Scholars and Athletes 2014: Class C, D

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

February 4, 2014

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected 10 student-athletes from Class C and D member schools to receive scholarships through its Scholar-Athlete Award program.
 
Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 25th year of sponsoring the award, will give $1,000 college scholarships to 32 individuals who represent their member schools in at least one sport in which the Association sponsors a postseason tournament. The first 30 scholarships are awarded proportionately by school classification and the number of student-athletes involved in those classes; also, there are two at-large honorees which can come from any classification.

Each of the scholarship recipients will be honored at halftime ceremonies of the Class C Boys Basketball Final game March 22 at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing. Commemorative medallions will be given to the finalists in recognition of their accomplishments.

The Class C Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are: Melissa Dowell, Clinton; Erin McDonnell, Traverse City St. Francis; Kirsten Olling, Breckenridge; Stephen T. Erwin, Royal Oak Shrine Catholic; Devin Morrow, Three Oaks River Valley; and Ty Michael Rollin, Beal City.

The Class D Scholar-Athlete Award recipients are:  MacKenzie Ciganick, Bellaire; Sara Inbody, Deckerville; Grant Hohlbein, Adrian Lenawee Christian; and Steven McKenzie, Marcellus.

 

Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class C Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay also is included:

 

Melissa Dowell, Clinton
Played volleyball, basketball and softball during her high school career and expects to finish with four varsity letters in softball. Contributed to softball teams that won two MHSAA Finals, three District and three Tri-County Conference championships, and played on a District champion in volleyball. Named Most Improved Player in softball as a sophomore and the same for volleyball as a junior; also named volleyball team captain this fall. Served in student government three years including as student body treasurer and secretary this year. Also serves as secretary of her National Honor Society chapter and editor of the yearbook, and is ranked academically among the top 10 in her class. Volunteered multiple times for the Dearborn Firefighters Burn Drive and earned CPR certification. Will attend Siena Heights University and study nursing.

Essay Quote: “Playing on a state championship softball team has been an incredible experience. More amazing, however, has been the journey and the lessons learned along the way. I learned that good sportsmanship is like a sacrifice bunt. When I’m given the sign, I step up to the plate and execute without question. I don’t expect a display of fireworks or a grand headline in a newspaper.”

Erin McDonnell, Traverse City St. Francis
Participated in cross country, basketball and track and field and anticipates graduating with eight varsity letters. Ran on MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 champion 1,600-meter relay in 2012 when St. Francis finished team runner-up and was a contributor when the Gladiators won the team championship in 2013. Served as a captain on her cross country and track and field teams in 2013 and her junior varsity basketball team. Earned individual academic all-state honors in cross country three times and a variety of other team, league and region awards for athletic and academic performance. Participated in her school’s Key Club all four years of high school, its National Honor Society chapter as a junior and senior and as student body treasurer this school year. Undecided on where she will attend college but plans to study biology.

Essay Quote: “Compassion from a sportsmanship standpoint is simply respect. Through good sportsmanship, we develop and show compassion by actions such as lending a hand to another teammate (who) has fallen down or congratulating a team after a hard-fought win. ... By having compassion in sportsmanship, we show a love and respect for others leading to nothing but appreciation and respect in return. “

Kirsten Olling, Breckenridge
Became the seventh in MHSAA girls cross country history to win four Finals championships and set the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Finals record with a time of 17:44.9. Also won the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 3,200-meter run championship the last three seasons and the 1,600 as a freshman. Served as captain of her cross country team the last three seasons and her track and field team. Named academic all-state in cross country three seasons. Served as her class’ vice president and the yearbook sports editor and won multiple leadership awards as part of the Future Farmers of America. Served as an assistant coach for her local Girls on the Run program. Will attend Arizona State University and study biology with a minor in kinesiology.

Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship is more than just playing fair. True sportsmanship is knowing that your opponent has the same goals, helping others reach those goals and working hard every day. ... I get excited when I hear I get to race against the best. Sportsmanship is not about being happy even if you lose, but it is about helping your competition be their best.”

