2022 Runners-Up Climb Final Step to Give Grand Ledge Individual Title Sweep

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

March 11, 2023

WHITE LAKE — Grand Ledge senior Alaina Yaney came agonizingly close to winning an MHSAA Finals individual title last year.

And if you think that wasn’t on her mind for a full year, think again. 

Yaney said she had notes written throughout her room in a quest to be better than a half-tenth of a point – the margin between her and 2022 first-place finisher Morgan Ruffing of Livonia Red.

“It was on my mind every single day at practice, and it motivated me to work harder,” Yaney said. “It was just one little toe point, and I knew that I could do it and I was very close. I had many things in my room reminding me to work harder.”

The top Division 1 individual champions are recognized Saturday, including champion Alaina Yaney, far left, from Grand Ledge.Instead of notes, Yaney will now have a Finals championship medal to display.

Yaney earned her redemption after a year’s wait, this time walking out of Lakeland High School as the Division 1 individual champion Saturday. 

Yaney finished with an all-around score of 38.075, ahead of Ruffing and Emma Stewart of Salem, who tied for second with identical scores of 37.925. 

Lacey Scheid of Friday’s team champion Rockford was fourth at 37.450, while Howell’s Maria Petru rounded out the top five at 37.375. 

For Yaney, her day broke down like this: 

Floor exercise. Yaney opened up in this event, and took second with a score of 9.575. “My mindset was to just go in calm, dominate and do what I knew I could do,” Yaney said. Ruffing won with a score of 9.800. 

 Up next for Yaney was this event, where she finished first with a score of 9.700. Stewart was second with a 9.575. “That is best my event,” Yaney said. “I just knew if I did what I know how to do, I would be fine.”

Bars. In her third event, Yaney finished third with a score of 9.325. Stewart was first with a 9.500, while Ruffing was second with a 9.425. “I was nervous because I had to make my new skill in order to get the score I needed,” Yaney said. 

ydia Beaton competes on vault for the Comets, on the way to finishing first.Beam. When Yaney got to her final event, she knew good scores in her previous three put her on the cusp of the title. “I just had to stay calm and focus and be confident that I could do it,” Yaney said. “I knew I was having good scores throughout the day, so it helped me stay calm.” Yaney delivered with a first-place finish, earning a score of 9.475. Stewart was second with a 9.400, and Scheid was third with a 9.350. 

Vault.Yaney wasn’t the only Grand Ledge gymnast to leave with an individual title and redemption. 

Teammate Lydia Beaton won the Division 2 competition with an all-around score of 36.650, finishing ahead of Coldwater’s Charlotte Calhoun, who had a 36.275. 

Grace Spencer of Farmington United was third with a 35.825. 

As was the case with Yaney in Division 1, Beaton was the runner-up last year in Division 2. 

“I felt really confident,” Beaton said. “I woke up in the hotel room and I was like, ‘I’m going to win. I’m going to come in strong.’ I believed in myself.”

Beaton finished first in the vault (9.450) and the beam (9.575). 

Yaney and Beaton’s titles helped Grand Ledge make up for what was a lower finish than usual at Friday’s team event, where the Comets finished in eighth place. 

“I just knew they had a chance,” Grand Ledge head coach Duane Haring said. “All we talked about all day was to focus. If you focus, you could be there at the end. And they were there at the end. I’m so proud of them.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Grand Ledge's Alaina Yaney competes on the uneven parallel bars; she finished third on that apparatus. (Middle) The top Division 1 individual finishers are recognized Saturday, including champion Alaina Yaney, far left, from Grand Ledge. (Below) Lydia Beaton competes on vault for the Comets, on the way to finishing first. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

Performance of the Week: North Farmington's Leah Hodge

March 14, 2024

Leah Hodge headshotLeah Hodge ♦ North Farmington
Junior ♦ Gymnastics

Hodge, coming off a dominating Division 1 Regional win the week before, finished the season with another memorable weekend helping Farmington United to a runner-up finish at Friday’s Team Final before clinching the Division 1 individual championship Saturday with an all-around score of 38.000.

A gymnast since she was 6 years old, Hodge scored a meet-high 37.950 all-around Friday as Farmington United finished second, just two tenths of a point off the lead, and her Saturday performance included a championship on uneven parallel bars (9.55), runner-up finish on vault (9.50), fourth place on balance beam (9.425) and sixth place on floor exercise (9.525) – despite her injuring an ankle midway through the meet. Farmington United is a cooperative program with athletes from North Farmington and Farmington high schools. 

@mhsaasports 🤸POW: Leah Hodge #gymnastics #individual #champion #letsgo #farmingtonunited #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🤸POW: Leah Hodge #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #simonebiles #sourpatchkids #drake #olives #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

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Past 2023-24 Honorees

March 8: Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

PHOTO Farmington United's Leah Hodge competes during the floor exercise Saturday at Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)