Scholar-Athlete C & D Recipients

Sportsmanship, MHSAA News

Scholars & Athletes 2022: Class C & D

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

February 8, 2022

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected 10 student-athletes from Class C and D member schools to receive scholarships through the MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award program. 

Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 33rd 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 26 during the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing.

The Class C Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are: Korah Honig, St. Louis; Jillian Koski, Ishpeming Westwood; Ryann Locke, Springport; Ryan Doty, Clinton; Mert Oral, Ann Arbor Greenhills; and Ty Ruddy, Ottawa Lake Whiteford.

The Class D Scholar-Athlete Award recipients are: Megan Bennett, McBain Northern Michigan Christian; Mia Riley, Fowler; Ashton McNabb, Three Oaks River Valley; and Eli Shoup, Mason County Eastern.

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

(NOTE: If an athlete intended to play and was part of a spring sports team in 2020, that sport is counted among the athlete’s total although the season was canceled due to COVID-19.)

HonigKorah Honig, St. Louis
Played four years of varsity volleyball and will participate in her fourth of track & field this spring. Earned all-league and all-region in volleyball and qualified for MHSAA Finals in shot put and discus as a junior. Served as captain of volleyball and track teams and earned academic all-state in the latter. Participating in fourth year of student council and has served as vice president. Also participating in fourth years of school’s marching/concert, pep, jazz and steel drum bands and church praise band and is proficient playing 10 instruments. Served as section leader for drumline and clarinet sections. Also participating in quiz bowl and as sportswriter for school newspaper, and in fourth year of pep club. Will attend Indiana Institute of Technology and study business.

Essay Quote: “The definition of sportsmanship is when a sport is enjoyed for its own sake and a sense of fellowship with one’s competitors. The reason sports exist is because people enjoy playing them, and sportsmanship is what keeps the love of the game alive. Sports are more than winning but also building relationships and good competition.”

KoskiJillian Koski, Ishpeming Westwood
Playing third season of varsity basketball, played fourth of varsity tennis in the fall and will play second of varsity golf and fourth of varsity softball this spring; also swam as a junior and participated in track & field as a freshman. Twice won MHSAA Finals flight championships in tennis and finished runner-up as a senior, and made Finals for swimming as a junior. Helped tennis team to three Finals championships and softball and basketball teams to league titles. Earned all-conference in golf and all-Upper Peninsula in tennis. Served as captain of tennis, softball and golf teams. Carried a 4.0 GPA through high school and is participating in second year of National Honor Society. Participating in fourth year of student council; served as class president the first three years and is serving as council president as a senior. Participating in third year of Business Professionals of America, also having served as president of that group, and earned national awards. Will attend Michigan State University and study business management.

Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship ideals keep the sports community thriving. … Through my experience, I have learned that sportsmanship is not simply being considerate to the opposing team. Each team must show compassion within themselves in order to be successful.”

LockeRyann Locke, Springport
Playing fourth season of varsity basketball, played two of varsity volleyball and ran two of cross country, and will compete in fourth varsity seasons of soccer and track & field this spring. Qualified for MHSAA Finals in track and earned all-state honorable mention in soccer, and earned all-area in basketball and was named league’s Most Valuable Player. Earned academic all-state in all five varsity sports. Served as captain of soccer and basketball teams. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and fourth on student council. Has participated in 4-H and Future Farmers of America throughout high school, earning a number of 4-H grand champion awards and FFA state recognition. Also participating in school’s Sources of Strength and Senior Strong organizations. Will attend Trine University and pursue pre-medical studies.

Essay Quote: “I cherish every moment when I get the chance to compete. I try to compete with a level of integrity that others can respect and acclaim. … It is a special feeling to walk off the court filled with pride, holding your head high, feeling triumphant. But sometimes you lose, you have to look opponents and coaches in the eye and shake their hand, tell them good job, embrace the fact that they were better than you in that moment.”

