Busy Spring Next for Three Rivers 4-Sporter

By Wes Morgan
Special for MHSAA.com

March 6, 2018

By Wes Morgan
Special for Second Half

For anyone complaining about not having enough hours in the day, meet Three Rivers sophomore Hadley Miller, whose productivity within a 24-hour span is nothing short of stunning.

She’s one of those rare student-athletes who, as if there aren’t enough games to play, seemingly makes it a competition with herself to see how much she can pack into a given day.

After completing varsity seasons with the Three Rivers volleyball and basketball teams, Miller will now start a spring regimen that begins at 4:30 a.m. each day and includes a taxing weight-room workout, a full day of school, track practice, soccer practice, homework, sustenance crammed in between, and then a few hours of sleep to recharge the battery.

Miller is coming off an all-Wolverine Conference first-team performance in basketball after guiding the Wildcats to a 19-4 record this season, which ended in a Class B District Final loss to Edwardsburg last week. 

Miller averaged 18.6 points, 3.0 assists, 8.1 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game, leading the team in scoring for a second straight year. The Wildcats were 17-3 during the regular season and finished second to Edwardsburg in the Wolverine Conference South.

She’s one of the latest in a line of underclassmen at Three Rivers to emerge as a big-time playmaker, particularly at the guard/point guard positions. Teammate Kali Heivilin, a freshman, earned an all-conference second-team nod.

I think it’s a combination of things,” Three Rivers girls basketball coach Jason Bingaman said. “Some is the system we play and our focus at the defensive end that can make the transition easier (for younger players). Specifically, from the individual though, (Miller’s) skill set, basketball IQ, and then how hard a player works has a lot to do with their performance, and I have been very fortunate to coach some players that are individually dedicated to basketball and have families that have invested time in their daughters’ development.”

Both Bingaman and Miller landed on team chemistry as the most important variable when it comes to youngsters integrating well at the varsity level. 

“If upperclassmen understand how the younger player can help us be successful and are great teammates, it makes it an easier transition,” Bingaman explained. “Every player isn’t going to progress at the same rate, and each player is not brought up for the same reason as the next, but if the aforementioned things are in place, it makes it more likely for a player to be successful.”

Miller’s humility and dedication to all four of her teams at Three Rivers is unquestioned, which makes the process of gaining respect from the upperclassmen that much easier. In terms of hoops, she said the team’s success really was a matter of player rapport after losing five seniors from 2016-17.

“We all clicked well,” Miller said. “Since we played a year together and know how we like to play, going into next year we are going to be even more confident.”

Bingaman said confidence is where Miller made a big leap from her freshman year to her sophomore campaign.

“The big thing in general is her confidence level and mental approach,” he said. “I believe she felt she could have an impact last year, but there was an adjustment period, and as she became more comfortable last season, we became better as a team. She has found out how to deal with teams being physical with her and being patient.

“This year I have thrown a lot at her in terms of what she is responsible for. I moved her from the wing to running our offense as the point guard over Christmas break due to injuries and she has run with it, all while increasing her minutes on the floor.”

Miller has proven she can do plenty in a matter of minutes with a mastery of time management. This month she transitions to soccer as a defender for the Wildcats, and to the track & field team, where she hopes to make a return trip to the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals. Miller was part of the 1,600-meter relay team with Stephanie McLochlin, Shelby Krawczak and Arionne Fowlkes that placed 17th overall in 2017.

Throw in club basketball in April and Miller will be constantly on the move well into the summer.

“I like to keep in shape and keep busy,” she said. “I really like to do sports. So why not? It all fits in there somewhere.”

Wes Morgan has reported for the Kalamazoo Gazette, ESPN and ESPNChicago.com, 247Sports and Blue & Gold Illustrated over the last 12 years and is the publisher of JoeInsider.com. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Three Rivers' Hadley Miller, right, hands off the baton during a track relay last season. (Middle) Miller, far left, readies for a pass during a volleyball match at Vicksburg in the fall. (Photos courtesy of JoeInsider.com.)

Freshman Rewriting Whitmore Lake Record Book, Eyeing More Finals Success

By Doug Donnelly
Special for MHSAA.com

May 21, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic was a different, often difficult time for student athletes.

Greater DetroitIt also gave aspiring young athletes a little free time. Whitmore Lake’s Kaylie Livingston didn’t waste it.

Livingston, then in grade school, got serious about running – and it grew into a passion.

In the fall, the Whitmore Lake freshman finished second at the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Cross Country Final. She’s gearing up for the LPD4 track & field championship meet June 1 and enjoyed a remarkable day just over a week ago at the East Jackson Dome Classic when she set school records in the 1,600, 3,200 and as part of the 3,200 relay – the three longest races – all in the same day.

“She has the motor to do both (the 1,600 and 3,200),” said her coach and father, Casey Livingston. “She was really focused that day and posted a couple of really good times.”

Livingston won the 3,200 with a time of 10:46.29. She was second in the 1,600 with a time of 5:03.24. The 3,200 relay team finished second with a school record 9:43.57, which has since been lowered.

“It was a normal day for me running those events,” Kaylie said. “It’s a lot of fun to run as many races and run as fast as I can. I had a pretty good day.”

Livingston started running in elementary school. Her dad was the head cross country coach at Whitmore Lake, which was then a member of the Tri-County Conference. After the regular TCC meets had finished, the league held an “open” race where anyone could run. Most times, Kaylie would join the fun.

Livingston has qualified for the MHSAA Finals in two individual races and two relays.“That’s really the first time she ran competitively, if you can even call it competitive,” Casey Livingston said. “She really enjoyed running, especially with the older kids. She liked that.”

During the pandemic, Livingston said the family began running together.

“When COVID hit and we were shut down, we were outside trying to get exercise,” he said. “Obviously, track season was canceled that spring, but our league did some COVID games, where you would do different events and you would record it. She did that.

“Then, that summer, we started our summer training, and she would have been in fifth or sixth grade and started running our workouts. She kind of just took off with it.”

And then some.

“She’s been running times that had rivaled our records when she was in middle school,” added Livingston, who has coached basketball, cross country and track & field at Whitmore Lake. “I remember her saying, ‘I can’t wait to be a freshman so I can set some of those records.’”

This past weekend at her team’s Regional, Kaylie qualified for the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Finals in four events – the 1,600, 3,200 and as part of the 1,600 and 3,200 relays. She was the Regional champion in three of those races. Overall this season, she finished outside first place only five times – with four runner-up finishes and a third place in a relay.

She said those records have remained on her mind.

“I beat them by a pretty decent amount,” she said. “It was definitely one of the goals for the track season.”

The three-sport athlete (cross country, basketball, and track) enjoys track & field but says cross country is her favorite sport. She runs anywhere from 30 to 40 miles a week. Her individual runner-up finish in cross country helped Whitmore Lake win the LPD4 team title, and she has similar aspirations for her track & field team in two weeks.

“My goals are to continue to grow and always get faster,” she said. “Hopefully we could come in with a state title too.”

Doug DonnellyDoug 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) Kaylie Livingston runs one of her races this season as a freshman for Whitmore Lake. (Middle) Livingston has qualified for the MHSAA Finals in two individual races and two relays. (Photos courtesy of the Whitmore Lake athletic department.)