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Portland High School’s Isaiah Pelc named MHSAA 2023 Scholar-Athlete Award Recipient


The Michigan High School Athletic Association has selected eight student-athletes from Class B member schools to receive scholarships through the MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award program. Among them is PHS senior Isaiah Pelc.


Farm Bureau Insurance, in its 34th year of sponsoring the award, will give $2,000 college scholarships to 32 individuals who represent their member schools in at least one sport in which the Association sponsors a postseason tournament. The first 30 scholarships are awarded proportionately by school classification and the number of student-athletes involved in those classes; also, there are two at-large honorees who can come from any classification.


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.


The 32 scholarship recipients will be recognized March 25 during the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing.


Isaiah Pelc, Portland Wrestling fourth season this winter, will play his second season of varsity baseball this spring and also played two seasons of subvarsity football. Earned all-state in wrestling and qualified for MHSAA Individual Finals his first three seasons. Earned National Wrestling Coaches Association/U.S. Marine Corps High School Scholar All-American honors three times, and academic all-state in baseball. Served as wrestling and baseball captain. Participating in fourth year of student government and has served as class president and student body president. Participating in third years of National Honor Society and Ionia County Youth Advisory Council, as NHS class trustee and co-chairperson of YAC. Has participated in Boy Scouts throughout high school, earning Eagle Scout rank and serving twice on Mackinac Island Governor’s Honor Guard. Participating in fourth year of BIONIC school suicide prevention and mental health group, serving as co-chairperson. Will attend University of Notre Dame and study business.


Essay Quote: “Throughout my high school career, I have witnessed and been a part of both outstanding sportsmanship and poor sportsmanship. I realized through many competitions that one cannot control their opponents, officials and the calls they make, the outcomes of the competition, and many other factors. But one thing I can control is my composure before, during, and after competition despite the uncontrollable factors that occur.”


The other Class B Scholar-Athlete Award honorees are Jordan Richie, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood; Carney Salo, Escanaba; Anna Smith, Clawson; Allison Tate, Whitehall; Jacob Fenbert, Dundee; Camden Johnecheck, Williamston; and Sreejay Ramakrishnan, Ada Forest Hills Eastern.


Other Class B girls finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were Elaina Bortolini, Kingsford; Claire Filpus, Houghton; Rylie Haist, Big Rapids; Lauren Harrold, Flint Powers Catholic; Devin Johnston, Almont; Tiffany Keller, Frankenmuth; Molly McNitt, Paw Paw; Matelyn Midkiff, Midland Bullock Creek; Rachel Niskanen, Negaunee; Ainsley VandenBrink, Holland Christian; Ella Wagner, Essexville Garber; and Chesney Wilke, Tecumseh.


Other Class B boys finalists for the Scholar-Athlete Award were Michael App, Grand Rapids Catholic Central; Aldo Barba, Tecumseh; Matthew Bowman, Milan; Evan Jose Evans, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood; Grant H. Harkness, Newaygo; Nathan Hooker, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood; John Kersh, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood; Nicholas Liparoto, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; Philip Nelson, Negaunee; James Oosterhouse, Holland Christian; Jacob Pallo, Ada Forest Hills Eastern; Aiden Eric Smith, Adrian.


Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan was founded in 1949 by Michigan farmers who wanted an insurance company that worked as hard as they did. Those values still guide the company today and are a big reason why it is known as Michigan’s Insurance Company, dedicated to protecting the farms, families, and businesses of this great state. Farm Bureau Insurance agents across Michigan provide a full range of insurance services—life, home, auto, farm, business, retirement, Lake Estate®, and more—protecting nearly 500,000 Michigan policyholders.


The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 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 more than 1.3 million spectators each year.


Image from MHSAA.com.

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