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Scholar-Athlete Award Recipients for Class B Schools Announced

EAST LANSING , Mich. - Feb. 24 - The nine Class B scholarship recipients of the 2008-09 Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Scholar Athlete-Award have been selected.

Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 20th 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 28. Commemorative medallions will be given to other finalists in recognition of their accomplishments.

The Class B Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are:  Katlin Abbs, Sturgis; Erin Benjamin, Chelsea; Courtney Clancy, Richland Gull Lake; Abigail Cohen, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood; Adam Dingens, Corunna; Daniel DuComb, Bloomfield Hills Cranbook-Kingswood; Timothy Hochradel, Milan; Kyle Lark, Alma; and Halley Rycenga, South Haven.

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

abbsKatlin Abbs, Sturgis.  Earned four letters in swimming and diving, gymnastics, and track and field. MHSAA Gymnastics Finals qualifier for vault, bars, beam, floor, all-around, and was regional beam champion freshman year. Medalist at MHSAA Gymnastics Finals in bars, beam, floor and all-around events sophomore year; and in bars, floor, and all-around junior year. MHSAA Diving Finals medalist junior and senior year.  Holds two diving school records and five gymnastic school records. Academic All-America candidate for swimming and diving, and All-America candidate for diving senior year. Two-year National Honor Society member. Vice-president for Spanish National Honor Society, four-year member of Varsity Club. Selected homecoming queen.  Plans to attend Western Michigan University to study speech pathology.

Essay Quote - “Sportsmanship is about playing fair. If you display sportsmanship it will open your eyes to new and exciting things, however if you lack sportsmanship it can be a big disadvantage. Being a good sport can be learned or just acquired, but it is important to becoming a good respectable athlete both in high school sports and in life.”

benjaminErin Benjamin, Chelsea. Earned four letters in track and field, two in basketball and one in cross country. Second-place finisher in 1,600-meter run and member on 800-meter relay team which medaled her junior year at MHSAA Track and Field Finals. Most valuable runner in track freshman and junior years as well as cross country her senior year. Co-captain of basketball team. Elected class president all four years of high school. Four-year member of student council board. National Honor Society member for two years. Awarded American Legion School Award junior year.  Plans to attend the University of Michigan or Hillsdale College.

Essay Quote  - “A true good sport acts not only when everyone is watching, but in more subtle ways. It is a humble acceptance of defeat, saying “good game” when the crowd cannot hear, or cheering on a teammate in his success even as you might be struggling.”

clancyCourtney Clancy, Richland Gull Lake. Four-year letterwinner in both cross country and track and field. Team captain of both squads her junior and senior years. Two-year medalist at the MHSAA Cross Country Finals. Three-year academic all-state selection in cross country. Earned most valuable runner award in cross country junior and senior years. Received all-conference honors all four years in cross country and three years in track and field. Most Outstanding Track Athlete sophomore and junior years. Four-year student senate member. Selected as chairperson of high school service committee. Elected to executive board for Gull Lake High School. Served as four-year volunteer for Red Cross Blood Drive and March of Dimes. Plans to attend the University of Michigan or Northwestern University to study either business or design.

Essay Quote - “While achieving success in athletics is certainly a goal, one must play beyond the scoreboard, as the sportsmanship maintained and the relationships established throughout a high school sports career are incalculably important.”

cohenAbigail Cohen, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood. Four-year letterwinner in basketball and soccer, three in volleyball, and one in ice hockey. Senior varsity captain in volleyball, basketball and soccer. Voted MVP of soccer team freshman year. First-team all-conference as freshman, sophomore and junior in basketball and soccer. All-district in soccer and basketball as sophomore and junior. Two-year MHSAA Student Advisory Council and Ambassador Cross Mentoring Program member. Cum Laude Society inductee senior year. Magna Cum Laude silver medalist. First division soloist in District Solo and Ensemble Festival.  Plans college studies in either biomedical engineering or pre-med.
Essay Quote – “Through high school athletics, I have learned that it is important to exhibit sportsmanship because as a student athlete, I set the example for others. I am a role model to the elementary school children and my teammates and I represent my school.”

dingensAdam Dingens, Corunna. Two-year letterwinner in football, wrestling and track and field. Team captain of  football and wrestling teams. Two- time recipient of Pat Bowyer Award for best football lineman. Voted coaches MVP senior year of football. All-Capital Area Activities Conference on offensive and defensive lines senior year. Two-time All-CAAC in wrestling. Voted Tennis Rookie of the Year in 2007. Served as president for National Honor Society and Shiawassee County Youth Advisory Council. Science Fair Grand Prize Winner and school chess tournament champion senior year. Participated in multiple service activities such as Red Cross Food Drive, Make-A-Difference Day and Adopt-A-Family.  College plans are undecided.

