Rockford Golden Again in Regrouping, Rebounding to Repeat as Finals Champ

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

March 10, 2023

WHITE LAKE – Rockford gymnastics coach Michelle Ankney said a little regrouping was in order, even for her experienced and championship-tested squad.

In its third rotation at the MHSAA Team Gymnastics Final on Friday, the Rams were uncharacteristically off on the bars and ended up finishing with the sixth-best score in that event. 

At that point, Ankney tried to employ a pet-themed motivational tactic to get her team’s spirits up again.

“We did have to take a break,” she said. “We’ve been talking about if you are a goldfish, you only have an 8-second memory. We had to get out our anger and pretend to be a goldfish and head to beam. We did a little pep talk, we did a little cheering and we stepped up the best we could.”

Rockford responded in its final event, earning the best score of any team on the beam. Coupled with first-place scores in the vault and floor exercise as well, it was enough to balance the poor finish on bars and lift the Rams to their second-straight Finals championship.

They finished with an overall score of 144.500, ahead of runner-up Jackson Area’s total of 142.400.

Farmington United was third at 141.325, Hartland took fourth at 140.475, while Livonia Red rounded out the top five with a score of 140.350. 

This year’s title might have been a little different for Rockford than last year’s in that the Rams were the prohibitive favorites, but Ankney said the thrill of victory was the same. 

Jackson Area’s Addi Richmond dismounts near the conclusion of her beam routine. “It’s still the surprise of ‘we did it,’” she said. “We came out strong, and then bars was a little bit of a disappointment. We try not to check scores, and we try not to watch. When we get to (the end), it’s a 100-percent surprise what happened.”

Rockford ended up taking first on the vault with a score of 36.300, first in the floor exercise with a 37.625 and first on the beam with a score of 36.250.

The championship was Rockford’s fifth since 2015. 

“We definitely had a bull’s eye on our back,” Ankney said. “We just have been training hard, and we came in saying we need to do Rockford gymnastics. We didn’t need to do anything beyond what we already do. We just needed to come in, hit, do our thing and hope for the best. It worked.”

As was the case at their Regional meet, right behind Rockford was Jackson, the 2021 Finals champion which rebounded from an eighth-place finish last year. 

Despite the disappointment of last year, Jackson head coach Marcy Miller said it wasn’t really a source of motivation for this year’s meet. 

“Our girls just go out there and do the best they can,” Miller said. “They honestly don’t put a lot of thought in the other team or places. Their goal is to just do the best they can that day.” 

Jackson didn’t place first in any event, but took second in the bars with a score of 35.150 and tied for second in the floor exercise with a score of 37.375. 

The only team besides Rockford to earn a first on an apparatus was Salem, which was best on the bars with a score of 35.350 and second in the vault with a score of 35.600.

But an 11th-place finish on the beam and a tie for sixth in the floor exercise hurt the Rocks, and resulted in a sixth-place finish overall.

A total of 26 gymnasts competed on all four apparatus for their teams, and three reached 37-point all-around scores – Grand Ledge’s Alaina Yaney (37.475), Livonia Red’s Morgan Ruffing (37.450) and Rockford’s Lacey Scheid (37.000). Hailey Hill (35.675) also competed all-around for Rockford, which had eight gymnasts in at least one event. Alyssa Budd led Jackson Area at 36.800, and Jenna Bradley scored a 36.150.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) A Rockford gymnast competes in floor exercise during Friday’s MHSAA Team Final. (Middle) Jackson Area’s Addi Richmond dismounts near the conclusion of her beam routine. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

Performance of the Week: Grand Ledge's Alaina Yaney

March 17, 2023

Alaina YaneyAlaina Yaney ♦ Grand Ledge
Senior ♦ Gymnastics

After finishing runner-up by just half a point as a junior, Yaney closed her high school gymnastics career Saturday with the Division 1 all-around championship, posting an all-around score of 38.075 and with first places on balance beam (9.475) and vault (9.700). She also tied for second on floor exercise (9.575) and finished third on uneven parallel bars (9.325). Her vault score tied for 16th-highest in Division 1 Finals competition all-time. 

Not surprisingly, Yaney also was her Regional's all-around champion (37.550). She also helped Grand Ledge finish eighth in Friday's Team Final competition, with her 37.475 the highest all-around score that day, before the next afternoon becoming the eighth Comets gymnast to win the Finals' Division 1 individual championship. A gymnast since age 3, Yaney will continue academically at Central Michigan Univerrsity and is considering attempting to walk-on the gymnastics team. 

@mhsaasports 🤸‍♀️POW: Alaina Yaney #performanceoftheweek #gymnast #allaround #beam #vault #firstplace #gymnastics #statechamp #champion #individual #record #grandledge #comets #congrats #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp @alaina_yaney ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.

MI Student Aid's "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

2022-23 Honorees

March 9: Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2:
Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23:
Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16:
Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9:
Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2:
Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26:
Shayne Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19:
Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17:
Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

PHOTO Grand Ledge's Alaina Yaney competes during Friday's Team Final at White Lake Lakeland. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)