By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected eight student-athletes from Class B member schools to receive scholarships through the Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award program.
Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 27th 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 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.
Each of the scholarship recipients will be honored at halftime ceremonies of the Class C Boys Basketball Final game March 26 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: Lindsey Carlson, Charlotte; Spencer Keoleian, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood; Josef Philipp, Hillsdale; Paiton Plutchak, Menominee; Austin Thompson, Onsted; Kate Tobin, Grosse Ile; Trevor Trierweiler, Portland; and Katherine Williams, Grosse Ile.
Overviews of the scholarship recipients of the Class B Scholar-Athlete Award follow. A quote from each recipient's essay also is included:
Lindsey Carlson, Charlotte
Ran four seasons of varsity cross country and will play fourth season of varsity soccer this spring. Earned all-state honors in cross country as both a freshman and sophomore and earned league and Regional championships in addition to a top-10 finish at the MHSAA Finals and top-50 Finals finishes all four seasons. Served as captain of both of her teams. Serving as president in her third year on student council and also as president of student cheering section after helping create it as a junior. Participating in fourth year of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and her church youth group, and has served as a camp counselor, mentor and as a Junior Rotarian for her local club. Also played two years in the school band, attaining first chair and earning awards for saxophone solo and ensemble. Will attend Eastern Illinois University and study dietetics.
Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship is an admirable habit that will last a lifetime. … A caring, sportsmanlike action can go a long way, and the relationships and satisfaction made from it means much more than a temporary place in a race and a medal around the neck.”
Paiton Plutchak, Menominee
Played two seasons of varsity tennis and ran three seasons of varsity track and field and one of varsity cross country. Earned four league and one MHSAA Finals championship as a hurdler and sprinter, and earned all-Upper Peninsula honors playing No. 1 doubles in tennis. Served as team captain of both of those teams during 2015. Also has participated on a statewide level in forensics and as part of the Business Professionals of America state leadership conference. Served as BPA chapter president and National Honor Society chapter president, and is serving as her student council’s secretary. Participating for fourth year on local Healthy Youth Coalition, third as part of the local teen court and earned a Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizens Award; also participated as a delegate at the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State conference. Will attend Central Michigan University and study business.
Essay Quote: “High school athletics have tested my character and sportsmanship. … Sportsmanship is being humble, helpful and complimentary. I learned that if others try to bring you down, you need to stand tall and fight back with compliments and hard work. The most peaceful way to get back at someone is with success and compliments.”
Kate Tobin, Grosse Ile
Played four seasons of varsity volleyball, four of varsity basketball and will play third of varsity soccer this spring. Earned all-league and all-state honors in all three sports and has served as captain of both the volleyball (two seasons) and basketball teams. Participating on student council – and has held multiple leadership positions – for fourth year, and as part of National Honor Society for third after earning early induction into the latter. Also participates with her local Rotary Interact Club and has mentored freshman students and worked as a helper at a local elementary school. Also is serving as a referee for the local youth basketball league for the fourth year. Will attend the College of Charleston in South Carolina and study elementary education.
Essay Quote: “What makes sportsmanship so important is that it’s a legacy that will never die. Athletes can make their choice on whether or not they want to carry on the tradition, but all those who are a part of this legacy know that no one will ever be great without it. You can always be a great athlete, but your greatness is derived from sportsmanship.”
Katherine Williams, Grosse Ile
Played four seasons of varsity golf and will play her third of varsity soccer this spring; also played two seasons of subvarsity basketball. Played in four MHSAA Golf Finals and on the Lower Peninsula Division 4 champion team as a sophomore. Earned all-league and academic all-state honors in golf and served as that team’s captain, and also played on a league champion soccer team. Participating in third year of National Honor Society and has served as president, and also is in third year on student council. Plays in her school’s marching and symphonic bands and is the clarinet section leader, and has earned solo, ensemble and symphonic awards of excellence. Also has participated in a number of theatrical performances. Founded three service projects that have benefited her community’s needy and cancer research and awareness. Is undecided where she will attend college but intends to study advertising and communications.
Essay Quote: “Personally, athletics aren’t my everything. I do not live, breathe and sleep sports. I can experience the same “take the field” adrenaline in a marching band uniform or performing on stage. However, sportsmanship did help me fit in with the diehard … and that is why I believe an emphasis on integrity and kindness is so crucial in athletics.”
