By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
A nationally-known media giant like Sports Illustrated can seem worlds away from a town of fewer than six thousand just left of middle in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Belding senior Greta Wilker figured the New York-based magazine would never find someone like her. But it did, and this week readers all over the world have the opportunity to find out why.
Wilker was chosen as SI’s High School Athlete of the Month for May, with the video below appearing at SI.com and an article to follow, she believes, later this week or soon after. Wilker was nominated for the award – she’s not sure by whom – and was first contacted by Sports Illustrated near the end of her basketball season in March.
A camera crew came to Belding in mid-April and spent two days shooting video of Wilker at school, training dogs at her Paws with a Cause class and then during her softball game and track & field meet. Another reporter came out the next week to spend a few more days reporting for the written story that will appear on the website and in part in the magazine this month.
“When you watch the other kids who got picked … some of the things other kids are doing are ridiculous,” Wilker said. “To think I was up at the same level as those other kids, it’s pretty cool.”
Wilker, a member of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council, has some pretty “ridiculous” achievements herself. She’s her class’ top student with 4.2 grade-point average weighted to include Advanced Placement classes, and she’ll graduate with 16 varsity letters – four each in volleyball, basketball, softball and track & field. In her spare time, she trains service dogs that are placed to assist people with hearing and other disabilities.
She will study and play softball next at Emory University in Georgia with another big goal in mind – she hopes to eventually become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
Shayna Hruska ♦ Iron Mountain
Junior ♦ Wrestling
With an 8-2 decision win in the 106-pound final Saturday, Hruska became the first female champion at the annual Upper Peninsula Championships, and she then was selected the event’s “Outstanding Wrestler” for going 3-0 also with pins in her first two matches of the tournament. Those victories improved her record to 18-6 this season.
Hruska began wrestling in third grade and finished fourth at 97 pounds as a freshman at the 2021 Michigan Wrestling Association Girls Championships. She then finished second at her District to reach Regionals competing in the bracket with the boys last season. She entered last week’s U.P. Championships title coming off a runner-up finish at the Escanaba Elks Invitational on Jan. 7 and the championship at 106 at Kingsford’s Ray Mariucci Wrestling Invitational on Jan. 14.
@mhsaasports 🤼♀️POW: Shayna Hruska #performanceoftheweek #wrestling #upchampionship #outstandingwrestler #congrats #meetchamp #uppower #mountaineers #ironmountain #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok #mistudentaid #fyp @shaynahruska ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat
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MHSAA.com'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 www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
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 Iron Mountain High School athletic department.)