Performance: Grand Ledge's Rachel Hogan

February 11, 2016

Rachel Hogan
Grand Ledge senior – Gymnastics

Hogan finished 10th, second (by a tenth of a point) and third in MHSAA Finals Division 1 all-around competitions her first three seasons of high school, respectively, making her a strong favorite to claim the championship heading into this winter. A sprained right ankle before the first meet has slowed her down a bit – but she re-established herself as a top contender by winning Saturday’s Canton Invitational Division 1 championship with an all-around score of 38.225, earning the Michigan National Guard “Performance of the Week.”

The event annually is considered the most competitive of the regular season, featuring most of the best gymnasts from across the state, and Hogan also won Division 1 as a junior. This time, she finished first on vault scoring a 9.7, first on uneven parallel bars at 9.625, won balance beam at 9.5, and finished second on the floor exercise with a 9.4 – despite holding back some of her toughest skills as her ankle continues to heal. Her team as a whole is struggling through injuries and finished sixth.

Hogan has won five individual MHSAA Finals championships during her career – Division 1 vault twice, floor twice and bars once. Adding another next month at Rockford would give the Comets at least one individual Division 1 champion for a 10th straight season, and she’s also going for her school’s ninth Division 1 all-around championship over the last 14 seasons. She was a freshman when Grand Ledge won its sixth straight team championship in 2013, and she scored the top all-around score of last season’s Team Final to help the Comets to third place – a surprising finish because Grand Ledge only qualified for the Final as the top-scoring fourth-place Regional finisher. Hogan also has played the flute since middle school and been part of Grand Ledge’s marching band the last four years. She carries a 3.89 grade-point average and is planning to attend Michigan State University after graduation to study packaging engineering.

Coach Duane Haring said: “She’s a tough little kid. We didn’t let her do much (before Canton); we couldn’t. She’s the one who actually pushed herself to get where she is right now. There are so many athletes I know, and I’ve coached some, who have a little pain and they’re done or go 50 percent. Rachel said, ‘My ankle hurts, but I’m still going to practice and do everything.’ And she is. She has never given up, never ever.”

Performance Point: “As a team, we could’ve done better, but we are all injured right now; I’m definitely not the only person with a sprained ankle. Me personally, it was a really good comeback meet. I think as a team, for that meet, we realized we have to start stepping it up, modifying some of our routines, even if we’re injured so we can get through stuff and get the scores we need.”

‘Tough little kid’: “I think a lot of it comes from a drive. Something has to motivate you. I know my coach motivates me a lot. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. He puts so much time into us, and we really have to give that back to him somehow. I need to do my best … and that’s for the team, too.”

Be the example: “I definitely try to lead by example. I try to be more of a friend to them than a leader, so I can be a person they can talk to, so they can trust me. When they’re struggling with something, they can come to me, and I’ll help them get through that. I hope I’m motivation for them; they see me doing my best, working hard, and they will do that as well. They’re getting there.”

Veteran voice: “I’ve learned to never give up. Because over the years we’ve lost our strongest gymnasts, but the gymnasts we have, we should never give up on them, never think they don’t have potential, because they all do. It’s good to almost expect more out of them than they think, because it gives them that confidence. They’ll do their best things when people aren’t expecting them.”

Next in Comets’ Legacy: “There’s a little bit of pressure that comes with that. Those gymnasts were such good gymnasts. I look up to them a lot. (Coach Haring) always tells us stories about his top gymnasts. It’s always cool to hear how much they accomplished, and you can tell he gets really excited about us doing well. Especially when he’s talking about his past gymnasts, I want him to talk about us to his future gymnasts.”

– Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2015-16 school year, Second Half and the Michigan 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 protecting lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster.

Previous 2015-16 honorees
Feb. 3: Nehemiah Mork, Midland Dow swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 27: Mardrekia Cook, Muskegon girls basketball - Read
Jan. 20: Sage Castillo, Hartland wrestling - Read
Jan. 13: Rob Zofchak, Dexter swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 6: Tyler Deming, Caro wrestling – Read
Dec. 15: Jordan Weber, East Jordan boys basketball – Read
Dec. 8: Kaitlyn Geers, Kent City girls basketball – Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Grand Ledge's Rachel Hogan competes in floor exercise. (Middle) Hogan performs her balance beam routine. (Photos by Marvin Hall Photography.)

