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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 attend Western Michigan University on a volleyball scholarship. But she said the class of 2020 is “very close,” and feels for basketball seniors.

“They had a great chance to win a regional final in (Division 2) basketball,” Wilcoxson said. “They would have made history with a win.”

Wilcoxson has made plenty of history at Western despite losing her 2020 season in softball. She holds the WHS season records for doubles (21), home runs (13), batting average (.631), and RBIs (75). She also holds a career record for home runs with 29.

Wilcoxson said she learned to hit the ball hard using a small softball in order to hit the “sweet spot.” She learned the drill from her father, Douglas.

“Bat speed and solid contact is important in hitting home runs,” Wilcoxson said. “I thought I could hit 15 more home runs this season.”

Wilcoxson earned all-state honors in softball as a junior.

Wilcoxson led Western to the MHSAA Division 2 regional final in volleyball last November, falling in a five-set marathon with Lake Odessa Lakewood. Lakewood advanced to the Division 2 finals before losing to Grand Rapids Christian.

Western advanced to the regional tournament for three consecutive years. Wilcoxson holds five school records for kills and one for aces. She holds the kill percentage season record (33.1), season hitting percentage (.339), and kills in a season (630). Career records include kill percent (.345), career aces (194), and kills in a career (1,580).

She is a two-time all-state volleyball player at WHS.

Wilcoxson said she attended a team camp at WMU earlier in her career and caught the eye of the Broncos’ head coach. She was invited to an elite camp at WMU and eventually was offered a scholarship.

“I was considering attending college in Nashville (Tenn.),” Wilcoxson said. “When I visited WMU, I fell in love with the coaching staff and later with the players.

“Being only an hour from home became important.”

The senior hopes she can attend graduation at WHS. Wilcoxson said graduation plans have been discussed to be held in late July or August.

“Our class of 2020 is really driven … everyone worked very hard,” Wilcoxson said. “We want to be on top whether it is athletics, education, or something else.”

Volleyball for Wilcoxson starts at WMU in late June.

“I hope I can come back for graduation with my friends,” Wilcoxson said. “We have been so close since middle school.”

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