Preview: New Home, New Schedule, Newcomers, Reigning Champions Headline Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 1, 2023

There is plenty of new heading into this weekend’s MHSAA Competitive Cheer Finals – and some more could spring up before Friday’s last championship meet is complete.

The two-day event has a new home – McGuirk Arena at Central Michigan University – and a new schedule with two Finals on Thursday and two on Friday, at 1 and 6 p.m. both days. A series of first-time qualifiers also help fill the field.

Four teams have had a hold on their respective divisions the last few years, as Richmond in Division 3 is seeking its fifth-straight championship and Rochester Adams in Division 1, Allen Park in Division 2 and Hudson in Division 4 all are competing for fourth-consecutive titles. A new champion or more would surely be among headliners during a busy Finals weekend across three sports.

The full schedule, plus information on purchasing tickets and how to watch online are all available on the Competitive Cheer page of

Division 1

League finish: Second in Kensington Lakes Activities Association
Coach: Christina Wilson, 10th season
Championship history: Class A runner-up 1999.
Top score: 787.74 at District.
Team composition: 27 total (four seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores, 10 freshmen).
Outlook: After ending last season fifth at its Regional, Brighton is headed back to the Finals. The Bulldogs finished second at both their District and Regional and have broken 785 points four times this season – including at those two postseason events and the KLAA championship meet. Senior Natalie Rodgers led four returnees who earned all-District recognition in 2022.

League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Coach: Julie Smith-Boyd, 42nd season
Championship history: Six MHSAA titles (most recent 2015), 10 runner-up finishes.
Top score: 790.28.
Team composition: 30 total (two seniors, 17 juniors, four sophomores, seven freshmen).
Outlook: After finishing runner-up in 2021, Grandville placed seventh a year ago and will look to jump back into contention with scores of at least 782 in six of their last seven events. Juniors Brie Vanderplow, Lexsee Pawloski, Jodi O’Dell and Avery Polinskey all earned all-Regional honors last season.

League finish: First in KLAA
Coach: Candace Fahr, sixth season
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2013.
Top score: 789.98
Team composition: 27 total (seven seniors, 11 juniors, seven sophomores, two freshmen).
Outlook: Hartland returned to the Finals last season after a year away with a fourth-place finish, and the Eagles are primed to contend coming off District and Regional championships and three straight overall scores of 787 or higher. They’ve won seven of 10 competitions this season. Senior Ashley Kretz and junior Molly Woolf made the all-state first team last year, while juniors Grace DeYoung and Samantha Mollard made the second team and juniors Kaylee Balagna and Aspen Smith earned honorable mentions.

League finish: Second in Macomb Area Conference Red
Coach: Lauren Turner, second season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 791.70 at District.
Team composition: 24 total (five seniors, 10 juniors, six sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: The Crusaders have strung together their four best total scores over their last five competitions and followed up their District championship with a fourth-place Regional finish after the three Rochester-area teams posted the top three scores at either Division 1 meet last weekend. Juniors Ina Harding and Hannah Waters were among top returnees after making the all-District first and second teams, respectively, last season.

League finish: First in Lakes Valley Conference
Coach: Patti Warzecha, 12th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 777.94
Team composition: 23 total (three seniors, nine juniors, eight sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Milford reached Regionals for the fourth-straight season and took the next step in making the Finals for the first time. The Mavericks have topped 772 points in five of their last six competitions and 777 three times. Senior Leah Fitzgerald made the all-District first team last year, and sophomores Emme Dreffs and Kenleigh Bailey made the second team.

League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Samantha Koehler, first season
Championship history: 14 MHSAA titles (most recent 2017).
Top score: 793.16
Team composition: 26 total (nine seniors, four juniors, 10 sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Koehler, who formerly led a strong program at Plymouth from 2016-22, took over this one from Susan Wood – who had led Rochester to all 14 of its championships dating back to the first year of Finals in 1994. Koehler has watched the Falcons score 790 or higher their last three competitions and finish first or second in all of them this winter. After missing the Finals in 2021, Rochester returned with a fifth-place finish last year. Senior Martina Dedvukaj earned an all-state honorable mention.

League finish: Second in OAA Red
Coach: Brooke Miller, ninth season
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2022), three runner-up finishes.
Top score: 794.16
Team composition: 28 total (12 seniors, eight juniors, four sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Adams has won three straight Division 1 championships and strung together five straight seasons finishing among the Finals top two. The Highlanders have won their last four competitions this winter and topped 791 points in their last three including District and Regional wins. Seniors Katie Burgin, Alex Ris and Ashley Rosati are returning all-state second-team selections, and seniors Emma Maynard and Peyton Regalado earned honorable mentions in 2022.

League finish: Third in OAA Red
Coach: Tricia Williams, 20th season
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2019), Division 1 runner-up 2022.
Top score: 792.76 at Regional.
Team composition: 26 total (four seniors, 12 juniors, six sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Stoney Creek is coming off missing the championship last season by just more than 2.3 points, and finished third at least week’s Regional but just 42 hundredths of a point off tying the highest score in Division 1 for the weekend. That 792.76 was the second time the team had broken 790 this season and its third time above 789. Juniors Kacey Bauer and Abigail DeGraw made the all-state second team last season, and junior Alison Kalaj earned an honorable mention.

