Scholar-Athlete Finalists Announced

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 23, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

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

Stone 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

Performance of the Week: St. Johns' Isabel Thelen

May 23, 2024

Isabel Thelen headshotIsabel Thelen ♦ St. Johns
Senior ♦ Tennis

Playing as part of St. Johns’ singles lineup for the fourth season – and at No. 1 singles for the second straight – Thelen will bring a 22-1 record into next weekend’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals at Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University. Thelen won her Regional last week, giving up only five games total in sweeping all three matches that day while also helping the Redwings finish runner-up to advance to the Finals as a team.

All of Thelen’s wins this spring have come in two sets, and her only loss was to Battle Creek Lakeview’s Maddy Simonds, who will be playing in the Division 2 Finals next weekend. Thelen also claimed the No. 1 singles championship at the Capital Area Activities Conference Red Tournament on Tuesday, winning both matches 6-0, 6-0. She’s a combined 91-10 during her high school career, and she also capped her basketball career this winter earning all-area and all-league honors. She will study next at Lansing Community College, possibly health sciences.

@mhsaasports 🎾POW: Isabel Thelen #tennis #stjohns #letsgo #champion #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🎾POW: Isabel Thelen #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #culvers #cat #airheadextreme #night #sand #beach #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

Past 2023-24 Honorees

May 16: Ally Katinas, Novi lacrosse - Report
May 9:
Peter Roehl, Rochester Adams - Report
May 2:
Lilah Smith, Richland Gull Lake soccer - Report
April 25:
Mason Mayne, Lawton track & field - Report
April 18:
Alli Wright, Jenison softball - Report
April 11:
Chloe Wishart, Trenton soccer - Report
March 28:
Jenna Maki, Ishpeming basketball - Report
March 22:
Jaremiah Palmer, Niles Brandywine basketball - Report
March 15:
Leah Hodge, North Farmington gymnastics - Report
March 8:
Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Action photo by Alex Parsons; headshot by Iryshe Photography.)