Scholars & Athletes 2017: Class B

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

February 13, 2017

The MHSAA has selected nine student-athletes from Class B member schools to receive scholarships through the MHSAA-Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award program.  

Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 28th 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.

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.

Each of the scholarship recipients will be honored at halftime ceremonies of the Class C Boys Basketball Final game March 25 at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing. Commemorative medallions will be given to the finalists in recognition of their accomplishments.

The Class B Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are: Michael Bian, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood; Morgan Colling, Houghton; Jasmine Harper, Clare; Sasha Hartje, Detroit Country Day; Brayden Huddleston, Benzonia Benzie Central; Adam Kozinski, Edwardsburg; Tait Morrissey, Big Rapids; Kim Anh Nguyen, Wyoming Kelloggsville; and Emma Nowak, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard.

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

Morgan Colling
Houghton

Played four years of varsity basketball and ran two years each of varsity cross country and track & field, plus played two seasons of subvarsity volleyball. Qualified for the MHSAA Finals twice in both cross country and track and earned all-league recognition in basketball while helping that team to three league and two District titles during her first three seasons. Served as cross country and basketball captain. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and third of student government and key club. Serving as service project coordinator chair for NHS and vice president for key club, and has volunteered with Salvation Army and Copper Country Humane Society all four years of high school. Participated two years in Junior State of America and studied during the summer of 2016 in Hiroshima, Japan, after winning a Japan-America Friendship Scholarship. Will study microbiology at California Polytechnic State University.

Essay Quote: “When my vision cleared and I saw the winning team, overjoyed and grinning ear-to-ear, something inside me mended. I recognized the look on their faces; I had seen it many times before on my own teammates. It was then that I realized that the only difference between my team, and theirs, was our uniforms. As fellow basketball players, we shared the same passion, determination and yearning for success.”

Jasmine Harper
Clare

Ran four year of varsity cross country and will run her fourth of track & field, and has broken a total of four school records while earning a combined 10 all-state honors in those sports. Selected as the top academic all-state cross country athlete in Lower Peninsula Division 3 as a junior and capped her career this past fall by finishing ninth at the MHSAA Final in that division. Served as captain of both teams and ran for Michigan at the 2016 Mid-East Meet of Champions. Participated two years each in National Honor Society and student government, as her class president both years of the latter. Also participated in marching and symphonic band all four years of high school and theater for three years; earned 10 state merit awards and two national fourth-place finishes from the National Youth Ministries’ National Fine Arts Festival. Also served in leadership roles in her local Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Will attend Spring Arbor University and study elementary education. 

Essay Quote: “I was the conference champion my freshman year of cross country, but illness and injuries prevented me from keeping that title the next three years. I experienced what it was like to have a younger teammate beat me. But, I was reminded to treat everyone the same, whether I won or lost.”

Sasha Hartje
Detroit Country Day

Played three seasons of varsity volleyball and will pay her fourth of tennis and second of soccer this spring. Won Lower Peninsula Division 3 championship at No. 1 singles in 2016 after finishing runner-up in 2015, also leading Country Day to the team title. Earned all-state honors in tennis three times and all-region honorable mention in volleyball; served as captain of both teams and earned her school’s Scholar Athlete Award in 2016. Also plays ice hockey and was part of the 2014 bantam major national championship team, and serves as captain of her Little Caesars AAA hockey club. Serves as president of her school’s Current Events Club and lead instructor and coordinator for “Skate to be Great” in addition to volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Will attend Emory University in Georgia and major in pre-medical studies.

Essay Quote: “Over the years, these lessons I have been taught on the tennis court have rounded out not only my athletic education, but more importantly, my life. The lessons of sportsmanship and fair play on the field of battle, in the classroom or outside of both sports and school are always the same and carry the true measure of success.”

Kim Anh Nguyen
Wyoming Kelloggsville

Participated in varsity competitive cheer for three seasons, played two of varsity tennis and one of varsity volleyball. Earned all-conference honors in cheer as a sophomore and junior while helping her teams to league titles both seasons; served as captain of cheer and junior varsity volleyball teams. Participating in fourth year of student government and third of National Honor Society and is serving as president both of her class and NHS chapter. Also has participated in marching band four years including as drum major and for three years on her school’s Athletic Leadership Council. Will attend University of Michigan and study biochemistry.

Essay Quote: “When I am in a gym full of teams from all over the state, I see girls of different backgrounds, all wearing different uniforms. Despite this, we are unified by the same adrenaline that pumps through our veins as we approach an empty mat and staring faces. We are bound by the same passion and breathe as one before we perform. This sense of unity would not be possible without sportsmanship, for it creates memories that extend beyond titles and trophies.”

Emma Nowak
Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard

Played three seasons of varsity volleyball and will play her fourth of softball; also played freshman basketball. Started as setter of the volleyball team that finished 42-0 and won the Class B title in 2015 and three District and two Regional titles overall during her time on varsity; also expects to start at shortstop for her fourth season and helped her team to its first Detroit Catholic League title in 2015. Earned all-league honors in both sports, all-District in softball and all-Region in volleyball, and captained teams in all three of her high school sports and club volleyball. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and serves or has served in leadership positions for a number of efforts in her school and church including Be Love Revolution and as part of the Pine Hills Camp service team. Carries a 3.97 grade-point average and has earned multiple academic awards. Remains undecided on where she will attend college but intends to pursue studies in the medical field.

Essay Quote: “I have always been taught to compete hard, while respecting my opponent. What I have come to learn is you can also befriend your opponent and still compete every bit as hard … and that sportsmanship in athletics can lead to friendships and memories that I will always cherish.”