Essay Quote - “High school athletics are called educational athletics for good reason; they teach student-athletes the skills to succeed in life, along with providing student-athletes with opportunities to have fun and compete. Sportsmanship, and therefore respect, are some of the most important lessons that are easily learned in educational athletics.”

ducombDaniel DuComb, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood. Three-year letterwinner in baseball and two in football. Earned first-team all-conference and coaches award in football senior year. Two-year Division I rating in state vocal solo and ensemble competition. Vocal and instrumental solo and ensemble district Division I rating. Cum Laude Society member senior year. Editor-in-Chief for Cranes Illustrated for three years as well as The Crane Clarion sports editor-in-chief senior year. President of Gold Key Club senior year. College plans are undecided.

Essay Quote -“Sportsmanship is often defined as behaving in a courteous and civil manner toward an opposing team, but there is an intangible quality about sportsmanship that is much more important. Sportsmanship allows for sports to transcend events that transpire on the field and become an important tool for teaching student-athletes life lessons.”

hochradelTimothy Hochradel, Milan. Four-year letterwinner in swimming and cross country, and two letters in track.  Captain of swimming and cross country teams senior year. Two-time Scholar-Athlete Award winner in swimming, cross country and track. Swimming Freshman of The Year honor. Three-time MHSAA Swimming Finals qualifier. First-Team All-Huron League swimmer as freshman, sophomore and junior. Student Council and National Honor Society member for three years. Served as class officer freshman, sophomore and junior years. Four-year member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Possible colleges of choice include University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University or Hillsdale College to study biology.

Essay Quote - “Sportsmanship is your athletic character, and without it we lose the integrity of competition.”

larkKyle Lark, Alma. Three-year letterwinner in football, basketball and four in track. Two -year captain in football. Detroit Free Press Division 4 All-State linebacker. 2008 Saginaw Dream Team selection for football. School record in football with 385 career tackles. Two-year captain in basketball and member of conference champion basketball team in 2006. Three-year track captain. Conference shot put champion freshman and sophomore year. Discus and 100-meter conference champion sophomore year. Four-year member of Alma College Leadership Forum. Member of student council and class board. Plans to attend Western Michigan University and will study pre-optometry.

Essay Quote - “When the scoreboard at the end of the game is in favor of my team it is always nice, but when an opponent shows sportsmanship and lets me know how well I did after the game; that is a true sense of accomplishment.”

rycengaHalley Rycenga, South Haven. Four-year letterwinner in swimming, and two in softball. Most improved swimmer freshman year. MHSAA Finals qualifier in 200-yard medley relay and was all-conference in 200 medley and free relay junior year. Swim team captain as well as all-conference in 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley senior year. Three-year member of National Honor Society. Four-year member of student government, symphony band, and marching band. Served as volunteer for Youth Enrichment Services and Youth Ministries.  Plans to attend the University of Michigan to study chemistry.

Essay Quote - “Part of good sportsmanship is being a team player. That means not only working hard to score points for your team, but also building each other up every step of the way.”

Other Class B girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were:  Sarah Kemmer, Bay City John Glenn; Leah Steinhauser, Berrien Springs; Katherine Congdon Blessing, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood; Abigail Cohen, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood; Breanna Kellogg, DeWitt; Kara Marie Nusbaum, Hillsdale; Amber Hop, Holland Christian; Lindsay Johnson, Holland Christian; Meghan Petiprin, North Branch; Margaret Liederbach, Petoskey; Chelsea Guzikowski, Reed City; and Emily Holt, Wyoming Rogers.

Other Class B boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were:  Ty Richards, Bay City John Glenn; Kyle Jensen, Gladstone; David Rietema, Grand Rapids Christian;  David Ptacek, Hamilton; Dylan McKay, Hastings; Korey Caulkins, Hillsdale; Scott Lantis, Hillsdale; Christopher A. Siegler, Kingsford; Andrew Doane, Lake Odessa Lakewood; Samuel Rowe, Milan; Cody Stawecki, North Branch; and Nathan Lee, Spring Lake.

Previously announced were the Class C and D scholarship recipients.  The Class C Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are:  Christopher Hessell, New Haven; Kelsey Hutchinson, Ottawa Lake Whiteford; Jeffrey Petsch, Montague; Jennica Richards, Cass City; Christopher Rush, Leroy Pine River; and Rachel Stattler, Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart.  The Class D Scholar-Athlete Award scholarship recipients are:  Andrew Bauer, Bay City All Saints; Rebekah Kline, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian; Julie Schultz, Holland Calvary; and Ethan Smith, Hillsdale Academy.

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.

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 1,800 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


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