Lancers recognized for athletic achievement

February 3, 2023



Grace Tyson, Missouri Gatorade Girls Cross Country Player of the Year


Diya Gupta

At the Forest Park Festival on Sept. 10, Lafayette varsity girls cross country senior Grace Tyson runs a long course. She placed first, with a time of 18:30.40 and Lafayette placed second overall in that meet.

On January 23, 2023, Senior Grace Tyson was named Missouri Gatorade Girls Cross Country Player of the Year, which honors the nation’s best high school athletes.

Tyson is the first Missouri Gatorade Girls Cross Country Player of the Year to be chosen from LHS. According to Gatorade, the award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic
achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Tyson said winning this award is a big deal for her because freshman year, she didn’t even know this award existed, then, she tried to shoot her shot at it in her junior year for the title, and now as a senior, achieved her goal.

“It definitely was expected of me to try and go get it, but it was nerve-wracking because I have only four races this season, so I didn’t know if I had a shot getting the award,” Tyson said.

This year has been particularly filled with hardships for Tyson because halfway through the season, she broke her foot. Tyson was only healthy enough to race four races but with as well as support from her teammates and coach, she succeeded in her desire. Tyson is named resilient by her coach, Jill Harmon, and she said this is one of the many traits that helped Tyson overcome any challenges she faced. Harmon also said from freshman year, to now senior, Tyson has grown, mentally and physically stronger during cross country.

“Grace Tyson has been Grace Tyson since she’s been a freshman, but I have kind of seen her develop over four years, so it’s super exciting to see. Again, it’s the perfect way to cap off an awesome [high school] career and I couldn’t be more excited for her,” Harmon said.

Tyson is not stopping her running journey however and has plans for her future when it comes to cross country and academics. Tyson wants to break some school records and in the future, run at Indiana University beside her teammates. Throughout her entire high school cross-country journey, Tyson said she has learned that through hard work, anything can be achieved, even if you’re faced with obstacles.

“Being able to run at state and being able to get this award shows how even if you have a hard year, or your sport’s not going your way for a little bit of it, you can really have mental strength to get through it and still meet your goals,” Tyson said.

Matt Haefner, McDonald’s All American Nominee


Amber Yin

Bringing the ball up the court, senior Matt Haefner dribbles the ball. Haefner was nominated for the McDonald’s All American Game which will take place on March 28.

Varsity basketball player, Matt Haefner was nominated for the Mcdonald’s All-American Games. Haefner is just one of 16 high school basketball players from Missouri to be nominated. 

The game features 24 of the top high school basketball players and is considered by many as a major achievement in high school basketball. The game is also streamed on ESPN and watched by many scouts and coaches. 

“There are so many talented players throughout the country. He’s one of 350 high school senior boys to get nominated. So it’s an awesome nomination, but the kid works really hard, does everything he needs to do to be successful, and I’m just glad that he got acknowledged for that,” Head Coach Bryan Kiem said. 

Haefner was shocked to find out that he had been nominated and didn’t even know he was being considered for the award. 

“I didn’t know until the day the list came out and I saw my name, which was pretty cool,” Haefner said. 

So far, this year he leads the team in points scored, averaging 19.6 points per game. He also leads the team in rebounds, free throw percentage, and assists. On Jan. 20, he also set a new LHS single-game scoring record with 39 points against Liberty. He is happy that his hard work has been recognized. 

“I was just super excited, honestly. Not something I was expecting to get, but something that feels super rewarding for all the work I put in,” Haefner said. 

Kiem has said that Haefner is one the most hardworking and talented players he has ever coached. He believes Haefner is a self-made man and can fully deserve all the accolades he gets. 

“I can’t take any credit for him because he’s self-made. He works really hard. He puts all the time in. I just get to use him as an asset in the program. He’s a fun kid to coach, which is awesome, but I can’t take any credit for the accolades that he gets, man. It’s all earned by him,” Kiem said. 

Hafner’s talent on the court has also earned him a full-ride scholarship to Truman State University. Haenfer said he is excited about the opportunity and can’t wait to play for them. 

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