The Saline Area Schools Board of Education May 14 meeting was a memorable one for the Washtenaw United High School Hockey Team. It saw the Saline contingent of the team receive their Varsity Letters.

During the meeting, Saline Superintendent Stephen Laatsch introduced the team and their coaches to the school board and gathered public. The team was recognized for winning this year’s Division 2 State Championship and then varsity letters were awarded to Saline High School players, which was a first for this team in Saline.

Laatsch said he was proud to introduce Team #4. He detailed their season that at times had some challenges. However, he said the team worked hard and together to overcome them.

The team is a girls’ high school hockey team serving school districts within Washtenaw County, outside of Pioneer.

The roster was: Daphne Grant, Sydney Clark, Raegan Kopitsch, Sam Wawzysko, Lily Schlack, Maddy Church, Kaysi Hohner, Veronica Holmstrom, Brynn Gordon, Chloe Dillen, Julianna Marini, Kendra Wagner, Madelynne Conrad, Isabella Mack, Abigail Schroeder, Julia Berkholz, Rylee Kennedy, Addison Lyon, Kathryn Issel, Nora Stevenson and Trista Tracy.

Their season culminated with them defeating Cranbrook Kingswood 5 to 1 in the finals to claim the title. The team is made up of students from different area schools, including Saline, Dexter and Chelsea. There are 10 from Saline. It’s their largest team so far with all of the players having a role.

After a well-deserved round of applause from the gathered crowd at the school board meeting, Washtenaw United’s coach Adam Winters awarded the varsity letters to the Saline players.

Washtenaw United’s coach Adam Winters before the school board. photo courtesy of Saline Area Schools

Winters thanked the board and said this means a lot to the team.

“This is an incredible group of young women,” Winters said.

He said they are all very dedicated with some playing multiple high school sports while they all work hard academically.

The Sun Times News (STN) followed up with Laatsch to ask about the recognition and awarding of the Varsity Letters.

He said they didn’t have a process before to honor the players on “United” Teams, those teams that consist of athletes from multiple school districts.

“However, we do recognize that these are athletes playing at the highest level and they should be honored,” Laatsch said. “So, we worked with our Athletic Department, our Clubs and Organizations advisor, and, in this case, Coach Winters of Washtenaw United and established a process that would allow for the girls to receive a varsity letter. They certainly deserved one! It was a great ceremony! We are very proud of the United’s run to the state championship!”

Winters told STN the Saline portion of the team is: Sam Wawzysko, Chloe Dillen, Sydney Clark, Julianna Marini, Lilly Schlack, Addison Lyon, Izzy Mack, Abby Schroeder, Nora Stevenson, Kaysi Hohner, and Kendra Wagner.

Winters said “It’s been a long road to get to this point, the administration has been committed to making this happen for awhile, but needed to come to an equitable solution for all clubs and activities. Superintendent Laatsch and AD Mantha worked to get us and other groups recognized. I’m happy this is resolved and our players get the recognition they deserve. All of our member-schools now award letters for participation in girls hockey.”

As for the team’s reaction, Winters said, “The girls were definitely excited.”

“This is something they felt they deserved,” he said. “Regardless of whether they are an MHSAA sport or not, a varsity sport or club activity, they put in the same amount of work as other sports and represent their respective schools with pride, all while maintaining solid academic results. This was a matter of equity to them, and they’ve communicated that this was something that was important to them. I applaud our players, parents, and the administration for making this happen and doing what’s right.”

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