Lady Trojans garner top honors from U.P.S.S.A
By BURT ANGELI
MARQUETTE – The Forest Park Lady Trojans and Lexi Gussert continue to reap honors.
U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association today saluted Gussert as the Class D Player of the Year for a third time. Forest Park, unbeaten until the state finals, was also tabbed the Class D Team of the Year.
The awards didn’t stop there, with the state’s “Miss Basketball” plus teammates Kendra Campbell and Maria Stankewicz named All-U.P.
Class D Coach of the Year? That would be Forest Park’s Jeff Syrjanen, a first-time recipient.
Gussert, leading scorer in U.P. history with 2,626 career points, captured Class D Player of the Year unanimously. The Michigan State-bound senior averaged 29 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals per game this season.
Gussert was joined on the all-class “Dream Team” by St. Ignace’s Kelley Wright (16 points per game), Marquette’s Hunter Viitala (21.2 ppg), Houghton’s Elisa Jurmu (21.8 ppg) and L’Anse’s Madi Swanson (15 ppg).
Wright, who will continue her basketball career at Division 1 Youngstown State, tallied Class ABC Player of the Year from Viitala and Jurmu.
Campbell made the All-U.P. Class D first team while Stankewicz was a second team selection.
Syrjanen, Forest Park’s first Class D girls Coach of the Year since Jerry Hautala in 1997, edged out Stephenson’s Mark Simon for the honor. Syrjanen owns 170 wins in nine years with the Trojans. Norm Ellenberger of Watersmeet, Dick Franti of Ontonagon and Matt Mattson of Munising were also nominated.
Scott Lloyd, who led L’Anse to a share of the West PAC crown, won out over St. Ignace’s Dorene Ingalls for Class ABC Coach of the Year.
Forest Park, which rolled through the regular season for another Skyline Conference title, was the only Class D Team of the Year of the candidate. Houghton topped Marquette for Class ABC Team of the Year.
In other player selections, Kingsford’s Amber Larson lost a tie-breaker for a berth on the Class ABC first-team but was a unanimous second teamer.
Special mention honors (at least two votes) went to Maria Wiltzius of Kingsford and Lexi Steele of North Dickinson.