Stephen T. Erwin, Royal Oak Shrine Catholic
Participated in three years of varsity football, two of varsity ice hockey and expects to play his fourth season of varsity baseball this spring; also played two seasons of junior varsity basketball. Earned all-state honorable mention as a hockey goaltender and all-league baseball honors the last two seasons. Served as captain of his junior varsity basketball team and has been named captain of the baseball team for this spring. Served as student council class treasurer all four years of high school and has been a member of the National Honor Society for three years. Named Homecoming King this fall and earned Shrine Knight Award as the Most Outstanding Freshman Student. Serves as leader of the Shrine Service Club and has participated for four years as a coach and counselor in the Angel’s Place summer baseball program. Will attend Saint Louis University in Missouri and study either sports business or aviation.

Essay Quote: “A display of sportsmanship is important in educational athletics because it acknowledges the respect of other athletes and their roles. Simple handshakes after the game or some action on a bigger level are ways to show sportsmanship. ... Sportsmanship, in my mind, is not only respect but also caring for another athlete who has similar goals.”

Devin Morrow, Three Oaks River Valley
Participated in varsity cross country, basketball, golf and track and field and anticipates graduating with 10 varsity letters including four in golf. Served as his golf team’s captain three seasons and also as a basketball and cross country co-captain. Has participated in student government, National Honor Society and Business Professionals of America all for three years, and Students Against Destructive Decisions and his school’s band and drama club for four years. Served as his class’ president the last three years and also as president of his SADD and NHS chapters. Received Best Drum Major award at the Hastings Marching Invitational. Volunteered for three years as part of a Michigan Department of Transportation Highway Cleanup community service project. Will attend the University of Michigan and study engineering. 

Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship is much more than following the rules of the game. Sportsmanship allows for a highly competitive sporting event to maintain a dignified manner no matter the outcome. ... All in all, it makes sense to look at sportsmanship in a similar way that we view friendship – treat the people you play with and against as you would like to be treated yourself.”

Ty Michael Rollin, Beal City
Played four seasons of varsity football, two of basketball and will play his fourth season of varsity baseball this spring. Earned all-state honors in football as a senior and honorable mention as both a sophomore and junior, and also earned all-state honors in baseball as a sophomore (second team) and junior (first team). Contributed to a football MHSAA Finals runner-up finish in 2012 and a baseball MHSAA runner-up in 2013, and also to a Regional championship in basketball. Served as a coach at Beal City’s youth basketball camp the last four years and coached the eighth grade football team that finished league champion. Earned his school’s Principal’s Award as both a freshman and junior and participated in the Natural Helpers peer assistance program for two years. Will attend Central Michigan University and study pre-medical and dentistry.

Essay Quote: “A positive attitude regarding my own performance, my coaches, my teammates and my opponents is of utmost importance when it comes to good sportsmanship. ... I am a strong believer in not engaging in negative speech of any kind with my opponents. Being a team captain and a leader for many sports teams, throughout the year, I am constantly reminding my teammates to just walk away when an opponent is talking ‘smack.’”

Other Class C girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Korinna Corbin, Addison; Elizabeth Baker, Bronson; Amanda Reagle, Homer; Mandy Haferkorn, Iron Mountain; Megan Chapman, Ishpeming Westwood; Keara Wilson, Marlette; Grace Leighton, Mendon; Allie Kendall, Saginaw Nouvel; and Kari Feddema, Schoolcraft.

Other Class C boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Matthew S. Johnson, Fennville; Carter Ballinger, Jonesville; Luke Joseph Smigielski, Mancelona; Dakota Hall, Marlette; Bradley Schaub, Marlette; Kyle Baxter, Mayville; Jason Beckman, Shelby; James Barber, St Charles; and Nicholas DeSimpelare, Unionville-Sebewaing.

 

Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class D Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay also is included:

 

MacKenzie Ciganick, Bellaire
Played four seasons on the boys soccer team, three of basketball and will run her fourth season with the track and field team this spring. Qualified for the MHSAA Finals in track and field the last two seasons when she also served as a captain, and earned all-league honors the last three years. Played on a league and Regional champion soccer team this fall and a two-time District finalist basketball team. Earned academic all-state honors the last three years in soccer and academic all-conference the last three in track and field. Has maintained all A’s through every marking period of high school and will graduate as her class' co-salutatorian. Participated in National Honor Society for two years, on the school’s athletic council as a sophomore and as her church’s teen representative the last two years. Also has served as school president for the Antrim County Youth Coalition the last two years. Will attend Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, to study pre-physician assistant.

Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship in educational athletics goes far beyond shaking hands at the end of the game. I learned lessons ... throughout my four years of participating in high school sports that have shaped me as a human being.”

