Lansing Christian senior – Soccer
The four-time all-state forward capped her career Friday with the lone goal of a 1-0 Division 4 championship game victory over Kalamazoo Christian, earning the final Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week” for 2017-18. Her final high school goal secured a second straight Division 4 title for the Pilgrims and gave her 197 goals for her career – the second most in MHSAA history.
Jamieson had 54 goals – tied for 10th most for one season – and 71 total points this spring in helping Lansing Christian to a 19-3-2 record. For the second straight year, she was considered the best player in all of Division 4 as the lone selection from that division to the all-state Dream Team. In addition to her 197 career goals, she’ll make the record book career assists list with 72 – and her 268 career points (over 101 games) rank third all-time. Jamieson also returned to her school’s basketball program this past winter, playing that sport for the first time since freshman year and contributing significantly to the Pilgrims’ 15-7 finish.
Her class valedictorian with a 4.0 grade-point average, Jamieson is drawn to biology and similar sciences and aspires to become a physical therapist. She will study kinesiology and continue her soccer career at Division I Liberty University in Virginia this fall after she joins other college players this summer as part of local United Women’s Soccer League team Lansing United.
Coach Joel Vande Kopple said: “The most visible aspect of Kasey’s impact had obviously been her production on the field, where both the number of goals and assists she had are records at LCS since I've been there. Something that often goes overlooked is her availability to play. She didn't miss any games in her four years, and knowing that she was going to be out there every game really boosted our girls. Her personality is what I've appreciated most about her. Despite all her accolades, she always wanted what was best for the team and to see her teammates succeed.”
Performance Point: “What I'm missing most is just the team,” Jamieson said, recalling her final game with the Pilgrims. “I've been with this team the past five months. Basically every day we see each other, so I guess it's just different not having practice to go to, just not talking to them about the games or what's going to happen, or cheering them on or encouraging them. ... I definitely didn't know going into the (championship) game if I'd be the winning goal, or if I would assist it, or if one of my other teammates would have it. But whatever it was, we would've done whatever we could have to have that goal, no matter who put it in or not. It was so awesome to finish my year off like that. Obviously, I couldn't have done it without any of the girls on the team, so all credit to them. It was just a fun year, a fun way to go out. … Obviously, we worked really hard for it, so I'm so proud of the girls.”
Pilgrim pride: (High school soccer) is so much different because it's more of a team mindset, while club becomes a personal mindset because you're trying to get noticed by colleges, by coaches. High school, we're not doing it for coaches. We're not doing it for scouts. We're doing it because we love this sport and we love each other, and we love to push each other and work together. That's what's different about high school – it's not the personal game, it's all team. And that's what I love about it – especially since our school is K-12, all these girls I've been playing with since I was little.”
Showing the way: “Our school, since we're so small, we get to hang out with the elementary students, which is so fun. You get a kindergarten buddy every year, so most of our kindergarten buddies were at the state championship game. It was so cool. And we all have little siblings that are younger students, so all the siblings brought their friends. So it's not just the high school supporting you, but the entire school. It's a cool environment, and it encourages you to do better. (Coach) talks about how there are these little girls that are looking up to you constantly, and how you act, they're going to notice it.”
Back on the break: “I played basketball all the way up to freshman year, and then I just stopped and I wanted to focus on soccer. I went into senior year like, I missed the sport and I wanted to try it out. It was fun. It definitely was different. It was cool using different workouts because I wanted to use different muscles and work different areas so I could be an overall (well-rounded) player. I shared the position as a point guard and a shooting guard. I played most of the entire game. We did well. ... The coach (Jason Salsbury) is super supportive, and the cool thing about our basketball coach is he was at all of our soccer games cheering us on. And he has two little girls and a little boy who are looking up to us so much, which is just so fun because some of us get to babysit them. So it's just a cool environment. We're just like a family.”
Faith and family: My faith is the most important thing to me. … A cool thing about Liberty that I like, every time before games they prayed, and they prayed for other people. It was even a bigger family than at Lansing Christian, which I loved and that's what I wanted. I went to one of their games – they were playing somewhere in Tennessee, I believe – and a girl on the other team got injured, we we're sitting there watching and then girls that were on the field and off the field starting praying. That right there, I was like ‘OK, I want to go here.’”