Division 2

League finish: Second in Downriver League
Coach: Julie Goodwin, 17th season
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2022), four runner-up finishes.
Top score: 795.42.
Team composition: 27 total (11 seniors, 11 juniors, three sophomores, two freshmen).
Outlook: The Jaguars have finished first or second in Division 2 the last seven seasons, claiming the last three titles. After finishing second at the Downriver League championship competition, Allen Park has responded with three of its top four scores this season, including also a 794.98 to win its District and 789.40 to win its Regional. Seniors Kristina Beste, Alyssa Rios and Madisyn Setser made the all-state first team last season, while seniors Aleia Breckenridge and Emma Buffa made the second team and seniors Madison Buchanan and Emma Williams earned honorable mentions.

League finish: Second in Saginaw Valley League
Coach: August Jaynes, fifth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 776.36 at Regional.
Team composition: 19 total (seven seniors, three sophomores, nine freshmen).
Outlook: Western has finished first or second at its last nine competitions and won both its District and Regional, with that 776.36 five points higher than its previous best for this winter. Both championships were program firsts, and this will be the Warriors’ first trip to the Finals. Senior Bella Glumm was named SVL MVP this season, and with senior teammates Gabbie Goulette, Ambria Nagel, Shea Walli and Allison Kaczmarczyk was among first and second-team all-District honorees in 2022.

League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League Bishop
Co-coaches: Amber Genevich, 18th season; Shelley McClorey, sixth season
Championship history: Four Finals runner-up finishes (most recent 2014).
Top score: 789.34 at District.
Team composition: 19 total (two seniors, eight juniors, six sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Divine Child returned to the Finals last season after two away and finished fourth, a solid springboard as they look to jump into contention this weekend with that District score one of three times the Falcons have broken 784 this winter. Seniors Abby Krizmanich and Elena Solomon both earned all-state honorable mentions last season.

League finish: First in Downriver League
Coach: Alyssa Tocco, second season
Championship history: 11 MHSAA titles (most recent 2019), seven runner-up finishes.
Top score: 793.98.
Team composition: 27 total (nine seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, 10 freshmen).
Outlook: Carlson finished runner-up last season, the second time over the last three. The Marauders return to the Finals this weekend after placing just ahead of Allen Park in the league and winning their District, but finishing two hundredths of a point behind the Jaguars at the Regional. Carlson has gone over 781 points its last six competitions and 788 four of those six including the Regional (789.38). Senior Kaitlyn Demers is a returning all-state first teamer, while seniors Tiaira Michalik, Ellen Szucs and Emilee Bain made the second team last season and senior Ciana Caliguire and junior Mya Oikarinen earned honorable mentions.

League finish: First in O-K White
Coach: Carly Sienkiewicz, sixth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 771.50.
Team composition: 18 total (seven seniors, three juniors, four sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Forest Hills Northern returned to the Finals last season for the first time since 1998, and placed sixth, and the Huskies are returning after jumping 16 points from a third-place District finish to qualify fourth at their Regional. They entered the postseason with two straight scores of 770 or higher and cleared the Regional cut line by almost eight points. FHN is among teams with valuable experience heading into this weekend, as all three of last year’s all-state honorees are back – seniors Julie Fiser (first team), Alexis Linder (second team) and Jennessa Byl (honorable mention).

League finish: Tied for first in Capital Area Activities Conference Red
Coach: Angela Boerkoel, 11th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 765.82.
Team composition: 20 total (six seniors, four juniors, four sophomores, six freshmen). 
Outlook: The Bulldogs are back after missing the Finals last season and nearly equaled their high score getting here with a 765.78 to place third at their Regional. It’s been another nice jump after the team fell one spot shy of making Regionals in 2022. Boerkoel, who formerly coached Brighton, has led Mason to three league titles and now two Finals appearances over the past three seasons, and her team finished third or better at all of its competitions this winter. Senior Eleana Young made the all-District second team last season.

League finish: First in O-K Gold
Coach: Adrian Nichols, third season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 772.64 at Regional.
Team composition: 15 total (three seniors, four juniors, two sophomores, six freshmen).
Outlook: The Trojans are returning to the Finals for the first time since 2015. They made a magnificent jump at their Regional, with the 772.64 nearly 14 points higher than their previous high total score this season. MTK was second at the Regional after winning the District, and has won 10 competitions total and finished second in its other three. Juniors Mali Holland, Ava Jahnke and Kenady Smith all made the all-District second team last year.

League finish: Second in LVC
Coach: Julia Tilt, fourth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 780.06.
Team composition: 20 total (five seniors, five juniors, six sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: South Lyon East has made an incredible climb under Tilt to reach the Finals for the first time – from not qualifying for Regionals in 2020, to placing seventh at Regionals in 2021 and fifth last year and now advancing with a fourth-place finish. After finishing second at their District two weeks ago, the Cougars were nearly 27 points better at the Regional with a 769.18 and have gone 771 or higher five times. Senior Cassie Ryan made the all-Regional second team last season, and senior Hannah Westlund and junior Natalie Tilt earned honorable mentions.

