Knutson’s Athlete of the Week- Alyssa Budd


Pictured above, Napoleon High School volleyball player Alyssa Budd hits a serve during the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 regional tournament last week at Dansville. Budd has a successful formula for success in life and sports, sharing that “I want to make a difference in the world. I believe it is important to remain positive no matter what happens.”

Photo, story by Jeff Steers
Exponent special writer

Staying positive.

Working hard.

Having fun.

Those are the three fundamentals that Napoleon High School junior Alyssa Budd is using to be successful on and off the court.

And it appears to be working.

Budd has won a state title, been all-state twice, and won a pair of district titles in the last calendar year.

In between, she represented Jackson County as the Outstanding Teen for two years due to COVID 19. (more below)

Napoleon and Budd came within an eyelash of winning a regional title in volleyball. Despite being outsized, the Pirates found a way to get to game five of the regional final last week against Pewamo-Westphalia.

“When we get down, it is my job to be the person who brings everyone together and stays positive,” Budd said. “I consider myself blessed (to be able to play so many sports).

“I have a love of sports and competing.”

Napoleon won the Cascades Conference title in volleyball, they won the district tournament and the first round of the regional tournament. It wasn’t too long ago that the Pirates were in the bottom half of the conference in volleyball.

“Our volleyball team is very competitive because we are active in all kinds of sports,” Budd said. “We worked really hard in practice to make ourselves better.”

Budd also picked up a quirk this season to bring the Pirates good luck. She kissed the volleyball every time before it was served by a Napoleon player.

“I am not sure where it started,” Budd said of the ritual. “If someone tells me to stop I will . . . or give the ball an air kiss.” (more below)

Budd and the Jackson Area Gymnastics team didn’t need a good luck kiss last winter at the state meet. Jackson surprised everyone by winning a state title – despite not knowing the score or standings throughout the meet.

Jackson edged Rockford 144.775-144.5 to win the first title for the team – that includes athletes from Jackson, Lumen Christi, Northwest, Concord, Napoleon, and Concord.

“We finished 10th the year before and our goal was to finish better than that,” Budd said. “We talked about having fun and just performing.”

When the scores were announced, Jackson suddenly noticed they were in the top three. Rockford was announced as the No. 2 team and the Jackson athletes went crazy.

“We all started in the same small garage (for a workout facility), and it was crazy how much better we got,” Budd said. “That was our year.”

Individually, Budd tied for ninth on the balance beam (9.3) and tied for seventh on the floor exercise (9.25) at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 individual final.

Budd said she will work with a lot of the younger girls on the gymnastics team this season.

She would like to compete in acrobatic and tumbling in college. (more below)

In the spring, Budd will compete as a shortstop in softball. Napoleon won a district title last year and Budd won a number of conference and district awards.

Budd managed to squeeze some time from her busy schedule to represent Jackson as the Outstanding Teen in Jackson County. The competition was not held in 2020, so Budd represented the county for two years.

“I want to make a difference in the world,” Budd said. “I believe it is important to remain positive no matter what happens.”

Budd says she has a grade point average of 3.91 and enjoys spending time with her family and youth group at Jackson Free Methodist Church.

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