Sara Inbody, Deckerville
Played two seasons of varsity volleyball, three of varsity basketball and will play her third on the softball team this spring. Served as captain of all three teams and helped all three win league titles and the volleyball and basketball team to District championships. Received all-league honors or honorable mention in all three sports.  Served on student government all four years of high school including three as class president and this year as class vice president. Also participated in National Honor Society the last three years including as secretary of her chapter the last two. Earned Principal’s Award and Outstanding Student Award from the Sanilac County Career Center in 2011. Also participated in Health Occupations Students of America and as a volunteer tutor. Will attend Central Michigan University and study pre-medical with a focus on pediatrics.

 

Essay Quote: “Helping another person in a way that seems effortless to you, such as picking them up when they are on the ground during a game, is just one simple way to show sportsmanship and get others to realize how big of a difference you can make for somebody.”

 

Grant Hohlbein, Adrian Lenawee Christian
Played four years of varsity basketball and will play his fourth of varsity baseball this spring, plus three of varsity football and junior varsity as a sophomore when the varsity was eliminated because of a lack of players. Earned all-state and academic all-state honors for baseball, all-league in football as both a junior and senior, and all-county honors in basketball. Served on student council the last three years including as president as a senior. Participated in National Honor Society the last two years and as an international student conversation partner this year. Coached as part of the Lenawee Christian Cougar Camp for four years and officiated football, basketball and baseball for three years for the Christian Family Centre Impact Sport Leagues. Will attend Grand Canyon University in Arizona to study pre-medical.

Essay Quote: “Humanity is resilient, but it is up to us on how quickly we recover from loss. In sports, it is important to learn how to lose just as it is important to learn how to win. A good sport doesn’t let his emotions dictate his behavior.” 

 

Steven McKenzie, Marcellus
Expects to graduate with 15 varsity letters after participating in three years of football and four each of wrestling, cross country and track and field. Served as captain of the football and wrestling teams and helped the football team to a winning record in 2012, its first since 2003. Earned all-league honors in football. Holds a 4.0 grade-point average and is a three-year member of both the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, holding positions of vice president and president, respectively, in his school’s chapters. Also served on his Principal’s Advisory Council for three years and participated in marching band, concert band and 4-H for four years. Earned his student council’s Citizenship Award and also attended the statewide Young People’s Citizenship Seminar. Will attend Michigan State University and study agronomy, soil science and plant science.

Essay quote: “An athlete with good sportsmanship not only strives to improve but strives to improve for the team, not for selfish pride and glory. Anybody who can put (his or her) pride on the line in exchange for good sportsmanship is a champion. Not everybody is willing to work hard for the greater good, no matter how beneficial.”

Other Class D girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Julie Ahnen, Bessemer; Vanessa Freberg, Eben Junction Superior Central; Kari Borowiak, Gaylord St Mary; Lyvia Deaver, Jackson Christian; Erin Gast, Lake Linden-Hubbell; and Jennifer Malcolm, Plymouth Christian.

Other Class D boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Bret Hiveley, AuGres-Sims; Tyler Anthony Johnson, Bear Lake; Jeremy Bigalke, Manistee Catholic Central; Ben Feliczak, Manistee Catholic Central; Alec Firack, Pickford; and Harding Fears III, Southfield Christian.

Students applying for the Scholar-Athlete Award must be carrying at least a 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average and have previously won a letter in a varsity sport in which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors a postseason tournament. Other requirements for the applicants were to show active participation in other school and community activities and produce an essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics.

The Class B scholarship award recipients will be announced on Feb. 11, and the Class A honorees will be announced on Feb. 18.

Farm Bureau Insurance, one of Michigan's major insurers, has a statewide force of more than 400 agents serving more than 380,000 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 1,500 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 1.4 million spectators each year.

2024 Scholar-Athlete Award Recipients Announced in Class A

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

February 20, 2024

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected 13 student-athletes from Class A member schools to receive scholarships through the MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award program. 

Farm Bureau Insurance logoFarm Bureau Insurance, in its 35th year of sponsoring the award, will give $2,000 college scholarships to 32 individuals who represent their member schools in at least one sport in which the Association sponsors a postseason tournament. The first 30 scholarships are awarded proportionately by school classification and the number of student-athletes involved in those classes; also, there are two at-large honorees who can come from any classification.