Division 3

League finish: Second in Blue Water Area Conference
Coach: Katie Tomlinson, eighth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 783.38 at District.
Team composition: 28 total (eight seniors, six juniors, 12 sophomores, two freshmen).
Outlook: Croswell-Lexington has finished fourth, fifth and fourth the last three seasons and last year scored within nine points of the lead. The Pioneers could push even higher this time. They finished second to four-time reigning Division 3 champion Richmond in the BWAC this winter, then second at their District to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep by fewer than three points and third at their Regional to those two powers but less than six points off the lead. Junior Shelby Oliver made the all-state second team last season, and junior Cora Katulski earned honorable mention.

League finish: Second in Huron League
Coach: Angela Raithel, sixth season
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2010), Division 3 runner-up 2009.
Top score: 768.92 at Regional.
Team composition: 17 total (one senior, six juniors, seven sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Grosse Ile has earned its first Finals trip since 2014, climbing from third at its District to fourth at its Regional to qualify. Raithel has been building toward this moment, with the Red Devils also claiming District titles the last two seasons and just missing out on the Finals with a fifth place at their Regional last year. Lone senior Amanda Hancock made the all-Regional first team last season, while junior Sienna Ross made the second team and sophomores Marissa Trombley and Virginia West earned honorable mentions. 

League finish: First in Central State Activities Association
Coach: Jennifer Laskey, 16th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 757.38.
Team composition: 24 total (five seniors, five juniors, 11 sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Tri County returned to the Finals last season after two years away, and is making a repeat trip with a top score this time 10 points higher than a year ago. That jump also has included a District title and runner-up finish at its Regional, and eight competition wins overall. Senior Madalynn Laskey is a returning all-state first-team selection, and senior MaLeea Neely earned honorable mention last season.

League finish: First in Greater Lansing Activities Conference
Coach: Kim Martin, 31st season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 766.81
Team composition: 20 total (four seniors, seven juniors, eight sophomores, one freshman).
Outlook: Lakewood is making its second-straight Finals appearance and seventh over the last 11 seasons, and placed seventh a year ago. The Vikings have won six competitions and placed second at two others including the District before finishing fourth at their Regional. Lakewood also has won 14 straight league titles. Senior Emily Root made the all-Regional second team last season.

League finish: First in Wolverine Conference
Coach: Stefanie Miller, 14th season
Championship history: Division 3 runner-up 2022 and 2021.
Top score: 768.86 at Regional.
Team composition: 16 total (two seniors, five juniors, two sophomores, seven freshmen).
Outlook: Paw Paw has finished a point or less behind champion Richmond the last two seasons and returns to the Finals with District and Regional titles and victories in all but one competition overall this season. While nine seniors topped last year’s lineup, this one has experience too but just among younger athletes. Junior Molly Goodwin made the all-state first team last season, while juniors Naveh Davenport and Maya Leonard and sophomore Ashley Olsen made the second team and junior Madison Lasinski earned an honorable mention.  

League finish: First in CAAC White
Coach: Mindy Blaschka, 10th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 764.34.
Team composition: 22 total (four seniors, 10 juniors, four sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: A younger team that finished sixth last year in its first Finals trip now has that experience and a large junior class as it returns coming off league and District titles and a third place at its Regional. The Raiders have broken 753 three times over their last six competitions. Senior Lily Buckland earned an all-state honorable mention last season, and juniors Abigail Rice and Autumn Schafer were second-team all-Regional selections.

League finish: Does not compete in a league.
Coach: Beth Lockhart, 11th season
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2018), three runner-up finishes.
Top score: 786.08 at District.
Team composition: 17 total (three seniors, three juniors, six sophomores, five freshmen).
Outlook: The Fighting Irish last finished runner-up in 2020 and placed third the last two seasons, just a half-point off the lead a year ago. They should be in the mix again with wins in all of their competitions except one, a runner-up finish at the Rochester Adams Invitational. The District and Regional titles came against fields including reigning champion Richmond. Junior Alaina Byrne and sophomore Haleigh Campbell earned all-state honorable mentions last season and were joined by senior Ashley Quinn and sophomore Grace Kincade in also receiving all-Regional recognition.

League finish: First in BWAC
Coach: Kelli Matthes, 15th season
Championship history: Six MHSAA titles (most recent 2022), five runner-up finishes.
Top score: 783.74
Team composition: 25 total (seven seniors, three juniors, eight sophomores, seven freshmen).
Outlook: Richmond has finished among the top two in Division 3 eight straight seasons and won the last four titles, but faces an interesting challenge after finishing third at its District and second at its Regional with NDP winning both. Still, the Blue Devils have topped 781 twice and 777 two more times, and bring back plenty of standouts with championship experience. Juniors Annabell Loftis and Ana Moskwa and sophomore Faith Thompson made the all-state first team last season, while senior Nicole Ostaszewski, junior Alyssa DeBlouw and sophomore Camryn Moore made the second team.

