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St. Michael’s Adam Paga Named Finalist for MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award

Adam Paga at Regional

From the Petoskey News-Review

Pellston’s Bricker, St. Michael’s Paga named finalists for MHSAA Scholar Athlete award

EAST LANSING — The 120 finalists for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Scholar-Athlete Awards for the 2019-20 school year, presented by Farm Bureau Insurance, have been announced.

Included in the list is a collection of student athletes out of Northern Michigan, including a pair out of Emmet county.

The program, in its 31st year, has recognized student-athletes since the 1989-90 school year and again this winter will honor 32 individuals from MHSAA member schools who participate in at least one sport in which the Association sponsors a postseason tournament.

Farm Bureau Insurance underwrites the Scholar-Athlete Awards and will present a $1,000 scholarship to each recipient. Since the beginning of the program, 800 scholarships have been awarded.

Scholarships will be presented proportionately by school classification, with 12 scholarships to be awarded to Class A student-athletes, six female and six male; eight scholarships will be awarded to Class B student-athletes, four female and four male; six scholarships will be awarded to Class C student-athletes, three female and three male; and four scholarships will be awarded to Class D student-athletes, two female and two male. In addition, two scholarships will be awarded at-large to minority recipients, regardless of school size.

Pellston senior Kaitlyn Bricker and Petoskey St. Michael Academy senior Adam Paga were both named finalists in Class D.

Bricker has been a four-year standout in both volleyball and softball and has excelled away from the athletic arena as well.

“In addition to being one of the top students in her class, and an all-conference caliber multi-sport athlete, Kaitlyn is someone that has been a real joy to work with as an Athletic Director,” Pellston AD Matt Sheick said. “Whether helping organize the Sting Squad (our student section), working the ticket table, or helping clean up the bleachers after a big game, she has really gone above and beyond in her four years here.

“She has represented Pellston well at the MHSAA level serving on the Student Advisory Council and is a very deserving semifinalist for the MHSAA Student-Athlete Award.”

Paga, has shined in three sports while at St. Michael and was a key part in helping put SMA on the map this fall season in cross country. He plans to continue his athletic career on a partial athletic scholarship to Ave Marie University next fall as well.

“It has been my privilege to serve as Adam’s high school coach in cross country, basketball and track,” St. Michael coach and Athletic Director Larry Rudnicki said. “As I’ve led the building of the SMA Athletic Department, Adam has been integral — even foundational — to our progress and our success.

“In developing an athletic culture at SMA, I’ve emphasized the importance of ‘building virtue’ as our primary vision and goal. Not only has Adam seamlessly blended in with this challenge on a personal level, but he is a reliable leader in its team-wide implementation, helping others ‘buy in’ to it as well.”

Along with Bricker and Paga out of Northern Michigan, finalists included Elizabeth Saunders of Traverse City Central, Andrew Innerebner from Sault Ste. Marie, Bellaire’s Teegan Dawson and Opie Bryce of Suttons Bay.

Every MHSAA member high school could submit as many applications as there are scholarships available in its classification, and could have more than one finalist. Midland Dow has four finalists this year while Cass City and Ann Arbor Pioneer each have three. Seventeen schools each have two finalists: Ada Forest Hills Eastern, Battle Creek Lakeview, Caro, Chelsea, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, Fowler, Grosse Ile, Haslett, Hastings, Holland, Ida, North Muskegon, Petersburg Summerfield, Richland Gull Lake, St. Johns, Three Oaks River Valley and Troy Athens.

Multiple-sport participation remains the norm among applicants. The average sport participation rate of the finalists is 2.5. There are 86 three-plus sport participants in the finalists field, and all but one of the 28 sports in which the MHSAA sponsors postseason tournaments are represented.

Of 424 schools which submitted applicants, 12 submitted the maximum allowed. This year, 1,493 applications were received. All applicants will be presented with certificates commemorating their achievement. Additional Scholar-Athlete information, including a complete list of scholarship nominees, can be found on the MHSAA Website at www.mhsaa.com/schools/students/scholarathleteaward

The applications were judged by a 66-member committee of school coaches, counselors, faculty members, administrators and board members from MHSAA member schools. Selection of the 32 scholarship recipients will take place in early February. Class C and D scholarship recipients will be announced Feb. 4, Class B scholarship recipients will be announced Feb. 11 and Class A scholarship recipients will be announced Feb. 18. All announcements will be made on the MHSAA Website.

To honor the 32 Scholar-Athlete Award recipients, a ceremony will take place during halftime of the MHSAA Division 3 Boys Basketball Final, March 28 at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing.

To be eligible for the award, students must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.50 (on a 4.0 scale) and previously have won a varsity letter in at least one sport in which the MHSAA sponsors a postseason tournament. Students also were asked to respond to a series of short essay questions, submit two letters of recommendation and a 500-word essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics.