Michigan Center Seniors Finish 4 for 4

March 1, 2014

By Dean Holzwarth
Special to Second Half

GRAND RAPIDS – Four years, four MHSAA championships.

Not a bad way to remember your high school career in competitive cheer.

Michigan Center seniors Paula Stone, Paige Rochefort and Sierra Sharrer always will have those memories after the trio helped their team win an unprecedented fourth consecutive MHSAA Division 4 Final on Saturday at the DeltaPlex.

The Cardinals recorded a three-round score of 745.12 and hung on to edge runner-up Merrill (743.12) by a mere two points. Hudson (734.52) finished a distant third.

Stone, Rochefort and Sharrer have been on the varsity all four years and contributed to each title.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Stone said. “It’s like everything you’ve ever worked for paid off. It didn’t really hit me until I got off the mat after Round 3. It just hit me, and I was like, ‘Wow’, this is the last time I’ll ever take the mat. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Michigan Center claimed last year’s Final with only one senior. A group of six seniors mixed with talented juniors and sophomores to produce another banner campaign.

The Cardinals won nine consecutive meets to cap the season. 

“I really wanted it for this group of seniors,” Michigan Center coach Jessica Trefry said. “Three of them have been on the other state championship teams, and they are a wonderful group of girls. I wanted this for them so badly.”

The fourth didn’t come without a few anxious moments.

Michigan Center built a sizable lead after two strong rounds. However, a bobble during its Round 3 routine put the outcome in doubt.

“They did their jobs in Rounds 1 and 2, but we faltered a little bit in Round 3,” Trefry said. “It made me nervous.”

Rochefort remained confident that the Cardinals would still prevail.

“I had faith in my team that we could clean it up at the end, and I was so glad that we still finished strong no matter what had happened,” she said. “We pulled it together, and we didn’t let it define us.”

Trefry said the team’s work ethic and determination factored into this year’s success. 

“It’s different every single year, but this group of girls were incredibly hard workers and very persistent with improving,” she said. “They were not afraid to be challenged, and I told them leading up to today that if you just go out and do your job like you’ve been doing all season, then you will win. I knew we had what it took.”

Merrill coach Courtney Schiller, whose team was making its sixth trip to the Finals, was equally elated with her team’s finish – the highest in school history at the MHSAA championship competition. 

The Vandals, who had the smallest team in Division 4 with only nine girls, placed fourth the past two years. They finally got over the hump and into the top two for the first time.

“We’ve never finished this high so we’re very excited about that, and we’re very excited about how close it was,” Schiller said. “We were two points from a state championship. We only have nine girls and we’re always one of the smallest teams here, so to see these girls excel the way they did today was thrilling.” 

Despite competing with only five girls in Round 3, Merrill delivered the highest score of the afternoon. A 298.1 put a scare into Michigan Center.

“We struggled a little bit at Regionals last week and came in fourth against teams that came in third and fourth today,” Schiller said. “To see them come out of a tough position at Regionals and come back from that today just makes me extremely proud. We wanted to have our best three rounds today, and we did.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Michigan Center performs its Round 1 routine during Saturday’s Division 4 championship run. (Middle) Merrill, here during Round 2, posted its highest MHSAA Finals finish. (Click for action and team photos from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

Title IX at 50: Paige Miller's Story

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

August 16, 2022

The Paw Paw competitive cheer team has emerged as one of the state’s powerhouses especially over the last four years – and few people have had a better seat for the program’s rise than Paige Miller. The recently-graduated senior is the daughter of 13-year coach Stefanie Miller, and Paige made the Division 3 all-state first team this past winter for the third time while playing a significant role in the team posting its best Finals finishes in program history for the second-straight season.

Paw Paw finished second at the Division 3 Final in March for the second season in a row, this time just a point behind champion Richmond after coming within nine-tenths of a point of catching the Blue Devils in 2021. Miller will continue to cheer at Trine University, where she will study psychology and also compete in track & field after running on her team’s 400 and 800 relays and high jumping this past spring.

What the opportunity to compete as a female athlete means to Paige Miller

"I think it's provided me with a lot of essential skills that extend beyond the aspect of sports. It's provided me with the ability to talk and interact with others in a productive way. It allows me to push myself and others into a positive direction and also to know how to work as a team and collaborate effectively. Without sports, I don't know if I would've learned those lessons as deeply as I have.

“I’ve had some experiences, with my cheer teams, we've done tumble clinics or clinics to build up the younger program. And I'll be out at like the grocery store, and one of the little girls from the tumble clinic with come up and (say), ‘You're a Paw Paw cheerleader. I love everything you guys do. You're so cool. I want to be you guys when I grow up.’ And it's an amazing feeling to be someone that somebody looks up to.”

Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.

Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights

Aug. 9: Gracie Olsen's Story - Read
Aug. 2:
Maddy Stern's Story - Read
July 26:
Reese Miller's Story - Read
July 19:
Macy Irelan's Story - Read
July 12:
Bridget Boczar's Story - Read
July 5:
Ella Boose's Story - Read
June 28:
Kaila Jackson's Story - Read
June 23: 
We Celebrate Our Past, We Look Forward to Our Future - Read
June 21: Assistant Directors Have Been Difference Makers - Read
June 14: 
Girls Lacrosse Finals Officials Set Empowering Example - Read
June 7: 
From Gymnastics to Wrestling, Girls Opportunities Continue to Grow - Read
May 31: 
Mumford Sprinter's Magnificent 2006 Final Remains Unmatched - Read

May 24: Scane, Whiteside Alone on 400-Goal, 500-Point Girls Lacrosse Lists - Read
May 17: Over 8 Days in 1988, Pair of Champs Set No. 1 Singles Standard - Read
May 10: 
Portage Central's Tarpley Scores as State's Superstar, U.S. Soccer Hero - Read
May 3: 
Prychitko 'Legend In Her Own Time,' Legend for All Time - Read
April 26: 
Braddock vs. Verdun Still Striding Among All-Time Sprint Matchups - Read
April 19: 
Holmes' Strikeout Record Rarely Approached, May Be Unbreakable - Read
April 12: 
Anticipation High as 45,000 Girls Return to Spring Sports - Read
April 5: 
Regina's Laffey Retiring as Definition of Legendary - Read
March 29: 
Edison's Whitehorn named 2022 Miss Basketball - Read
March 22: 
Carney-Nadeau Sets Girls Hoops Standard with 78-Win Streak - Read
March 15: 
Binder Among Voices Telling Our Story on MHSAA Network - Read
March 8: 
28 Years, Thousands of Cheers - Read
March 1: 
Kearsley Rolls On Among Girls Bowling's Early Successes - Read
Feb. 22: Marquette Ties Record for Swim & Dive Finals Success - Read
Feb. 15: Jaeger's 2004 Winter Run Created Lasting Connection - Read
Feb. 8: Marian's Cicerone to Finish Among All-Time Elite - Read
Feb. 1: WISL Award Honors Builders of State's Girls Sports Tradition - Read
Jan. 25: Decades Later, Edwards' Legend Continues to Grow - Read
Jan. 18: Iron Mountain Completes Championship Climb - Read
Jan. 11: Harrold's Achievement Heralds Growth of Girls Wrestling - Read
Dec. 20: Competitive Cheer Gives Michigan Plenty to Cheer About - Read
Dec. 14: 
Evelyn's Game Had Plenty of Magic - Read
Dec. 7: 
Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact - Read
Nov. 30: 
Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: 
Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: 
Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: 
Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: 
Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: 
Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: 
Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read