Division 4

League finish: Does not compete in a league.
Coach: Sarah Kope, fourth season
Championship history: Division 4 runner-up 2022.
Top score: 731.52 at District.
Team composition: 14 total (four seniors, four juniors, three sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Madison is back after its history-making finish a year ago and with a top score 10 points higher than at this point last season. The Regional third place was the team’s first finish outside of the top two this season. Sophomore Mya Solis made the all-state first team last winter, while seniors Abby Griewahn, Danielle Vallejo and Kaylee Paulette made the second team and junior Delaney Dopp earned honorable mention.

League finish: First in West Michigan Conference
Co-coaches: Jennifer Hlady, 12th season; Ashleigh Andritsis, first season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 752.84.
Team composition: Seven total (three seniors, two juniors, two sophomores).
Outlook: Hart missed the Finals last season while competing in Division 3 after finishing eighth in Division 4 in 2021, and has been unstoppable so far this winter with victories in all 14 competitions including by 36 points at the District and 23 at the Regional. The 744.93 at that District was the team’s second-highest total score. Sophomore LexieBeth Nienhuis made the all-Regional second team last season, and junior Jasmyne Villanueva earned an honorable mention.

League finish: First in Lenawee County Athletic Association
Coach: Kelly Bailey, 26th season
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 2022), six runner-up finishes.
Top score: 774.94
Team composition: 19 total (seven seniors, seven juniors, two sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Hudson has finished first or second in Division 4 the last six seasons and won three straight titles, and last year’s 50-point Finals win could be a sign of what’s to come this weekend as well. The Tigers also are undefeated this winter with an average total score of 750.42 and scores above that in seven-straight competitions before posting a 740.38 to win the Regional. Seniors Cheyenne Eichler and Annalyse Ames and juniors Rylie Bloomer and Victoria Hawkins made the all-state first team last season, while seniors Ellie Bean, Shantzee Henderson and Isabella Moreno made the second team and junior Paige Clark earned an honorable mention.

League finish: First in Southwestern Athletic Conference
Coach: Holly James, 10th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 738.08.
Team composition: 13 total (four seniors, four juniors, one sophomore, four freshmen).
Outlook: Lawton has won 10 competitions this season including its District after the team improved from seventh in 2021 to third at last year’s Final. Its top score is nearly 30 points higher than when entering championship weekend a year ago. The Blue Devils are another team with plenty of returning star power, with seniors Rylee Oxley and Mikayla Reynolds and junior Kiera Banks returning all-state first teamers, senior Casandra Salgado and sophomore Amanda Aumaugher back from the second team and senior Samantha Gorenchan and junior Amanda Aumaugher having earned honorable mentions in 2022.

League finish: Second in West Michigan Conference
Coach: Cheri Stibitz, 14th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 731.56.
Team composition: 12 total (seven seniors, two juniors, one sophomore, two freshmen).
Outlook: MCC is headed to the Finals for the second-straight season after qualifying last year for the first time. The Spartans have finished first, second or third at all of their competitions, even stronger considering five were league meets that included undefeated Hart, as did the Regional. They also reached 731.22 in finishing runner-up at their District. Senior Geralyn Soberalski made the all-state first team last season, junior Emily Adams made the second and junior Marissa Quillan earned honorable mention.

League finish: Second in Mid-State Activities Conference
Coach: Jena Glazier, third season
Championship history: Division 4 runner-up 2014.
Top score: 717.50.
Team composition: 10 total (two seniors, six juniors, one sophomore, one freshman).
Outlook: The Vandals are returning to the Finals for the first time since 2018, with their six best total scores coming over their last seven competitions. Merrill made the jump after falling a place shy of reaching the Regional last season. Senior Brooke Breasbois made the all-District first team last season, and juniors Veda Gagne and Samantha Grubaugh made the second.

League finish: First in Cascades Conference
Co-coaches: Jessica Trefry, 22nd season; Bree Cash, first season
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2014), one runner-up finish.
Top score: 745.94 at District.
Team composition: 14 total (two seniors, five juniors, two sophomores, five freshmen).
Outlook: Michigan Center is making its first Finals appearance since 2019 and appears set to join the elite with four of their last seven scores 730 or higher and two 742 or better. The Cardinals finished second at their Regional to Hudson after winning their District with that season-high score. They just missed reaching Regionals in Division 3 last season, when junior Kate Paterson and sophomore Emma McIntyre made the all-District second team.

League finish: Second in GLAC
Coach: Staci Myers, 16th season
Championship history: Nine MHSAA titles (most recent 2019), 12 runner-up finishes.
Top score: 722.6.
Team composition: 13 total (two seniors, one junior, five sophomores, five freshmen)
Outlook: The Pirates are bringing another young team to the Finals after finishing sixth a year ago, but they are coming off runner-up finishes at their District and Regional and also finished second to Lakewood in the GLAC after joining the league for cheer this season. There’s a good deal of experience; senior Emma Flanigan made the all-state second team last season, and she was joined by senior Emily Schmitt, junior Sophia Simon and sophomores Miriam Downes and Jayde Ferguson in earning all-Regional recognition.

PHOTO Grosse Ile will be making its first MHSAA Finals appearance in competitive cheer this weekend since 2014. (Photo by Terry Jacoby.)

