Madysen McLain /[email protected]
Michael and Grace Judd, very close cousins in age, grew up side by side. They have often referred to themselves as the “basketball family”.
Michael, who graduated from La Center in 2021, decided to rise through the ranks by pursuing his love of baseball. He not only loved the sport, but excelled there as a fighter.
In 2016, his baseball team, the KWRL Centerfield Roosters, placed third in the Babe Ruth World Series. The matches were played at Lower Columbia College.
Michael said he has met athletes on teams from all over the United States, including Rhode Island, Texas and Michigan.
“It was a little disappointing as they had been in Virginia for two years and it was a 30 minute drive at the time,” he said.
When Michael first started playing baseball in high school, he was also successful.
For the first time in school history, the La Center Wildcats have won the League Championship and District 1A Championship title this season. The previous season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Michael started playing T-ball at the age of six, then played on championship teams over the summer that included athletes from Ridgefield, La Center, Woodland and Battle Ground.
Grace, who graduated from Ridgefield in 2021, and Michael both began studying for their respective sports during the four years of their high school careers. Grace’s dad Randy Judd said they’ve joined the entire league squad this season as well.
Grace, unlike Michael, was stuck in third-grade basketball until her senior year, with encouragement from her father.
She remembers a trip to San Diego for the Christmas basketball tournament. His team finished first and broke records in the matches with the highest score.
After a year of hiatus from high school basketball, Grace was able to return to the gym, but in her third game of the season, she fell on her hand and tore her ligaments. Randy said Grace came back and continued to play.
He said she got a temporary cast for her hand after the season ended.
Grace’s parents played basketball and now her two younger brothers are involved.
Grace also enjoyed racing on the cross country team. She qualified twice for the state competition.
She said the two seasons varied widely for Michael and Grace. As there was basketball in the gymnasium, each player could only invite four people and masks were mandatory.
For Michael, he hasn’t seen much of a change other than the occasional wearing of masks and social distancing, he said.
Both were granted credits at the start of their start-up program. Michael plans to graduate in about two months and then wants to get an assessment license. He also hopes to become a Hotshot Wild Firefighter.
“I want to make the world a better place without having to sit in front of a computer all day,” he said.
She said Grace would graduate from Clark College as an associate and then transfer to a four-year college.
Randy said some college coaches have been in contact with Grace.
Even though they no longer live next to each other, they still find time to catch up. Grace and Michael take advantage of a “Dutch Tours” meeting to get caffeinated drinks from the famous Dutch Bros Coffee kiosk.