Students applying for the Scholar-Athlete Award must be carrying at least a 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average and have previously won a letter in a varsity sport in which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors a postseason tournament. Other requirements for the applicants were to show active participation in other school and community activities and produce an essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics.

The 32 scholarship recipients will be recognized March 16 during the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing.

The Class A Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are Bella Adams, Battle Creek Lakeview; Aya Moughni, Dearborn; Arianna Pate, Gibraltar Carlson; Cecilia Ruchti, St. Joseph; Lily Sackrider, St. Johns; Katherine Slazinski, Birmingham Seaholm; Willem DeGood, Traverse City West; Abrar Hossen, Portage Central; Anirudh Krishnan, Plymouth; AJ Martel, Mason; Jaden Reji, Livonia Churchill; Charlie Seufert, East Grand Rapids; and Logan Yu, Midland Dow.

Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class A Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay also is included:

Bella Adams headshotBella Adams, Battle Creek Lakeview
Played three seasons of varsity volleyball and is competing in fourth of track & field this spring. Helped volleyball team to two District championships and earned academic all-state in that sport three times. Earned all-league and all-region in track and also earned academic all-state three times in that sport. Served as captain of both teams. Participating in fourth year of student government and serving as class vice president. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and has attended Battle Creek Area Math & Science Center throughout high school. Participated in multiple initiatives to promote STEM education including Phoenix Gives Back as a junior, Kellanova’s high school program as a senior and the BCAMSC’s Kindness Club the last two years. Participated in church’s Battle Creek Mission Trip throughout high school. Serving on staff of school’s TV channel for first time as senior and coached elementary and middle school volleyball summer camps the last two years. Is undecided where she will attend college, but intends to study biology.

Essay Quote: “The single most important component of sportsmanship, and even in the world, is compassion. Being compassionate is not just how you treat your closest friends, but treating everybody as a friend. Compassion is what helps the lonely, hurt teenage girl feel secure, the timid new basketball player feel at home. All successful student-athletes carry the foundation of compassion through sportsmanship.”

Aya Moughni headshotAya Moughni, Dearborn
Ran three seasons of cross country and played two of varsity volleyball, will play her second of varsity soccer and compete in fourth of track & field this spring, and also played varsity basketball as a sophomore. Earned league multi-sport recognition and scholar-athlete honors multiple years. Served as captain for soccer, basketball and volleyball junior varsity teams and substitute captain for cross country and track & field varsities. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and third on Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, and served as class vice president as sophomore. Founded Right to Play Club and serves as president, and also serves as president of Social Justice Club and treasurer of Gay-Straight Alliance. Served as Key Club vice president and director of outreach for Dearborn Youth Affairs Commission. Participating in first year of Business Professionals of America and as secretary, and qualified for state competition in multiple contests. Earned profile in courage award and multiple honors for voter registration. Is undecided where she will attend college but intends to pursue a career as a neurosurgeon.

Essay Quote: “In this vast arena of athletic education, sportsmanship stands as the unsung anthem for the underdog, the celebration of diversity, and the unyielding belief that fair play is the ultimate victory. It transforms the field into a space where young minds not only refine their physical abilities but also nurture the values that will shape them as future leaders, team players, and contributors to society.”

Arianna Pate headshotArianna Pate, Gibraltar Carlson
Ran four seasons of cross country, playing third season of varsity basketball and will compete in fourth season of track & field this spring. Earned all-league honors in cross country and track and all-area honorable mention in basketball, and helped basketball team to league championship as a sophomore. Serving as basketball team captain this season. Earned AP Scholar Award and honors from National African American Recognition Program and National Hispanic Recognition Program. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and as chapter president after serving as vice president as a junior. Serving fourth year on student council and as executive board secretary for second year after two years as class treasurer. Participating in fourth years of Earth Club and Inclusivity Club, second as part of Marauder Captains and third on Student Empowerment Team. Volunteered for three years as part of Red Cross blood drive. Will attend University of Michigan and study nursing.

Essay Quote: “It’s not just about helping someone up off of the ground, or saying “good game” in the handshake line after a competition. It’s about separating yourself from aggressive competition and instead showing empathy and care towards your fellow athletes whom you are lucky enough to share a playing field with. Especially in the realm of high school athletics, sportsmanship is one of the most important qualities that an athlete can have.”