Pioneering Competitive Cheer Official Cox to Receive MHSAA Norris Award

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 18, 2024

A registered contest official since the Michigan High School Athletic Association introduced competitive cheer with the 1993-94 school year, Quincy’s Candace Cox has played one of the leading roles in building the sport that’s averaged more than 5,500 participants annually over its 31-year history.

She will be celebrated April 27 as the 2024 Vern L. Norris Leadership in Officiating Award honoree during the MHSAA’s Officials Awards & Alumni Banquet, where she and several of her competitive cheer colleagues who began as registered officials that inaugural season also will be recognized for completing their 30th years of service in 2022-23.

The Norris Award is presented annually to a veteran official who has been active in a local officials association, has mentored other officials, and has been involved in officials’ education. It is named for Vern L. Norris, who served as executive director of the MHSAA from 1978-86 and was well-respected by officials on the state and national levels. He initiated the officials banquet in 1980, and this year’s will be the first in-person celebration since 2019. Cox will be honored along with high school game officials with 20, 30, 40, 45 and 50 years of service.

Competitive cheer is unique to Michigan. While several states have spirit or cheer as a sport, the MHSAA format – which includes teams showcasing a variety of skills over three rounds and encourages full teams to participate by scoring higher when more athletes are on the floor – was created in part to provide more opportunities for cheerleaders to compete. Cox brought her knowledge and experience in sideline cheer into the initial development of the competitive format.

She officiated a Regional competition during that first season of competitive cheer in 1993-94,  and the following season she began in a string of officiating at the last 30 MHSAA Finals, including in Division 1 this past winter. Cox also is in her 11th year as executive director of the Michigan Cheer Judges Association, the statewide leadership and training organization for the sport, and in that role she has trained thousands of officials – the MCJA instructs about 175 annually.

She will be the first competitive cheer official to be recognized with the Norris Award.

“At the very beginning, we didn't know what (competitive cheer) was going to involve, and there was a lot of work put in, a lot of committees, sharing a lot of information from sideline because Michigan is so unique to cheer,” Cox said. “At the very beginning, I never believed we would advance as much as we have. But I really feel we're a leader in the competitive cheer community.

“My favorite thing is helping educate and be involved, and I do it for the kids. I want them to have a positive experience, and I want them to learn, and I also want to educate other officials so they realize what an important sport this is … another sport for girls to compete in.”

Cox cheered while a student at Coldwater High School and became the sideline cheer coach after she returned from college. It was during that time she was approached by Marilyn Bowker, another of the founding trailblazers in the sport, and from then on Cox became a growing presence as competitive cheer continued to develop and thrive.

She has served on the MHSAA’s Competitive Cheer Committee and Judges Selection Committee, and is an MHSAA registered assigner in the sport. Cox was named MCJA Official of the Year in 1999 and Michigan’s top official in cheer by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in 2000.

“She’s been a pioneer since Day 1 in competitive cheer and is considered literally one of the fundamental pillars who have grown and promoted the sport over the years,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “Candy is a very worthy Norris Award winner.”

Cox is the clinic manager at the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency and provides expertise from her professional field as part of the MHSAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. A 1973 Coldwater High School graduate, she earned an associate’s degree in medical administration from Barton Bryman School in Phoenix in 1979 and is certified as an HIV counselor by the State of Michigan, and BLS (basic life support), CPR/AED and first aid instructor by the American Heart Association.

She has served her community of Girard Township in several roles, including currently as township supervisor after previously holding office as trustee and contributing on multiple boards and commissions. She’s also served as Branch County jury board chairperson and was named Branch County Citizen of the Year in 2011 by the Coldwater Area Chamber of Commerce.

Cox is a member of the Coldwater Early Bird Exchange Club and has served as president of the Bronson Polish Festival. She is active in service projects for St. Charles Borromeo Parish and judged CPR for local, district and regional Future Health Professionals (HOSA) competitions.

Previous recipients of the Norris Award

1992 – Ted Wilson, East Detroit
1993 – Fred Briggs, Burton
1994 – Joe Brodie, Flat Rock
1995 – Jim Massar, Flint
1996 – Jim Lamoreaux, St. Ignace
1997 – Ken Myllyla, Escanaba
1998 – Blake Hagman, Kalamazoo
1999 – Richard Kalahar, Jackson
2000 – Barb Beckett, Traverse City; Karl Newingham, Bay City
2001 – Herb Lipschultz, Kalamazoo
2002 – Robert Scholie, Hancock
2003 – Ron Nagy, Hazel Par
2004 – Carl Van Heck, Grand Rapids 
2005 – Bruce Moss, Alma
2006 – Jeanne Skinner, Grand Rapids
2007 – Terry Wakeley, Grayling
2008 – Will Lynch, Honor
2009 – James Danhoff, Richland
2010 – John Juday Sr., Petoskey
2011 – Robert Williams, Redford
2012 – Lyle Berry, Rockford
2013 – Tom Minter, Okemos
2014 – Hugh R. Jewell, West Bloomfield
2015 – Sam Davis, Lansing 
2016 – Linda Hoover, Marshall
2017 – Michael Gentry, Shelby Township
2018 – Jill Baker-Cooley, Big Rapids
2019 – David Buck, St. Joseph
2020 – Hugh Matson, Saginaw
2021 – Lewis Clingman, Grand Rapids
2022 – Pat Hayes, Birmingham
2023 – Chuck D. Walters, Jackson

High school game officials with 20, 30, 40, 45 and 50 years of service also will be honored at the Officials Awards & Alumni Banquet on April 27. Twenty-four officials with 50 or more years of service will be honored, along with 36 officials with 45 years and 51 officials with 40 years of service. A 30-year award will be presented to 110 officials, and 176 officials with 20 years of experience will be honored.

