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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE --February 4, 2003
Contact: John Johnson or Randy Allen-- 517.332.5046

Fall Scholar-Athlete Award
Scholarship Recipients Announced

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Feb. 4 - The Michigan High School Athletic Association's Scholar-Athlete Award program has selected its eight scholarship recipients for the 2002 fall sports season.

Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 14th year of sponsoring the award, will give a $1,000 college scholarship to each of the eight fall sports winners, the first of 24 total scholarships to be presented, one for each sport in which the MHSAA sponsors a postseason tournament.

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 22. Commemorative plaques will be given to other finalists in recognition of their accomplishments.

The eight Scholar-Athlete Award honorees for the 2002 fall sports season are: Candace Knight, Otsego, girls basketball; Jason Trzcinski, Midland, boys cross country; Lauren Nicole Laethem, Caro, girls cross country; David J. Loney, Garden City, football; Kirk Ryan Pentecost, East Lansing, boys golf; Benjamin Anderson, Waterford Kettering, boys soccer; Erin Thompson, Trenton, girls swimming and diving; and Emily Everingham, Grosse Ile, girls tennis.

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

Girls Basketball -- Candace Knight, Otsego. Lettered four times in basketball and three times in both volleyball and softball…named MVP in basketball as a junior while leading the team in scoring…all-conference basketball four years…all-county basketball four years…three-year captain of the basketball team…all-conference honorable mention as a junior in both volleyball and softball…a four-year Student Council member…Vice President of her senior class…a four-year member of the O’Club…a one-year member of the National Honor Society… and four-year Scholar-Athlete…participated in the Teen Heart program for one year…volunteered four years as a Sports Camp Coach...a member of DARE Role Model program for three years…will attend Adrian College with plans to study either pre-law or secondary education.

Essay Quote -- “I was crying, and wanted to go to the locker room, but then the first thing I thought about was how upset I was by the sportsmanship I had seen the Friday before. I then made sure every member of my team stood out there and clapped as we watched our opponents get their medals. Both teams had played their best, and I realized that we should congratulate them on their accomplishment.”

Boys Cross Country -- Jason Trzcinski, Midland. Lettered three years in cross-country, two years in track and field, and one year in basketball…Saginaw Valley League All-Academic team in all three sports…a two-time Saginaw Valley League second team cross-country selection…elected class President freshman, sophomore, and junior years…Student Council President senior year…a one-year member of National Honor Society…member of the Midland Chapter of Business Professionals of America receiving first place in the state competition and fourth nationally…Vice President of Midland Chapter of Business Professionals of America as a senior…four years of volunteer work with local community events as well as sporting events...was a volunteer for the League of Women Voters 2002 Election Coverage…will attend the University of Michigan with plans of studying biomedical engineering.

Essay Quote -- “A person must be able to win and lose with the same grace and not gloat in their opponent's face. Indeed this is a hard task, for when filled with emotion, our competitive spirit can drive us to show our pride in a way that is not courteous to our opponent. In order to display good sportsmanship, one must remain humble in victory, and dignified in defeat. This is the aspect of sportsmanship that people must work on the most because it is the hardest one to do, but nothing worth doing is, or ever was, easy.”

Girls Cross Country -- Lauren Laethem, Caro. Earned four varsity letters in cross country and track and field…received two varsity letters in cheerleading… cross-country academic all-state in 2001…first team all-conference cross country in 1999 and 2000…second team all-conference cross country in 2001 and 2002…track and field first team all-conference in 3,200-meter relay in 2002…received leadership award for cheerleading in 2001…a two-year member of the National Honor Society and the yearbook committee…a four-year member of the concert band and marching band…a three-year volunteer with the American Red Cross Blood Drive and the Special Olympics…will attend Central Michigan University or Michigan State University to study speech and language pathology.

Essay Quote -- “Ultimately, great sportsmanship starts with a great attitude -- an attitude of striving for the best in everything, always giving 100 percent. This attitude also carries over into the classroom -- always do the best! They go hand in hand. As the saying goes, it is not the end result that matters as much as the means by which a person arrived there. In the world of sports, it is not whether an athlete wins or loses, but it is how he/she played the game. Character counts!”

Football -- David Loney, Garden City. Awarded three varsity letters in basketball and two varsity letters in football…honorable mention in basketball as a junior…captain of the basketball team senior season…three-year varsity basketball starter…two-way football starter senior season…defensive starter junior year...Garden City High School Scholar-Athlete award recipient…a member of the National Honor Society…a two-year member of both KICK and Cougars ROAR, as well as a one-year participant in Peer Mediation…awarded the Garden City High School Leadership and Service Award as a junior…a four-year volunteer for Purple Heart and a three year volunteer of Burger Center for the Autistic Basketball team…will attend Michigan State University and has plans of studying either mathematics or journalism.

Essay Quote -- “It is apparent, the significance of sportsmanship in educational athletic competition. Without it, the idea of “educational” would diminish. Also, sportsmanship does not take away from one being competitive. Displaying good sportsmanship means carrying a positive attitude, an understanding of situations, and a respect of others around you. Along with the enjoyment of success and the benefit of exercise, athletics also etch lifelong lessons into our minds.”

Boys Golf -- Kirk Pentecost, East Lansing. Lettered four years in golf and two years in both basketball and baseball…2002 first team all-conference and all-area selection in golf…member of the 2000 Lower Peninsula Division 1 MHSAA Championship golf team…member of the 2002 district championship baseball team…one-year member of both Students Against Environmental Actions and the Key Club…a two-year member of Students Against Destructive Decisions…a two-year coach of a third and fourth grade basketball team…a two-year member of National Honor Society…will attend either Michigan State University, Hope College, or the University of Michigan with a career plan of studying engineering and Business.

