Laker Following Mother's Path as Wayland Multi-Sport Standout

By Steve Vedder
Special for

March 5, 2024

When Wayland junior Harmony Laker opted to embrace athletics many years ago, she never worried about following some pretty impressive footsteps nor matching the hefty accomplishments of someone very close to her, a mentor who had herself been a standout three-sport athlete in high school.

In fact, Laker has wound up starring in the same three sports in which her mother, 2000 Wayland grad Kara Potter, also excelled in high school – basketball, volleyball and softball.

Kara was all-conference in all three sports and earned all-state recognition in volleyball and basketball. Harmony has been all-league since her freshman season in the same three, and all-region in volleyball and basketball.

Just a chip off the old block? Maybe, says Harmony.

Harmony, right, is successfully following in the multi-sport footsteps of her mother, Kara Laker.But if there is anything mother and daughter have in common it's a love of sports.

"They introduced me to sports, and I've always strived to be like my parents," Harmony Laker said. "I was always drawn toward basketball, volleyball and softball. That's where my heart has always been, on a court or a field.

"I always wanted to play three sports; that's been my goal since middle school. Like my mother, I've always taken them seriously."

Like her mother, Laker hasn't just lettered in three sports – she's been outstanding. As a junior, she's already shattered the 1,000-point career basketball mark, reaching the milestone when she scored 38 points against Grand Rapids South Christian in late January. She's averaging 19 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists per game.

In volleyball, Laker had 864 kills, 513 digs, 80 blocks and 64 aces while serving 90 percent this season.

In softball, Laker has a 29-4 record as a pitcher over her first two seasons while batting .449 with six doubles and three homers as a sophomore. She's twice made all-conference in that sport, leading Wayland to two conference titles.

Kara Laker – also Wayland’s volleyball coach – said she and Harmony's father, Lance, a former varsity basketball coach at Middleville Thornapple Kellogg, never tried to edge their daughter toward athletics.

But when Harmony took up a variety of sports, the parents had one standing rule: Commit to the sport you're playing at the time. Worry about the other sports when it's time.

Harmony Laker (12) soars to get a hand on a ball during volleyball season. "Sports has always been a big part of our lives," Kara said. "We've never pushed our kids, but we've told them if you're going to be successful, you have to put in the time. My parents wanted us to do what we could (in sports). It was always in our prayers that our kids would truly love all sports. We're a competitive family, and we've always been drawn to sports."

The Laker family navigates a busy sports schedule. Liberty Laker plays volleyball at Grace Christian University, eighth grader Charity plays the same three sports as her mother and sister, and third grader Christian plays football, baseball and basketball.

"We divide and conquer," Kara said of her and her husband following the robust schedules of four children.

Harmony's first memories of sports involve supplying water to her father's basketball players. From there, she progressed to copying the three sports in which her mother excelled.

Kara won Wayland's coveted Multer Award as the school's top multi-sport athlete. Harmony hasn't won the award yet, but seems a shoo-in before she graduates in 2025.

Kara said it's tougher for athletes now to play three sports as AAU and travel sports often collide with high school athletics. But in terms of playing three, she said that decision has always been left to the kids.

"It's harder these days, but we were three-sport athletes who wanted to be good in all three," said Kara, who admits she's had discussions with Harmony about narrowing her participation list.

"It's actually a discussion we're having at this moment," she said. "A lot of it comes down to coaches and having them all work together so Harmony can play."

Laker makes her move toward the plate as a pitcher during the spring.In order of preference, Harmony lists her favorite sports as basketball, volleyball and softball. But when it comes to cutting out a sport, Harmony hedges. If she plays all three as a senior – and that's currently the plan – she'll leave Wayland with 12 varsity letters, a rarity in today's high school sports world.

Harmony said the advice offered by her parents is the same that trickled down from their parents (her grandparents). Play as many sports as you choose, but also be well-rounded off the courts and fields.

Harmony is a member of the National Honor Society, leads the Wayland chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, is a member of the student council and has gone on numerous mission trips through her church.

But when it comes to athletics, Harmony is quick to revert to what she was taught early.

"I just want to work at my craft. You're only as good as the time you put in," she said. "My mom and dad have always said it's the heart that makes sports great. There are so many moments which are trials in sports and games, but ultimately that is what's going to make you better.

"Playing with pressure is a privilege. If a game is close and you have to execute, that's a privilege. God has put you out there for a reason, and you take the moments as they come."

PHOTOS (Top) Wayland’s Harmony Laker lines up for a free throw while playing her favorite sport, basketball. (2) Harmony, right, is successfully following in the multi-sport footsteps of her mother, Kara Laker. (3) Harmony Laker (12) soars to get a hand on a ball during volleyball season. (4) Laker makes her move toward the plate as a pitcher during the spring. (Action photos by Shannon N Jessica Photography.) mother/daughter photo courtesy of the Laker family.)

Performance of the Week: Jenison's Alli Wright

April 18, 2024

Alli Wright headshotAlli Wright ♦ Jenison
Junior ♦ Softball

The Wildcats’ ace opened her junior season last week with a 2-0 shutout over Cedar Springs, during which she struck out 19 batters and went over 500 for her career. She followed that up with a 12-2 win over Division 2 No. 2 Vicksburg and also has victories over Caledonia and Holland West Ottawa as Jenison has opened 7-0 and ranked No. 3 in Division 1.

Wright earned all-state honorable mention last season for the second time after pitching the Wildcats to the Division 1 Quarterfinals. She quickly set the tone for her high school career as a freshman, setting the program’s single-season strikeout record that spring. She’s also set up for when her Jenison career is done – she’s committed to continue playing softball at Grand Valley State.

@mhsaasports 🥎POW: Alli Wright #softball #jenison #letsgo #strikeout #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🥎POW: Alli Wright #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #swedishfish #chickfila #princessandthefrog #dancemoms #pineappleonpizza #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

Past 2023-24 Honorees

April 11: Chloe Wishart, Trenton soccer - Report
March 28:
Jenna Maki, Ishpeming basketball - Report
March 22:
Jaremiah Palmer, Niles Brandywine basketball - Report
March 15:
Leah Hodge, North Farmington gymnastics - Report
March 8:
Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Photos courtesy of the Wright family.)