Tickets for the banquet are available to the public and priced at $25. They will not be sold at the door. Tickets can be ordered by calling the MHSAA office at (517) 332-5046 or by registering online at this link (officials must be logged into the website to register). Deadline to register is April 19.


20, 30, 40, 45 & 50-YEAR OFFICIALS

The officials on this list are receiving their 20, 30, 40, 45 and 50-year service awards.


Allegan - Joseph Munn
Allen Park - James Murdoch
Ann Arbor - Shawna Lorch

Bad Axe - Gary Krause
Bannister - Clyde English
Baraga - Scott Koski
Battle Creek - Lonzo Warren
Bay City - Jason Ruple
Bay City - David Szczypka
Belleville - Michael McCormick
Big Rapids - Marty Shaffer
Blissfield - Steven Babbitt
Bloomfield Twp. - Richard Dylewski Jr.
Bloomfield Village - Maynard Timm
Bridgman - Shane Peters
Brimley - George Jones
Bronson - Brian Case
Bronson - Kevin Gardner
Brownstown Twp. - Charles Monette Jr.

Cadillac - Demetrio Rojas-Cruz
Chassell - Robert Fay
Chassell - Shana Ruotsala
Chesterfield - Paul McBride
Clarkston - Jamie Rykse
Clarksville - Michael Burgess
Clinton Township - Mark Carney
Clinton Township - Brad Thomas
Clinton Township - Keith Justice Sr.
Commerce Township - Robert Foss
Constantine - Jerry Burgess
Cottrellville - Grant Harris

Dearborn Heights - Abasi Sanders
Detroit - Delonda Little
Detroit - Kevin Cleveland
Detroit - Cozette Ealy
Detroit - Cedric Green
Detroit - William Pugh
DeWitt - Mark Kellogg
Dewitt - Adam Miller
Dorr - Dan Heasley

East Lansing - Eric McGaugh
Estero - Michael Jager

Fenton - Paula McAllister
Flint - Rozier Looney
Frankenmuth - Matthew Krause
Freeland - Nick Horn
Fremont - Kevin Holmberg

Gaylord - Michael Switalski
Gobles - Randy Hood
Grand Blanc - Josh Dean
Grand Blanc - Anthony Klinck
Grand Blanc - David Clement
Grand Haven - Chris Romero
Grand Ledge - Brian Gorman
Grand Rapids - Marc Davis
Grand Rapids - Timothy Gildner
Grand Rapids - Lloyd Kilgore Sr.
Grand Rapids - Fritz Owen
Grand Rapids - Debra Rambow
Grand Rapids - James Stokes
Grand Rapids - Michael Underwood
Grand Rapids - Randy Wilson
Grandville - Kelli Polinskey
Grosse Ile - Michael Szczechowski
Grosse Pointe Woods - Douglas Bohannon

Harbor Beach - Jill Fuller
Harrison Township - Kimberly Broski
Haslett - Casey Kern
Haslett - Scott Bradley
Hastings - Fred Koning
Highland - Jason Zimmerman
Holland - Jayson Dibble
Holt - Andrew Hoard
Honor - Matt Olson
Horton - Jerry Waddington
Houghton - Gregg Richards
Howell - Anthony Vella
Howell - Nathan Thompson
Hudsonville - Roberto Ortega-Ramos

Ionia - April Holman
Ironwood - Guy Trier

Jackson - Tracy Boyers
Jackson - Troy Fairbanks
Jackson - Daniel Garrison
Jackson - Jim Miller
Jackson - Bernard Nabozny
Jackson - Douglas Richardson
Jenison - Alfred Kennedy

Kalamazoo - Jill Lansky
Kentwood - Andrew Terrien
Kentwood - Rus Tien
Lansing - Oscar Castaneda
Lansing - Steve Crowley
Lansing - Terry Harris
Lansing - Arthur Lilly
Lansing - Keith Rhodabeck
Lansing - Cameron Rodgers
Lathrup Village - Gerald Jones
Livonia - Scott Racer

Macomb - Terry Prince
Macomb - Don Kalpin
Manistique - Joseph Crowder
Manistique - Howard Parmentier
Marlette - Chris Storm
Marquette - John Schultz
Marshall - James Dyer
Marshall - Eric Earl
Marysville - John Schweihofer
Mason - Ammahad Wnaikau
Memphis - Steven Gray
Merrill - Malena Marr
Michigan City - Larry Jordan III
Middleville - Darrin Oliver
Midland - Thomas Coatoam
Midland - Alan Huntress
Midland - Douglas Jones
Milan - Jill Hargrove
Milan - Michael St. John
Milford - Jeffrey Garvin
Milford - Larry Walters
Mount Pleasant - Jeff Siler
Muskegon - Robert Koekkoek

