Senior leaves large athletic legacy


Gustafson with a monster dunk against Lakeland as a junior. Gustafson led the Mavs to their first win over Lakeland in three years as a senior.

Michael Stevenson, Editor-in-Chief

Each year, Milford hosts graduating seniors who make an impact on athletic programs. Whether it be on the field or in the pool, these athletes change their programs for the better. Very few athletes are able to leave their footprint on multiple programs. Senior Gunnar Gustafson is one of those athletes.

Gustafson has been on the MHS Varsity Basketball team for the past three years. He led the Mavs to their first District Championship in over 20 years this past March. Gustafson also holds every rebounding record in MHS history (most all time, most in a season, & most in a game) and is in third place for all-time scoring.

“It is really remarkable for Gunnar to be in the top three for scoring,” said Varsity head coach Mr. Gilbert, “Especially since he has not attempted a three-point shot in his career, and every other player in the top seven has most of their points from threes.”

Not only is Gustafson a phenomenal basketball player, he is also a outstanding track runner. On May 6th, Gustafson broke the school record for the 400m with a time of 49.01 seconds. He was one of three Boys Track and Field runners to break a school record on that night.

“Gunnar was able to break his own record running against the best field that he has faced all year,” said Boys Track and Field Coach Brian Salyers.

He later broke that record again in the LVC Championship at 48.95. He was also part of the second best 4X400 relay team in Milford History.

Next Fall, Gustafson will be attending Lawrence Technological University (LTU) on a basketball scholarship. He helped continue Milford’s streak of having collegiate level players (they have had four college players in the past three years). As most athletes know, the recruitment process is a long and tedious one. You have to stay in contact with multiple coaches and visit many different schools while still playing for your high school.

“The whole process really started sophomore year when I started to play AAU,” said Gustafson, “after that, it just developed to sending films and grades to many different colleges.”

Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is a basketball league that is separate from high school. Players play their AAU games during the offseason, and it serves as a way for college coaches to scout and recruit possible players for their organizations.

“AAU is a very different feel from high school,” said Gustafson, “Not only are you playing the best players in the state, but you also have top level coaches watching you the whole time.” Gustafson also commented on how stressful it is to play in front of Tom Izzo.

After going through this whole process and having colleges make offers to him, Gustafson decided to commit to Lawrence Tech. “LTU was the right fit for me,” said Gustafson, “Throughout this process, I was really looking for a school that fit best for me, and that was Lawrence Tech. They had an engineering program, great facilities, and I really liked the coach.” Gustafson also remarked that LTU’s coach reminds him very much of Coach Gilbert.

Gustafson also made sure to emphasize how much Coach Gilbert helped him out with this journey. “Gilbert sat down with me before the start of senior year and came up with a recruiting plan. We had a monthly meeting, where we went over all of the recruiting information, and he helped explain the whole process to my parents. He also contacted a lot of colleges and directed me with who to send my tape to.”

Luckily for Gustafson, Gilbert has had experience with players being recruited, and used his knowledge to help him out.

“I gained most of my recruiting experience from Reid Sellers,” said Gilbert. Sellers was a 2017 Milford graduate who plays basketball for University of Michigan Dearborn. Sellers, like Gustafson, plays center.

“It is very ironic because Reid and Gunnar are both in the same league now,” said Gilbert, “so I have to make sure that I see all of the LTU vs. U of M games next year to root on my guys.”

Gustafson decided to make his official decision through Twitter on December 6th, 2018. “After I posted my announcement, all of my teammates- both AAU and Milford- were texting and congratulating me. Gilbert was thrilled with my decision, and my AAU coach called me.”

“Throughout the recruitment process, Gunnar was all about fit; team, academics, and culture were all very important for him. Lawrence Tech University is the perfect fit for Gunnar.”

Now that Gustafson is off to college, Coach Sal and Coach Gilbert are able to reflect on his accomplishments at MHS.

“Gunnar is one of the hardest workers on the team,” said Salyers, “And the fact that he is a great athlete working hard really shows his character. He doesn’t take his talent for granted.”

“Gunnar has a phenomenal presence on and off the court,” said Gilbert, “He takes every game and practice seriously. He doesn’t speak often, but when he does, everyone listens.”