Scholar-Athlete Finalists Announced

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 23, 2015

The 120 finalists for the Michigan High School Athletic Association's Scholar-Athlete Awards for the 2014-15 school year have been announced, with 18 schools having multiple candidates for the 32 awards.

The program, celebrating its 26th anniversary, has recognized student-athletes since the 1989-90 school year and again this winter will honor 32 individuals from MHSAA member schools who participate in at least one sport in which the Association sponsors a postseason tournament.

Farm Bureau Insurance underwrites the Scholar-Athlete Awards and will present a $1,000 scholarship to each recipient. Since the beginning of the program, 640 scholarships have been awarded.

Scholarships will be presented proportionately by school classification, with 12 scholarships to be awarded to Class A student-athletes, six female and six male; eight scholarships will be awarded to Class B student-athletes, four female and four male; six scholarships will be awarded to Class C student-athletes, three female and three male; and four scholarships will be awarded to Class D student-athletes, two female and two male. In addition, the final two scholarships will be awarded at-large to minority recipients, regardless of school size.

Every MHSAA member high school could submit as many applications as there are scholarships available in its classification, and could have more than one finalist. Beal City has three finalists this year.  Seventeen schools each have two finalists: Ann Arbor Pioneer, Berkley, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, Cheboygan, Dearborn Divine Child, East Grand Rapids, Grandville, Hartland, Holland, Iron Mountain, Plainwell, Roscommon, Springport, Traverse City Central, Traverse City West, Utica Ford and White Lake Lakeland.

Multiple-sport participation remains the norm among applicants. The average sport participation rate of the finalists is 2.63, while the average of the application pool was 2.16. There are 65 three-plus sport participants in the finalist field, and all but two of the 28 sports in which the MHSAA sponsors postseason tournaments are represented.

Of 406 schools which submitted applicants, 45 submitted the maximum allowed. This year, 1,584 applications were received. All applicants will be presented with certificates commemorating their achievement. Click for additional Scholar-Athlete information, including a complete list of scholarship nominees.

The applications were judged by a 58-member committee of school coaches, counselors, faculty members, administrators and board members from MHSAA member schools. Selection of the 32 scholarship recipients will take place in early February. Class C and D scholarship recipients will be announced Feb. 3; Class B scholarship recipients will be announced Feb. 10, and Class A scholarship recipients will be announced Feb. 17. All announcements will be made on the MHSAA Website.

To honor the 32 Scholar-Athlete Award recipients, a ceremony will take place during halftime of the Class C Boys Basketball Final, March 28, at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing.

To be eligible for the award, students must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 (on a 4.0 scale), and previously have won a varsity letter in at least one sport in which the MHSAA sponsors a postseason tournament. Students also were asked to respond to a series of short essay questions, submit two letters of recommendation and a 500-word essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics.

Farm Bureau Insurance, one of Michigan's major insurers, has a statewide force of 450 agents serving nearly 500,000 Michigan policyholders. Besides providing life, home, auto, farm, business and retirement insurance, the company also sponsors life-saving, real-time Doppler weather tracking systems in several Michigan communities.             

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,400 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.

2014-15 Scholar-Athlete Award Finalists



BOYS CLASS AStone Mathers, Ann Arbor Pioneer
Matthew J. Orringer, Ann Arbor Skyline
Jacob W. Herbers, Battle Creek Lakeview
Eric Braun, Berkley
Justin Boogaart, Byron Center
David A. Posawatz, Clarkston
Michael Kenney, Detroit U-D Jesuit
Sean Lang, East Grand Rapids
Mikey Roth, East Grand Rapids
Joseph Pummill, Garden City
Miles Kuperus, Grand Rapids Christian
Andrew James Fox, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
Kyler Beal, Holland
Raymond Surya, Holland
Collin DeShaw, Holland West Ottawa
Andrew Bennett, Linden
Ryan Susterich, Muskegon Mona Shores
Shunhe Wang, Northville
Mark Luoma, Okemos
Ravin Randall, Port Huron
Benjamin Hill, Royal Oak
Alex Scott, Traverse City West
Blake McComas, White Lake Lakeland
Matthew Carter, Ypsilanti Lincoln 


Kara N. Gehrke, Alpena
Rachel Menge, Ann Arbor Pioneer
Eliza Laramee, Berkley
Rachel DaDamio, Birmingham Seaholm
Diane Reed, Bloomfield Hills
Sheridan Skopczynski, Gibraltar Carlson
Isabella Buck, Grandville
Allison Utting, Grandville
Allegra Lanae Berry, Greenville
Sara Condra, Hartland
Carson Vestergaard, Hartland
Kirsten Smith, Lansing Eastern
Caycee Turczyn, Lapeer
Meg Darmofal, Mason
Cydney Martell, Richland Gull Lake
Hayley Rogers, Salem
Emily Diehl, Saline
Courtney Rooker, St. Joseph
Ashley Ko, Traverse City Central
Ellie Lauren Taylor, Traverse City Central
Mikenna Ray, Traverse City West
Danielle Maxwell, Utica Ford
Alex Sorgi, Utica Ford
Jessica Erickson, White Lake Lakeland 

Stephen Luckoff, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood
Francis Misra, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood
Samuel Swem, Buchanan
T.J. Baker, Cadillac
Derek Sturvist, Cheboygan
Dane Miller, Dearborn Divine Child
Tyler James Burkhardt, Fowlerville
Andrew Olesak, Gladstone
Bradley Madsen, Manistee
Tyler Horn, Marshall
Chandler Biggs, Midland Bullock Creek
Jonathan Krug, New Boston Huron
Jacob Almeda, Plainwell
Trenton L. Monroe, Plainwell
Mark Williamson, Spring Lake
Garrett Bondy, Yale 

