Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Southwestern High sophomore C.J. Sumner II is a basketball standout turned cross-country star, and Renaissance High junior Ravenn Hill is a team captain and volleyball tournament MVP. In recognition of their athletic excellence, they’re also the Detroit Public School League’s Proud Strong Learners of the Week.
“I’m only a junior, so to be awarded such an honor, it’s overwhelming to me,” said Hill, who was selected most valuable player of the PSL tournament Sept. 25 after helping Renaissance emerge as the unbeaten champion.
For the tourney, Hill had 12 kills, nine aces, seven blocks, 42 assists and 35 digs. She followed that in a Sept. 27 match against Southwestern with seven aces, two kills, 10 assists and five digs and, a week later against CMA, she had nine aces, two kills, 11 assists and seven digs.
“My strength is being an all-around player,” says Hill. “Whenever the coach wants me to play a different position, I can do it, no questions asked.”
Phoenix coach Louis Mitchell appreciates Hill’s leadership qualities. “She’s invaluable to our program,” he said. “Usually our captains are seniors, but she’s a team captain as a junior because she’s a very knowledgeable player, very energetic and she leads by example.”
Hill has a 3.8 grade point average and science is her favorite subject. She aspires to be a clinical lab technician. “I study different cells and organisms,” she said. “Right now, I’m on the AP (advanced placement) chemistry track to help me along the way.”
She hopes to benefit from volleyball in pursuit of her college education. “Hopefully, I’ll get half academics and half athletics,” Hill said. “That’s my goal in terms of getting scholarships.”
Sumner, who averaged 19 points a game as a 5-10 freshman, says basketball is his love. But it’s impossible for anybody to tell that cross country is his second sport because he keeps finishing first.
“I was just coming out to do my best, and to help my team win and to get ready for basketball season,” said Sumner, who has won each of the five PSL meets this fall. “Cross country helps me get in shape for basketball. It helps my wind and I also help my team win. After I came in first place the first time, I said to myself ‘I’m going to be pretty good at this.’ ”
A 4.0 GPA student, Sumner desires to play professional basketball. “I plan to go to college and, if I don’t make it to the NBA, I want to be a sports doctor,” he said.
Prospectors coach Windell Hall predicts Sumner can do just about whatever he sets his mind to accomplish. “He’s humble, a hard worker and has a great attitude when it comes to athletics and school,” Hall said. “He sets the pace for the whole team. In fact, we have our other athletes challenge themselves to try to keep up with him. With that philosophy, the other guys have improved their times.”
Sumner, 15, didn’t run cross country last year, but made his mark last spring in the PSL track and field meet, finishing fourth in the mile. “All the guys that finished ahead of me have graduated and gone on to college, so I’m thinking that I can do pretty well next spring,’ he said.
But, Sumner first plans to lead the Prospectors to a winning season in basketball. “Last year we were young, but this year we’ve got experience,” he said. “I think we’re going to do a lot better.”