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Scholar-Athlete Award Recipients for Class C & D Schools Announced

EAST LANSING , Mich. - Feb. 16 - Ten student-athletes at Class C and D member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association have been selected to receive scholarships through its Scholar-Athlete Award program.

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 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.

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

hessellChristopher Hessell, New Haven. Four-year letterwinner in football and basketball. Captain of football and track and field teams junior and senior year. Has medaled in MHSAA Track & Field Finals in the shot put as a freshman, sophomore and junior. Port Huron Times Herald Top 25 high school football players.  Served as president for both student council and varsity club along with being National Honor Society Treasurer. In addition, was a Business Professional’s Association State Qualifier for his economic team project. Selected as a Who’ s Who Among American High School Students. Plans to attend Michigan State University to study zoology.

Essay Quote – “I know I am a better person because of the experience of participating in high school sports. I can only hope that administrators will continue to see how much athletics contribute to a student’s personal growth through the values of sportsmanship.”

hessellKelsey Hutchinson, Ottawa Lake Whiteford.  Earned four letters in soccer, and three each in volleyball and basketball. Received Tri-County Conference Sportsmanship and Academic Award in basketball.  Member of volleyball and softball squads which earned team all-state academic honors.  Recipient of Coaches Award for basketball, volleyball, and softball.  Served as class president all four years.  Student Council treasurer her sophomore, junior and senior years.  National Honor Society vice president and blood drive director senior year.  Earned Division I and II ratings participating in women’s ensemble.  President of high school concert choir senior year.  Plans to attend Capital University to study public relations.

Essay Quote – “Athletes will be more prepared for the future by practicing good sportsmanship now. They will be strong,  determined people who can learn success and failure within the limits of the rules.”
hessellJeffrey Petsch, Montague.  Three-year letterwinner in football and basketball and earned one in golf.  Varsity team captain in football and basketball.  Member of MHSAA Division 6 Football championship team and Western Michigan Conference championship basketball team.  Selected as an all-area defensive lineman and all-conference defensive end and linebacker.   Six-time all-conference scholar-athlete winner.  Member of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council.  Vice president and recipient of International Award of Excellence in Sports Marketing for DECA. Sole representative for his high school at Boys State Government Camp.  Plans on attending the University of Michigan or Michigan State University to study economics or political science.

Essay Quote – “When everyone holds themselves to the universal laws of sportsmanship which preserves respect for the game and fair competition, people then focus on bettering themselves in order to achieve success.” 
hessellJennica Richards, Cass City.  Four-year letterwinner in track and field, three years in cross country and two in basketball.  Academic all-state and and medaled at the MHSAA Track & Field Finals in the 100-Meter Hurdles  junior year.  First-team all-conference three times in cross country, including academic all-state senior year. Captain of MHSAA District champion volleyball team sophomore year. MHSAA Regional qualifier in gymnastics for floor exercise and vault. Student government class president for three years, and Executive Board Vice President senior year. Two-year member of National Honor Society. Team captain and choreographer of Pom Pon and Dance team. Voted homecoming queen by student body. Plans to attend Central Michigan University to pursue a degree in physical therapy.
Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship is behaving in a way that exemplifies good character and is a positive reflection of yourself, your team, your school, and your community.”

hessellChristopher Rush, Leroy Pine River. Three-year letter winner in soccer, three in wrestling, and two in track and field. Cadillac News honorable mention All-Area selection in soccer. Team captain for soccer and wrestling senior year. Member of 2007 and 2008 MHSAA Wrestling District and Regional championship teams. Track conference champion in the 1,600-meter relay and all-conference in  800-meter run and 3,200-meter relay. Recipient of Pine River Scholar-Athlete Award.  Completed summer academic programs in robotics-machine vision and computers, electrical and computer engineering, engineering design and computer technology.  Earned No. 1 rating for solo-ensemble-trumpet duet.  Plans to attend Saginaw Valley State University to study mechanical engineering.
Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship is not just a word, but rather a journey centered around ethics, fair play, and behavioral expectations.”
hessellRachel Stattler, Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart. Awarded four letters in lacrosse, three in volleyball and two in field hockey. Member of Catholic League championship field hockey team. As volleyball captain, received all-academic honors junior year. Member of two-time MHSAA Girls Lacrosse championship team. Lacrosse first-team all-state and U.S. Lacrosse High School Academic All-American junior year.  Head of School Community Governance Nucleus. Colgate University Book Ward for high level of intellectual and extracurricular commitment. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medalist.  Member of Upper School Student Ambassadors program. Plans on attending the University of Michigan to study biomedical engineering.