Kendall Latshaw, Battle Creek Harper Creek
Kalabrya LeBrae Gondrezick, Benton Harbor
Kelsey Cushway, Big Rapids
Kirstin Anderson, Charlotte
Amanda Paull, Cheboygan
Shelby Bowers, Coldwater
Riley Blair, Dearborn Divine Child
Rebecca Piron, Escanaba
Raven Jefferson-Brinkley, Ferndale
Morgan Ketola, Freeland
Rachel Money, Grayling
Courtney Vande Vorde, Hamilton
Kikel Sekoni, Haslett
Kristen Marsman, Holland Christian
Jenna Davids, Portland
Kelsey Metzger, Sturgis 

Deontay Walker, Bath
Nicholas Pung, Beal City
Ryan Karapas, Clinton
Blaine Michael Stowe, East Jackson
Pierce Vreeland, Gobles
Cole Rossato, Iron Mountain
Mark Holmgren, Ishpeming
Connor Thomas, Marlette
Jason Bell, Negaunee
Jacob Dibbet, Roscommon
Daniel Brown, Springport
Aaron J. Watson, Union City 

Nicole Gross, Beal City
Emily Elizabeth Steffke, Beal City
Skyler Sobeski, Bronson
Marti Ann Pirkola, Iron Mountain
Mary Grace Fries, Jackson Lumen Christi
Lauren M. Skidmore, Oscoda
Jami Hubbard, Reading
Katie Burmester, Roscommon
Maggie Belcher, Springport
Mallory Munderloh, St Louis
Erica Treiber, Unionville-Sebewaing
Bridget Dewan, Wixom St Catherine 

Kevin Greenman, Battle Creek St. Philip
Chantz Owens, Burr Oak
James Thibodeau, Clarkston Everest Collegiate
Gideon Rea Mulka, Hillman
Aaron Van Horn, Kingston
Travis McCormick, Mason County Eastern
Thomas Gallagher, Peck
Connor Patrick Cappaert, Stephenson 

Danielle Piggott, Fowler
Taylor Richards, Fruitport Calvary Christian
Rachelle Trafford, Lansing Christian
Anissa Keeler, Marion
Kelsey Rambo, Pickford
Hunter Branstrom, Rock Mid Peninsula
Margo Brown, St. Ignace
Jane Hursey, Suttons Bay

MHSAA High School Sports Participation Continues to Exceed Population Ranking Nationally

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 15, 2023

Michigan continued to rank 10th nationally in high school-aged population during the 2022-23 school year and continued to best that ranking in participation in high school sports, according to the annual national participation study conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Michigan ranked ninth for overall participation nationally, based on a total of 268,070 participants who competed in sports for which the MHSAA conducts postseason tournaments. The total counts students once for each sport played, meaning students who are multiple-sport athletes are counted more than once.

Michigan also ranked ninth nationally for both girls (111,569) and boys (156,501) participation separately, while ranking ninth for high-school aged boys population and 10th for girls according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Michigan’s national rankings in seven sports improved from 2021-22, while nine sports saw lower national rankings than the previous year. The biggest jumps came in girls volleyball and boys soccer, which both moved up two spots – volleyball to fourth-highest participation nationally, and boys soccer to eighth. Girls golf (fourth), softball (seventh), girls track & field (seventh), girls swimming & diving and boys swimming & diving (both eighth) also moved up on their respective national lists.

Participation in several more MHSAA sports also continued to outpace the state’s rankings for high school-aged population.

For girls, participation in bowling (fourth), tennis (fourth), cross country (sixth), basketball (seventh), competitive cheer (ninth) and soccer (ninth) all ranked higher than their population listing of 10th nationally. Among boys sports, bowling (second), ice hockey (fourth), tennis (fifth), golf (fifth), basketball (sixth), track & field (sixth), cross country (seventh), football – all formats combined (seventh) and baseball (eighth) exceeded that ninth ranking for population.

Only 11 states sponsor alpine skiing, but Michigan ranked third on both the girls and boys lists for that sport. Wrestling, with boys and girls totals counted together, ranked eighth.

Participation nationally rose more than three percent from 2021-22 to 7,857,969 participants, the first upward movement in participation data since the all-time record of 7,980,886 in 2017-18, which was followed by the first decline in 30 years in 2018-19 and the two-year halt in data collection by the NFHS related to the pandemic. (The MHSAA continued to collect and report its data during this time.) The national total includes 4,529,789 boys and 3,328,180 girls, according to figures obtained from the 51 NFHS member state associations, which include the District of Columbia.

Eleven-player football remained the most popular boys sport, and most popular participation sport overall, with the total climbing back over one million participants. The total of 1,028,761 participants marked an increase of 54,969 and 5.6 percent from the previous year. This year’s increase was the first in the sport since 2013 and only the second increase since the all-time high of 1,112,303 in 2008-09. There also was a slight gain (34,935 to 35,301) in the number of boys in 6-, 8- and 9-player football.

Next on the boys list were outdoor track & field, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, cross country, tennis, golf, and swimming & diving, respectively.

On the girls side, outdoor track and field (up 6.5 percent) and volleyball (3.6) remained in the top two spots, while basketball reclaimed the third position. Cross country ranked fourth, followed by softball, soccer, golf, tennis, swimming & diving and competitive spirit, respectively.

Texas remained atop the list of state participation with 827,446, but California closed the gap in second adding 25,000 participants to climb to 787,697. New York is third with 356,803, followed by Illinois (335,801), Ohio (323,117), Pennsylvania (316,587), Florida (297,389), New Jersey (272,159), Michigan (268,070) and Minnesota (219,094), which climbed into the top 10 past Massachusetts.

The participation survey has been compiled in its current form by the NFHS since 1971.