By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
East Grand Rapids divers won seven championships and placed a number of others during the first 42 years of MHSAA Finals in the sport. The school will once again host one of nine Lower Peninsula Diving Regionals taking place this afternoon.
Few in MHSAA history have come close to equaling the accomplishments of the Pioneers’ best, three-time champion Randi Brown.
The 2010 graduate claimed her third championship the previous fall with a Lower Peninsula Division 3 record score of 484.35 – the second-highest in MHSAA Finals history counting all divisions. She won that day, Nov. 21, 2009, at Eastern Michigan University, by 63.6 points.
Brown also won LP Division 3 in 2007 with a score of 414.15 (5.1 ahead of the field) and in 2008 with 454.85 points and by 10.4. As a freshman, in the final season of girls swimming and diving split into two Lower Peninsula divisions instead of three, she finished 13th in Division 2 with a score of 339.40 – as teammate Chelsea Oates claimed the title.
Brown went on the dive at Princeton University, helping the Tigers to two Ivy League championships while finishing as high as third individually at the league's finals. She was one of two members of her team this spring to receive Princeton’s Class of 1916 Cup, which is awarded “to the varsity letterwinner who, continuing in competition in his or her senior year, achieved at graduation the highest academic standing.”
The only diver to score higher at an MHSAA Final than Brown was Albion’s Elyse Lee in 2003, with 489.55 points. Lee went on to dive for the University of Michigan.
Kaylee Draper ♦ Sturgis
Junior ♦ Swimming
Draper joined teammates Kenzy Triezenberg, Ainsley Gump and Emma Garbine to swim the 200-yard medley relay in 1:55.53 on Sept. 7 against Hastings, breaking a school record from 1997. Draper also won the 50 freestyle with a Finals cut time of 25.47 seconds as Sturgis won the dual 92-69. Two days later, she swam on the winning 200 medley again and the 200 freestyle relay and was second in the 50 butterfly as the Trojans won the Mason Sprint Invitational.
She helped Sturgis finish 28th at last season’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals, placing eighth in the 100 backstroke and 14th in the 50 freestyle and swimming on the 15th-place 200 freestyle relay. She also runs cross country during the fall and is a pole vaulter and thrower on the track & field team.
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Past 2023-24 Honorees
(PHOTOS courtesy of the Sturgis Journal.)