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11 Questions with Grace Usher


Senior Grace Usher demonstrates what it means to get involved. She has been playing with the softball team since 7th grade and has followed it into her high school years. Usher made the varsity softball team her freshman year and has continued to show that she deserves that spot. During the 2023 season, she helped lead her team to the State Championship.

What made you want to start playing softball?

I would say the biggest thing that made me want to play softball was my dad. When I was five, he coached T-ball and coached me. Ever since then I have loved this sport and wanted more out of it. Honestly, he has been my motivation to do better and always wants to play. So I would say that is how I got into the sport because of him.

What position do you play? Why?

I am a pitcher. I started pitching when I was 8 and after that, I didn’t want to stop pitching. I would throw almost every day because I wanted to be so good in little league, and wanted to show everyone that I was capable of doing it. So my dad and I worked at it, a lot of YouTube videos, and lots of crying, but I fell in love with it.

What made you want to play school ball?

I would say the biggest thing was being able to play for the school, and not for travel like being able to play with my friends I see every day. In travel, it is more of getting recruited or striding for a high goal, but for school ball, it is for the team and for the same common goal to get to districts, win districts, go to States, and have the experience travel ball doesn’t give you.

What makes you keep coming back to play?

The thing that makes me want to come back is the love for the sport. I know some people are in it for the long term run to get to college, and pay for college. I feel like obviously having that extra money from athletic scholarships is nice, but being in love with the sport when I have been doing it literally my whole life so actually playing it throughout my life has been just like this amazing experience, and it makes me so happy. So definitely the love for the sport makes me want more and to keep coming back.

What does it mean to be a part of Woodhaven softball?

To me, Woodhaven softball is literally everything. I love going to practices, I love being in games with my teammates. Just being with the same girl I see at school gives me more of a bond than travel does. So being a part of Woodhaven softball really shows that I am doing it for my school, doing this for my team, and I have a common goal with people. I feel like Woodhaven softball is definitely better than travel, which is conservative because I know a lot of people love travel ball more than they like school ball, but for me it is the opposite. I just feel like being a part of Woodhaven softball makes me feel more included in the community because so many people come out and support us plus makes me happier when I am with everyone on this team.

How do you feel this season is going to go?

I feel like our season is going to be really good. Right now we have a rocky start, we played Lake Orion and we lost, but we played Algonac DH in a double header where we lost the first game, but won the second game. So I feel like this really shows where we are at compared to the other teams ranked not higher than us because we were ranked 1st, but those who are around the same playing as us. Now that we have seen that we can grow from it, and hopefully, it goes well, I feel like we are going to do well this season. I hope we make it back to States.

What are you looking forward to during your senior season?

This season I am definitely looking forward to honestly doing as well as we did last year, and going back to States hopefully. I want to also enjoy the season, and I know it is my last, which makes me very upset, but spending time with my friends that I don’t get to in the school environment, and more of the softball environment. 

Is there anything you are personally working on this season?

Personally, I am working on trying to be more vocal with the team during school ball because I am one of the team captains so I try to be more vocal with the things I am saying, but not in a mean way because I know sometimes I can come off sassy or mean, not in a bad way, but in a sense where they may not want to listen to me. I try to be more understanding with the girls, but also be strict and firm with them at the same time. I have been working on that, and finding a good balance. I have also been working on my pitching recently because I feel like to be the best I need to work harder than everyone else. So I have been grinding out on pitching recently by working harder, and really accomplishing our goals for the season to go back to States.

What qualities do you add to the team?

I add leadership to the team. I am very vocal in the sense that I like to tell everyone what to do, but not in a bad way, it’s in a demanding, strict, and what-we-need-to-do way. I would also say that I bring a lot of hype to the team. June Lusk and I are definitely our team hype men, but it is also so much fun when you are having fun plus I feel like you play better. So being that person to light up the mood I am that person who we could do this to lighten up the mood. So I feel like being that person that people can rely on when they are down or they need someone to talk to is definitely one of the qualities I bring as well.

What keeps you motivated during a tough game?

Personally for me what keeps me motivated is winning so if we are playing a really tough team and I know our capabilities, I know what we can do so let’s use that to push ourselves to strive for more. I feel like using that to push our team to be better during a tough game and having the confidence that we all need definitely pushes us to overcome the toughness of any situation.

What are your plans after high school?

My plan after high school is to go to Grand Valley University where I am committed to play softball and major in early education. I plan on playing in college with the hope I will start my freshman year in at least a game because I know it is very difficult to start in college, especially at the level Grand Valley is at. It is a school that everyone says is a D1 school disguised as a D2 school, so that is definitely scary thinking about because it worries me that I may not get any playing time, but I am going to keep working hard at what I do. Hopefully, I will excel past their expectations so I will get to start. I plan on doing great in college and am very excited. Anchor Up!

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