Sportsmanship Salutes: EGR & Pellston

September 27, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

We love telling stories of our athletes and coaches showing good sportsmanship, often sacrificing for others especially in moments when victory appears within grasp.

The East Grand Rapids boys soccer and Pellston girls cross country teams provided us examples again earlier this month of how doing the right thing – regardless of the scoreboard – always leaves the lasting impression.

He shoots, both teams score

On Sept. 12, East Grand Rapids’ boys soccer team trailed Grand Rapids Christian 2-1. The victor would gain a significant upper hand in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold race. And these are also two of the best teams in the state; EGR is ranked No. 10 in Division 2 this week, and the Eagles are No. 4.

During the 66th minute, Grand Rapids Christian fired a shot at the East Grand Rapids goal, to the lower corner of the net. The ball continued through and past the goal – apparently missing it completely since the net did not catch the ball.

The two officials closest to the play, unable to rule for certain if the ball traveled inside or outside the goal post, were not going to count a goal. But Pioneers coach A.J. Dufendach saw from his perspective that the Eagles’ shot did indeed score – and he made sure to confirm it to the trailing official, who also believed the ball had crossed inside the post. Only then did the officials award Grand Rapids Christian a goal to make the score 3-1.

With three minutes to play, East Grand Rapids did score a second goal, but the game ended with the Eagles winning 3-2 – although Dufendach and his assistants also showed championship character despite the loss on the scoreboard, as detailed both by the head official in his report to the MHSAA and East Grand Rapids’ opponent.

“In a world where doing whatever it takes to win is the norm, we want to thank EGR for leading with honor and integrity,” Grand Rapids Christian posted as part of its online “Eagle Sport Report.” “Well done coach. You set an unforgettable example of what is most important in educational athletics. Thank you for taking this rivalry to a new level.”

Most memorable finish

The Petoskey News-Review called it “the finish of the day,” and that’s tough to argue.

During Ellsworth’s House on the Hill cross country event Sept. 16, Pellston lead runner Alice Principi gave up a probable top-10 finish in the Class D race to assist Ellsworth freshman Judith Veldbloom, who was struggling to finish and went to the ground during the final stretch.

Principi, who would go on to finish 11th as her team took second, gathered Veldbloom up and then stayed with her across the finish line.  

“Alice sacrificed some time and places to help a struggling competitor at the end of the race,” Pellston coach Chelsey Hermann told the News-Review. “It was an incredible demonstration of sportsmanship and shows just the kind of person she is.”

Ellsworth athletic director Brian Certa, in a letter to the MHSAA, echoed the appreciation: “What a tremendous example and witness to all who watched,” he wrote.

PHOTO: Pellston’s Alice Principi, left, assists Ellsworth runner Judith Veldbloom during the House on the Hill Invitational. (Photo courtesy of Ellsworth’s athletic department.)

Applications Available for 2022-23 Scholar-Athlete Awards

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

October 26, 2022

One of the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s most popular programs, the Scholar-Athlete Award, will again with Farm Bureau Insurance present 32 $2,000 scholarships to top student-athletes at member high schools during the 2022-23 school year.

The MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award highlights the value extracurricular activities play in the total education of high school students, often improving their academic achievements in the process. The Scholar-Athlete Award is in its 34th year. Since the award’s inception in 1988-89, Farm Bureau Insurance has presented $960,000 in scholarships through this program.

The first 30 scholarships will be presented on a graduated basis across the MHSAA’s traditional class structure. From Class A schools, six boys and six girls will receive scholarships; from Class B schools, four boys and four girls; from Class C schools, three boys and three girls; and from Class D schools, two boys and two girls will be honored. The final two scholarships will be awarded at-large to minority recipients, regardless of school size. The scholarships may be used at the institution of higher learning the recipients attend during the first year at those colleges.

Applications from individual schools will be limited to the number of available scholarships in their enrollment class. Class A schools may submit the names of six boys and six girls, Class B schools may submit four boys and four girls, Class C may submit three boys and three girls and Class D may submit two boys and two girls.

Students applying for Scholar-Athlete Awards must be graduating during the 2022-23 school year, be carrying an unrounded 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average and have won a varsity letter in a sport in which the MHSAA sponsors a postseason tournament: baseball, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys bowling, girls competitive cheer, girls and boys cross country, football, girls and boys golf, girls gymnastics, ice hockey, girls and boys lacrosse, girls and boys skiing, girls and boys soccer, softball, girls and boys swimming & diving, girls and boys tennis, girls and boys track & field, girls volleyball and wrestling.

Applicants will be required to show involvement in other school and community activities and submit an essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics. 

Information – including answers to a number of frequently asked questions – and links to the application are available online on the Scholar-Athlete Award page. Applications are available in digital format only and must be submitted online by 4 p.m. Dec. 2.

A committee composed of school administrators from across the state will select finalists and winners in late January, with the winners to be announced throughout February. All applicants, finalists and scholarship recipients will be announced on the MHSAA Website. The 32 scholarship recipients will be recognized during the 2023 MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing.

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 more than 660,000 Michigan residents.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.