Forest Hills Central, Grandville, Holland and West Ottawa Student-Athletes Win Scholarships
The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected 14 student-athletes from Class A member schools to receive scholarships through its Scholar-Athlete Award program.
Recipients include students from Grandville, Holland, West Ottawa and Forest Hills Central high schools.
Farm Bureau Insurance will give a $1,000 college scholarship to each individual. It is its 26th year sponsoring the award.
Each of the scholarship recipients will be honored during a ceremony at halftime of the Class C boys' basketball state championship game March 28 at Michigan State University's Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing.
Commemorative medallions will be given to the finalists in recognition of their accomplishments.
Students applying for the Scholar-Athlete Award must be carrying at least a 3.5 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) 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 West Michigan-area winners include:
Allison Utting, Grandville
Ran four seasons of varsity cross country and will participate in her second of track and field this spring. Served as captain of the cross country team the last two seasons and ran on three straight MHSAA Finals qualifiers, earning all-area and academic all-state honors. Serving fourth year on student council and second as president and also is participating in her second year of National Honor Society. Earned AP Scholar of Distinction and National Merit Scholarship Commended Student designations while ranking third in her senior class of 455 students. Participating in fourth year of Women’s Varsity Leadership Club mentoring young athletes, and coached two years as part of the Grandville Trail Dawgs running club for elementary students. Serves on her school’s Leadership and Student Life committees. Will attend Hope College to study secondary education with a focus on history and political science.
Essay Quote: “We race like the fiercest enemies, but cross country rivalries stay amidst the hills and trails of the course where they belong. We are girls from different schools and divisions, but remain united by a common love for our sport. Good sportsmanship allows these bonds to last a lifetime, much longer than any race or any season.”
Kyler Beal, Holland
Played three full seasons of varsity soccer and is in his first of varsity basketball after joining the soccer team midway through freshman season and basketball at the end of his sophomore season. Earned all-state and academic all-state honors for soccer in the fall while serving as team captain. Contributed to a number of volunteer projects over all four years of high school, including for Young Life, as a soccer camp counselor, and for a low income housing summer program. Named Volunteer of the Year by Holland-based Community Action House and received the Wooden Shoe Award for leadership at his school. After spending this fall in Guatemala as part of Pray America, Beal will attend Liberty University and study communications.
Essay Quote: “Many times during a game, players have the chance to let their emotions get the best of them. A competitive attitude is crucial in sports, and winning is important, but there comes a point when winning cannot be the end all. Sports are just games in the grand scheme of life, and because of that, athletes must have respect for other athletes, coaches, referees and for themselves.”
Collin DeShaw, Holland West Ottawa
Placed fourth at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 final in diving as a junior and 10th as a sophomore, and dove all four years of high school; also played two seasons of varsity football and varsity baseball as a junior. Served as captain of the football team in the fall. Participating in second year of National Honor Society and serving second as student representative to the Holland West Ottawa Board of Education; also participated in the Holland Area Mayor’s Round Table as a junior. Serving fourth year on student senate and as executive president after previously serving multiple terms as his class’ president. Participating in both Young Life and his church’s youth ministry for fourth years. Will attend the University of Michigan to study finance and economics and has signed a letter of intent to accept a diving scholarship.
Essay Quote: “Sportsmanship is easy to practice when a team is winning and everything is going well. But the true test of sportsmanship is when a team is losing and everything seems to be going against them.”
Andrew James Fox, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
Played three seasons of varsity tennis and will play his second of varsity baseball in the spring. Played on tennis teams that won three Regional titles and the MHSAA LP Division 2 Final in the fall; he and his partner won the No. 2 doubles championship. Served as the baseball team’s captain as a junior and earned academic all-state recognition. Participated in Boy Scouts throughout high school and earned Eagle Scout award in 2013; selected for two summers to serve on Mackinac Island Governor’s Honor Guard. Playing fourth year in marching band and drumline and participating in second year of National Honor Society. Volunteered more than 300 hours of service during high school and serves as a board member for his church youth group. Will attend either Purdue University or the University of Michigan and study engineering.
Essay Quote: “Every sport has rules that each athlete must follow, but sportsmanship is a choice – a conscious decision an athlete makes to play the game with integrity, honor and respect. How athletes play the game, how they practice and how they treat their teammates and coaches defines their character.”
The other Class A Scholar-Athlete Award winners are Sara Condra, Hartland; Emily Diehl, Saline; Ashley Ko, Traverse City Central; Diane Reed, Bloomfield Hills; Alex Sorgi, Utica Ford; Caycee Turczyn, Lapeer; Andrew Bennett, Linden; Matthew Carter, Ypsilanti Lincoln; Michael Kenney, Detroit U-D Jesuit; and Matthew J. Orringer, Ann Arbor Skyline.
Other Class A girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were Kara N. Gehrke, Alpena; Rachel Menge, Ann Arbor Pioneer; Eliza Laramee, Berkley; Rachel DaDamio, Birmingham Seaholm; Sheridan Skopczynski, Gibraltar Carlson; Isabella Buck, Grandville; Allegra Lanae Berry, Greenville; Carson Vestergaard, Hartland; Kirsten Smith, Lansing Eastern; Meg Darmofal, Mason; Cydney Martell, Richland Gull Lake; Hayley Rogers, Salem; Courtney Rooker, St. Joseph; Ellie Lauren Taylor, Traverse City Central; Mikenna Ray, Traverse City West; Danielle Maxwell, Utica Ford; and Jessica Erickson, White Lake Lakeland.
Other Class A boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were Stone Mathers, Ann Arbor Pioneer; Jacob W. Herbers, Battle Creek Lakeview; Eric Braun, Berkley; Justin Boogaart, Byron Center; David A. Posawatz, Clarkston; Sean Lang, East Grand Rapids; Mikey Roth, East Grand Rapids; Joseph Pummill, Garden City; Miles Kuperus, Grand Rapids Christian; Raymond Surya, Holland; Ryan Susterich, Muskegon Mona Shores; Shunhe Wang, Northville; Mark Luoma, Okemos; Ravin Randall, Port Huron; Benjamin Hill, Royal Oak; Alex Scott, Traverse City West; and Blake McComas, White Lake Lakeland.