Bedford's Gandee Honored for 'Spirit'

March 13, 2017

By John Gillis
Special from NFHS

Hunter Gandee, a student-athlete at Temperance Bedford High School, has been selected as the 2017 Section 4 recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). 

The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.

The mark of a “good big brother” is often to what lengths he might go to assist his younger siblings.

That sense of familial assistance has perhaps never been taken to the extremes that Hunter Gandee has repeatedly done for his younger brother Braden.

A standout student, Hunter is a junior with a 3.92 grade-point average and a member of the National Honor Society. 

On the sports side, Hunter is in his third season on the varsity wrestling team, and participates in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling during the offseason. He's also a member of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council.

While those accomplishments are unquestionably outstanding, they might pale in comparison to what he has done for Braden. 

Born with cerebral palsy, Braden has limited use of his legs. Nonetheless, Hunter has taken it upon himself to help Braden know what it feels like to walk long distances – and he’s done it three times. Organized for the purpose of raising awareness of cerebral palsy, Hunter literally carries Braden on his back for long walks known as “CP Swaggers.”

In 2014, Hunter carried Braden 40 miles from the Bedford Junior High School wrestling room to the University of Michigan’s Bahna Wrestling Center. The following year, they upped the trek’s mileage to 57 miles. 

However, that couldn’t foreshadow what was to follow in April 2016 when Hunter carried Braden on his back an amazing 111 miles – some 14 miles more than the first two walks combined.

About the Award: The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. The states in Section 4 are Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin. 

Nominations for this award were generated through NFHS member state associations and reviewed by the NFHS Spirit of Sport Award Selection Committee composed of state association staff members.

While the national winner will be recognized June 29 at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, the section winners will be recognized within their respective states and will receive awards before the end of the current school year.

PHOTO: Hunter Gandee, second from right, carries his brother Braden as part of their effort to bring awareness to cerebral palsy. (Photo courtesy of The Cerebral Palsy Swagger.)

94 Schools Raise Trophies as Part of 2023-24 MHSAA Parade of Champions

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

June 19, 2024

A total of 94 schools won one or more of the 129 Michigan High School Athletic Association team championships awarded during the 2023-24 school sports year, with three teams earning the first Finals championship in any sport in their schools’ histories.

Southfield Arts & Technology celebrated its first MHSAA Finals team championship during the fall, winning the 11-player Division 1 football title. Evart and Watervliet closed this spring by celebrating their first Finals victories, Evart as champion in Division 3 softball and Watervliet as champion in Division 4 baseball.

A total of 25 schools won two or more championships this school year, paced by Marquette’s six won in girls and boys cross country, girls and boys swimming & diving, boys golf and boys track & field. Detroit Catholic Central was next with four Finals championships, and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, Farmington Hills Mercy, Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Jackson Lumen Christi all won three. Winning two titles in 2023-24 were Ann Arbor Greenhills, Ann Arbor Pioneer, Bark River-Harris, Clarkston Everest Collegiate, Detroit Country Day, Escanaba, Flint Kearsley, Fowler, Grand Rapids Christian, Hancock, Hudson, Hudsonville Unity Christian, Ishpeming, Negaunee, Northville, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Rochester Adams, Traverse City Christian and Traverse City St. Francis.

A total of 24 teams won first MHSAA titles in their respective sports. A total of 47 champions were repeat winners from 2022-23. A total of 22 teams won championships for at least the third-straight season, while 11 teams extended title streaks to at least four consecutive seasons. The Lowell wrestling program owns the longest title streak at 11 seasons. 

Sixteen of the MHSAA's 28 team championship tournaments are unified, involving teams from the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, while separate competition to determine title winners in both Peninsulas is conducted in remaining sports.

For a sport-by-sport listing of MHSAA champions for 2023-24, click here (PDF).

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.