SAC Sound-Off: Drawing the Line at Our First Summit

October 9, 2012

By Kiersten Mead
Saginaw Swan Valley junior

Every two years, the Michigan High School Athletic Association conducts Sportsmanship Summits aiming to instruct athletes on how to be the best examples of sportsmanship in their communities, both while competing and cheering on their teams. Participants experience a variety of sessions, including one directed by members of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council. The first summit of this fall was Monday in Lansing; summits also will be held in Warren, Gaylord and Kalamazoo.

On the morning of the first Sportsmanship Summit of 2012, I was trying my hardest to not let my nerves and excitement get the best of me. 

As a member of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council, my role is to listen to and understand the points of view of student athletes, and share them with the MHSAA. I had spent the day before the summit preparing with the rest of my team, but I knew the sessions would be a learning experience for all of us. I was fortunate enough to be in a group with three seniors: Elle Lehman, Thye Fischman, and Matt Freeman, which made me feel a little more confident.

Our portion of the summit was to discuss the “gray areas” of sportsmanship. Our group knew that if we just sat there and gave some sort of lecture or speech, people would be bored to tears. 

So instead, we did it in an interactive way. We started by having everyone stand on the outside of a roped-off circle. We began asking questions – and if an answer applied to them, they were told to step over the line.

We started with random questions, like asking who preferred the University of Michigan over Michigan State. Slowly, we worked our way into sportsmanship-centered topics. We asked the more “black and white” questions that everyone generally saw eye-to-eye on first. These led into others like, “Is it okay, as a player, to flip off fans?” or even, “Is it considered bad to spit at a referee?”  If people thought that either “crossed the line” into bad sportsmanship, they were asked to step over the line.

Eventually, we started asking our “gray area” questions. For example, we asked if yelling “air ball” or “you, you, you” after a player makes a mistake is crossing the line. After everyone made their decisions, we asked them to share their thoughts and even personal experiences or stories. 

I absolutely loved this part of it! I really enjoyed hearing what people thought on certain topics, especially when I didn’t necessarily see things the same way. My favorite part of our session, though, was hearing all of the personal stories. There was always at least one person in each group that had his or her fair share of them. I would not have traded my job for anything! Although, I do think it would have been really cool to have taken part in the other sessions.

The idea of tweeting throughout the day with the hash tag “BOTF” (signifying Battle of the Fans) also was a lot of fun! It resulted in a lot of people following and connecting with others they would never have otherwise gotten to know. By the time the third group (of four) had entered our session, it was clear people were starting to get more comfortable with each other. 

In our session especially, there were quite a few things that surprised me. In some of the more “black and white” situations, there would sometimes be one person who thought some things were okay, while the rest of the group disagreed. It also surprised me how we would have a group very split on an issue, while another group would all see it the same way. When it’s all said and done though, I think people understood the message we were trying to convey.

In the end, the idea of the entire summit was that all of us should always be displaying positive sportsmanship. Many people told us there were things that their student sections do, that they know are wrong, yet they do them anyway. The point of this summit was to understand the importance of stepping up, being a leader, and leading by example. Nothing will change unless someone decides to take charge and change things for the better. 

My hope is the people who attended the summit at the Lexington Hotel in Lansing walked away understanding their views of something aren’t the only ways of seeing it. It’s always important to keep an open mind.

And to future participants of these sportsmanship summits, I say be prepared to get involved. Feel free to have your own opinion, whether it’s popular or not. Share your stories. But most of all, have fun!

Kiersten Mead, Saginaw Swan Valley junior

  • Sports: Bowling, competitive and sideline cheer
  • Non-sports activities: Student government (Class Secretary), SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), Drama, Business Professionals of America
  • Favorite classes: English and Drama
  • What's next: Mead is considering careers in orthodontics and pediatric orthopedics, with early college possibilities including Saginaw Valley State and the University of Michigan.
  • Shining sports moments: Being named "Team All-Star" by her Swan Valley cheer team; finishing undefeated in bowling, her bowling team's Regional title and rolling a 280 in a tournament.
  • Pump-up jams: For bowling, "Slow and Low" by the Beastie Boys, because it totally applies (as dorky and random as that is); for cheer, "Live While We're Young" by One Direction.
  • Must-see TV: "Criminal Minds"
  • Favorite Film: "The Sandlot"

PHOTO: Swan Valley's Kiersten Mead helps direct a session at Monday's MHSAA Sportsmanship Summit. Tune in to Second Half later this week for video detailing the Sportsmanship Summit experience. 

Performance of the Week: Macomb Dakota's Gracie Maloney

May 12, 2023

Gracie MaloneyGracie Maloney ♦ Macomb Dakota
Junior ♦ Softball

Maloney struck out 21 batters – for every one of her team’s outs – in Dakota’s 9-1 victory over Grosse Pointe North on May 1. She gave up only two hits and also hit a home run for the Cougars, who are ranked No. 1 in Division 1 in the latest state coaches association poll. Maloney is one of only 13 pitchers in state softball history to strike out 21 or more hitters during a seven-inning game.

Also a third baseman, Maloney started last season’s Division 1 Final at that position and threw an inning of relief as well as Dakota finished runner-up to Allen Park. She also plays basketball, and has committed to sign to play softball at University of North Texas. She’s considering studying sports management there as she aspires to become a college softball coach.

@mhsaasports 🥎 POW: Gracie Maloney #softball #strikeout #strike #performanceoftheweek #homerun #dakota #macombdakota #cougars #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp @gracie ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. 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.

2022-23 Honorees

May 4: Braxton Brann, Ann Arbor Huron track & field - Report
April 27:
Owen Patton, Vestaburg track & field - Report
April 20:
Lilly Damm, Millington softball - Report
April 13:
Larissa Huffman, Mackinaw City track & field - Report
April 6:
Darius Acuff, Detroit Cass Tech basketball - Report
March 23:
Regan Finkbeiner, Hemlock basketball - Report
March 16:
Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9:
Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2:
Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23:
Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16:
Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9:
Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2:
Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26:
Shayna Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19:
Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17:
Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

PHOTOS courtesy of the Maloney family.