Title IX at 50: Anna Tracey's Story

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 20, 2022

Tracey finished her senior gymnastics season this past winter with one of the most successful Finals weekends possible. On Friday, she helped Rockford to its first team championship since 2017. At Saturday’s Individual Finals, Tracey earned the Division 2 title with an all-around score of 36.325.

The Rockford standout previously had helped the Rams to runner-up team gymnastics finishes in 2019 and 2021, and had placed second individually in Division 2 as a junior as well. She also ran cross country and track during her high school career, including at MHSAA Cross Country Finals as both a sophomore and senior. She’s continuing at Michigan State University, where she’s studying human biology with a minor in Spanish.

"I'm really thankful we live in a time where women have the same opportunities to compete in athletics, because sports has shaped me into the person I am today – a competitive, driven and disciplined person. The lessons I've learned from competing are irreplaceable, and I just couldn't imagine who I'd be without sports present in my life. The lessons I've learned and the characteristics I've developed played a huge role in my daily life and will continue to play a role in the future with whatever obstacles come my way.

"And I think the opportunity to compete as a female athletes is more than just winning medals and trophies. To me it's more the opportunity to learn valuable lessons and shape yourself into the person you want to be."

Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.

Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights

Sept. 13: Lola Korpi's Story - Read
Sept. 6:
Meah Bajt's Story - Read
Aug. 30: 
Morgan Brunner's Story - Read
Aug. 23:
Ava Brizard's Story - Read
Aug. 16:
Paige Miller's Story - Read
Aug. 9:
Gracie Olsen's Story - Read
Aug. 2:
Maddy Stern's Story - Read
July 26:
Reese Miller's Story - Read
July 19:
Macy Irelan's Story - Read
July 12:
Bridget Boczar's Story - Read
July 5:
Ella Boose's Story - Read
June 28:
Kaila Jackson's Story - Read
June 23: 
We Celebrate Our Past, We Look Forward to Our Future - Read
June 21: Assistant Directors Have Been Difference Makers - Read
June 14: 
Girls Lacrosse Finals Officials Set Empowering Example - Read
June 7: 
From Gymnastics to Wrestling, Girls Opportunities Continue to Grow - Read
May 31: 
Mumford Sprinter's Magnificent 2006 Final Remains Unmatched - Read

May 24: Scane, Whiteside Alone on 400-Goal, 500-Point Girls Lacrosse Lists - Read
May 17: Over 8 Days in 1988, Pair of Champs Set No. 1 Singles Standard - Read
May 10: 
Portage Central's Tarpley Scores as State's Superstar, U.S. Soccer Hero - Read
May 3: 
Prychitko 'Legend In Her Own Time,' Legend for All Time - Read
April 26: 
Braddock vs. Verdun Still Striding Among All-Time Sprint Matchups - Read
April 19: 
Holmes' Strikeout Record Rarely Approached, May Be Unbreakable - Read
April 12: 
Anticipation High as 45,000 Girls Return to Spring Sports - Read
April 5: 
Regina's Laffey Retiring as Definition of Legendary - Read
March 29: 
Edison's Whitehorn named 2022 Miss Basketball - Read
March 22: 
Carney-Nadeau Sets Girls Hoops Standard with 78-Win Streak - Read
March 15: 
Binder Among Voices Telling Our Story on MHSAA Network - Read
March 8: 
28 Years, Thousands of Cheers - Read
March 1: 
Kearsley Rolls On Among Girls Bowling's Early Successes - Read
Feb. 22: Marquette Ties Record for Swim & Dive Finals Success - Read
Feb. 15: Jaeger's 2004 Winter Run Created Lasting Connection - Read
Feb. 8: Marian's Cicerone to Finish Among All-Time Elite - Read
Feb. 1: WISL Award Honors Builders of State's Girls Sports Tradition - Read
Jan. 25: Decades Later, Edwards' Legend Continues to Grow - Read
Jan. 18: Iron Mountain Completes Championship Climb - Read
Jan. 11: Harrold's Achievement Heralds Growth of Girls Wrestling - Read
Dec. 20: Competitive Cheer Gives Michigan Plenty to Cheer About - Read
Dec. 14: 
Evelyn's Game Had Plenty of Magic - Read
Dec. 7: 
Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact - Read
Nov. 30: 
Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: 
Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: 
Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: 
Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: 
Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: 
Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: 
Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read