Niles - Glenn Kimmerly
Niles - Cory Gowen
Northville - Doug Doyle

Ortonville - Laurel Kobe

Perrysburg, Ohio - Gregg Becker
Pickford - Marc Andrzejak
Pontiac - Wanda Clayton
Port Austin - Andrew Preston
Portage - Phillip Baker
Portage - Jeff Kirkman
Portage - Mike Lauraine
Portage - Michael Northuis

Reed City - Aaron Keup
Riverview - Gregory Drewno
Rochester - Avoki Omekanda
Rochester Hills - Michael Timko
Rochester Hills - Terry Zangkas
Royal Oak - Linda Mariani

Saginaw - Richard Moody
Saginaw - Charles Smith
Schoolcraft - Nathan DeMaso
Schoolcraft - Reid Jones
South Haven - Ken Dietz
South Lyon - Elisabeth Tyzo-DePaulis
St. Clair Shores - Chad Kelly
Sterling Heights - Robert Hornik
Sterling Heights - Patrick Radaj
Sterling Heights - Erik Schneider
Sterling Heights - Ernest Sciullo
Sterling Heights - Terry Sheen
Stevensville - Thomas Rivette
Stevensville - Douglas Wegscheid
Swartz Creek - Andrew Palovich

Tecumseh - Eryn Stamper
Temperance - Mike Faunce
Temperance - Larry Nocella Jr.
Traverse City - Jeffrey Brunner
Traverse City - Jason Meriwether
Traverse City - Thomas Spencer
Trenton - Brian Hill
Trenton - Kevin McMillion
Troy - Glenn Craze
Troy - Patrick Grady
Twin Lake - Mike Vanderstelt

Utica - Edward Kotulski

Wallace - Terry Unti
Walled Lake - Terry Prickett
Warren - Arthur Lynn
Wayland - Joseph Kramer
West Bloomfield - Ilya Beltser
West Branch - Howard Hanft
White Lake - Gregory Waun
Williamston - Kelli Hart
Wixom - Cuba Gregory III

30-Year Officials

Allen - Kent Sanborn
Allen Park - Mark Klein
Alpena - Robert Centala Jr.
Alto - Bene Benedict

Bad Axe - Brent Wehner
Baroda - Chris Falak
Battle Creek - John Crumb
Bay City - Stephen Linton
Bay City - Scott Packard
Bay City - Joseph Pietryga
Bessemer - James Trcka
Brooklyn - Gregg Wonderly

Caledonia - Stacy Smith
Center Line - Scott Manteuffel
Charlotte - Val Nelson
Chelsea - Eric VanHevel
Chesterfield - Anthony Mancina
Clinton Township - Barbara Laird
Clinton Township - Scott Walendowski
Comstock Park - Kathy Felty

Davison - James Edgar
Dearborn - Gloria Joseph
Dearborn Heights - Rick Ballnik
Detroit - Joyce Smith
Dowagiac - Scott Stewart

East Lansing - Brent Sorg
Eaton Rapids - Wesley Collins
Essexville - Mark Gentle

Farmington Hills - Robert Dobson Jr.
Fenton - Paul White
Flat Rock - Janis Stahr
Flint - Richard Higgins
Flint - John Yelle
Flushing - Jeffrey Straley
Freeland - Terry Schmidt

Grand Blanc - Thomas Le Blanc
Grand Blanc - Leonard Sparks Sr.
Grand Rapids - Jacquie DeJonge
Grand Rapids - Jeff Green
Greenville - Darcia Kelley
Grosse Pointe - Ryan Murphy
Grosse Pointe Park - George Markley
Grosse Pointe Woods - Renee Dicristofaro

Hazel Park - Benny Holzman
Hickory Corners - Dean Bostwick
Holt - John Massey

Imlay City - John Forti

Jacksonville Beach, Fla. - Bernadette Koenig

Kalamazoo - Julie Jones
Kalamazoo - Mark Kampen
Kingsley - David Lemmien

Lansing - Dee Hammond
Lansing - Robert Mccullem
Livonia - Steve Timm

Manchester - James Connors
Marinette - Neil Motto
Mason - Daniel Carmichael
Mason - Kathy Showers
Mattawan - John Visser
McMillan - Anthony Immel
Midland - Katherine Duso
Monroe - Carolyn Peters
Montague - Stanley Bush
Muskegon - Jacklyn Burr
Muskegon - Chris Calkins
Muskegon - Dennis Danicek
Muskegon - Randall Peters

North Muskegon - Tony Kartes

Ontonagon - Andrew Borseth
Ottawa Lake - Douglas Sanders

Paw Paw - Karla Koviak
Perry - Thomas Montpas
Petoskey - Mark Holland
Pierson - Joseph Williams
Pleasant Lake - Marty Shean
Plymouth - Richard Schmidt
Plymouth - Michael Rossman

Quincy - Candace Cox

Rapid River - Mike Pilon
Rochester - Janette Luttenberger
Rochester Hills - Katherine DiMeglio
Romeo - Mary Milke
Rossford, Ohio - Steven Agler

