Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Northwestern High swimmer Shakia Logan competes in three varsity sports, two in the same season, and Douglass High quarterback Mario Morris helped engineer a second-half comeback last Friday that kept his football team unbeaten.
In recognition of two fierce competitors, Logan, a 6-4 senior, and Morris, a 6-0, 190-pound sophomore, are the Detroit Public School League’s Proud Strong Learners of the Week.
“That’s a pretty awesome honor,” said Logan, a starting center for the Colts’ girls basketball team, who runs cross country in addition to being one of the league’s top swimmers in the 100-meter back stroke.
“My coaches share me (in the fall). Monday I have swimming, Tuesday is cross country, Wednesday and Thursday is swimming and Friday is cross country. It helps that I get support from my coaches and teammates.”
Logan, who has a 3.0 grade point average, doesn’t have a problem balancing her school work with athletics. “I’m pretty good at academics,” she said. “I really work hard.”
Basketball is her main sport, Logan said, and she prefers the pool to running a grueling 5000-meter cross country race. “Swimming is more relaxing,” she said. “Cross country helps me train for basketball.”
Northwestern girls’ swimming coach Ayrea Laidler, who’s also the school’s athletic coordinator, marvels at the senior’s all-around talents. “Shakia is one of the most versatile athletes I’ve encountered,” Laidler said. “She doesn’t even have to try hard to be good at everything she does. I know she wants to be basketball player. That’s her heart. But she can do anything if she puts her heart into it.”
Logan, who averaged 13 points a game last season, is hopeful of getting a basketball college scholarship. She wants to major in anthropology. “I love playing in the dirt,” she said. “Doing that for a career sounds like so much fun.”
Morris and his Hurricanes are having big fun this fall as one of the PSL’s top football teams. Last Friday’s game against Central was one of the highlights as Morris led Douglass back from a 20-6 halftime deficit to a 28-26 victory, lifting the Hurricanes record to 7-0 and clinching the PSL Division III title.
“I always keep my head up,” said Morris, who completed 6 of 11 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown and had 12 carries for 109 yards on the ground. “In my mind, I never think I’m going to lose. At halftime, I just said let’s keep playing and make little steps and we’re going to end up winning. And that’s what happened.”
Morris is a product of the fabled West Side Cubs, a long-time Detroit youth league powerhouse. His reputation as a leader preceded his debut as a PSL starting quarterback.
“I come from a winning organization,” he said. “Coming into high school, I joined a team that wasn’t used to winning. I brought my attitude here and it’s bounced off on the team. When they see my face and I’m smiling, saying ‘we’re going to win,’ they feel the same way. I’m the quarterback, so they follow me.”
Douglass football coach Claude Brown said Morris’ leadership was evident in the comeback victory. “I liked the way he took control of the game,” Brown said. “Even his teammates were talking about how he took control of the huddle. As a 15-year-old, he shows poise way beyond his age.”
Morris plans to go to college and major in culinary arts. “I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid and I’ve always liked it,” he said. “I’m a big guy and I like to eat, so that’s why I like to cook. My goal is to become a chef and do something with my life instead of sitting around the house all day playing video games.”
Morris is eager to make the next step but intends to make the most of his high school career. “I watch college football all the time and I know I have what it takes to play at that level,” he said. “But I’m enjoying high school. This is my team and it’s going to be fun leading my team for two more years.”
As a PSLer of the Week, Morris is well on his way to establishing himself as one of the league’s top athletes. “This means a lot to me,” he said of the honor. “I’m only a sophomore and I’m getting better every week. I couldn’t be any prouder right now.”