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Time is running out to watch two local generational talents

 Time is running out to watch two local generational talents

A few moments after an April girls lacrosse game at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park’s varsity stadium, one of the referees who officiated the contest approached a Salem player and politely requested a selfie with the Rocks’ star.

Seconds later, Mileena Cotter was smiling alongside the official, who aimed his cell phone to capture the perfect pic.

“That’s a first,” Cotter told a reporter, still grinning in the wake of the request.

The moment was a testament to the respect Cotter has earned from lacrosse aficionados throughout southeast Michigan and beyond.

Ranked by one widely-respected national lacrosse publication as the third-best high school girls lacrosse player in the United States, Cotter is taking her next-level skills to Syracuse University in the fall, where she will undoubtedly make an instant impact on one of the elite collegiate programs in the NCAA.

WOW! moments

Regardless of whether you’re a lacrosse junkie or know absolutely next to nothing about the sport that is relatively new to the Midwest, you should make an effort to check out Cotter play before she graduates — she’s that good.

Mileena Cotter rockets home a goal earlier this spring
Mileena Cotter rockets home a goal earlier this spring

Despite attracting double- and triple-teams from opposing defenses, Cotter routinely registers double-digit goals — and she doesn’t hesitate to deliver on-point passes to open teammates.

It’s not an exaggeration to say Cotter is to southeast-Michigan girls lacrosse what Kaitlin Clark was to women’s college basketball — an energizing game-changer who provides multiple WOW! moments every time she steps on the field.

The opportunities to appreciate the humble standout’s skills are dwindling. According to the Kensington Lakes Activities Association website, the Rocks have two remaining regular-season games: May 6 at home against Canton; and May 13 in a conference cross-over match.

Cotter will then try to fuel a post-season run for the Rocks when they join 11 other teams at the Division 1 Regional 2 tournament hosted by Novi.

Nori special, too

Like Cotter, high school baseball players like Northville’s Dante’ Nori don’t come around very often.

Dante' Nori exults after a run-producing triple
Dante Nori exults after a run producing triple

Heading into the 2024 season, Nori was ranked as the 19th-best Major League Baseball Draft prospect out of the thousands of high school and college players eligible.

Despite getting pitched around — or intentionally walked — on a regular basis, the left-handed lead-off hitter (and tremendously-gifted center fielder) is enjoying a stellar season for the Mustangs, who were ranked No. 1 in the state by the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association as recently as April 17.

A rare blend of speed and power, Nori has signed a National Letter of Intent to play collegiate baseball for NCAA powerhouse Mississippi State University beginning in the fall; however, that could change depending on how highly he is drafted later this summer.

Stars on and off the playing field

Not counting the MHSAA post-season, Northville has just a handful of games remaining (see schedule here), so if you enjoy watching rare, upper-echelon talents like Nori, you’ll have to make plans to check him out relatively quickly.

While their sports couldn’t be much different, Cotter and Nori have a lot in common

They’re both outstanding students with engaging personalities — and they’ve parlayed incredible work ethics into the level of skills that come around these parts about as often as total solar eclipses.

Watch them shine while you have a chance.

Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or

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Ed Wright

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