DotyRyan Doty, Clinton
Ran second varsity season of cross country in the fall and will participate in fourth of track & field this spring; also played varsity soccer as a freshman. Ran on two Finals-qualifying cross country teams and earned all-conference and all-region in track. Served as captain of cross country and track teams. Participating in fourth year of student government and has served as vice president, and participating in third years of National Honor Society and Hispanic Honors Society, having served in leadership positions in both. Participating in fourth year of International Club and has served as co-president. Formed Images and Ancestors, LLC, and created family tree with more than 4,000 members. Participated throughout high school in USDA botanical research. Served as team coordinator and competed at National TRAC Bridge Competition. Contributed to Clinton Mascot Rebranding Committee and served on school’s Student Engagement Committee promoting diversity and inclusion. Participated in mission trip to Romania. Has not decided where he will attend college, but intends to study genetics.

Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship is more than a buzzword, it is a lifestyle: a way of life that seeks self-improvement through the advancement of others. In order to have a successful team and athletic association, members must race not only for themselves, but also for those around them.”

OralMert Oral, Ann Arbor Greenhills
Played four seasons of varsity tennis, becoming one of nine in MHSAA history to win three Finals championships at No. 1 singles, and helped Greenhills to two team titles. Earned Mr. Tennis Award after senior season and all-state for the fourth time, and also won 2018 USTA Midwest Closed Championships and reached finals of 2019 USTA Level 2 national tournament. Served as Greenhills tennis team captain as junior and senior. Participating in fourth season of Model United Nations and has served twice on executive board. Contributing for fourth year to school’s Peer to Peer math tutoring program and has served as club leader. Participated in two years of DECA, winning a state championship and qualifying for international competition. Served one year as class officer. Will attend University of Michigan and study biomedical engineering.

Essay Quote: “From day one our coaches preached to us that no matter if we win or lose, we should always do it with class, and we should strive our hardest to be ambassadors for the game, to demonstrate what tennis, and all high school sports for that matter, is about: sportsmanship. I began seeing competition and matches not as something to “win or lose,” but rather as opportunities to represent myself, my teammates, and my coaches to the best of my ability.”

RuddyTy Ruddy, Ottawa Lake Whiteford
Played two seasons of varsity football and will participate in fourth of track & field this spring; also played varsity basketball as a junior. Qualified for MHSAA Finals in track and helped football team to Regional title; contributed in multiple sports despite significant medical challenges including three open-heart surgeries by age 3. Earned academic all-state in football and all-league scholar-athlete awards in all three sports. Served as team captain of football and track teams. Carries 4.0 GPA and is participating in second year of National Honor Society. Serving as student council treasurer and senior class president. Participating in first year of choral ensemble and previously participated in Future Farmers of America during the first two years of high school. Served as team leader during mission trip and has contributed to Goodfellow Food Pantry throughout high school, organizing a holiday food drive that collected more than 3,500 items. Will attend Hillsdale College and study English and applied mathematics.

Essay Quote: “In September 2021, my doctors notified my parents and me, for the first time, that I had one kidney. The experience struck a chord with me, instilling a thankfulness for everyday experiences I had not previously shown. Before that day, I had recognized the brevity of life but never the importance of life experiences.”

Other Class C girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Haley Anne Newland, Bad Axe; Karly Smith, Beal City; Isabel Contreras-Spencer, Grass Lake; Gillian Kuehnle, Hartford; Gabrielle Carey, Iron Mountain; Jordan Fox, Lake City; Isabel Henige, New Lothrop; Trinity Kolka, Sanford Meridian; and Anna McPherson, Saranac.

Other Class C boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Dylan David Reisig, Bridgman; Cole Garrison Stone, Carson City-Crystal; Samuel Peterson, Charlevoix; Jack Davis, Holland Black River; Isaac Backman, Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep; Jack Hollebeek, Grandville Calvin Christian; Joshua M. Fairbanks, Roscommon; Jonah Cerone, Royal Oak Shrine Catholic; and Alex Tanner, Whitmore Lake.

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

(NOTE: If an athlete intended to play and was part of a spring sports team in 2020, that sport is counted among the athlete’s total although the season was canceled due to COVID-19.)

BennettMegan Bennett, McBain Northern Michigan Christian
Playing third season of varsity basketball, played four of varsity volleyball and will play fifth of varsity soccer this spring (after also playing as an eighth grader, allowed at schools with fewer than 100 students). Helped all three teams to District championships. Earned all-state recognition in soccer and basketball and all-league in volleyball, and earned academic all-state in all three sports. Served multiple seasons as team captain in basketball and volleyball. Serving fourth year on student council including second as part of executive committee. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and third of theater and choir. Participating in fourth years of Christ Committee and Chapel Team, and has served as president of both. Volunteers in church, school and community efforts. Is undecided where she will attend college, but intends to study criminal justice.

