State championships start next week
By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
More than two months after they last competed, the four Oxford Wildcats who are among the young women from 128 schools vying for state championships in their respective swimming and diving events received the news they had been waiting for from the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA).
On Dec. 29 the governing body announced these student-athletes were cleared to resume practice on Monday (Jan 4), with the state championships taking place on Friday, Jan. 15 (diving) and Saturday, Jan.16 (swimming).
Oxford, a Division 1 school, will compete at Hudsonville High School, about 156 miles west of home.
Head coach Jackie Rank’s four young women eligible to compete are seniors Grace Charnstrom, Jenna Fistler, and Amelia Knotts and sophomore Caylee Beebe, all of whom garnered All-Oakland Activities Association (OAA) White Division honors during the regular season.
Beebe and Knotts are divers, while Charnstrom will participate in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley. Fistler will also take part in two events, the 100-and-200-yard freestyle.
As part of the MHSAA and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ (MDHSS) restart plan, Rank, her student-athletes, and any other team personnel directly involved in practice or competition must test three times per week for the coronavirus (COVID-19) using BinaxNOW antigen tests that produce results in 15 minutes.
While this will conclude the high school career for Rank’s three seniors set to make the trip, Fistler and Knotts plan to continue competing at the collegiate level, signing with the Horizon League’s Milwaukee Panthers and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s (GLIAC) Grand Valley State Lakers, respectively, on November 11.