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.
Kaylee Draper ♦ Sturgis
Junior ♦ Swimming
Draper joined teammates Kenzy Triezenberg, Ainsley Gump and Emma Garbine to swim the 200-yard medley relay in 1:55.53 on Sept. 7 against Hastings, breaking a school record from 1997. Draper also won the 50 freestyle with a Finals cut time of 25.47 seconds as Sturgis won the dual 92-69. Two days later, she swam on the winning 200 medley again and the 200 freestyle relay and was second in the 50 butterfly as the Trojans won the Mason Sprint Invitational.
She helped Sturgis finish 28th at last season’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals, placing eighth in the 100 backstroke and 14th in the 50 freestyle and swimming on the 15th-place 200 freestyle relay. She also runs cross country during the fall and is a pole vaulter and thrower on the track & field team.
@mhsaasports 🏊♀️POW: Kaylee Draper #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #subway #michaelphelps #energetic #swim #candy #laughing #emoji #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA
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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.
Past 2023-24 Honorees
(PHOTOS courtesy of the Sturgis Journal.)