Westdorp to Receive NFHS Citation

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

February 1, 2021

MHSAA assistant director Kathy Vruggink Westdorp is one of eight high school association leaders who have been selected to receive a Citation from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) during this summer’s annual meeting.

The Citation is one of the NFHS’ highest honors and recognizes recipients for their contributions to the NFHS, state high school associations, athletic director and coaching professions, the officiating avocation and fine arts/performing arts programs.

In addition to serving in most of those roles over more than 20 years in Grand Rapids-area schools, Westdorp has been a national leader in a number of efforts since joining the MHSAA staff during the 2003-04 school year.

She directs the MHSAA Coaches Advancement Program (CAP) and was named NFHS Coach Educator of the Year in 2015 for her leadership of the eight-level educational program that has seen nearly 16,000 coaches complete at least the first-level unit and nearly 2,300 advance through at least the program’s fourth level.

Westdorp received the MHSAA’s Women In Sports Leadership Award in 2004 and now directs that leadership program, as well as serves as lead MHSAA administrator for competitive cheer, girls gymnastics and girls lacrosse. She currently chairs the NFHS Education Committee and NFHS Girls Lacrosse Rules Committee.

“Kathy Westdorp is an incredibly hard worker, and that’s obvious in her dedication to her sports and especially coaches education,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “She’s tireless in her support for students and coaches in Michigan.”

Prior to joining the MHSAA staff, Westdorp served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, game official and school administrator. She came to the MHSAA after serving most recently as principal at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central High School.

She also previously served as athletic director at Grand Rapids Creston and as director of health and wellness programs for Grand Rapids Public Schools, taught at Grand Rapids Central and has coached basketball, field hockey, gymnastics, track & field and volleyball. Westdorp also is a past president of the Ottawa-Kent Conference.

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.