Essay Quote – “Without sportsmanship, the true meaning of athletics would be lost. Even though many games are competitive, the main goal of athletics is to have fun and demonstrate all of the hard work and dedication that has been put into the sport.”
hessellAndrew Bauer, Bay City All Saints. Awarded four letters in bowling, three in baseball, and two in both  football and basketball. Was a first-team all-state bowler in freshman and junior years. Member of 2006 and 2008 MHSAA Bowling championship teams, and 2008 MHSAA Baseball championship team. Awarded 2008 Tri-City Youth Classic Bowling League Good Sportsmanship. First-team all-conference in football junior year. Academic all-conference honors in all four varsity sports. Served as National Honor Society Vice President and Yellow Ribbon Club Treasurer. Plans are to attend Michigan State University to study business administration and sport management.

Essay Quote – “Teams that practice the idea of sportsmanship on the floor, court, field, or alley, obtain more credit from their opponents for sportsmanship than for actually winning the game.”

hessellRebekah Kline, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian.  Awarded three varsity letters in volleyball, softball and two in basketball. Served as volleyball and basketball team captain. Received second and third-team all-state , all-region, and all-conference honors in volleyball. Earned academic all-state awards in volleyball as junior and senior. Additional academic course awards include those in statistics, math and French. Two-year member of National Honor Society. Participated in community outreach activities such as Youth for Christ, Detroit City Mission and Pontiac Power Company Kids Club. Volunteer for mission trips to China and Costa Rica.  Plans to study business and economics in college. 
Essay Quote – “The outcome of learning and practicing good sportsmanship can allow an athlete to become much more than just an athlete when he or she  makes a conscious decision to pursue sportsmanship; they becomes a better person.”
hessellJulie Schultz, Holland Calvary.  Earned four letters in soccer, three in basketball, and two in volleyball.  Volleyball team captain freshman, junior and senior years. Two- time Christian Character Award winner. Earned volleyball second-team all-conference junior year and first team all-conference senior yea. Three-time soccer first-team all-conference selection . Soccer first-team all-district as freshman and sophomore.  all-state honorable mention sophomore and junior seasons.  Athletic Director’s Honor Award recipient. Plans on attending Indiana Wesleyan University to study math education and coaching.

Essay Quote – “Good sportsmanship is a choice. It is how someone chooses to respond in certain situations not only in sports, but in life as well. Athletes should strive to show love, unity, mental toughness, respect, integrity, and encouragement in everything they do.”
hessellEthan Smith, Hillsdale Academy.  Awarded four letters in soccer, basketball, track and field along with three letters in cross country.  Appointed team captain in soccer, cross country and basketball. Received all-conference honors for cross country, soccer, basketball as well as track and field. All-State honors for track and field junior year. Academic all-state honors awarded in cross country and track and field. Named to headmaster’s list every trimester of high school. Awarded Lamoreaux Scholarship for his strong academic record, dedication to Mission of Hillsdale Academy and financial need.  Plans to major in civil engineering in college.

Essay Quote – “Sportsmanship is more important than winning, as sportsmanship includes several attributes such as respect, kindness, humility, and grace, which are needed not just in sports, but in all of life.”
Other Class C girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were:  Jennifer Morneau, Bad Axe; Michelle Lynn Burgess, Brown City; Jordanna Kero, Hancock; Averi McEwen, Marlette; Jenna C. Thompson, Marlette; Miranda Zygiel, Norway; Jennifer Messing, Ubly; Lyndsay Marie White, Ubly; and Kathryn Elizabeth Stickney, Union City

Other Class C boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were:  Troy Klingler, Bronson; Benjamin Lukas Varney, Cass City; Andrew McCubbin, Galesburg-Augusta; Joshua Steven Boeckman, Harbor Springs; Timothy J. Obradovich, Iron Mountain; William M. Rickert, Manchester; Blake Terrill, Marcellus; Stuart Benjamin Jeffries, Montague; Ryan Holcomb, Saginaw Valley Lutheran.

Other Class D girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were:  Kelsey Heinrich, Au Gres-Sims; Sheena Richmond, Eben Junction Superior Central; Connaught Blood, Hillsdale Academy; Ashley Paige Bauman, Manistee Catholic Central; Brooke Granquist, Powers North Central; and Anna Viau, Rock Mid Peninsula.

Other Class D boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were:  Tyler Ingalls, Ellsworth; Forrest L. Tarsa, Lake Leelanau St. Mary; Ben Fellows, Leland; Justin Victor Distelrath, Marine City Cardinal Mooney; Earl Roland Lancour, Rock Mid Peninsula; and Lucas Proeber, 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.
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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