This week's honorees include arguably Michigan's top distance runner, top lacrosse player, and a baseball team looking to assert itself at the top while representing the state's largest city.
East Grand Rapids senior
(Updated May 19) Hooker, who plays attack, led the Pioneers to a 20-0 start. She's scored 101 goals -- already third-most for a single season in the MHSAA record book, and more than 25 percent of her team's total. Add in her 33 assists, and her 134 total points are fifth in MHSAA history for one season. East Grand Rapids is ranked No. 1 both in Division 2 and regardless of division based on the computer rankings supplied by LaxPower.com. Hooker also was the low scorer on the Pioneers golf team that finished eighth at the fall's Division 3 Final, and she missed the individual top 10 by only two strokes. She's signed to play lacrosse at Marquette University next season.
Scoring touch: "I don't try and dodge all the time. I don't like to work my way through people to score. I just try to find an opening."
Up next: "I'm not exactly sure yet (what I'll study), probably something in the sciences. Maybe something like criminology. I always wanted to be an FBI agent when I was growing up."
I learned the most about lacrosse from: "Two of my best friends play for the University of Oregon (Jana and Jess Drummond). And Coach (Jeff) Oates has spent a lot of time with me, talking to me, helping me during the offseason."
Different strokes: "I love the intensity (of lacrosse). I love the team aspect. It's competitive, but fun at the same time. Everyone on our team loves it together. ... In golf, I like how you're still part of the team, but an individual. To help the team, it's on you. It's a good contrast to lacrosse."
White Lake Lakeland senior
Track and Field
Zuk, the reigning MHSAA Division 1 cross country champion, ran career bests of 9:09.2 in the 3,200 meters and 4:16.92 in the 1,600 to take first in the former and second by two hundredths of a second in the latter at Saturday's Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship meet at Pinckney. But his best moment might've come when he finished second on purpose -- to Walled Lake Northern's Devin Kimberlin in the 3,200 last Tuesday after pacing the sophomore through the race to a career-best time, and then letting him win at the end. (Click to read more). Zuk was an MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award winner this winter and is the co-salutatorian of his class with a 4.22 grade-point average. He will run this fall at Michigan State University.
"I've done it for kids on my own team. Normally, I'm in a position where things are still hanging in the balance and we need the points to win. But the way this meet was ... there was no way we could win. I saw the kind of effort Devin was trying to put in, and there was no reason not to help out."
Up next: Zuk will run both cross country and track at MSU, as is the norm at the college level. He's planning to study mechanical engineering, with an eye on the aerospace field -- think NASA, Boeing, etc. Not surprisingly, math is his best subject.
I learned the most about running from: Retired longtime Lakeland coach Randy Wilkins and current cross country coach Joe Verellen. "The combination of those two (taught me) a lot of what I know and what I practice in my running.
I look up to: "Every American distance runner has to look up to Steve Prefontaine at one time or another. What Pre stood for, the way he went about running; it's inspiring to everyone."
Detroit Western International baseball
The Cowboys are 22-4 and winners of 11 straight heading into Friday afternoon's Detroit Public School League Tournament semifinal. They are the top seed after finishing the league regular season undefeated, and have their sights set on a trip to Battle Creek this month after coming within an out of the MHSAA Semifinals a year ago. Of 16 players on this spring's team, 14 were on last year's as well. Click to read more.
This spring's previous honorees
- Sarah Appold, Saginaw Valley Lutheran softball
- Katie Brozovich, Clarkston tennis
- Sarita Dotson, Battle Creek Lakeview track and field
- Jake McFadden, Clare track and field
- Mike Nagy, Manistique golf
- Cullen Prena, Walled Lake Central track and field
- Nick Stiles, Bath baseball
- Malloy Weber, Northville soccer
- Grand Rapids West Catholic golf
- Grosse Pointe South girls track and field
- Muskegon Mona Shores golf
- Stevensville Lakeshore softball