Essay Quote -- “Sportsmanship doesn’t just end in high school and college; it can also be helpful, or hurtful, later in life and even outside of athletics. The lessons need to begin from the first practice in order to carry through life.”

Boys Soccer -- Benjamin Anderson, Waterford Kettering. Three-year varsity letter winner in soccer and basketball…awarded the Oakland Athletics Association Division II All-League award as a junior and senior…named to the all-district team in soccer as a junior…captain of the soccer team and the basketball team as a senior…served two years on the Student Council and class board…elected Vice President of the Student Council as a senior…was a two-year member of the National Honor Society…served as the Vice President of the National Honor Society as a senior…volunteered as a reading tutor and a summer school tutor for one year…will attend either the University of Michigan or Michigan State University to possibly study education, civil engineering, or architecture.

Essay Quote -- “Leadership, teamwork and work ethics, along with many more, provide the roots of sportsmanship. As it is apparent in the preceding paragraphs, sportsmanship is a necessity in educational athletics. With the development of sportsmanship in educational athletics, many of life’s most important lessons are learned. The athletes that are fortunate enough to participate in varsity high school athletics take away leadership skills, teamwork principles, and a valuable work ethic that no other program can offer.”

Girls Swimming & Diving -- Erin Thompson, Trenton. Earned four varsity letters in swimming and one varsity letter in soccer…captain of the swimming team as a senior…received coach’s award as a sophomore in swimming and soccer…a four-year member of the Student Council and the student improvement team…class President as a freshman…Student Council treasurer as a junior…President of the Student Council as a senior…winner of Voice of Democracy speech contest…a four-year member of the Christian Impact Club and Teens Against Destructive Decisions…a two-year member of the National Honor Society…participant in various service projects and volunteer activities through Student Council and National Honor Society…will attend St. Paul Concordia College and study to become the director of a Christian outreach program.

Essay Quote -- “Coaches and captains are especially responsible for good sportsmanship. They have the privilege of acting as role models and mentors to their athletes. Their duty is to set examples of stellar sportsmanship in order to lead by example. As a captain, I know that if I do not show good sportsmanship, then I cannot expect that from my teammates. I have learned that I lead by example and I can only demand from others what I display myself.”

Girls Tennis -- Emily Everingham, Grosse Ile. Awarded four varsity letters in girls tennis and three varsity letters in girls soccer…first team all-area and all-conference tennis four years…first team all-area and all-conference soccer three years…2001 tennis team MVP…2002 soccer team defensive MVP...captain of the tennis team senior season…Athlete of the Week Honor…two-year member of Student Council, one year as freshman treasurer…three-year member of Key Club…two-year member of the Spanish Club…three-year member of National Honor Society…senior year National Honor Society Vice President…participated in Eye of the Storm Volunteer Organization for three years…participated in Haunted House Light on Tour two years…volunteered three years with Island Clean Up…will attend Michigan State University or the University of Michigan with an intent on studying chemical engineering or business with a minor in Spanish.

Essay Quote -- “Dealing with losses and tough times is one of the most important factors in athletics. Infinite emotions suffocate many teenage minds. A poor sport only thinks of how terrible they performed or creates ten thousand excuses. A model athlete accepts the loss, knowing he or she tried his or her hardest and doing the best he or she could do. Though the responses that victories convey are easy to embrace, they are not always simple to control. A victorious team can resort to boasting vocals and harsh taunting. A true team learns that victory alone is an ecstasy and that arrogance and conceit aren’t necessary to reaching it’s true joy.”

Other fall finalists by sport for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Girls Basketball -- Chelsea Grozenski, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; Ashley Hart, Onekama; Jamie Lucas, Cooks-Big Bay de Noc; Maggie Schaberg, Okemos; Linsay Marie Singer, Unionville-Sebewaing; Katherine Kristen Thomas, Dexter. Boys Cross Country -- Torrey Henry, Detroit Western; Jeffrey Dean Houtz, Bronson; Trevor James Kalfhoff, Roscommon; Matthew Osher, Birmingham Groves; Kyle Smith, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern. Girls Cross Country -- Arianne Baker, Dowagiac; Danielle Bryde, Lansing Sexton; Sarah Jaquith, Petoskey; Catherine Vaughn, Harper Woods Regina; Ashley Wolf, East Grand Rapids. Football -- Jerry A. Birchmeier Jr., New Lothrop; John K. Feldkamp, Saline; Scott Ibbotson, Suttons Bay; Paul David Jackson, Auburn Hills Avondale; Justin M. Long, Portland St. Patrick; John C. T. Westra, Sturgis. Boys Golf -- Andrew Byberg, Livonia Stevenson; Robert Grobbel, Essexville-Garber; Andrew Scott Krei, East Grand Rapids; Jonathan Oltersdorf, Suttons Bay; Jeff Sachs, Macomb Dakota. Boys Soccer -- Brian Jbara, Kalamazoo Hackett; Trevor Keyes, Bay City Central; David P. Minnick, Grosse Pointe South. Girls Swimming & Diving -- Michelle Lee Decker, Clawson; Julie Nordstrom, Painsdale-Jeffers. Girls Tennis -- Andrea Halverson, Bloomfield Hills Sacred Heart; Jennifer Michelle Quirk, Traverse City Central; Carly Sims, Kalamazoo Hackett.

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.

Winter sport scholarship recipients will be announced on Feb. 11, and spring sports honorees will be announced on Feb. 18.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,300 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 and MEEMIC Insurance are year-round MHSAA Corporate Partners