Performance: Gull Lake's Reagan Wisser

May 17, 2018

Reagan Wisser
Richland Gull Lake junior – Soccer

The Blue Devils’ all-state forward helped deliver her team a league title and a little bit of vengeance May 9, scoring two goals in Gull Lake’s 3-0 win over Portage Central that clinched the regular-season Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference championship and earned Wisser the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.” Wisser then scored two more goals in Monday’s SMAC Tournament semifinal win over Mattawan and all three in Wednesday’s championship game as Gull Lake pulled out a 3-2 overtime victory again over the rival Mustangs.

Gull Lake is 14-0-1 this spring and ranked No. 2 in Division 2, while Portage Central is up to No. 5 in Division 1 in this week’s state coaches association poll. This is the first year all SMAC teams are back in one division; Gull Lake won the last five SMAC East girls soccer championships, and last week’s win made six straight regular-season titles. But those Portage Central victories also meant a little more – during last season’s SMAC Tournament, the Mustangs ended Gull Lake’s four-year league winning streak.

The Blue Devils won three straight Division 2 titles from 2013-15 with Wisser’s older sister Riley playing a prominent role, and Reagan is working to lead Gull Lake back to that former height. A three-year starter, she has 29 goals and five assists this spring and is up to 69 goals for her career. Wisser already is set to continue her career after high school at Western Michigan University, and she carries a 4.0 grade-point average with plans to study nursing.   

Coach Jeff Corstange said: “Reagan started out her freshman year trying to fit into our system, understand our system, and sophomore year she grasped onto it. (This season) she’s taken the team under her wings and flown with it. … She’s peaked into a tremendous soccer player. I kinda expected (this success), but I don’t think she expected it. Last year when she was getting man marked, she’d get frustrated. She’d get angry that she didn’t score, didn’t contribute to the team. Now she understands that she’s getting man marked but finding ways with her teammates to get open. She’s getting creative, and we tried to stress with her to be creative. … She’s even better off the field – she’s one of the nicest people you’ll meet.”

Performance Point: “It just shows no matter who we play, we are going to come out and do our best and give everything we’ve got to beat them,” Wisser said of the two Portage Central wins. “Last year they beat us, and we also lost our SMAC championship last year, so we had a lot more energy going in. We knew what it felt like to be on the other side, and we didn’t want that to happen again. … (Wednesday) night was super exciting, and we knew going in it would be a game determined by who wanted it more. Throughout the game, we picked up our intensity – and we won because we wanted it more. Definitely, I try to step up as much as I can, but I couldn’t have done it without the help of my teammates encouraging me and pushing me to be my best.”

Time to lead: “I’ve definitely stepped up my leadership role and encouraged others to step up on the field and to be the best they can be every game, because you never know when it can be your last. I looked up to our past captains the years before and how they picked up each and every player and showed them that they can be their best every game. Especially with the team this year, it’s pretty easy to pick each other up, push each other to play harder and play for everyone else around you. … (Leading) actually makes me a better person, makes me want to step up and it makes me want to play harder for my teammates.”

Winning formula: “The team chemistry that we have is nothing like we’ve had in the years before, and I think this year everybody just wants it more. In years before, when people have made mistakes, we kinda just ignored it and we thought they were hanging their heads. But this year, if anyone makes a mistake, everybody’s surrounding them, and (saying) ‘You’ll get the next one,’ and everybody just picks each other up – and it’s just so much more fun to play that way. It makes a huge difference. If you miss a shot, your teammates aren’t going to be mad at you, and you’ll try your best to get the next one. It picks you up as a player and makes you want to play harder for your teammates.”

Mentors to follow: “I just remember watching (my sister’s) games and watching her playing in the state finals, and all the excitement that she had. It made me want to be in her position, made me want to win states. She told me to just keep my head up, and everything will play out as long as you play as a team and play together. … Grace Labadie, she played at Loy Norrix and is at Western now; I played against her my freshman and sophomore year, and she’s just so amazing on and off the ball, and she just was a great teammate to watch and play against. She taught me some moves, and she just talks to me after games and tells me things I did well and things I can improve on. When we’d beat her in games, she always kinda got mad, but she was like, ‘You need to stop being so good.’ It is (a big compliment).”

