Redemption can be found in sport/Paul Peterson

Some years ago I can recall a young Houghton High School female athlete who burst upon the local scene as a freshman.

She competed in several sports, but excelled in track in particular. But as sometimes happens, she lost her interest in sports a year later and stopped competing.

But she returned to competition as a senior, and while not as dominant as she had been as a freshman, helped the Gremlins to conference and regional titles by placing high in a couple of events.

That’s the beauty of sports: Redemption can be just a good performance or two away.

We have a couple of good examples of that this sports season in Hailey Gervais of the Finlandia University women’s basketball team, and Jacob Givens of the Hancock High hockey team.

Gervais had been a basketball standout at Hancock High a couple of years ago, gaining all-league and All-U.P. laurels. A fine three-point shooter, she seemed like a good fit for the Finlandia team when she enrolled there.

But things didn’t go as planned and Gervais eventually left the team.

This season saw her ask coach Jason Keefer if she could show up for a tryout and Keefer agreed.

Gervais not only made the team, she’s currently the leading scorer for the Lions.

“Hailey (Gervais) has been a pleasant surprise for us,” Keefer said. “She hustles all the time and has been a leader for our younger players to follow,” he said.

Givens is another example of what can happen when you provide yourself a second chance.

After failing to make the Bulldogs roster last year as a defenseman, he returned this year and tried out as a goaltender.

Givens made the team and was the backup netminder early on. But sterling performances last week against Kingsford, Marquette and Fond du Lac, Wis. have vaulted him up coach Dan Rouleau’s depth list.

Against a previously unbeaten Fond du Lac team, he came up with 43 saves as the suddenly hot Crimson and Gold took a 1-0 win.

As everyone around here well knows, a hot goalie can take you pretty far at this time of the year.

Another good example was that of former Houghton High standout Bill Hauswirth.

One of the finest all-around athletes ever produced around here, Hauswirth didn’t make the HHS hockey team as a sophomore.

Instead, he went out for basketball and did rather well there, averaging 13 points a game.

He tried out – and landed a spot – on the hockey team a year later. As a senior, he played a key role as the Don Miller-coached Gremlins won a state championship.

As stated earlier, redemption sometimes isn’t that far away in the sports world.