It would take an extraordinary single-sport specialist to win the Livingston Daily Press & Argus’ Female Athlete of the Year, given the fact that all 21 previous winners played more than one sport.
There was a good chance of a one-sport athlete ending that trend this year, given the fact the county had the gymnastics all-around state champion (Brighton’s Courtney Casper), a swimmer who won two events at the state meet (Brighton’s Taylor Seaman) and a record-setting softball player who made first-team All-America (Howell’s Veronica Pezzoni).
But there were enough quality multi-sport competitors to keep those extraordinary athletes off the list of five finalists for Female Athlete of the Year.
Here are those five candidates:
Isabella Garcia, Pinckney, Sr.
Garcia was the Runner of the Year for Livingston County after leading Pinckney to a fifth-place finish in the Division 1 cross country state meet. She was the Pirates’ No. 1 runner in the state meet. In the spring, she set a school record in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11 minutes, 1.18 seconds at regionals. That time enabled her to qualify for the state meet after missing by three-hundredths of a second in 2016. At the state meet, she helped Pinckney set a county record and place fourth in the 3,200 relay.
Jackie Jarvis, Fowlerville, Soph.
Jarvis made second-team all-county in basketball and soccer. She was part of a strong sophomore core that led Fowlerville’s basketball team to a 15-7 record and first trip to the district final since 2010. She had the best three-game scoring stretch by a county girl last season with games of 23, 23 and 18 points late in the season. In soccer, the versatile Jarvis primarily played defense, but moved around in the lineup and contributed six goals and eight assists. Jarvis also plays volleyball.
Michelle Moraitis, Hartland, Sr.
Moraitis is a three-sport standout who capped her Hartland career by setting three track and field school records in her final three weeks, earning the sport’s Athlete of the Year. She anchored the 800 and 1,600 relay teams to school records, while running the second-fastest 400 time in county history to place eighth at the Division 1 state meet. She was the starting point guard and a shutdown defender on a basketball team that went 22-2, making second-team all-county. Moraitis was Hartland’s top cross country runner, qualifying for three state meets before coming up short as a senior.
Elie Smith, Fowlerville, Soph.
The leading scorer on a Fowlerville basketball team that went 15-7 and reached its first district final since 2010, Smith received honorable mention on the Class B All-State team and was second-team all-county, averaging a team-high 12.5 points. She could also be a state high jump contender in the coming years, having cleared 5 feet this spring in basketball shoes to make second-team all-county.
Hannah Swanson, Brighton, Jr.
Because of pressure from coaches in these sports to specialize, Swanson is a rare athlete who plays on high-caliber high school volleyball and soccer teams. Swanson was the all-county goalkeeper in soccer, backstopping Brighton to a No. 2 state ranking, four championships and a berth in the regional final. She had 10 shutouts, surrendering only 14 goals in 21 games. In volleyball, she received honorable mention all-county, helping Brighton win KLAA West and districttitles.