Cecilia Ruchti headshotCecilia Ruchti, St. Joseph
Ran four years of cross country and will play her fourth season of varsity tennis this spring. Earned all-state in tennis and reached No. 1 doubles semifinals at 2023 Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals as team tied for sixth place. Earned all-league and all-region in cross country and helped that team to MHSAA Finals three times, also earning academic all-state in that sport. Served as captain of both teams multiple seasons. Participating in fourth year of student senate and as president, and also in fourth year as part of student foundation and as vice president. Serving as assistant teacher in third year of AP leadership course and also in third years as National Honor Society and writing center tutor. Served as tennis coach and camp instructor throughout high school and as athletic department intern as a senior. Is undecided where she will attend college, but intends to study marketing and design.

Essay Quote: “Walking away from Cross Country and Tennis State Finals, a lot of gratitude has washed over me. It’s been incredible to watch both my teammates and former teammates succeed. The time I shared with high-performing athletes and leaders influenced a lot of growth. I've observed extraordinary sportsmanship around me. I'm lucky to have coaches who have great integrity and preach hard work ethic. High school sports taught effective sportsmanship – on and off the course and court.”

Lily Sackrider headshotLily Sackrider, St. Johns
Ran four seasons of cross country, is playing her third season of varsity basketball and will compete in her fourth season of track & field in the spring. Earned all-conference and academic all-state in cross country helping that team to one league and two Regional titles. Earned all-state as part of a track relay as a junior. Served as captain of all three teams. Carries 4.0 grade-point average. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and as chapter co-president, and has participated on Youth Action Committee throughout high school and Tri-County Youth Advisory Council the last two years and served as officer for both. Also has served on school’s athletic student leadership team three years. Played in school marching band throughout high school and as part of drum line the last three years, as section leader of the latter. Serves as voting member on St. Johns Area Community Fund Board. Participated three years with school’s Peer Assisted PALS and two with Compassion Club. Will attend Hope College or University of Michigan and study on a premedical track.

Essay Quote: “Therein lies the real value in educational athletics; the civic education it provides. The totality of sportsmanship prepares student athletes to be the absolute best people we can be when venturing into adult life. … Once we have mastered sportsmanship, we become capable of taking our acquired traits of compromise, accountability and kindness and weaving them into everyday life.”

Katherine Slazinski headshotKatherine Slazinski, Birmingham Seaholm
Played two seasons of golf including on varsity this past fall, and will play fourth season of varsity tennis in the spring; also played two seasons of junior varsity volleyball. Earned all-state in tennis the last two seasons in helping team to 2023 Lower Peninsula Division 2 title and 2022 runner-up finish, winning No. 2 doubles flight as a junior. Served as tennis team captain. Earned AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Scholarship Commended Student recognition. Participating in third year of DECA, qualifying twice for state competition and serving as vice president of community service and social events the last two years. Participating in third year of National Honor Society and second of Spanish National Honor Society. Serving second year in multiple mentoring programs and second year as blood drive coordinator. Participated in YoungLife and as tennis coach and tournament assistant director throughout high school, and also is serving as marketing intern this year for Birmingham Education Foundation.

Essay Quote: “A major part of sportsmanship is putting the feelings of teammates or competitors before your own emotions. At times, this requires showing excitement for your teammates and all their hard work paying off, even when you are at your lowest points. At other times, this requires showing empathy to an opponent even when your first reaction is to celebrate your victory.”

Willem DeGood headshotWillem DeGood, Traverse City West
Ran four seasons of cross country and will participate in fourth of track & field this spring; also competed on school’s Nordic/cross country skiing team all four years. Earned all-league and all-region in cross country and qualified for MHSAA Finals all four seasons. Competed at MHSAA Finals in track first three seasons and helped that team to three Regional titles. Earned academic all-state two years. Served as co-captain of both cross country and track teams. Earned AP Scholar with Distinction honor and participating in second years of National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. Played in school’s concert and marching bands throughout high school and as part of philharmonic orchestra as a senior. Served as section leader and principal player, earned first-division solo recognition and selected to perform at Michigan Music Conference. Participating in second years of school’s global studies and arts community groups, and also serves as a math tutor and track club volunteer. Is undecided where he will attend college, but intends to major in international studies.

