Contact:  John Johnson or Andy Frushour 
517.332.5046 or [email protected]

EAST LANSING, Mich.  – Feb. 9 – The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected ten student-athletes from Class C and D member schools to receive scholarships through its Scholar-Athlete Award program.
Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 21st year of sponsoring the award, will give a $1,000 college scholarship to 32 individuals who represent their member school in at least one sport in which the Association sponsors a post-season tournament.  The first 30 scholarships are awarded proportionately by school classification and the number of student-athletes involved in those classes; and there are two at-large honorees which can come from any classification.

Each of the scholarship recipients will be honored at halftime ceremonies of the Class C Boys Basketball final game at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing on March 27. Commemorative medallions will be given to other finalists in recognition of their accomplishments.

The Class C Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are:  Stephanie N. Johnson, Kalamazoo Hackett;  Andrew Kangas, Norway; Abbey Kelto, Munising; Ji-Hoon Min, Gwinn; Benjamin J. Schell, Traverse City St. Francis; and Kayley Sopel, Ithaca.

The Class D Scholar-Athlete Award scholarship recipients are:  Elizabeth Brady, Hillsdale Academy; Kelly Mikaye David, Beal City; Tyler Steven Root, Brimley; and Jacob Smitley, Athens.

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

johnsonStephanie N. Johnson, Kalamazoo Hackett.  Three-year letterwinner in soccer, three in volleyball, and one in basketball.  Captain of MHSAA Division 4 soccer championship team in 2009.  Kalamazoo Valley Association all-conference award.  Volleyball team captain in 2008-2009.  Member of the National Honor Society and Student Council for three years.  Attended alternative spring break in 2009 to help rebuild New Orleans, and currently active in Future Business Leaders of America.  Plans to attend Michigan State University to study elementary education.

Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship is having a strong character to put your team ahead of yourself.”

kangasAndrew Kangas, Norway.  Four-year letterwinner in cross country, swimming, and three-year letterwinner in track.  MHSAA Upper Peninsula Cross Country Finals participant, 2006-09.  Academic all-state in both cross country and swimming & diving.  Finished sixth in 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs at MHSAA Division 2 U.P. Finals in 2009.  Member of the National Honor Society for two years.  Student Council treasurer and fundraising chairman junior and senior year.  Participated in students against destructive decision, and church youth group for four years.  Nominated homecoming representative in 2008 and prom king in 2009.  Will continue his education at Concordia University-Wisconsin and study occupational therapy.

Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship is an important aspect of athletics.  We are bound to stumble and fall along the way, but we know that we can count on our teammates and competitors to encourage us and lift us up.”

kelto Abbey Kelto, Munising.  Earned three letters in track & field, three in cross country, and two in volleyball and basketball.  Three-time Division 2 MHSAA Upper Peninsula Cross Country champion.  Named U.P. Runner of the Year in 2008 and 2009.  Cross country team captain junior and senior year.  Three-time Division 2 champion in 3,200-meter run in track, two-time titlist in 1,600; and member of three-time 3,200-meter relay champion.  Member of the National Honor Society for two years, and student council for four.  Elected as one of six D.A.R.E. representatives.  Plans on attending Michigan State University to major in pre-dental.

Essay Quote – “I’ve always tried to be a gracious winner and loser because I know how important sportsmanship is in high school athletics.  It determines how an athlete is looked at, how a team works together, and how a school and community are represented.”


Ji-Hoon Min, Gwinn.  Awarded four letters in golf and one in cross country.  Captain of the golf team and Mid-Peninsula All-Conference second team in 2007-08.  President of the National Honor Society.  Active in marching and concert band as well as Science Olympiad.  Upper Peninsula honors band percussionist 2006-09.  High School Trivia Team captain, Students Against Destructive Decisions group president, pianist at the Victory Lutheran Church and volunteer at a local assisted living facility. Plans to study pre-medicine at a still to be determined university.

Essay Quote – ”Through sportsmanship, we are able to look beyond the ability and talent of an athlete to see the true character each person embodies.”

schellBenjamin J. Schell, Traverse City St. Francis.  Earned three letters in track and field, two in football and basketball, and one in tennis.  Member of the 2008 and 2009 MHSAA Division 7 Football championship teams.  Was 2009 gridiron team captain.   All-conference academic excellence and academic all-state 2008 and 2009.  Recipient of the Character, Commitment and Compassion in Athletics award in 2009.  Four-year scholar-athlete in football, basketball, tennis, and track and field.  Member of the National Honor Society, a Kairos Retreat Leader and the Special Sports Coordinator for special needs students at a local elementary school. Plans on studying pre-medicine at the University of Michigan.

Essay Quote – ”By practicing true sportsmanship you will develop your whole person – mind, body and spirit – and that will carry into your daily life.”


