By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The MHSAA Student Advisory Council's "Battle of the Fans VII" is set to kick off at high schools all over our state. An expanded contest format will allow more schools to compete for the title of best high school student section in Michigan.
Contenders need to keep just one question in mind: Are you prepared to accept the challenge?
For the first time in BOTF history, nine schools will advance to a second round of "challenge" competition, with three finalists then selected for student section visits during the second half of this winter season.
To apply, schools are invited to submit a short video, via YouTube, of their cheering sections in action. Video submissions should be between 90 seconds and three minutes long and explain how that section meets the following contest criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, student section leadership and fun.
The deadline for student-submitted video applications is noon Jan. 13. Nine semifinalists then will be chosen – three each from Class A, Class B and Class C/D – to partake in a two-week challenge where each will be required to complete 10 tasks further showing why they should be chosen as Michigan’s best student section. From those nine, three finalists then will be selected by the Student Advisory Council and visited on a home game night by MHSAA staff and Advisory Council representatives.
The MHSAA will produce a video of that finalist after each visit, with the champion being selected by the Student Advisory Council based in part on activity on the MHSAA’s social media sites.
This year’s winner will be announced Feb. 23 and recognized March 23 at the Breslin Center.
Frankenmuth was named last year’s champion and presented with a banner during the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center. Sections from Boyne City, Charlotte, Petoskey and Traverse City West also were finalists.
“Battle of the Fans has enjoyed a great run these first six years and provided plenty of examples that help us teach students statewide how to celebrate school spirit,” said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. “By putting a fresh spin on the contest this winter, we’ll be able to have more schools involved in the competition for a longer period of time, and we’re looking forward to the creativity of our students as they complete these challenges – which will allow us to showcase more of the great work so many are doing to support their classmates not just on one night, but all school year long.”
Rules, directions for submitting videos, plus links to coverage of finalists from the first six years of the contest can be found on the MHSAA Website BOTF page. This year’s finalist videos, plus the announcement of the 2017-18 winner, will be published on Second Half.
The Student Advisory Council is made up of eight seniors and eight juniors, who each serve two-year terms. The Council acts as the voice of Michigan's student-athletes; it serves as a student sounding board for the MHSAA's Representative Council, assists in planning Sportsmanship Summits, Captains Clinics and other student leadership events; participates in a yearly focus group about the state of high school sports for Michigan State University's Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and assists with medal ceremonies at MHSAA championship events.
PHOTO: Dowagiac had us on the move during its BOTF championship run in 2015. VIDEO: Below, Frankenmuth showed its spirit in 2017 in becoming the first two-time BOTF champion.
Shayna Hruska ♦ Iron Mountain
Junior ♦ Wrestling
With an 8-2 decision win in the 106-pound final Saturday, Hruska became the first female champion at the annual Upper Peninsula Championships, and she then was selected the event’s “Outstanding Wrestler” for going 3-0 also with pins in her first two matches of the tournament. Those victories improved her record to 18-6 this season.
Hruska began wrestling in third grade and finished fourth at 97 pounds as a freshman at the 2021 Michigan Wrestling Association Girls Championships. She then finished second at her District to reach Regionals competing in the bracket with the boys last season. She entered last week’s U.P. Championships title coming off a runner-up finish at the Escanaba Elks Invitational on Jan. 7 and the championship at 106 at Kingsford’s Ray Mariucci Wrestling Invitational on Jan. 14.
@mhsaasports 🤼♀️POW: Shayna Hruska #performanceoftheweek #wrestling #upchampionship #outstandingwrestler #congrats #meetchamp #uppower #mountaineers #ironmountain #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok #mistudentaid #fyp @shaynahruska ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat
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MHSAA.com's "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. 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 www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
Jan. 19: Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20: Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16: Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9: Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2: Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24: Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17: Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10: Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27: Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20: Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13: Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6: Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30: Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22: Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15: Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8: Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1: Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25: Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report
(Photos courtesy of the Iron Mountain High School athletic department.)