Every Tuesday, Second Half honors 2-4 athletes and a team for its accomplishments.
Have a suggestion for a future High 5? Please offer it by e-mail to [email protected]. Candidates often will have accomplished great things on the field of play -- but also will be recognized for less obvious contributions to their teams, schools or the mission of high school athletics as a whole.
Grand Ledge senior
Wilson led the Comets to a fifth-straight MHSAA team championship Friday at Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills. She returned Saturday and won the Division 1 individual championship with a score of 38.400, including a first-place 9.7 on the uneven parallel bars. She set the Division 2 all-around Finals record in winning that championship in 2011. Wilson scored perfect 10.0 scores twice this season, believed to be the first in MHSAA history.
Up next: I will either be attending the University of Michigan or Michigan State University. I like both campuses, and they both have great business programs. I am not sure if I will be competing yet; I would absolutely love to be on MSU's team next year, but I have to get some bigger skills first.
I'm not exactly sure what I want to be (after college), but I have always thought it would be cool to work in a sales management position for a sports company like Nike or Under Armour.
I learned the most about gymnastics from: When I was younger, my coach Carrie Stout from Twistars pushed me to excel and to enjoy the sport; I owe her a huge thanks for that. When I became a high school gymnast, Duane Haring really motivated me to become the best gymnast I could possibly be. He has taught me that there are no limits if you are willing to be dedicated and if you have the drive to win. He has never given up on me and has worked with me through my ups and downs. I could never have achieved as much as I have without his constant faith in me. I will never be able to thank him enough.
I look up to: In the gymnastics world, I look up to Jordyn Wieber. She's so dedicated and mentally tough, it's insane. When I am at a competition, I try to imitate her focus and determination. I also look up to my coach Duane Haring for always keeping a positive attitude when things get tough. I also look up to my relatives and close friends because I know they have my back, and I can count on them for anything.
Perfection: When I got my first 10.0 on the bars; I cannot even describe the feeling that I endured when it happened. I was nauseous and could not breathe for about 30 seconds, and I just started bawling. Bars used to be my weakest event in gymnastics until the end of last year. I have struggled so much on bars and have almost quit because of it. Knowing that I persevered through those hardships and had just achieved perfection was the most surreal feeling that I have ever experienced.
Southgate Anderson senior
Walsh helped the Titans to the MHSAA Division 1 championship on March 2, the first cheer championship in school history. Southgate Anderson scored 816.6032 points, besting its previous top score this season by less than a tenth of a point and putting it three ahead of runner-up Hudsonville.
Up next: Walsh will attend The Art Institute of Michigan, either in Novi or Troy. She'll study media animation -- with the goal of creating animated films like those produced by Pixar (think "Finding Nemo," the "Toy Story" movies, etc.)
I learned the most about cheer from: My coach (Colette) Norscia. She taught me more than cheerleading though. It was really like she built everybody up as a person. We all matured under her. And she really knows the sport. Obviously, she's a big part of why we got here.
I'm driven by: My team. Their dedication, their hard work. That pushes me farther because I want it as much as they do. And I'm not going to be the one to hold them back.
To those claiming cheer isn't a sport: Come and watch us once and see if you can do what we can, because I highly doubt it. It takes a lot of dedication. It's not a set sport like basketball. You don't get points by how many baskets you make. You get points for how much heart you have and how much you show it. It's a lot harder than it looks.
Michalick didn't take over as the starter in net until the second half of the season, but he made the opportunity count. He had 37 saves in a 2-1 double-overtime win over Orchard Lake St. Mary in Friday's Semifinal, then had 20 more saves as the Bulldogs defeated Grosse Pointe North 4-3 on Saturday to win the MHSAA Division 1 championship.
"I've wanted to do this my entire (career), since I started playing goalie. To start in a state championship and win it, it's just incredible."
In the Semifinal: I was just in the zone. It was all my mental game. I know I have the physical skills, but I just had to make sure I was into it mentally. Having early shots set the tone for me, and from there I just got into a rhythm.
