Rural students travel the extra mile for sports

Turns out long bus drives aren’t all that bad.



The girls Varsity Basketball team filtered on to the bus to travel 36 minutes away to compete with Leslie. The score of the girls game would end up being 41-23 and the boys lost 57-67.

“Usually teams get on the bus upbeat,” bus driver Leslie Reasoner said. 

Reasoner has taken countless teams to their games. Seeing them from the time they get on the bus, during the ride with athletes talking, listening to music and eating, to when they board the bus again with either a victory or loss under their belts. 

The closest competitor in the Greater Lansing Athletic Conference (GLAC) is 36 minutes away at Leslie, the farthest being 1 hour and 10 minutes at either Lakewood or Maple Valley schools. 

Living in a rural area access to competitive sports, from school sports to travel sports, can be farther to reach compared to more suburban areas.

Take Lakeland High School, which competes in the Lakes Valley Conference. Athletes’ furthest drive is 35 minutes to South Lyon High School. Their shortest drive is 5 minutes to Walled Lake Northern High School. 

Lakeland’s longest drive is one less minute than Stockbridge’s shortest. 

Stockbridge students travel far and wide to compete in sports from Lansing to Brighton, and even as far as Flat Rock and Wixom. During the fall, the football team traveled 108 miles to Lee High School in Wyoming, Michigan and then 108 miles back home––a 3.5 hour bus round trip.

Senior Paige Wooden, who plays softball for both the varsity team and her travel team, Krash softball, drives to Lansing every Sunday during the winter to practice clocking an average of 1 hour 30 minutes roundtrip. 

“I don’t mind long bus rides,” Wooden said. “They give me a chance to get my head in the game and prepare myself. It helps me relax however the closer we get to a game the more my nerves spike for the game.” 

It is not just merely one student in one sport that is experiencing the long rides to and from for their sports. 

Playing both school basketball and travel volleyball, junior Grace Hall drives 45 minutes to the Legacy Center in Brighton every Tuesday and Thursday for Legends Volleyball practices.

 As for school basketball the “long bus rides don’t bother me,” Hall said, “I usually just listen to music and sleep.”

Long bus rides are what almost every rural athlete endures. Filling their time on the bus doing hair, makeup, eating and chatting. “ I guess you could say that the passengers are in a giant limo atmosphere,” said Reasoner.