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
GIRLS CLASS A
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
BOYS CLASS B
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
GIRLS CLASS B
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
BOYS CLASS C
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
GIRLS CLASS C
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
BOYS CLASS D
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
GIRLS CLASS D
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
Elections were completed recently to fill positions on the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s legislative body, its Representative Council, with six members receiving re-election, another rejoining the Council after previously serving and two being selected for the first time – one of those two as part of a special election.
Five of the six re-elected members ran unopposed. Midland athletic director Eric Albright was re-elected to continue representing Class A and B schools in the northern section of the Lower Peninsula, Portage Northern athletic director Chris Riker was re-elected to continue representing Class A and B schools in the southwestern section of the Lower Peninsula, and Brighton athletic director John Thompson was re-elected to continue representing Class A and B schools in the southeastern section of the Lower Peninsula.
Calumet faculty member and past athletic director Sean Jacques was re-elected to continue representing the Class C and D schools in the Upper Peninsula. Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, was re-elected to continue representing private and parochial schools. Grand Haven superintendent Scott C. Grimes was re-elected for a statewide at-large position from an original pool of four candidates.
Bangor athletic director Fredrick J. Smith will be rejoining the Council after previously serving from 2005-17 while athletic director at Comstock, Buchanan and Benton Harbor. He was elected to represent junior high and middle schools. Harbor Springs athletic director Anna Rigby will join the Council for the first time and was elected to represent Class C and D schools in the northern section of the Lower Peninsula. All eight were elected to serve two-year terms.
Camden-Frontier superintendent Chris Adams also will be joining the Council for the first time. He was selected as part of a special election to serve a one-year term representing Class C and D schools in the southeastern section of the Lower Peninsula. He will finish the term of former Ottawa Lake Whiteford athletic director and coach Jason Mensing, who now serves at Class A Westland John Glenn.
The Representative Council is the 19-member legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee. The Council meets three times annually, and these elections take effect with the Fall 2022 meeting. Five members of the Council convene monthly during the school year to form the MHSAA’s Executive Committee, which reviews appeals of Handbook regulations by member schools.
Additional elections took place to select representatives to the Upper Peninsula Athletic Committee. Lake Linden-Hubbell athletic director and varsity girls basketball coach Jack Kumpula was elected to represent Class D schools, and West Iron County principal, athletic director and varsity football coach Mike Berutti was elected to represent athletic coaches. Powers North Central principal David Florenski was selected in a special election to serve a one-year term representing Class D schools.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 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 1.3 million spectators each year.