Otsego athletic director John Kubiak (center) is flanked by Wolverine Conference Scholar-Athlete recipients Luke Aldrich (left) and Cooper Smalldon (right). (Photo provided)
Ellery Troff (left) and Thai Nguyen were the Wolverine Conference Scholar-Athletes from Plainwell. (Photo provided)
By Jason Wesseldyk
The Wolverine Conference recently honored two senior student-athletes from each of the league’s eight member schools as this year’s Scholar Athlete Award recipients.
Luke Aldrich and Cooper Smalldon were the representatives from Otsego High School, while Ellery Troff and Thai Nguyen were selected from Plainwell High School.
The Wolverine Conference Board of Governors—which is comprised of the conference athletic directors and principals—determine the award recipients based on the specified criteria.
That criteria includes the student’s grade point average and SAT scores along with the earning of at least two varsity letters during the student’s senior year.
All four of the local honorees earned varsity letters in three sports during their prep athletic careers.
For Otsego, Aldrich has participated in cross country and swimming for four years to go along with three years of track.
Smalldon earned four varsity letters in soccer, three in basketball and three in golf.
Otsego athletic director John Kubiak said Aldrich and Smalldon were part of a strong senior class at OHS.
“These two student-athletes represent the Otsego High School senior class, which has a solid group of athletes that has achieved many accolades on the playing field and also perform at a high level academically,” Kubiak said.
“Like many of the OHS Class of 2023, Luke and Cooper have had success both athletically and academically because of their positive attitude and work ethic.”
Aldrich will continue his education at the University of Michigan, while Smalldon will attend Western Michigan University.
For Plainwell, Troff lettered in basketball for four years to go with two letters in tennis and one in soccer.
Nguyen received four letters in cross country, three in track and two in basketball.
Both plan to further their educations at U of M.
“Thai and Ellery are both outstanding students and people on and off the field,” Plainwell High School principal Jeremy Wright said. “They are what make PHS a great school.
“We wish them luck in the future as they continue their studies at the University of Michigan.”
Plainwell athletic director Melissa Preston echoed those sentiment.
“Ellery and Thai lead by example in the programs they have been involved in,” she said. “They work hard and are always encouraging and supportive of their teammates. We’re proud of our Plainwell Trojans.”