Spencer Keoleian, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood
Participating in his fourth season of swimming and diving and will play his second season of varsity lacrosse this spring; also played junior varsity football as a freshman. Qualified for MHSAA Swimming & Diving Finals his first three seasons and contributed to team’s first and second team Finals championships. Earned all-state recognition in two events and is serving as captain this winter. Also contributed to last season’s lacrosse MHSAA Finals title. Led retreats and participated in community outreach for four years as part of Bridge the Divide and co-founded Horizons Upward Bound Swim program to teach swimming to urban youth. Received University of Michigan’s Youth and Community Program Youth Leadership and Social Justice Schools and Communities certification. Selected by faculty to sit on school’s Conduct Review Disciplinary Board and participated in student government. Will attend Cornell University and study operations management and research engineering.
Essay Quote: “I thought this was the best feeling anyone could feel in athletics, the genuine happiness felt by one teammate for another who had done so well. However, as time passed, I realize there was more to it than just that. … I realized sportsmanship is not necessarily limited to organized athletics, but encompasses all forms of friendly competition.”
Josef Philipp, Hillsdale
Played four seasons of varsity football and soccer, is playing his third of varsity basketball and will play his fourth of varsity golf this spring. Owns school records for extra points and field goals and helped football team to the playoffs every season; contributed to league, District and Regional championships over three sports. Served as captain of soccer, basketball and golf teams and earned all-league honors in soccer and golf and all-state special and honorable mention in football. Selected for National Honor Society and has participated in a variety of volunteer services including as a board member of the school’s Freshman Mentor Program, Future Corps and as founding member and treasurer of Interact Club created for community work. Will attend Hillsdale College and study biochemistry.
Essay Quote: “Everyone wants to win. The question is how far does a participant, team or coach push to gain that win? Good sportsmanship needs to be taught to young people early as part of the game. It’s a culture that a coach, team, school and community must create. Good sportsmanship is also sometimes difficult to maintain, as it only takes one student, coach or fan to ruin a healthy culture.”
Austin Thompson, Onsted
Played two seasons of varsity football, is playing his second of varsity basketball, and will play his second of varsity golf and participate in his fourth of varsity track and field this spring. Qualified for MHSAA Finals for pole vault as a junior and helped basketball team to a league title last season and the track and field team to a league title in 2014. Earned sportsmanship and scholar-athlete awards from the Lenawee County Athletic Association. Captained football team in the fall. Holds top spot academically in his class with a 4.20 grade-point average and has served as his class president four years; also won the Tri-County Science Fair. Participating in fourth year of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and third of National Honor Society. Participated in a number of service projects including as a blood drive coordinator. Will attend University of Michigan or the University of Detroit Mercy and study actuarial mathematics.
Essay Quote: “I now know that sportsmanship off the field is a very powerful thing. Our opposing players were respecting us. They were showing appropriate and polite behavior. They were gracious with our loss and there to help us when we were down. The heartfelt gratitude our team showed in return formed strong bonds between many players.”
Trevor Trierweiler, Portland
Played two years of varsity tennis, is playing his second of varsity basketball and will play his third of varsity baseball this spring; also played two seasons of subvarsity football. Earned all-state honors for tennis in setting school single-season record for wins at No. 1 doubles, and earned all-league honors in baseball; also earned academic all-league honors in all three of his varsity sports. Served as captain of baseball team last season. Also serves as a member of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council. Participating in National Honor Society for third year and his school’s Captains Club for second. Earned academic letter for honors all four years; holds a 3.98 grade-point average. Volunteers as part of sport and non-sport service projects including “No More Sidelines” helping to provide sports opportunities to children and young adults with special needs. Will attend Kalamazoo College and study engineering.
Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship is not something that we are born with. Sportsmanship is a way to react/behave that we are taught through family, competition and athletics in general. Sometimes that idea of good sportsmanship gets lost in translation from emotions to behavior. … However, the display of good sportsmanship can help change the entire atmosphere around a team/school/community.”
Other Class B girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Erin Isola, Allegan; Greta Wilker, Belding; Keri Frahm, Frankenmuth; Alexis LaChappa, Harrison; Camryn A. Klein, Ionia; Fallon Gates, Manistee; Abigail Ufkes, Marshall; Erica Lynn Schwegman, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; Elizabeth Swartz, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; Amanda Pohl, Portland; Claudia Raines, Saginaw Swan Valley; and Brenna James, Sault Ste. Marie.
Other Class B boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Geoffrey Richard Pisani, Big Rapids; Nicolas Arons, Chelsea; Brendan Spangler, Coldwater; Evan Ciancio, Comstock Park; Ryan Mangulabnan, Dearborn Divine Child; Kyle Gavulic, Goodrich; Caleb E. Doane, Grant; Adam Kopp, Grosse Ile; Blake Willison, Grosse Ile; Justin Carlson, Hastings; Austin Davis, Onsted; and David Arnst, Ovid-Elsie.
The Class C and D scholarship award recipients were announced Feb. 2, and the Class A honorees will be announced Feb. 16.
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 1,400 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.