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Wilcoxson Leaves Western with Nearly a Dozen School Records

Western High School senior Abi Wilcoxson hits a spike during a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 regional tournament game last fall at Onsted High School. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports. By Jeff Steers JTV Sports Western High School senior Abi Wilcoxson leaves the school with nearly a dozen school records. But it is hard for the senior to comprehend what has happened in the last few months. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” Wilcoxson said of the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the spring sports season and classes. “Our athletic director told me on the last day of school (before it was postponed in March) that this ‘could be your last day in high school.’ “I wish I would have believed him and soaked it all in.” Wilcoxson is one of a number of seniors in the Jackson County area who have had his/her seasons and careers ended when schools were closed for the remainder of the year in April. A couple of days later, the Michigan High School Athletic Association followed suit and canceled the remainder of the winter tournaments and spring seasons. Wilcoxson has set five softball school records at WHS and six in volleyball. She will…

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Brzezinski is the Wind of Positive Change at EJ

East Jackson High School golfer Alexis Brzezinski concentrates on a shot during practice in the fall of 2019. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports. By Jeff Steers JTV Sports (April 18, 2020 5:24 PM) If there is one athlete who could weather the winds of change caused by the coronavirus pandemic it would be East Jackson High School senior Alexis Brzezinski. Consider the last four years. Brzezinski has gone from a novice golfer to a two-time all-state player. She helped lead the Trojans to a district title in softball for the first time in a quarter century. And the Trojans advanced to the state semifinals in Division 4 bowling this last winter. All the while she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average in school and learned a few things about being a leader from a class. But Brzezinski and a number of seniors won’t be able to defend that district title in softball this season. The spring sports season was canceled after schools were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. “What was happening in China caught my attention in January,” Brzezinski said. “I thought we could come back (to school) for sure, but I guess we underestimated the problem.…

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Sayles Learns Perseverance, Mental Toughness Through Athletics

Napoleon High School student-athlete Katie Sayles, left, talks with Coach Brian Beaman during a bowling match earlier in the year. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports. By Jeff Steers JTV Sports (April 17, 2020 5:14 PM) Napoleon High School senior Katie Sayles said she has learned perseverance and being mentally tough through participating in sports at the high school level. Case in point, despite not having the prototypical athletic build, she is a two-time state qualifier in track and field. She finished ninth at the state meet twice – the top eight earn all-state honors – missing out by a couple of inches each time. And when school was canceled for the remainder of the year and Sayles cannot work out in Napoleon’s weight room, she uses a broom and two five-gallon buckets filled with liquid for weight training. Talk about making the best of testing situations. Sayles is one of the many senior student-athletes who had their season and career cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has shut down all of the United States and forced a lot of changes at different levels. But the Napoleon – soon-to-be – graduate has moved on emotionally, already able…

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VCL Softball Players Missing out on Repeat Attempt

Anne Leach of Vandercook Lake High School takes a cut during a softball game in 2019.  Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports By Jeff Steers JTV Sports Like most high school seniors, Vandercook Lake High School student Kaely Howard was ready for school to be over. But not like this – senioritis on steroids. When school was closed for the remainder of the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic a couple of weeks ago, and the Michigan High School Athletic Association followed suit Howard knew her sporting days at VCL were over. Howard and Anne Leach – both four-year starters for the Jayhawks’ varsity softball squad – were left to say “what if.” Longtime Coach Tim Hoffman said Howard, Leach, and third-year varsity player Olivia Applegate were scheduled to be tri-captains for the Jayhawks this season. “I was pretty upset to be honest (when the season ended before it started),” Howard said. “I wanted the (senior) year to be over, but not like this.” Vandercook Lake surprised a lot of teams by winning the Cascades Conference in softball a year ago. It was the first conference title in softball since 2004 for the Jayhawks as they posted a 12-2 conference…

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