MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Conference to Celebrate Multiple Milestones

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 14, 2022

A pair of milestones will be celebrated by the Michigan High School Athletic Association during this year’s Women In Sports Leadership Conference, to be presented Sunday, Oct. 9, and Monday, Oct. 10 at Crowne Plaza Lansing West for 600 participants, most of them high school female student-athletes from across the state.

A theme of “Power of the Past – Force of the Future” will recall opportunities created during the 50 years since the enactment of Title IX in 1972. This also will be the 25th WISL Conference, which remains the first, largest and longest-running program of its type in the country.

This year’s edition again will feature three keynote speakers and a variety of workshops. The opening address will be delivered by Ashley Baker, who serves as the chief diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officer at Michigan State University. Baker, originally from Pontiac, earned bachelor and master’s degrees from Bowling Green State University and a doctorate in sport management and policy from the University of Georgia. She came to MSU in December 2020 from Xavier University (Louisiana) where she most recently had served as assistant vice president for student affairs and chief inclusion officer/deputy Title IX coordinator.

First-year Spartans softball coach Sharonda McDonald-Kelley will speak during the Oct. 9 evening general session. She coached Campbell University (N.C.) to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and was a four-time all-Big 12 selection as a player at Texas A&M, appearing in the College World Series before playing professionally for seven years. McDonald-Kelley was named Big South Conference Coach of the Year in 2021, and previously also coached professionally and as associate head coach at Texas Tech University after serving as an assistant for multiple prestigious college programs.

University of Michigan women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes-Arico will speak during the morning session Oct. 10. She led the Wolverines last season to their first NCAA Tournament Elite Eight and is nearing 500 career victories, having won a U-M program-record 218 during her 10 seasons. She’s a two-time Big Ten Conference Coach of Year and was a semifinalist this past season for the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year honor. Michigan is her fifth college coaching stop; she came to Ann Arbor after 10 seasons at St. John’s. She played basketball one season at Stony Brook University (N.Y.) and then her final three including two as captain at Montclair State University (N.J.).

Workshops offered during the WISL Conference include topics on coaching, teaching and learning leadership; sports nutrition and performance, and injury prevention; and empowerment and goal-setting. Presenters are accomplished in their fields and represent a wide range of backgrounds in sport.

A complete itinerary is available on the MHSAA Website.

The Oct. 9 evening general session also will include recognition for the 2022 Women In Sports Leadership Award winner – recently-retired Livonia Stevenson athletic director Lori Hyman. A basketball standout at MSU during the second half of the 1970s, Hyman went on to coach college basketball for 17 years and then serve as a highly-regarded athletic director for 27 years including the last 22 at her alma mater Stevenson.

Follow the #WISL hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to learn more about the conference’s activities.

Performance of the Week: Onsted's Emmry Ross

June 6, 2024

Emmry Ross headshotEmmry Ross ♦ Onsted
Junior ♦ Track & Field

Ross became just the third girl in Lower Peninsula history – and one of eight statewide – to win four individual events at an MHSAA Track & Field Finals, as she finished first in the 400 (56.25), 800 (2:10.74), 1,600 (4:57.81) and 3,200 (10:55.27) on Saturday at the LP Division 3 championship meet at Kent City. She was the only member of her team to qualify for the Finals, but her 40 points earned in those races placed Onsted second in the team standings.

Her 400 time was a season-best, and her 800 and 3,200 times were personal records – which is saying even more considering she also won the 400 and 800 as a sophomore and the 400 (and ran on the winning 1,600 relay) as a freshman in 2022. Ross also runs cross country and finished fifth at the LPD3 Final this past fall.

@mhsaasports 🏃‍♀️‍➡️POW: Emmry Ross #trackandfield #onsted #letsgo #champion #running #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🏃‍♀️‍➡️POW: Emmry Ross #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #nerdgummyclusters #culvers #austinandally #friends #emoji #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). 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.

Past 2023-24 Honorees

May 31: Isaac Sturgess, Flint Powers Catholic baseball - Report
May 30:
Abby Russell, Allen Park track & field - Report 
May 23:
Isabel Thelen, St. Johns tennis - Report
May 16:
Ally Katinas, Novi lacrosse - Report
May 9:
Peter Roehl, Rochester Adams golf - Report
May 2:
Lilah Smith, Richland Gull Lake soccer - Report
April 25:
Mason Mayne, Lawton track & field - Report
April 18:
Alli Wright, Jenison softball - Report
April 11:
Chloe Wishart, Trenton soccer - Report
March 28:
Jenna Maki, Ishpeming basketball - Report
March 22:
Jaremiah Palmer, Niles Brandywine basketball - Report
March 15:
Leah Hodge, North Farmington gymnastics - Report
March 8:
Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Photo by Jamie McNinch/