Essay Quote: “When competing, even for different teams, we are all stronger when we respect each other as good sportsmen and lift each other up. On the start line of every race, I always wish the runners next to me good luck because I know how much it means to know the people you’re facing on the track want the best for you, too.”

Abrar Hossen headshotAbrar Hossen, Portage Central
Ran three seasons of varsity cross country and will compete in his fourth of track & field this spring. Earned all-league honors in both sports, qualified for MHSAA Finals in both and served as captain of both teams as well. Earned AP Scholar with Distinction honor and named National Merit Scholarship Commended Student. Participating in second year of DECA and earned state championship, and served as chapter’s public relations director. Participating in third year on Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center student senate, and participated in global battery solution research at Western Michigan University. Participating in second years of computer science club and Kids in Science club, as instructor for both to younger students in those topics, and has served as tutor throughout high school for students with learning disabilities. Founded school’s cultural dance group and serving as president of Health Occupations Students of America chapter. Is undecided where he will attend college but intends to study on a premedical track.

Essay Quote: “Although my time with my teammates is nearing its end, the fact that any of them can come to me for support will never change. The act of running sparks conversations, new connections, and brings communities together. These are acts of sportsmanship that often go unnoticed. A team cannot be expected to respect other teams when they are not yet close enough to respect each other.”

Anirudh Krishnan headshotAnirudh Krishnan, Plymouth
Ran four years of varsity cross country and will compete in fourth of track & field this spring. Also trained in taekwondo during first three years of high school and participated in Unified Sports basketball as a junior. Earned all-state honors in both cross country and track and academic all-state for both sports as well. Holds school race records in both sports and served as team leader for both. Earned third-degree black belt in taekwondo and taught that martial art. Founded and serves as director of AK Friendship Circle nonprofit organization supporting young adults with disabilities, and earned Ted Lindsay Foundation Family Courage Award for contributions toward autism education. Served two years on student council and participated in University of Michigan’s Youth Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity in Metropolitan Detroit. Will attend Johns Hopkins University and study applied mathematics and statistics.

Essay Quote: “In the journey to building good sportsmanship, coaches are key mentors. Sometimes in the heat of intense competition, winning seems to be the only thing that matters. However, having a coach who can provide a sense of balance and guide athletes to have a positive mindset and attitude is critical for educational athletics. In every sporting event, someone wins, and someone loses. Accepting victory with joy while not gloating over your opponents, and accepting defeat with grace while not being antagonistic to the winner reflects on the character of an athlete.”

AJ Martel headshotAJ Martel, Mason
Played four seasons of varsity football, wrestling for fourth season and competing in second of diving this winter, and will compete in third season of track & field this spring. Earned all-state in football multiple seasons and finished as school’s all-time leading rusher, and helped team to four league and three Regional titles and Division 3 runner-up finish this past fall. Helped wrestling team to Regional title this season for second time, earned all-league first three seasons and placed at Individual Finals as a freshman. Earned all-state in multiple events in track and won 300-meter hurdles at 2023 Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals, helping team to runner-up finish. Earned all-league in diving and helped team to league title in 2023. Earned academic all-state in wrestling and football and academic all-league in track and diving. Participating in third year of National Honor Society and serving as senior class officer. Served as volunteer flag football coach and official and youth wrestling tournament worker. Participated in LINK program as a junior and serves as head of school’s athletics social media. Will attend Hope College and intends to study on a premedical track.

Essay Quote: “I realized that every person on the field was just a high school student who wanted the chance to play football. I didn’t have to detest (our rivals) because they attended a different school. I could appreciate the moment to compete against them while remembering that good sportsmanship benefits both teams.”

Jaden Reji headshotJaden Reji, Livonia Churchill
Played three seasons of varsity soccer and playing third season of varsity basketball. Earned all-conference multiple seasons in soccer and captained that team, and earned academic all-state in basketball. Named National Merit Scholarship semifinalist and AP Scholar with Distinction. Participating in third year of Spanish National Honor Society, as chapter president, and second year of Science National Honor Society, as vice president. Participating in third year of DECA, as chapter president, and was founding member of school’s chapter of Health Occupations Students of America and won a first place at HOSA International Leadership Conference. Participated in robotics throughout high school on team that twice qualified for world championships, and served as captain. Serving as Bible study leader for church youth group and as hospital volunteer and patient/family advisory council ambassador. Volunteered for school district’s summer Early Literacy Program. Participated in two years of debate and served as team secretary. Is undecided where he will attend college, but intends to study neuroscience on a premedical track.

Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship also requires humility and appreciation. I learned this from my experience in debate, where I present and clash with different opinions and perspectives. There is always something to learn from the other side, even if I disagree with them. I learned to acknowledge their strengths, address their arguments, and concede their points when warranted. I also learned to thank them for the opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue and to improve my own skills.”

Charlie Seufert headshotCharlie Seufert, East Grand Rapids
Played three seasons of varsity golf, will play third season of varsity tennis this spring, and also played two seasons of subvarsity basketball. Earned all-state in doubles tennis, helping team to Regional championship and third-place Finals finish in the fall, and earned all-conference in golf as a junior. Served as captain of both teams. Participating in fourth year of Latin club, and as president, and serving third year on student council. A heart transplant recipient, serves as speaker and ambassador for American Heart Association. Participating in third year of school’s Leadership Youth Development group and as leader. Participated two years in We the People competition including on state championship team, and as coach, and two years on Model United Nations team. Volunteered and served as First Tee West Michigan lead coach, and participating in second year as elementary school mentor. Also serving as writer for school newspaper. Is undecided where he will attend college, but intends to pursue a career in public health.

Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship has always been important to be. As a golfer and tennis player, I have exhibited good sportsmanship on and off the course/court. However, it was not until I received my heart transplant did I truly understood the meaning of this word. … Persevering through these difficulties has forever changed the athlete that I am. I now understand that sportsmanship does not just mean treating opponents with respect, but also forming connections with others on and off the course.”

Logan Yu headshotLogan Yu, Midland Dow
Played four seasons of varsity tennis, earning all-state the last two and winning the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals title at No. 3 singles as senior in helping Dow win second-straight team championship. Earned academic all-state as senior and was part of four academic all-state teams. Served as team captain as senior. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and served as vice president. Participating in third year of DECA and twice qualified for state competition and last year for International Career Development Conference. Playing violin for second year as part of symphony & honors orchestra and qualified for the Michigan Music Conference as sophomore, and has played piano for more than 13 years qualifying for State Achievement Testing semifinals four times. Serving third year on Midland Youth Action Council and participating in second year of church youth group and as worship leader. Is undecided where he will attend college, but intends to study business analytics and information systems.

Essay Quote: “… As a freshman, I began looking up to one of the leading figures in my life, my coach, who displayed amazing acts of sportsmanship throughout our season. When we won, he celebrated privately with us. When we lost, he congratulated the other coach and pushed us to work harder. I began to see why he was such an effective coach and leader. … Now, I see every match as an opportunity to display sportsmanship, inspire others, and grow myself.”

Other Class A girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were Yan Yee Adler, Ann Arbor Pioneer; Sam M. Peot, East Grand Rapids; Julia Holt, Farmington Hills Mercy; Tori Briggs, Fowlerville; Cameron Herman, Hartland; Brooke Pedersen, Holland West Ottawa; Ella Chatfield, Jenison; Meghan Ford, Mason; Lauren VanSumeren, Midland Dow; Addison Raffle, Northville; Ella Boyd, Oxford; Abigail DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek; Anna Lassan, South Lyon East; Addison Booher, Traverse City Central; Ava King, Traverse City West; London Williams, Trenton; Sarah Fromm, Utica; and Ryah Dewey, Walled Lake Western.

Other Class A boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were Viraj Nautiyal, Birmingham Seaholm; Dylan Shoresh, Birmingham Seaholm; Charles Howell, Cadillac; Erik Giedeman, Dearborn; Joseph Stachelek, Detroit U-D Jesuit; Charlie Lentz, East Grand Rapids; Chris Piwowarczyk, Fenton; TJ Silvernale, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern; Jack Ryan, Grosse Pointe South; Connor Curtis, Livonia Stevenson; Jonathan Song, Midland Dow; Jaxson Whitaker, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer; Kyle Brown, Northville; Sean Wilson, Oxford; Andrew Miller, Saline; Jack Carlisle, Stevensville Lakeshore; and Vansh Jvalit Baxi, Troy Athens.

The Class C and D scholarship award recipients were announced Feb. 6, and the Class B honorees were announced Feb. 13.

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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 1.4 million spectators each year.