Saginaw - Thomas Nichols
Saline - Todd Schultz
Shelby - Todd Fox
Shelby Township - Sheila Brownlee
Shelby Township - Kristi Dean
South Lyon - Michael Kiselis
Sparta - Ryan Huber
St. Clair Shores - Gary Kowalewski
St. Joseph - Terry Myers
St. Joseph - Dave Waaso
Standish - Kimberly Belchak
Stanton - Jason Petersen
Sterling Heights - George Braund
Sterling Heights - John Moceri

Traverse City - Allen Hebden

Utica - Sean Barel

Waldron - Michael Granger
Walled Lake - Donald Magee
Warren - Joseph DiBucci
Washington - Gloria Berger
Wayne - Robert Allen II
West Bloomfield - Cynthia Tyzo
Williamston - David Sweeney
Wolverine - David Ashenfelter
Wyandotte - David Shalda
Wyoming - Stephen Hendrickson

Yale - Perry Sutherland

40-Year Officials

Adrian - Doris Goodlock
Allen Park - James Sombati

Battle Creek - Corby O'Leary
Bay City - Tony Biskup
Buchanan - Ronald Bartz

Cedar Springs - Dan Rypma
Charlevoix - Daniel Ulrich
Clark Lake - Ralph Piepkow Jr.
Clinton Township - Patrick Crandall
Crystal Falls - Lyle Smithson Jr.

Detroit - John Leidlein Jr.
Detroit - Richard Shalhoub

Eastpointe - Wayne Rockensuess

Fort Gratiot - Jeff Klausing

Garden City - Eric Hebestreit
Grosse Ile - Steven Vecchioni

Hancock - Brian Rimpela
Holland - Brent Hoitenga
Hudsonville - Gerald Kuiper

Jackson - Thomas Morrissey
Jackson - Joseph Page
Jonesville - Kirk Snyder

Kentwood - William Meade

Lake Orion - James Weidman
Lansing - Daniel Kitchel
Lapeer - Gary Oyster
Lapeer - Scott Strickler

Macomb Township - William Gerbe
Mayville - Gary Libka
Midland - Bradley Crampton

Newaygo - Clinton Abbott

Ray - David Hines
Reed City - David Erler
Republic - Paul Price
Rockford - Carl Knoop
Rogers City - Karl Grambau
Roseville - Mario Soresi

Saginaw - Michael Mayers
Saginaw - Richard Welzein
Saginaw - Dennis Wildey
Sand Creek - Jack Sager
Sault Ste Marie - Dale Cryderman
St. Clair Shores - Gerald Garcia
St. Joseph - Bruce Molineaux
Swartz Creek - James Loria

Temperance - Michael Bitz
Traverse City - Barbara Beckett

Walled Lake - Nicholas Lesnau
Waters - Rick Sehl
Wolverine - Aimee Davis

Ypsilanti - Jerry Kelley

45-Year Officials

Alpena - Scott MacKenzie

Berkley - Charles Tyrrell
Boyne City - Peter Moss
Bronson - Randy Houtz
Brown City - Curt Lowe
Buchanan - Larry Monsma
Burton - Thomas Rau Sr.

Cheboygan - Peter Stempky
Conklin - Gary Meerman

East Lansing - Bruce Heeder

Flint - Joseph Johnson Sr.
Flushing - David Cowden
Fowler - Dean Schrauben
Frankfort - Peter Olson

Grand Rapids - Todd VandenAkker

Haslett - Heidi Doherty
Holland - Craig Kuipers
Houghton - Roy Britz

Iron Mountain - Robert Barkle

Jenison - James Kerbel

Lake Isabella - James Novar
Linden - John Cross

Madison Heights - Joseph Marcinkowski
Muskegon Heights - Johnny Robinson

Oxford - Donald Maskill Jr.

Plymouth - Charles Hempel
Portage - Richard Bird
Portage - Robert Burch
Posen - Donna Couture
Prescott - Charles Wren

Roseville - Robert Iwasko Sr.

Shelby Township - Michael Gentry
South Bend, Ind. - Dale Matteson
South Lyon - Dan Riggs

Taylor - Clayton Conner

Warren - Vern Rottmann

50-Year Officials

Adrian - Gary Laskowsky
Ann Arbor - Michael Parsons

Canton - David Mattingly
Caseville - Daniel Korbutt

DeWitt - Raymond Barnes

Fenton - Hewitt Judson
Fruitport - David Fisher

Kalamazoo - David Turley

Livonia - Steven Boyak
Livonia - John Dunn
Ludington - Roger Chappel

Marlette - Jerry Sauder Sr.
Marquette - Gene Aho

Ontonagon - John Gravier

Palmetto, Fla. - Donald Bourdon

Rodney - Jeffrey Greene
Rogers City - Michael Grulke

Saginaw - Richard Havercroft
South Haven - Robert Linderman
South Lyon - Richard Gibson
Stevensville - Bruce Arter

Traverse City - Tom Post

West Bloomfield - Anthony Magni
Whitehall - Chuck Hulce

PHOTO: Candy Cox prepares to judge during the 2018 MHSAA Competitive Cheer Finals. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan Cheer Judges Association.)