My hero is: Probably Martin Brodeur. He's one of the reasons I started playing goalie. I watched him, watched him in the Stanley Cup (playoffs) with the Devils, ... and I wanted to be like Marty.
Game time: I get a plate of pasta around 3:30. I get to the rink about 6 o'clock and start stretching. Once I get on the ice, I just close my eyes and talk to myself and try to visualize the game. From there, I just go.
I'm driven by: I don't want to lose. I'm a competitor, I always have been, and I was raised that way. My dad (Tim) is a competitor. I just hate losing.
Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice senior
MacEachern, who has committed to play at Michigan State, led the Warriors to the Division 2 championship Saturday and finished this season with 42 goals and 48 assists. He made the all-state first team this season.
Up next: MacEachern was drafted into the North American Hockey League last spring, but chose to finish high school first. He'll play junior hockey for one year or perhaps two, but has committed to join the Spartans after that.
What drives me: I just love the game, I guess. I just love playing it. I want to keep playing it.
I look up to: My parents, Pam and Ron.
Get prepped: I shower before every game. Shower and take a nap. And I eat Subway before every game -- chicken breast and bacon, no cheese.
My best moment in hockey: Today (winning the Division 2 Final).
Saline boys swimming and diving
The Ann Arbor area has long been known for its swimming prowess. The way Saline coach Todd Brunty sees it, his program is just measuring up to that reputation.
The Hornets claimed their third-straight MHSAA Division 1 championship Saturday, and in the process broke four Finals records including two for all divisions/classes. They won seven of the 12 swim races, led by juniors Adam Whitener, David Boland and Josh Ehrman.
"We've got a huge group of men swimming year-round, and they've got big dreams and big goals. I'm just kind of a beneficiary of swimming in the area," Brunty said, but added that certain lessons come with the high school portion of that training. "(They) learn about team. Because high school swimming is a unique, precious thing. It's all about the team, all about each other, your family, your community.
"This is a really special time. That's what we talk about a lot."
Twenty years ago, Kwin Morris and Jeff Guy were teammates on an MHSAA Quarterfinal-qualifying hockey team.
Guy even scored the winning goal in the Regional Final for Bay Area Reps, which topped Traverse City West 2-1.
This summer’s accomplishment, though, will go deeper in the history books.
Guy and Morris teamed up with Joe Lorenz to complete a dream that started a decade ago. They crossed all five of the Great Lakes on paddle boards while raising awareness and funds for water quality.
They put their balance, endurance and stick-handling skills together for the cause.
‘After 10 years and over one hundred grand raised for the lakes, it feels amazing,” Morris said. “I think the best part is knowing my kids will grow up knowing their old man did something cool for the environment in a unique way.”
It all started at a December social event in Traverse City. Guy, a financial adviser, and Morris, a middle school science teacher, had just gotten into paddle boarding when they began to wonder if they could cross Lake Michigan.
Lorenz, a personal trainer, promptly gave assurances they could — and joined them — even though he had never been on a paddle board prior to the holiday gathering.
Morris, Guy and Lorenz successfully crossed Lake Michigan in 2015, pausing in the cold of the night to look at the Northern Lights. They finished the nearly 100-kilometer journey in just under 25 hours. That accomplishment convinced them to launch Stand Up for Great Lakes, a non-profit organization to raise money and awareness for the protection of the lakes.
The trio also is supporting the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, a non-profit housed at the University of Michigan.
“It feels amazing to have finished crossing all five lakes and complete a lifelong goal,” Guy acknowledged. “The dollars and awareness we have raised is incredible, and hopefully it continues to grow.”
Lake Huron was the toughest to cross by far, the former Reps noted. The 90-mile, 29-hour paddle brought seven hours of rain and high waves.
“Plus Joe knocked me in and Jeff fell in after catching a fish,” Morris observed.
