Since 2007, Battle Creek has been the high school volleyball capital of Michigan as host to the Michigan High School Athletic Association State Semifinals and Finals.
But the term ‘volleyball hotbed’ has long been used to describe the Cereal City, thanks to the strength of its five major high school programs: Battle Creek Central, Harper Creek, Lakeview, Pennfield and St. Philip.
Each week leading up to the MHSAA Semifinals and Finals, the Enquirer will count down the top five players from the city volleyball programs, revealing the ‘Greatest of All Time’ (G.O.A.T.) each Friday. Then fans will have an opportunity to vote for who they think is the G.O.A.T. at each school.
We tip off the series with Battle Creek Central.
Or go to the bottom of the story for our online poll
BATTLE CREEK CENTRAL VOLLEYBALL
5. Lauren Riddle – Class of 1999
Riddle played on some of the most successful teams in Battle Creek Central history. A three-time All-City selection, she helped the Bearcats reach the 1998 Class A State Quarterfinals as a junior, finishing the season with 441 digs. She took on a greater role in her senior campaign, showing her versatility by leading the team in both kills (536) and digs (376) while guiding Battle Creek Central to its third consecutive city title and picking up All-State honors along the way. She went on to play two seasons at Grand Valley State University as a defensive specialist, helping the Lakers win the 2000 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title while qualifying for the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in program history.
What the panel said: “As an outside hitter, she was what we’d call a terminator.”
4. Lauren Frost – Class of 2004
A three-time All-City selection, Frost is among the most productive middle hitters in Battle Creek history, owning the Battle Creek Central career record for kills (1,487) and blocks (448). As a sophomore, she posted 29 kills in a three-set match against Coldwater – tied for sixth most in state history before rally scoring was introduced in 2004. As a senior, she finished with a school single-season record 721 kills while guiding the Bearcats to a 54-17 record, matching the program benchmark for wins in a season. She went on to help Kellogg Community College win division, conference, state and regional titles before completing her collegiate career at Wayne State University.
What the panel said: “A very explosive middle blocker that ran the quick attack very well.”
3. Veronica Armstrong – Class of 2004
In her four-year varsity career, Armstrong grew in both height and skill to become a force at the net. Paired with classmate Lauren Frost, the 6-foot-1 outside hitter gave the Bearcats one of the most formidable 1-2 combos in Class A during a senior season in which she tallied 578 kills and a team-best 635 digs. That 2004 season also saw Battle Creek Central win a district title while matching the program record for wins in a season at 54. Armstrong finished with 1,390 career kills (2.9 per game) while earning All-City and All-League honors as a senior. She continued to blossom as a player at Michigan Tech University, where she was a three-time All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection and ranks in the top 10 for the Huskies in career kills with 1,132 over four seasons.
What the panel said: “A strong athlete who used her height to her advantage and continued to develop.”
2. Mindy (Stanley) Graham – Class of 1992
Mindy (Stanley) Graham was a big part of Battle Creek Central’s turnaround under former coach John Knott, helping the team post a 20-win improvement in her junior campaign before guiding a young Bearcats team to a .500 season as a senior. Individually, the 6-foot-1 outside/middle hitter was a three-time All-City selection and a two-time Class A All-State honoree. She continued her volleyball career at Ball State University, where she was a three-time All-Mid-American Conference pick, finishing her collegiate career with 1,135 kills to become the second player in program history to surpass 1,000 kills. She was also the 1996 Division I female recipient of the prestigious Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete Award. In 2009, she was inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame.
What the panel said: “A consummate leader and one of the best outside hitters in the state during her time with the Bearcats.”
1. Jaime (Stanley) Reagan – Class of 1998
Jaime (Stanley) Reagan was the straw that stirred the drink during the most successful era in Bearcats history. A four-year starter and three-time All-City selection, she led Battle Creek Central to three consecutive Class A district championships. As a senior, she was the catalyst for the team that won the program’s first regional title during a 50-win season, finishing the year with 623 kills, 375 digs, 123 aces and 146 blocks. She went on to play four years at Ball State University, where she was named to the Mid-American Conference All-Freshman Team in 1998. In 1999 she helped the Cardinals win the MAC title and concluded her career with two MAC titles and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
What the panel said: “Never rattled and led some of the most successful teams to play at the BCC Fieldhouse.”
Nick Buckley can be reached at email@example.com or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley
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