• James Townsend

Kayla Weller Named May Student-Athlete of the Month


Kayla Weller, a senior on the Portland High School tennis team has been selected as the Portland Beacon and J-Dubb’s Signature Subs Student-Athlete of the month for May 2021.


Coach Crystal Lowe said of Weller, “She ended her season today (6/3) in the quarterfinals with a record of 28-3. In May she was League Champ and Regional Champ.”


Weller led her team to finishing third at the MHSAA Division 4 state tennis finals. Weller won three regional titles in her standout high school tennis career and will be playing tennis at Alma College next year.


Lowe said, “I would like to add that as one of the senior captains and leaders on our team, Kayla has had a significant impact on the team's success. Playing #1 singles is never an easy task. Being asked to play the best player of every other team is not to be taken lightly. Since Kayla began playing tennis, her aspiration was to be #1 singles. She worked tremendously hard over the years to get to that spot. While she did miss playing when the 2020 season was canceled, her successes this past season are spectacular in and of themselves! She will be missed by Portland Tennis, but can be assured she has made her lifelong impact on our program!”


Weller also played varsity volleyball for the Raiders.


To be nominated for this award, a student-athlete must attend either Portland High School or St. Patrick School, and be a member of a varsity sports program or school-sponsored athletic club at his/her school. Nominations may be made by a member of their high school coaching staff, athletic director, principal, or a school recognized student government organization at his/her school. Nominations are also accepted from The Portland Beacon contributing writers.


The monthly winner is selected by a panel of Beacon contributors. The winner receives a free sub thanks to our sponsor, J-Dubb’s Signature Subs.


Monthly winners are entered into the student-athlete of the year contest. The winner for the year receives a party platter from J-Dubb’s Signature Subs.


Other talented local athletes receiving nominations for May were:


Lily Buckland – PHS Track

Nominated by coach Jason Haid. Haid said, “I would like to nominate Lily Buckland. She was the conference champion in the Long Jump and Pole Vault and was runner-up in the 100M Hurdles. She also made the Honor Roll meet where she placed 6th in the 100M Hurdles and 5th in the long jump.”


Jacobe Hayes-Dunning - SPS Track & Field

Nominated by coach Dawn Fedewa. Jacobe is a senior. Fedewa said, “Jacobe was the CMAC league champion (1st team all-league) in the 100M & 200M, as well as runner-up (2nd team all-league) as the anchor of the 4x100 & 4x200 relays. He qualified for State Finals and earned all-region honors in the 100M, 200M and 4x200 relay and was all-region in the long jump. In addition, he set the school record in both the 100M & 4x200 relay this season. Jacobe's efforts earned him a spot at the Lansing Honor Roll Meet in the 100M, 200M & long jump, where he medaled, finishing 6th in the long jump and 200M.”

Fedewa added, “Jacobe finished with All-State Honors in the 100M” on 6/5/21.



Izzy Kissane - SPS Track & Field

Nominated by coach Dawn Fedewa. Izzy is a freshman. Fedewa said, “Izzy was the runner up (2nd team all-league) in the 400M and 4x200 relay at the CMAC league championship, as well as honorable mention all-league in the 4x400 & 4x800 relays. She qualified for State Finals in the 4x800 & 4x400 and is part of the 4x800 relay that set the school record this season. In addition to the events that earned her a trip to State Finals, Izzy earned all-region honors in the 400M and 4x200 relay. Izzy's efforts earned her a spot at the Lansing Honor Roll Meet in the 4x200 relay, 400M & 4x400 relay, where she medaled, finishing 3rd in the 4x200, 4th in the 400M & 5th as the anchor of the 4x400 relay.”

Fedewa added, “Izzy also finished with All-State Honors today in the 4x400 and 4x800” on 6/5/21.


CJ Miller - PHS Golf

Nominated by coach Jon Snellenberger. CJ is a senior. Snellenberger said, “2021 CAAC White Division Overall Individual Divisional Champion (1st out of 45 divisional varsity golfers) help led his team to qualifying for 2021 MHSAA Division 3 Boys Golf State Finals.”


Chase Fitzsimmons – SPS Baseball

Nominated co-coaches Dan Thelen and Bryan Scheurer. Fitzsimmons was a senior catcher for St. Patricks

May statistics:

- Chase is batting nearly .500 for the month.

- 84% QAB% (Quality At Bat)- essentially this means he either draws a walk or hits the ball hard. This is an outstanding percentage! For reference, the next best on our team is 65%.

- Opposing teams basically abandon attempts at stealing bases because Chase has great respect within our league for being a difficult catcher to steal on. (Teams that don't know our team quickly find out that they won't be very successful)

- As great a player as Chase is, his greatest value to the team is his leadership. I can't overstate the respect he has from his teammates (and coaches). Talk to any of them and they will be quick to praise him and the impact he has on the team. Especially since we have many young players, his leadership is extremely crucial to our success.

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