Brittany Gray won state championships to reach the ultimate goal as a student-athlete at Marian High School. She also leaves as that school’s most decorated athlete.
The 2015 Marian graduate amassed 13 letters during her four years playing sports, the most in school history.
And she not only played 13 sports, she excelled in all of them, helping lead her teams to three state titles (two in basketball, one in soccer) and two state runner-up finishes (soccer).
“Going into high school, I had no idea that I would have a chance at setting a record as far as letters won,” said Gray, the daughter of Tom and Stephanie Gray of Sterling Heights.
“Once my freshman year was completed, my dad was telling me all about people who set records for varsity letters and how I could do the same.”
Once she was made aware of the record, it was game on – or, in this case, sports on.
“For the next four years, I dedicated a lot of time into sports to make sure I could reach the goal of 12 or more varsity letters,” she said.
“I am very proud of myself and can’t wait to one day tell my kids all about how I lived my high school sports career to the fullest.”
Playing three sports used to be the norm back in the day, but players are specializing more these days and focusing on becoming great at one sport instead of playing multiple sports. It’s a trend Gray doesn’t believe in.
“I grew up playing multiple sports,” she said. “I didn’t let high school slow me down. I believe that getting involved with as many sports as you can before heading to college is very beneficial.”
Gray takes the side of those who believe that playing multiple sports actually helps better prepare athletes on and off the field by putting them in different situations and learning from different experiences.
“Playing each sport has helped me become a more versatile athlete,” she said. “You meet a lot of people and make good friends.
“Also, playing different sports was refreshing for me in a sense that I wasn’t playing one sport year round and getting exhausted by it.”
A season to compete
Speaking of exhaustion, look at Gray’s athletic resume as a Mustang.
During her freshman year, Gray was a top-seven runner in cross country, played varsity basketball and played on the state-champion soccer team.
As a sophomore, she ran cross country, helped the basketball team to a Catholic League championship, played on the state runner-up soccer team and ran on the track team’s 4×100 relay team which took first in the Catholic League.
While a junior, Gray was the captain on the cross country team which qualified for the state finals, was a starter on the basketball team that won a state championship and played on the state runner-up and Catholic League champion soccer team.
She also was the quarterback and team captain on the senior powder-puff team which beat Regina 10-2 for the championship.
Gray was again captain on the cross country team as a senior. She also helped lead the Mustangs’ basketball team to its second straight state championship and also was on the Catholic League champion soccer team.
Marian Athletic Director David Feldman confirmed Gray is the first one during his time there to collect 13 varsity athletic letters.
“We have had two in my 11 years earn 12 letters,” Feldman said. “Both Kristen and Kelly Lunghamer did that. And Kelly, the younger of the two sisters, competed in 12 state championships.”
Feldman had nothing but praise for Gray and the way she competed and carried herself on and off the field.
“She’s a phenomenal athlete and any sport she tried to do she would do very well,” he said. “She is an unbelievable competitor.
“She works incredibly hard to not only make herself get better but her teammates get better. Her greatest attribute is she cares about the bigger picture, and that’s the success of the team.”
Feldman is glad that Gray and many other athletes at Marian play multiple sports.
“We try to promote to our athletes to have at least a secondary sport,” he said. “It’s fine to have a primary sport, but it’s important to develop your other muscles, to meet a different group of people and compete in a different setting.”
Hoops ranks at top
Basketball was Gray’s slam-dunk sport. As a senior she was the team’s leading scorer, a McDonald’s All-American nominee, All-Catholic and All-State.
Gray, 18, lists her three state championships, four Catholic League championships and, of course, her 13 varsity letters as her greatest accomplishments at Marian. Helping the Mustangs to back-to-back titles in basketball is at the top of the list.
“The key to our state titles in basketball was truly team work and dedication,” she said. “Each player worked at basketball during the season and over the summer. We knew what we were capable of and challenged ourselves every day.”
Gray, who finished with a 3.66 grade-point average despite her busy athletic career, will now be challenging herself at Hillsdale College where she will play basketball.
“Hillsdale is a great college with great people,” said Gray, who also considered Bowling Green, Western Michigan and Oakland University. “I felt it was a place where I could make an impact in the classroom and on the basketball court.”
Gray is very much looking forward to her future but will miss Marian High School and playing for the Mustangs.
“I will definitely miss having the opportunity to play multiple sports,” she said. “I will miss the teammates and friends made. I will miss the coaches who made me the athlete that I am today. And I will mostly miss the memories I have made along the way.”
Playing 13 varsity sports in four years takes dedication, commitment, organization and a desire to compete at a high level. Gray admits she does have one regret after playing all those sports.
“My only regret was not running track all four years and losing my chance to earn 16 varsity letters,” she said.