Edson: Charlevoix’s Stuck Twins Looking Ahead to Next Challenge
When Charlevoix twins Luke and Elise Stuck were born on the last day of 2001, one of the first things people thought was: They are going to be outstanding athletes.
And why not?
Their parents, Matt Stuck and Erica (Hall) Stuck, were two of the best basketball players in northern Michigan history.
Matt scored 2,450 career points and was a three-time All-State first team pick by the Associated Press. He had a high game of 48 points in his Manton High School career.
Erica scored 1,649 career points and was a two-time All-State first team pick by the Associated Press. She had high games of 53 and 51 points for Manton High School – during the same week!
So that’s more than 4,000 career points.
For many kids, that kind of pressure would be too much to handle. But for Luke and Elise, it really didn’t seem like pressure.
“We grew up being competitive but we made it a positive thing,” said Luke. “Elise and I used to play soccer and football out in our yard when we were younger. She was taller than me through grade school, but I caught up to her in junior high.”
That’s when the outdoor games changed. Luke is 6-foot-4 and Elise 6-foot-1.
“Now when (younger brother) Caleb and I play Luke in basketball, we have to hit our threes or we don’t win,” said Elise with a laugh. “Luke can just overpower us inside.”
While Elise has gathered state-wide media attention with her athleticism, Luke has been a strong athlete for the Rayders, too.
He was hindered by injuries during his high school career, but came back strong his senior season. He was first-team all-conference in football while helping Charlevoix to a 7-4 record and its first-ever playoff win.
He was honorable mention all-conference in basketball as the Rayders went 18-3 before their season was cut short by the pandemic. Matt Stuck is the Charlevoix boys’ basketball coach and younger brother Caleb was also on the varsity.
“It’s tough coaching your sons because sometimes you have to be harder on them to set an example,” said Matt, who owns a construction company. “But Luke and Caleb understood the messages I was trying to send. We would talk about that… it’s a season I’ll always remember.”
Luke would have played first base again on the Charlevoix baseball team this spring, but he’s already looking ahead to next fall.
He’s going to Hope College to play football and major in pre-med.
“Luke is an old soul,” said Elise. “He’s so organized and straight forward in everything he does. We’re very different people in some respects but we share the same common values.”
“Luke is very organized… always has been,” he said. “When he was younger and I was trying to fix something, I’d ask him to go get me a crescent wrench. Most kids his age wouldn’t have even known what that was, but he came right back with just what I asked for.
“Luke and Elise are alike, for the most part, in their personalities but they are very different when it comes to school. Luke gravitates toward math and Elise to reading and language.”
As their mother, Erica has a unique take on the twins.
“They are both good students and good athletes,” she said. “But we’re most proud of the fact they are good people. He and Elise are both outgoing and have a lot of the same friends. Elise has gotten a lot of publicity because of her athletic accomplishments, but there is no jealousy on Luke’s part. He’s her No. 1 fan.”
“When I’m at her games, my friends and I are leading the cheering from the student section,” he said.
“And when I’m at his games, I probably get a little too loud rooting for him,” Elise said with a laugh.
Erica, who worked at a General Motors design center before becoming a teacher at Ellsworth seven years ago, said the twins are looking forward to getting out on their own.
“Of course, as twins they are close,” she said. “But they aren’t inseparable. We’ve raised them to set goals and each of them is looking forward to the next steps in their lives.”
For Elise, that means being one of the top girls’ basketball recruits in the state of Michigan. She chose the University of Michigan and, like Luke, is looking at majoring in pre-med.
She’s also had to battle injuries during her high school career. First, a shoulder injury as a sophomore then a torn ACL that cost her most of her senior basketball season, although she did work her way back to play in the state tournament.
She finished with 1,584 points and a high career game of 44 points.
“I’ve had to learn to work hard to recover from those injuries,” said Elise. “And I’ve learned a lot from other people in the process. For instance, our folks have always preached to us about being accountable, especially when there is no one around to monitor your progress. Luke and I are grateful for that.”
Early in her high school career, Elise excelled at several sports before turning her attention to basketball, where her first scholarship offers came when she was in eighth grade.
“Even though I ended up concentrating on basketball, I really learned a lot by playing other sports,” she said. “My coaches in those sports taught me real basic life values, like communication skills and being a good teammate. Those are the kind of things that will help me when I get out in the real world.”
Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.