Senior Standout Aiming to Add to Grass Lake & Family Fame

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

August 17, 2021

GRASS LAKE – What will Lexus Bargesser do for an encore?

The Grass Lake senior had an unbelievable junior year, leading the Warriors to their first-ever MHSAA Finals basketball championship, in Division 3, then winning three events to pace Grass Lake’s team title at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 track & field championship meet. She spent her summer on the basketball circuit, traveling the country to compete against top competition.

As she embarks on her senior year of high school, Bargesser is looking forward to having fun, working hard – and bringing home more hardware.

“It was pretty amazing,” she said this summer. “Everything came together and worked out.”

The Bargesser family certainly could have been called the first family of Grass Lake sports over the last few years – in the least for track & field – and Lexus is likely to add a few more highlights during 2021-22. She won’t play a sport for Grass Lake this fall as she’s prepping for basketball season and a hopeful encore to last winter’s achievement. But next month she will begin making college visits and could make a decision before the 2021-22 basketball season begins.

“I don’t really have a timeline,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the season and helping the younger girls on the team grow. I’m excited for it.”

Grass Lake’s Bargesser surge began with 2020 grad Xavier, who’s currently playing basketball at Alma College.

Second-oldest Brennen Bargesser made a splash last school year as a senior both on the basketball court and track, during the spring winning three individual events and running on a first-place relay to lead the boys team to a Finals title as well.

Grass Lake basketball“My older brother and my younger sister are insane athletes,” Brennen said. “I’m the middle child and just wanted to make a name for myself.”

Lexus Bargesser had won the 100 and 200 dashes as a freshman at the 2019 Finals, then burst onto the national prep basketball scene with an amazing summer that saw colleges from across the country start offering her scholarships.  

Their parents also are part of the mix. Father David Bargesser coached the Warriors boys basketball team last season and was an assistant to the girls team. Mother Lori Bargesser was the scorekeeper for the boys team. 

Sports is the common bond that links the entire family.

“We’re a really close family,” Lori said. “We’ve always just played sports. That’s what we did. We were in the yard from the time I can remember.”

David, who played basketball and golfed in college, and Lori are from upstate New York. They originally moved to Belleville, then landed in Jackson when he accepted a job at the Michigan Department of Corrections. The family has lived in Grass Lake for about 25 years.

“When I got off work, we’d go outside and play basketball or throw the football,” he said. “From the time I can remember, we were always outside playing something.”

Lori said the organized sports started through a local YMCA.

“Xavier was probably 3 or 4 years old,” she said. “David helped coach. Ever since they started, they were always in at least two sports. It was hectic at times, with practice schedules and everything. It was weird when one of them could drive because they could take themselves to practice.”

Xavier, being the oldest, was the first to play organized sports. Brennen soon followed.

“Basketball is very important in my family,” Brennen said. 

“As soon as they could walk, they had a basketball in their hands,” Lori said. 

Grass Lake trackLexus showed her basketball talent and poise from a young age.

“Basketball was the thing that took off for her,” her father said. “I remember realizing how fast she was on the basketball court. I didn’t realize how fast she was.”

One of the first colleges to offer was UCLA. 

“Once one started offering, they all took notice,” David said. “It was a fun two weeks where everyone started calling. She’s would get 4-5 calls in an hour and a half.”

The Bargessers might have had the best day for any one family in state track & field history. Along with both Grass Lake teams winning championships, Brennen won the 100 with a time of 11 seconds, the 200 in 22.6 and the 400 in 49.10. He also anchored the 400 relay that came in first with a time of 44.43.

Lexus repeated as LPD3 champ in both the 100 with a time of 12.12 and the 200 in 25.30. (She had won both in 2019, and the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19.) She set an LP Division 3 meet record with a time of 55.54 in the 400, then helped the 400 relay place second with a time of 4:11.54.

Between the two siblings were seven first places, one runner-up finish and two team championships.

“When Brennen won that first race, I was so happy for him,” Lori said. “He had worked so hard. Lexus had won before, but he never had. That was a great moment.”

The seeds of those championships were formed during the spring of 2020 when in place of their season Brennen and Lexus trained together almost every day. 

“It’s insane to think (about) what we were able to accomplish,” Brennen said. “She’d run the 100 and win it, then I’d run the 100 and win it. I got so excited for her, then I had to run my race. In the conference meet I jumped (early) and was disqualified. I was nervous at the state meet that I would do that again.” 

Lexus and Brennen have always been close. Training together brought them closer.

“We spent all summer running together,” Brennen said. “She was my pacer. She was helping me get my times in.”

Their dad was confident that both could accomplish what they set out to do at this spring’s Finals because he had watched their times closely all summer.

