Can Wayland claim to have a national champion in intercollegiate athletics? Yes.
Before last Friday, the closest this community got to having one of their own win a national title was Jessie Merchant’s top slugger role with the University of Michigan national champion softball team. And don’t forget Phil Regan won the National League Fireman of the Year award three times.
Now comes Central Michigan University senior Presley Hudson, a Wayland High School graduate, who captured the NCAA women’s basketball regular season individual title in free throw accuracy, making 116 of 123 at the line for a mind-boggling 94.3 percent. She edged Rebekah Hand of Marist, who checked in at 94.1% and Marta Gomez of Wyoming at 93.8%.
Hudson averaged 20.4 points per game this season, 18th best in the NCAA. The regular season ended last weekend and post-season tournaments have begun.
As reported in Townbroadcast before, she owns school records in many categories as a four-year starter at point guard:
• Most points scored in one game, 43 vs. Ball State in January 2017.
• Most points scored career, men or women, 2,277.
• Most assists, career, 629.
• Most three-point field goals, career, 403.
• Best free throw percentage, career, 92.4 percent.
I acknowledge that I’ve written a lot about her interminable exploits over the past eight seasons, but we in Wayland should never get tired of reading about someone whose excellence has made us proud.
And there are times we watch in wonder at her artistry. There are two videos of her showing off her steely resolve and ice in her veins while snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. One video was of her swishing a three from downtown to tie a game and then score on a driving layup later to win it.
Most recently there’s a remarkable video of her taking an in-bounds pass against Eastern Michigan, dribbling all the way to the three-point arc and nailing her shot just before the buzzer to send the ballgame into overtime. The Chippewas won it in the extra session.
I admit to being incredibly proud as a Wayland resident when she scored 28 points to lead CMU to a huge upset of Ohio State to move into the Sweet 16 a year ago. The following weekend, when ESPN asked the Oregon coach how his team could let the Chippewas back into the ballgame, he simply replied, “Presley can shoot.”
What a wild ride it has been for her, her family, her teammates and fans, from CMU and from Wayland. But as the end approaches I confess to some worry. Presley had indicated an interest in playing in the WNBA, but her short stature makes it a challenge.
Furthermore, her drive, her focus, her commitment and incredible work ethic may have created a new problem. When does such fierce concentration and commitment spill over into obsession? She has been so dedicated to be successful in one particular area, what will happen if that area becomes closed to her?
To be sure, she has said she wants to coach, but she may have a hard time finding players as committed as she has been. I also understand she has shown excellence in academics as well, but it seems her passion and perhaps even her addiction has been basketball.
Dr. James A. Naismith would be proud, and astonished that his 1891 invention produced a Presley Hudson.
Congratulations on an outstanding and memorable high school and college career. Wayland is proud!
Not sure why you put that paragraph in regarding what will happen to her, if her dreams do not come true. How about we just support her in her dreams. I know Presley, and she will make the best of whatever comes her way, no matter what.
Wait, no negative comments about her dad this time? Color me shocked.