive state championship and seventh state title in his 17 years at the helm.

* Jenna Silverman (Bloomfield Hills), Max Levitsky (Birmingham Seaholm) and Nolan Werner (Birmingham Seaholm) win high school tennis state championships.

* Jim Berk of West Bloomfield wins three gold medals and one silver medal in swimming in August at the Michigan Senior Olympics, giving him 15 golds, three silvers and one bronze over six years. ■

By Steve Stein, Contributing Writer