High 5s - 3/6/12

March 6, 2012

Every Tuesday, Second Half honors 2-4 athletes and a team for its accomplishments during the current season.

Have a suggestion for a future High 5? Please offer suggestions by e-mail to [email protected] Candidates often will have accomplished great things on the field of play -- but also will be recognized for other less obvious contributions to their teams, schools or the mission of high school athletics as a whole.

Nathalie Kenny

Manistee senior


Kenny finished her high school skiing career with her sixth and seventh top-10 MHSAA Finals finishes, including her second straight Division 2 championship in giant slalom in a two-run time of 59.79 seconds. She also finished runner-up in the slalom (1:13.31), her third runner-up finish over the last four seasons. Her Manistee/Traverse City St. Francis team finishined fourth, but won the meet when she was a freshman. Kenny also swam in the fall, and plays center midfielder for the soccer team.

Up next: Kenny hopes to earn her bachelor's and master's degrees and eventually a doctorate as well, and has applied to St. Olaf's (Minn.), Dartmouth, Harvard and Middlebury (Vt.), as well as to the U.S. Air Force Academy. She'd like to continue skiing competitively, but at what level -- NCAA, intramural or not at all -- will depend on where she attends college. She's planning on a career in science. "I am interested in a plethora of concentrations including, but not limited to, biology, environmental science, law and medicine."

Some day, I will be: "When I was younger I would have answered: the President. But now, I find myself leaning towards a lawyer, researcher, scientist, physician or world traveler. However, I will still just be me; my job won't define who I am."

I learned the most about skiing from: "Dan Janowiak. I have worked with Dan for about six or seven years now, and I don't know many others with the ski racing knowledge that he has. From technique to tactics, visualization to preparation, Dan has stuffed my brain. Without him, I would not be the skier I am today."

I look up to: "My coach's daughter, Lyndee Janowiak, has always been a role model for me in skiing. She has natural talent, and I admire her hard work and passion for the sport. She is very fast and has had a successful career that recently came to an end when she graduated college. When she isn't busy racing herself, she is always giving tips and helping me improve. She believes in me and has helped me become a better skier. That is something that I will always be grateful for."

I love skiing because: "... I love the speed, and the adrenaline rush that pumps through my body when I fly down the hill. I love the feeling of carving my edges into the snow and making angles so big that I feel as if my butt will touch the ground. And I love the challenge that it presents. Between the speed, gravitational forces, use of energy, and complexity of a seemingly simple turn, skiing is one of the most difficult and technical sports there is. The list never ends, and neither does my hunger to improve."

Paige Arrington

Gibraltar Carlson senior

Competitive Cheer

Arrington, a four-year member of the squad, helped the Marauders to their third MHSAA Division 2 championship of her high school career. Carlson posted the meet's highest scores in both Round 1 and Round 2, and then tied for the high score in Round 3 to finish with a total of 807.3944 points, 2.9 ahead of runner-up Dearborn Divine Child.

"It's absolutely mind-blowing. I'm so happy to leave my senior year with three state championships and two of them being back-to-back. It is absolutely an amazing feeling, and I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Up next: Arrington will attend Oakland University and study nursing. She also expects to join the Oakland cheer team.

I learned the most about cheer from: Shumate Middle School coach Marissa Mousouleas.

I look up to: "All my coaches. Danielle (Jokela), Christy (Wilson), everybody. They just do so much for us and help us so much. It's hard to pick one."

I'm motivated by: "Winning. I just love to win, so (I) work hard to do it."

My career highlight was: "Probably winning states my freshman year. Sending out our seniors with their back-to-back championships. I felt good because I helped do that. And then this year, my freshmen helped send me out with back-to-back state championships, and that's amazing."

To those who say cheer isn't a sport: "First off, I would laugh. And then I would say ... we even had one practice that was 10 hours long to everything perfect. We've been with each other six days a week since November. We put everything into this sport and we flip around, jump around, hit things tight. And it has to be perfect. It's a sport."

Jordan Thomas

Greenville wrestling


Thomas, who will wrestle next season at the University of Michigan, won his third-straight MHSAA championship Saturday, in Division 2 and 189 pounds. Thomas defeated reigning champion Gabe Dean of Lowell 5-1, giving him two wins over Dean this winter and a final record of 45-0 -- and 217-3 for his high school career. Thomas and St. Johns senior Taylor Massa led the opening wrestlers march onto The Palace of Auburn Hills floor. Massa is the only wrestler who has stopped Thomas in an MHSAA Final -- he beat Thomas 5-2 in the 145-pound Final when both were freshmen.

"I knew (Dean) was thinking overtime. I thought I had one more good shot in me. With 12 seconds (left), I go after it. I got a good shot off, strong finish. It felt good."

Up next: Thomas hopes to redshirt his first season at Michigan plans to study business. "I love math."

I learned the most about wrestling from: Thomas thanked Tom, Doug and Ben Bennett, Rodger and Taylor Massa, and his Greenville coaches.

I look up to: Ever since I was little, people asked me do you look up to Cael Sanderson, do you look up to Brent Metcalf? I think those guys are great. But I try not to look up to anybody. ... I want to make my own path, do something nobody else has done. Obviously, I can't have an undefeated career. Cael already had that undefeated college career. I want to do something else for the first time. It doesn't matter who you look up to. There's a lot of people I think are great. I just pick up little things from everybody."

Richmond Competitive Cheer

The Blue Devils improved from third place at the Division 3 Final in both 2009 and 2010, to second last season and finally finished first Saturday at the Grand Rapids Delta Plex.

Richmond won all of its events this winter, and scored the meet high in each round on the way to its first MHSAA championship.

Click to read more.

State Champs! Network: 2023 Competitive Cheer Finals Highlights

March 30, 2023

Join Kara Liles and Christina Wilson-Peacock as we take a look at all of the action from the 2023 MHSAA Cheer State Finals.

Congratulations to our State Champions
Division 1 - Rochester
Division 2 - Gibraltar Carlson
Division 3 - Croswell-Lexington
Division 4 - Hudson