Paging Nurse Wisser: “Western has a great nursing program … and it really gets me excited for the future. Ever since I was little, I wanted to go into the medical field because I love helping people in any way that I can.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2017-18 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Previous 2017-18 honorees:
May 10: Clayton Sayen, Houghton track & field - Read
May 3: Autumn Roberts, Traverse City Central tennis - Read
April 26: Thomas Robinson, Wyoming Lee track & field - Read
March 29: Carlos Johnson, Benton Harbor basketball - Read
March 22: Shine Strickland-Gills, Saginaw Heritage basketball - Read
March 15: Skyler Cook-Weeks, Holland Christian swimming - Read
March 8: Dakota Greer, Howard City Tri-County wrestling - Read
March 1: Camree' Clegg, Wayne Memorial basketball - Read
February 23: Aliah Robertson, Sault Ste. Marie swimming - Read
February 16: Austin O'Hearon, Eaton Rapids wrestling - Read
February 9: Sophia Wiard, Muskegon Oakridge basketball - Read
February 2: Brenden Tulpa, Hartland hockey - Read
January 25: Brandon Whitman, Dundee wrestling - Read
January 18: Derek Maas, Holland West Ottawa swimming - Read
January 11: Lexi Niepoth, Bellaire basketball - Read
November 30: La'Darius Jefferson, Muskegon football - Read
November 23: Ashley Turak, Farmington Hills Harrison swimming - Read
November 16: Bryce Veasley, West Bloomfield football - Read 
November 9: Jose Penaloza, Holland soccer - Read
November 2: Karenna Duffey, Macomb L'Anse Creuse North cross country - Read
October 26: Anika Dy, Traverse City West golf - Read
October 19: Andrew Zhang, Bloomfield Hills tennis - Read
October 12: Nolan Fugate, Grand Rapids Catholic Central football - Read
October 5: Marissa Ackerman, Munising tennis - Read
September 28: Minh Le, Portage Central soccer - Read
September 21: Olivia Theis, Lansing Catholic cross country - Read
September 14: Maddy Chinn, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball - Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Richland Gull Lake's Reagan Wisser (5) pushes the ball upfield during a game this season. (Middle) Wisser works to get around a defender. (Photos courtesy of the Gull Lake athletic department.)

Lacrosse Finals Move to U-M Among Headlines as Spring Sports Ramp Up

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 9, 2024

The Girls & Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played at University of Michigan Lacrosse Stadium for the first time, one of the most notable changes for this season as sports ramp up for more than 100,000 athletes anticipated to participate this spring for Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools.

The MHSAA sponsors postseason competition each spring in baseball, girls and boys lacrosse, girls soccer, softball, girls and boys track & field, boys golf (Lower and Upper Peninsula) and girls golf (UP), and girls (LP) and boys (UP) tennis.

The U-M Lacrosse Stadium opened for competition in 2018 and seats 2,000 spectators. The Girls Lacrosse Finals will be played Friday, June 7, with Division 1 at 4 p.m. and Division 2 at 7 p.m. The Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played the following day, June 8, with Division 2 at 11 a.m. and Division 1 at 2 p.m.

Girls lacrosse also has a significant format adjustment this season, as games will be played with four 12-minutes quarters instead of the previous two halves, in part to allow coaches more opportunities to provide direct instruction during a game. Two more rules changes are expected to improve flow of play – players awarded a free position outside of the critical scoring area no longer must come to a stop and settled stance before self-starting, and false start penalties outside the critical scoring area have been eliminated.

Several more rules changes will be noticeable this spring:

In boys lacrosse, a change was made to enhance player safety. Play will stop immediately any time a player’s helmet comes off, and that player may not return until the next dead ball after play continues.

Fair and legal starts are a continued emphasis for track & field, and a rule change will allow for movement before the start of the race as long as a competitor does not leave their mark with a hand or a foot after the “set” command, or make forward motion before the starting device is activated.

A significant rule change in softball alters pitch delivery mechanics. The pitcher may now have both feet off the ground at the same time when releasing the ball as long as both feet remain within the 24-inch width of a pitching plate and the pitcher does not replant the pivot foot before delivering the pitch.

Another change in softball requires that a playbook/playcard be worn on the wrist or kept in a back pocket to reduce distractions. If worn by the pitcher, the equipment must be worn on the non-pitching arm. Similarly in baseball, a wristband with plays or instructions will be permitted but must be a single, solid color, and for pitchers may not contain the colors white or gray or be otherwise distracting. Baseball players must wear this wristband on the wrist or forearm, and pitchers may wear one only on their non-pitching arm.

Also in baseball, a rule change allows for one-way communication devices worn by the catcher to receive instructions from the dugout while on defense, for the purpose of calling pitches. The coach must be inside the dugout/bench area to use the communication device.

Golfers now are required to participate in at least four competitions for the high school team prior to representing that school team in an MHSAA Regional or Final. Those four regular-season competitions may be 9 or 18-hole events.

In tennis, for the first time in Lower Peninsula play, a No. 1 doubles flight from a non-qualifying team will be able to advance from its Regional to Finals competition. To do so, that No. 1 doubles flight must finish first or second at its Regional, and the No. 1 singles player from that team also must have qualified for the Finals individually by finishing first or second in Regional play.

On the soccer pitch, two officiating-related changes will be especially noticeable. Officials now may stop the clock to check on an injured player without that player being required to leave the match – previously that player would have to sub out. Also, categories for fouls have been redefined: careless (which is a foul but does not receive a card), reckless (a foul with a yellow card) and excessive force (foul with red card). 

The 2023-24 Spring campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Golf and Boys Tennis Finals during the week of May 27 and wraps up with Girls Soccer, Baseball and Softball Finals on June 15. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regional Semifinals – June 5
Regional Finals, Quarterfinals – June 8
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Boys Regionals – May 28-June 1
UP Girls & Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Boys Finals – June 7-8

Boys Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 10-15
Regionals – May 16-29
Quarterfinals – May 31 or June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 8

Girls Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 16-18, or May 20
Regionals – May 22-June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 7

Girls Soccer
Districts – May 22-June 1
Regionals – June 4-8
Semifinals – June 11-12
Finals – June 14-15

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regionals – June 8
Quarterfinals – June 11
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Girls Regionals – May 15-18
UP Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Girls Finals – May 31-June 1

Track & Field
Regionals – May 16-18
Finals – June 1