Michael Bian
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood

Played four seasons of varsity tennis, winning an individual Lower Peninsula Division 3 championship at No. 1 doubles in the fall after finishing runner-up at No. 3 singles twice; helped Cranbrook Kingswood to MHSAA team titles in both 2015 and 2016 and served as captain as a senior. Earned all-state recognition the last three seasons and his team earned all-academic honors as well the last three years. Also has participated on robotics and quiz bowl teams the last four years, helping robotics team to a state championship and VEX World Championship qualification three times. Serving as vice president of senior class while in fourth year of student government and is co-founder and president of his school’s philosophy club; also has been president of robotics and quiz bowl teams and of his school’s Future Business Leaders & Economists and Science & Engineering clubs. Named National Consumers League LifeSmarts state champion and ranked as ninth-best debater at 2016 state finals. Remains undecided where he will attend college, but intends to study philosophy, economics or political science. 

Essay Quote: “One of the greatest myths we hear about sportsmanship is that it is purely altruistic – that those who engage in it have nothing to gain. On the contrary, those who display sportsmanship gain important virtues.”

Brayden Huddleston
Benzonia Benzie Central

Ran four seasons of cross country, will run his fourth of track & field and played two seasons of varsity basketball. Earned all-state honors all four years of cross country, finishing seventh in Lower Peninsula Division 3 as a senior, and helped that team to two MHSAA championships. Also earned all-state five times in track and helped the basketball team to a District title, and has captained all three teams. Participating in second year of both National Honor Society and National Technological Honors Society; named “Student of the Year” at Traverse City’s Manufacturing Technology Academy. Serves as vice president of Interact Club which has raised more than $10,000 toward polio and multiple sclerosis research and has participated in “Back the Track” foundation that has raised more than $140,000. Will attend Bradley University and study mechanical engineering.

Essay Quote: “One of my biggest role models was a runner from another team. I remember watching, as a freshman, him dominate the field. It wasn’t how fast he ran or the distance he put on the second-place kid that made him stick out to me. … He was modest, never wanting to talk about himself. He had a way of making you feel just as fast or (like you had) the same potential as he did. At these realizations, I aspired to model my athletic career after him.”

Adam Kozinski
Edwardsburg

Played three seasons of varsity soccer and basketball and will play his third of varsity golf; also played a season of varsity tennis. Earned all-league honors in basketball and tennis and academic all-state in basketball and soccer while his team earned academic all-state in golf. Helped his basketball team to two District titles and has served as a captain of the soccer, basketball and golf teams. Serves as secretary of his National Honor Society chapter and as a committee chairperson for Students Against Destructive Decisions. Assisted in NHS fundraising of more than $30,000 for “Operation Christmas” event to benefit less-fortunate families and represented his school at a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership conference. Has volunteered at a local food pantry and churches and serves as Sunday morning head chef at University of Notre Dame’s Corby Hall, where he prepares meals for priests. Will attend Central Michigan University and study business.

Essay Quote: “Having an opportunity to play varsity sports since my freshman year, I have experienced a variety of ways senior and junior teammates treat underclassmen. Throughout the years, I have observed seniors that are very positive and uplifting to underclassmen, but then some other senior teammates are negative. … I decided when I was a senior, I would try to be the most positive and encouraging teammate on the team.”

Tait Morrissey
Big Rapids

Played four seasons of varsity tennis, two of varsity basketball and will play his fourth of varsity golf this spring. Earned all-conference honors in golf his first three seasons and helped that team to league, District and Regional championships and a third-place MHSAA Finals finish last season. Also helped his basketball team to league, District and Regional titles and a Class B Semifinal berth in 2016. Earned academic all-state honors in tennis his last two seasons; served as captain of that team and will serve as golf captain this spring. Serving second year as his class’ vice president and also has served as a representative for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Mecosta County Youth Advisory Council and his schools “Climate Crew” and in a number of leadership roles including as patrol leader of his Boy Scout troop. Participating in National Honor Society, key club, Students Against Destructive Decisions and attended American Legion Boys State in 2016. Also is a member of the Boy Scouts’ Order of the Arrow honor society. Will attend Alma College and major in pre-medical studies. 

Essay Quote: “Although high school athletics are highly competitive, and emotions tend to run high, standard values such as sportsmanship are necessary in order to embrace and give meaning to the event. In turn, athletes learn integrity, ethics and values.” 

Other Class B girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Michel Faliski, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood; Madeline Filiatraut, Dearborn Divine Child; Noelle Kraus, Edwardsburg; Peyton Rellinger, Gladwin; Lindsey Shearer, Gladwin; Erika Freyhof, Hamilton; Haley Heldt, Midland Bullock Creek; Megan Aalberts, Otsego; Raechel K. McKiernan, Richmond; Kylie Hutchinson, Shepherd; and Gabrielle Smith, Yale.

Other Class B boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Michael J. Gussert, Cadillac; Christopher A. Roush, Chelsea; Collin Lieber, Croswell-Lexington; Evan Latham, Dearborn Divine Child; Patrick Johns, Marine City; Richard Dominick Reo III, Paw Paw; Brendan Gered Fraser, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; Ryley Alaspa, Sault Ste. Marie; Ryan Sanderson, Sault Ste. Marie; Josef Hissom, Spring Lake; Andrew D. Marten, Tecumseh; and Cade Smeznik, Yale.

The Class C and D scholarship award recipients were announced Feb. 7, and the Class A honorees will be announced Feb. 21.

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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.

Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan was founded in 1949 by Michigan farmers who wanted an insurance company that worked as hard as they did. Those values still guide the company today and are a big reason why it is known as Michigan’s Insurance Company, dedicated to protecting the farms, families, and businesses of this great state. Farm Bureau Insurance agents across Michigan provide a full range of insurance services — life, home, auto, farm, business, retirement, Lake Estate®, and more — protecting nearly 500,000 Michigan policyholders.

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.