Essay Quote: “(Sportsmanship) is going out of one's way to help, congratulate, or simply acknowledge another player no matter the mindset one is in; it is the helping hand when a player falls down; it is the words of encouragement when another player is struggling. Sportsmanship is the way that others watching see Christ through an athlete's actions.”

RileyMia Riley, Fowler
Playing fourth season of varsity basketball and played four of varsity volleyball. Named all-state in basketball for second time as a junior in leading team to Division 4 Finals championship. Also earned all-state honors two seasons in volleyball. Served as captain of both teams. Carries 4.0 GPA and has been dually enrolled for three years at Lansing Community College; made LCC’s President’s list. Participating in third year of National Honor Society and has served as chapter vice president, and participating in first year on student council. Participating in fourth year of Business Professionals of America, serving as club president and having qualified for national competition. Has volunteered with church throughout high school. Will attend Ferris State University and study biology and pre-optometry.

Essay Quote: “Entitlement, foul play, ‘trash talk’, and plenty other unsportsmanlike conduct is prominent in sports. These are all things that I do not want my character to reflect when I participate in educational athletics. Instead, I strive to act … with nothing but respect, understanding, and kindness towards others in sports. It is unselfish, sportsmanlike acts … that help us to refocus our purpose for participating in sports in the first place: to compete with our teammates and have fun.”

McNabbAshton McNabb, Three Oaks River Valley
Playing third season of varsity basketball and will play fourth season of varsity baseball in the spring; also ran three seasons of varsity cross country. Helped basketball and baseball teams to league championships and baseball to multiple District titles. Carries 4.4 GPA and will be named valedictorian. Earned all-league and academic all-state in baseball, and served as team captain of baseball and basketball teams. Participating in fourth year of National Honor Society and was first freshman inducted in school history. Serving second year on MHSAA Student Advisory Council and previously served two years as class vice president. Contributing to school’s Peer 2 Peer program, and has participated in church youth group throughout high school and as a volunteer with Urban Hope the last two years. Is undecided where he will attend college, but intends to study engineering.

Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship is such an understated topic; never do you go home and have dinner and talk about how ‘sportsmanship’ was at practice. … The crazier thing to me is that we have a standard for sportsmanship … without consistently defining it! We assume athletes naturally understand the necessity for sportsmanship on and off the court, and I think part of the problem is the lack of dialogue on the topic.”

ShoupEli Shoup, Mason County Eastern
Playing third year of varsity basketball and will compete in fourth years of varsity baseball and track & field this spring; also ran four years of varsity cross country. Qualified for MHSAA Finals in cross country all four years and earned all-conference in basketball and track and all-district recognition in baseball. Helped cross country team to Regional title and baseball team to District championship. Earned academic all-state in cross country. Served as captain of cross country and track teams. Carries 4.0 GPA and will be named valedictorian, and earned 25 college credits with dual enrollment at West Shore Community College. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and first of varsity club, and has served as vice president of latter. Participating in school marching band and earned first chair for saxophone. Participated in 4-H throughout high school and received county fair reserve grand champion award. Is undecided where he will attend college, but intends to study mechanical engineering.

Essay Quote: “Many teams, including other ones I’ve been on, are very competitive. Newcomers don’t always feel welcome. Everyone is your friend until you supersede them, and then they are cold and resolved against you. Our cross country team wasn’t like that. We built each other up and congratulated each other on personal successes.”

Other Class D girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Ashton Hord, Felch North Dickinson; Tara Townsend, Frankfort; Alaina Roush, Harbor Springs Harbor Light Christian; Anna Roberts, Hillsdale Academy; Meredith VanDerWeide, Hillsdale Academy; and Skylar Wiesen, Leland.

Other Class D boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Cole Robinson, Bellaire; Jack Matrella, Bessemer; Brayden M. Steenwyk, Ellsworth; Jacob Rademacher, Fowler; Jonas P. Lanser, McBain Northern Michigan Christian; and Samuel Paga, Petoskey St. Michael Academy.

The Class B scholarship award recipients will be announced Feb. 15, and the Class A honorees will be announced Feb. 22.

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.