“Going into the year, I was checking times and seeing what other kids were doing,” David said. “I knew both had a chance to do it in all three events. It was definitely the goal. It helped them by training together. Brennen really was into lifting, and I think that helped Lexi get into it. The two of them were always training together, pushing each other.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) The Bargesser family celebrated a championship-loaded Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals; pictured from left: father David, Brennan, Xavier, Lexus and mother Lori. (Middle) Lexus Bargesser (1) gets a hand up on defense during Grass Lake’s 52-50 win over Kent City in April’s Division 3 Final. She finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. (Below) Brennen Bargesser crosses the line first in the 100 at the Finals in June. (Top photo courtesy of the Bargesser family; Brennen Bargesser photo by Jason Ruggles.)

Chippewa Valley's Heard Has Big Plans to Add to All-Time Sprint Legacy

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

May 10, 2024

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior Shamar Heard admits he’s thought about it, and for good reason.

Greater DetroitAfter all, why not at least entertain the thought of doing something unprecedented in state history when it comes to track & field?

Two years ago as a sophomore, Heard achieved the double in the fastest races, winning both the 100 and 200-meter dashes at the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals. 

Last year, Heard completed the trifecta when it came to sprint state titles, focusing solely on the 400 dash and winning that event in 47.78 seconds while also running on first and third-place relays.

So, how about trying to train for and win all three events this year as a senior? Who in the state would be able to stop him? 

“I definitely have been thinking about it,” Heard said. “Because why not? It probably hasn’t been done in a long time, if ever.”

But while the thought has crossed his mind, it won’t happen. It’s a little much on the body — in particular running the 100-meter dash — to try and do all three at once. 

However, Heard in the coming weeks is still in a good position to cement what already is a place among the greatest sprinters to come through the state of Michigan. 

First, he has big things in mind for his specialty race, the 400 meters. He has won two consecutive AAU national titles in that event in addition to the Finals title he won last year, but is craving more.

“I want to be at 45 seconds for the state meet,” Heard said noting the June 1 Finals at East Kentwood. 

In addition, Heard plans on competing in the 200 meters at East Kentwood. He also is a part of Chippewa Valley’s 800 relay team that won last year in 1:26.41. He’s expected to qualify for all three at the Regional on May 17 at Romeo.

Heard prepares to run the winning 400 at last season’s championship meet.When Heard is done with high school, he will continue running track at Tennessee. 

It’s all mighty impressive for a speedster that Chippewa Valley head coach Terry Wilson said hates lifting weights and is “barely above 150 pounds.”

“He doesn’t weigh a whole lot, but he generates a lot of power,” Wilson said. “His strength-to-weight ratio has to be astronomical. He’s just gotten better with his form.”

Throughout his entire life, Heard said he’s simply loved racing. When he was a kid, he would constantly pick out a stop sign on a street or another spot in a yard and race others to the finish, often beating them with ease. 

When he was 10 years old, he was invited by a friend to come out for a track team, and he proceeded to beat others in races continuously. 

As he got a little older, Heard discovered how gifted he was running the 400 meters and started to focus more on that event. 

Heard said he loves the 400 meters so much mostly because he loves embracing a challenge many sprinters don’t want to face. 

“I like that not many people want to go through that pain,” he said. “I take it as a compliment when people look at (the 400) and they say, ‘Hey, people are crazy for doing that.’ That makes me motivated to do it.”

Wilson admits there doesn’t have to be much coaching done with Heard. It’s just simply a matter of getting together before races to discuss how he feels and what his body can do that day. 

“He understands his body a little bit better every year,” Wilson said. “He understands what he needs to get done in races. He’ll run the 200 in practice and I’ll have a stopwatch on him, and he’ll say, ‘That felt like a 24 (seconds). I look at my stopwatch and it’s a 24.2. He has that ability to gauge how fast he’s going. It’s just different with him.” 

Heard also was a football player at Chippewa Valley, but gave the sport up before last fall to focus solely on his track career. 

“I was just looking at the bigger picture,” Heard said. “I was more consistent in one sport than I was the other.”

He will run the 400 meters at Tennessee, and then the sky could be the limit given what he’s accomplished already on a national level.

Until then though, Heard will spend the rest of his high school career trying to win more hardware and leave a mark that might be impossible for future sprinters in Michigan to surpass. 

“I want to give everyone a senior year that they will remember,” Heard said. “I want to go out with one of the most memorable years of a high school athlete.” 

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Chippewa Valley’s Shamar Heard crosses the finish line while anchoring the winning 800 relay at last year’s LPD1 Finals. (Middle) Heard prepares to run the winning 400 at last season’s championship meet. (Click for more from Jamie McNinch/