Madison Maclean /[email protected]
Michael and Grace Judd, who are very close cousins, grew up side by side. They often called themselves the “Basketball Family”.
Michael, who graduated from La Center in 2021, decided to make his way up by pursuing his love of baseball. He not only loved sports, but excelled in it 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’s met athletes on teams from all over the United States, including Rhode Island, Texas and Michigan.
“It was a little disappointing because they’ve been in Virginia for the last two years and that was a 30-minute drive away at the time,” he said.
When Michael started playing baseball in high school, he also found success.
For the first time in the school’s history, the La Center Wildcats won the League Championship and District 1A Championship this season. The previous season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Michael started playing T-ball when he was six and then played on championship teams over the summer which 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 father Randy Judd said they’ve also made it to the entire league team this season.
Grace, unlike Michael, was stuck in third grade basketball until her senior year, encouraged by her father.
She remembers traveling to San Diego for the Christmas basketball tournament. Her team took first place and broke records in games with the highest score.
After a year off playing high school basketball, Grace was able to return to the gym, but during her third game of the season, she fell on her hand and tore ligaments. Randy said Grace came back and kept playing.
He said she got a temporary cast of her hand after the season ended.
Grace’s parents played basketball and her two younger brothers are now involved.
Grace also enjoyed running on the cross country team. She qualified twice for the state competition.
She said the two seasons varied wildly for Michael and Grace. Since there is a basketball in the gym, each player can invite only four people and masks are required.
He said he hasn’t seen much change for Michael other than the occasional wearing of masks and social distancing.
Both got credits early with their startup program. Michael plans to complete his degree in about two months and then wants to get a license in assessment. He also hopes to become a Hotshot wilderness 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 complete her associate’s degree from Clark College and then transfer to a four-year college.
Randy said some college coaches have been in touch with Grace.
Although they no longer live next door to each other, they still find time to catch up. Grace and Michael enjoy a “Dutch Tours” meeting to get caffeinated drinks from the famous Dutch coffee kiosk Bros Coffee.
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