By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Alex Grace graduated from Saginaw Swan Valley this spring with 15 listings in the MHSAA football record book.
And he became one of the most accomplished running backs in Michigan high school history despite playing only three varsity seasons.
Grace’s 7,551 career rushing yards rank third in MHSAA history, only 880 yards behind record-holder Kevin Grady of East Grand Rapids – although Grady played 51 games over four seasons and Grace played only 36 games from 2012-14. Grace also finished with 102 rushing touchdowns, trailing only the 114 scored by Livonia Clarenceville’s Tim Shaw, who played in 11 more games during his career from 1998-2001.
Grace already held the single-season rushing record with 2,962 yards over 12 games as a junior, and set another record with eight straight games of at least 200 yards rushing during his final season. His 23 straight 100-yard games rank third on that list – Grace failed to reach 100 yards in only two games, both as a sophomore.
Grace, who will begin his college career this fall at Western Michigan University, also finished eighth with 616 career points, fourth with 102 career total touchdowns (rushing, receiving, etc. combined), and his 812 career carries are sixth on that list. He spent his freshman season cheering on his brother Jonathan, who ran for 1,790 yards and 21 touchdowns as Swan Valley’s lead back.
Click for the football record book in full and see below for more recent additions to MHSAA record listings (click on the sport heading to see those respective record books).
- Potterville’s Trevor Jones reached base three times in a three-inning, 22-0 win over Lansing Sexton in 2012 – all three times after being hit by pitches (once in the first inning and twice during the second). He’s one of 24 listed for having been hit by at least three pitches in one game.
- Millington advanced to the Class C Quarterfinals this winter led by a pair of standouts in senior Austin LeVan and junior Shawn Pardee. LeVan capped his career with 1,714 points this season and earned six entries in the MHSAA records for 20 points in a quarter against Birch Run on Jan. 23, 197 career 3-pointers, 403 career free throws in 504 attempts, an .834 free-throw shooting percentage this season and an .800 percentage for his career, and for grabbing 249 steals over the last four seasons. His steals total ranks 14th and came in 89 games. Pardee similarly is an ace from the free throw line; he made the record listings with 18 free throws in 18 attempts against Caro on Jan. 30 (and just missed another entry with a perfect 17 for 17), 52 straight free throws over the course of four games this winter, 196 free throws in 222 attempts and his percentage of .883, which tied for 15th-best for a single season. LeVan will continue his career at Delta College.
- Brooklyn Columbia Central 6-foot-1 senior Ashleigh Shay never made the MHSAA blocked shot records list for a single season, falling just shy with a career-high 105 as a junior in 2013-14. But she finished 16th on the career list with 319 over 82 games and four seasons, finishing her career this winter. Shay has signed to play volleyball at Siena Heights University.
- Johnny Wagner finished his high school career with the winning goal for Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood in its Division 2 championship game win over Okemos last month. He also ended this season with 69 goals and 41 assists for 110 points – all made MHSAA records lists – and career numbers of 177 goals, 99 assists and 276 points. The career points rank seventh on that all-time list. He’s signed to continue his career at Marquette University.
- Portland sophomore Jordyn Spitzley had experienced stopping a barrage of shots already during her high school career, having made the MHSAA record book with 35 saves in a game as a freshman. On April 14, she set a single-game record with 49 saves in a 7-0 loss to Ithaca.
- A pair of Coloma standouts have finished their careers the last two seasons with performances that stand among the elite. Jenna Faultersack finished her four-season varsity career this spring with 253 hits, 203 runs and 58 doubles (including 18 as a sophomore). Her hits count as the ninth most in MHSAA history. Emily Najacht finished her four-season career in 2014 with a pitching record of 111-33 and 999 strikeouts. Her career wins tie for 13th most and her 38 as a sophomore in 2012 are tied for 10th on that list. Faultersack will continue her career at Western Michigan University, and Najacht played last season at St. Mary’s College in Indiana.
- Gladwin junior Lauren Mose stole 95 bases straight without making an out over two seasons before finally getting caught during a May 23 game against Midland Bullock Creek – ending the second-longest consecutive steals streak in MHSAA history. Mose fell only four more steals shy of the record set by Grass Lake’s Kellyn Herendeen from 2009-2012. She had two steals against the Lancers in that game, and after stealing second after a seventh-inning single, was thrown out then trying to steal third base. Mose finished this season with 53 steals total.
- Meredith Norris hit it big as a sophomore in the fall, literally, for Corunna. Norris set an MHSAA rally-scoring record with 53 kills in a five-set match on Nov. 8 and had the third-most on the list, 42, against Durand on Nov. 3. She also had 38 in five sets against Byron on Sept. 11 and finished the season with 754 kills, 19th most for one season since rally scoring was adopted in 2004-05. Junior setter Skylar Napier started those offensive outbursts, making the single-match assists list with 56 against Durand and 50 against Goodrich. The 56 tied for eighth most during the rally scoring era.
- Gaylord’s Jeff Heinz qualified for the MHSAA Individual Finals the last two seasons and finished his career this winter with 117 pins, enough to make the MHSAA records in that category. He had a high of 33 pins, this season as a senior.
PHOTO: Swan Valley's Alex Grace finds an opening in the Ovid-Elsie defense during a game last season against the Marauders. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com).