Kayley Sopel, Ithaca.  Four-year letterwinner in cross country and three-time recipient in track & field.  Three consecutive first- team all-league awards in cross country.  Cross country team captain senior year.  Made the Lansing State Journal All-Area team in cross country senior year.  Received a Division I rating freshman year at MSBOA Solo and Ensemble for a piano solo.  President of the youth advisory council.  Vice president of National Honor Society, and Business Professionals of America.  Plans to study journalism at Michigan State University.

Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship is thanking the girls ahead and the girls behind for ensuring a finish to an impossible race.  Sportsmanship is striding out on the home stretch and losing to a lean at the finish line.  Sportsmanship is identifying for one distinct moment with every single athlete on some level.”

Other Class C girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were:  Emily Rohdy, Farwell; Amber N. Smith, Jonesville; Amaya Mireya Ayers, Laingsburg;  Melanie J. Neddow, Manistique; Meghan Maxine Griffith, Mendon; Shelbi R. Lisecki, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central; Kaitlyn Squanda, Reese; Kristy Lee Brandt, Saginaw Valley Lutheran; and Nicole A. Franzel, Ubly.

Other Class C boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were:  Peter Jacobson, Ann Arbor Greenhills; Alan Peterson, Ironwood; Nicholas William Beam, Lawrence; Brandon M. King, Marlette; Jacob Snowdin, Montague; Tyler W. Huntey, Morley-Stanwood; Anthony Douglas Maule, Norway; Eric Evan Cogan, Petersburg-Summerfield; and Tyler Alexander Wilson, Pittsford.

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

brady Elizabeth Brady, Hillsdale Academy.  Earned four letters in cross country; three in track & field; and one in basketball.  Member of the school record-setting 800-meter relay team.  Received all-conference and all-region for three years in track & field.  Named academic all-state in 2008.  Active member in 4-H, student council, and school musicals.  Honored by the American Legion, Post #53, for outstanding service and assistance.  Plans on attending Hillsdale College to study physics and art.

Essay Quote – “High school sports are a training ground for young athletes where they learn the tools necessary to work with and compete with fellow athletes gracefully.”

davidKelly Mikaye David, Beal City.  Awarded four letters in volleyball, basketball and track & field, and three in softball.  Member of the 2009-10 MHSAA Volleyball semifinalist.  Captain of volleyball team junior and senior year.  All-state track & field participant 2007, finishing fourth in the long jump; and academic all-state in 2008.  Class president and a member of the student council.  Voted homecoming queen in 2010 by the student body.  Plans to attend St. Clair Community College to major in elementary education.

Essay Quote – “I think sportsmanship defines your character.  It is a representation of your school, family and yourself.  It is giving respect to other individuals and other teams.  How you act on the court, under pressure situations, is how you will respond in real life.”

root Tyler Steven Root, Brimley.  Four-year letterwinner in football, three years in basketball and track, and one year in golf.  Varsity team captain in football and basketball.  President of student council and chairman of the National Honor Society.  Participated in activities such as church youth group, united way and local blood drives.  Plans are to attend Michigan Technological University to study mechanical engineering.

Essay Quote – Sportsmanship, I feel, is sometimes what stands out the most in any sport.  It’s how you feel about your actions and behavior after the game is over.”

smitley Jacob Smitley, Athens.  Awarded three letters in football and basketball, and two in baseball.  Team captain for football, basketball and baseball for the past two years.  Received all-conference honors in football, basketball and baseball for 2009.  Awarded academic all-regional baseball player and Big 8 Conference Academic Team for 2009.  Listed in the football section of the MHSAA Record Book in fourth for yards rushing in a single game (462) and second in rushing touchdowns in a game (7).  Served as a National Issues Forum Chair in 2009.  Plans to attend Central Michigan University or Michigan State University to study political science or business.         

Essay Quote – The true competitor has a drive and spirit that forces him to play with integrity.  The true competitor loves the game and makes the game better.  The true competitor knows triumph on and off the field.”   

Other Class D girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were:  Jessica Hines, Camden-Frontier; Kayla Marie Miller, Engadine; Jennifer Spinner, Mason County Eastern; Kathryn Meri Polaskey, St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic; Mackenzie Price, Waldron; and Ajae Whittaker, Wolverine.

Other Class D boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were:  Ben S. Tanoff, Battle Creek St. Philip; Patrick W. Spalding, Bear Lake; Michael Klobucher, Engadine; Devon Rossman, Fulton; Logan Longman, North Adams-Jerome; and Micah J. Plocher, Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary.

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 Class B scholarship award recipients will be announced on February 16; and the Class A honorees will be announced on February 23.

Farm Bureau Insurance, one of Michigan's major insurers, has a statewide force of 450 agents serving more than 450,000 Michigan policyholders. Besides providing life, home auto, farm, business and retirement insurance, the company also sponsors lifesaving, real-time Doppler weather tracking systems in several Michigan communities.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,600 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 approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.


Farm Bureau Insurance, Farmers Insurance, MEEMIC Insurance Company & Meijer are year-round MHSAA Corporate Partners


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