- 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:
June 14: Erik Fahlen Jr., Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian golf - Read
June 7: Paxton Johnson, Escanaba golf - Read
May 31: Lydia Goble, Schoolcraft softball - Read
May 24: Corinne Jemison, East Kentwood track & field - Read
May 17: Reagan Wisser, Richland Gull Lake soccer - Read
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) Lansing Christian's Kasey Jamieson surveys the field during Friday's Division 4 championship game win over Kalamazoo Christian. (Middle) Jamieson pushes the ball ahead; she scored the game's lone goal.
ADRIAN – Avery Sluss picked up a golf club for the first time her freshmen year at Adrian Lenawee Christian. Now she’s an all-state golfer.
Sluss started playing basketball because it was a way for her and her older brother, Gavin, to connect. She’s now the leading scorer on the Cougars basketball team a year after receiving all-state recognition.
Everything she touches seems to turn to gold. She will return to the soccer field in the spring already with her college plans in place. She signed recently to play goalkeeper at Indiana Wesleyan University.
“I’ve learned so much from sports,” Avery said. “It teaches me a lot about life.”
Her coaches call her a self-motivated athlete, quiet leader and someone dedicated to her faith, her teammates, and academics. She is a 4.0 student and has played four years of varsity golf, basketball, and soccer. She’s earned all-state recognition in all three sports.
“She is very self-motivated,” said first-year Lenawee Christian girls basketball coach Emilie Beach. “She doesn’t miss workouts or practices. She pushes herself hard. She forces others to rise (around her).”
Sluss is in her fourth season on the Lenawee Christian varsity basketball team. This year her role changed from mostly a defensive specialist to scorer.
Beach said Avery hasn’t changed her positive attitude with the changes in her role on the team. She has a high basketball IQ, Beach said, which helps her on the court.
“It can be tough and frustrating, but she comes in with a great attitude each day and leads her teammates,” Beach said. “She is a quiet leader who leads by example. She is hardest on herself, and that’s where a lot of her motivation comes from.”
The Cougars have had great success on the basketball floor the last several years, and Sluss has been part of it. She’s played alongside all-staters and played at the Breslin Center. She started and played 20 minutes in last year’s Semifinal loss to Plymouth Christian Academy.
This season she’s averaging 14.5 points a game, with 16 3-pointers, and has scored at least 17 points four times.
“It’s very different, but I like the role I’m in now,” she said. “Now, it’s like you have to score. I’ve accepted it. I’m just trying my best to fulfill that role for my teammates.”
Sluss sat out the fall travel soccer season while she was recovering from a slight back injury. But she was able to hit the golf course. She shot a two-day total of 186 at the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Final, helping the Cougars finish second as a team. A year earlier Sluss shot an 89 and 87 and helped the Cougars finish fourth overall.
Not bad for someone who didn’t pick up a golf club until just a few years ago.
“Golf was new to me my freshman year,” she said. “Some of my friends said I should try it, so I did. I went to the range maybe one or two times before I started to play. I’ve loved it.”
As far as sports goes, soccer was her first love. She started playing at the age of 4 when a neighborhood dad gathered a few girls together and formed a team.
“We started playing in the back yard,” she said. “I’ve been playing soccer ever since. My first travel team was when I was 7.”
Sluss first started thinking about playing college soccer when she was in kindergarten.
“I’ve always wanted to play soccer in college,” she said. “I’ve dreamed about that. I’ve spent so much time on the sport that it would be silly not to. I want it to pay off with college.”
She used to play multiple positions but turned to goalkeeper at the age of 12.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “There are a lot of little things. The mental part of being a goalkeeper is important.”
After being named to the coaches association all-state third team last year, Sluss is primed for a big season this spring, especially with her college choice behind her.
“It is a strong Christian college, which was important to me,” she said. “It’s a lot like Lenawee Christian. Everyone on the soccer team was great when I met them, and the girls are so nice.”
Sluss has become adept at mixing sports with academics and life.
“Balance is a big issue,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, especially doing two at a time.
“My whole family, my parents (David and Kristen), they always push me to be the best I can be. I owe them a lot. Even my little sister (Addie) pushes me to do my best.”
Avery’s family moved from Toledo to the Adrian area several years ago, and the two perfectly complement to each other.
“Lenawee Christian has been a great fit for me,” she said. “All of the people are awesome, and I have grown in my faith here.”
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 DougDonnelly@hotmail.com with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Avery Sluss gathers up the ball while playing keeper for Lenawee Christian’s soccer team. (Middle) Sluss puts up a shot during last season’s Division 4 Semifinal at Breslin Center. (Below) Sluss plants a chip on the green. (Photos courtesy of the Lenawee Christian athletic department.)