Ontario was the team’s second-hardest challenge and the shortest paddle. Huge waves from the side all day took quite a toll on the paddlers, who were accompanied by safety boats on each crossing.
Lake Superior featured glassy water, a spectacular sunset and the paddlers pausing to conduct a ceremony over the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck. The northernmost Great Lake ranks as the group’s favorite.
Guy graduated from Kalkaska High School in 2003 and went on to play hockey at Hope College. He also played football, baseball and golf for the Blazers. He and his wife, Melissa, have a daughter, Emma.
Morris graduated in 2005 from Elk Rapids High School, where he also played baseball. He went on to get a teaching degree from Western Michigan University. He and his wife, Megan, have two children, Fitz and Knox. He now works for his former school district, teaching science.
The pair played for the Reps through a co-op hosted by Traverse City St. Francis that included athletes from Charlevoix, Elk Rapids, Kalkaska, Kingsley, Lake Leelanau St Mary, Mancelona and Suttons Bay. The Reps’ first coach was Michigan High School Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee Rex Luxton. He coached through 2008.
Morris and Guy look back at their high school playing days and coach with fondness.
“We had some great teams, and I think I still have the career goal record there,” Guy recalled. “Also, our coach on the Reps Rex Luxton was highly motivational to me while playing for him and later in life.”
Morris echoed Guy.
“I loved the whole experience,” Morris said. “Playing for my high school … Friday night games … school rivalries … playing for Rex Luxton … amazing friends and teammates — almost surreal that it will have been 20 years.”
The former coaching staff of the Reps are not at all surprised Morris and Guy challenged themselves to make a difference for the Great Lakes.
The coaching staff remembers Guy as a natural scorer coming through with big goals, and Morris as a strong two-way player who scored five goals in one period in Sault Ste. Marie. The past coaches also remember all the traveling the two did for practice and games because of the geographic nature of the squad.
“I had no idea they had any interest in the water kind of stuff,” Luxton said of his former players’ feat. “When I started following their bid to raise awareness, it didn’t surprise me they would attempt something like this.
“I think it illustrates how much determination they have and how much hard work they were willing to put in,” he continued. “It is just outstanding, particularly with the cold weather in the Great Lakes.”
Cody Inglis, a senior assistant director for the MHSAA, was an assistant coach for the Reps during all of Morris and Guy’s time with the co-op. He finds himself beaming with pride and happiness knowing these former players are giving back and making it a better world.
“What Jeff and Kwin have done physically and mentally to cross all of the Great Lakes on stand-up paddle boards is remarkable in itself,” Inglis pointed out. “When you add in the fact that they have put in charitable causes and the preservation of the Great Lakes as a reason for doing it – it makes it even more special.
“It’s not surprising given my recollection and remembrances of Jeff and Kwin, as they were really good hockey players and better people.”
High school hockey is where Morris and Guy’ friendship blossomed. Spending 24 or more hours together — and with Lorenz — has forged a greater lifetime bond that already had included being a part of each other’s weddings.
But they admit they had no inkling of this type of accomplishment back in high school.
“Sports were the most important thing in my life in high school,” Guy revealed. “Working really hard to win as many games as possible was the main goal – along with getting good grades and trying to get into a good college.”
But teamwork, learned on the ice and through other high school sports, can make anything possible.
“Any sport where you have to work as a team helps push yourself out of your comfort zone,” Morris concluded. “That's where the best things in life happen.”
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PHOTOS (Top) Clockwise from top left: Jeff Guy celebrates a goal while playing for Traverse Bay Reps with Kwin Morris to his left, Guy (left) and Morris (right) take a photo after one of their paddle board trips, and Morris bringing the puck up the ice for the Reps. (Middle) Guy, Morris and Joe Lorenz take a photo together on the lake shore. (Below) Morris accepts a medal during the 2004-05 season. (Photos courtesy of Jeff Guy, Kwin and Jo Morris.)