23rd Annual Florida Dairy Farmers Academic All-State Team Members Embody True Meaning of Student-Athlete
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – This year the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) partnered with the Florida Dairy Farmers to recognize seniors from around the state for superb academic and athletic achievement. Selection to the Academic All-State Team is an honor that only 24 student-athletes in Florida get to boast. Team members exemplify the true meaning of being a student-athlete by excelling academically, performing athletically, and contributing to their community.
The 23rd annual Florida Dairy Farmers Academic All-State Team will be awarded a total of $50,000 in scholarships – a $10,000 increase from last year. A total of 12 girls and 12 boys from all over the state will receive scholarships.
“Our goal is to honor not only the Sunshine State’s top athletes but also its brightest minds,” says Florida Dairy Farmers CEO, Michele Cooper. “We’re excited to support a program that has a great tradition of encouraging excellence on the field and in the classroom and we’re proud to support students that have the special mix of work ethic and determination required to succeed at both.”
In order to be considered for this esteemed honor, students must be a graduating senior who received a minimum 3.5 unweighted GPA while earning letters in at least two FHSAA-sanctioned varsity sports their junior and senior years. This year the FHSAA received 127 qualifying Academic All-State applications. Nominees were scored on their academic record, athletic participation, non-athletic activities, community activities and essay.
Each Academic All-State Team member will be recognized at a commemorative banquet on Monday, June 12 in Gainesville, Fla. Each student honored will receive a $1,700 scholarship. Out of the 24 All-State Team members, one male and one female will garner the title of “Ron Davis Scholar-Athlete of the Year,” the FHSAA’s most prestigious honor bestowed on any active student-athlete. The winners of this award will earn an additional $4,600 in scholarship funds – $6,300 in total.
The members of the 2017 FHSAA Academic All-State Team are:
Amanda Ban, Marathon – Amanda Ban is a varsity soccer, softball, and weightlifting athlete. She added soccer captain to her list of leadership duties this year as the student body president and previously the class president in 9th and 11th grade. She is the president of the Student Athletic Leadership Team, the treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta, and a three-year member of National Honor Society. Amanda devoted her time to the community through participation in several clubs including Interact Club and the Relay for Life team. As junior class president, Amanda set a school record in money raised during one fundraiser. She wishes to continue on to a career of math and science as a double major in Actuarial and Environmental Science at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
Natalie Baumgarten, Lincoln Park (Fort Pierce) – Carrying an unweighted 4.0 GPA and being a three-sport four-year varsity athlete is no easy task. Natalie Baumgarten will be receiving an International Baccalaureate diploma while being captain of the cross country and track and field teams. She is a three-time district champion in the 4x800m relay. Natalie has a passion for theatre and is a member of the International Thespian Society and a cast member of a large group musical and a pantomime piece for the Thespian Festival. She has an influential presence in the Saint Lucie Catholic Church as a lector, Eucharistic Minister and youth group leader. She regularly volunteered her free time to the church and assisted in various acts of kindness like laying sod, feeding the homeless, and singing Christmas carols at a local nursing home.
Madelyn Bell, Winter Park – Attending the United States Naval Academy to study engineering in the fall, Maddy Bell is an extremely talented individual. As a four-year lacrosse and swim team member, Maddy was co-captain of each team her senior year. She was Orlando Family Magazine’s 2017 Spring Sports Star Athlete for lacrosse and the 2016 Metro Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year for swimming. Maddy represented Florida as a two-year goalie on the Brine National Tournament Team. She has been the National Honor Society president since 2016 and a member of the athletic honor society at Winter Park for three consecutive years. She plays the cello for the Park Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Concert Orchestra. Maddy selflessly serves her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Maitland/Winter Park, leading the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life as a captain, and acting as a team leader and organizer for BASE Camp for the Children’s Cancer Foundation.
Emily Boehlein, St. Francis (Gainesville) – Emily Boehlein of St. Francis Catholic Academy is the valedictorian of her class. She embodies the term student-athlete with her dedication inside the classroom and on the court. A four-year varsity volleyball player, Emily helped secure the 3A FHSAA State Championship title this year. Having played varsity basketball since her freshman year, she was a member of the 2017 North Florida Basketball Conference Girls All-Tournament Team. Emily participates in choir, drama, and pep band outside of her athletic activities. In her minimal free time she acted as a lab assistant and field researcher at the University of Florida and has submitted a scientific journal for publication. Emily continues to give back to the community through work with her church as a youth group leader and participating in city improvement projects. She will further her education at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.
Marcella Bolenbaugh, St. John Neumann (Naples) – An aspiring biomedical engineer, Marcella Bolenbaugh is on the right track to greatness. She has represented her class in student government every year, holding the positions of freshman class vice president, sophomore class secretary, junior class vice president, and senior class representative. Marcella is a three-sport athlete participating in volleyball, basketball, and softball. She is the Wendy’s High School Heisman 2016 winner for St. John Neumann. Selflessly dedicating her spare time to helping others, Marcella is a key participant in Immokalee’s Mission Week and a member of Youth and Christ Helping Together. She was selected as one of six students to attend a four day Salesian Leadership Retreat through the peer ministry program. She will be continuing her education at the University of Florida.
Kristi Byun, Indian Rocks Christian (Largo) – As a four-time gold honor roll member carrying a 4.0 unweighted GPA, Kristi Byun is the valedictorian of her class. She maintained this academic excellence while earning 11 varsity letters. Kristi participated in cross country, soccer, and track and field. She was a cast member in the Sound of Music and a piano accompanist to choir last year. A three year member of the National Honor Society Executive Board and student government treasurer, Kristi gives back to the student body through her time and peer tutoring. She has participated in service projects in Puerto Rico, Guatemala and Honduras. She has a selfless spirit having volunteered with a homeless empowerment program and Suncoast Hospice for several consecutive years. Kristi hopes to study biology at the University of Florida.
Sofia Caro, Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale) – Sofia Caro is a varsity football player, weightlifter and lacrosse player at Pine Crest School. She is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction with a 4.0 unweighted GPA that will be attending Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Sofia was the FHSAA girls weightlifting state runner-up in the 139 pound weight class this year. Her successes don’t stop there. She was an Under Armor South Team member, a three-year first Team All-District member, a first Team All-Region member and a first Team All-League member for lacrosse in 2016 alone. As the 2016 Fan of the Year, Sofia has no shortage of school spirit. She sang the national anthem at various sporting events over the last four years and performed with the jazz band and chorus. She is the president of the Pine Crest Community Foundation and has volunteered over 300 hours to First Presbyterian Church’s musicals and chorus groups.
Natalie Chapman, Northside Christian (St. Pete) – A two-time FHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member, an Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor award recipient, and valedictorian of her graduating class, Natalie Chapman embodies the term student-athlete. Since her freshman year, she has participated in basketball, golf, cross country, and track and field. Natalie was a district champion in the 300m hurdle, 100m hurdle, and the 4x400m relay in 2016. Off the track, Natalie is heavily involved in her student government as student body president. She will be attending the University of Florida in Gainesville to study political science. She is a member of Northside Christian’s student-athlete advisory committee, speech and debate club, rock climbing club and National Honor Society. Natalie’s efforts to improve her community are seen in her service hours. Her volunteer hours are spread across school and track clean-up projects, working at Faith Café soup kitchen and yearly participation in Operation Christmas Child.
Kristyn Kramer, John Carroll (Fort Pierce) –Kristyn Kramer has received an academic excellence award for Advanced Placement Environmental Science. She is a 13-time varsity letterman having played lacrosse, soccer, cross country, and swimming. She is the new member director for Anchor Club, the index editor for the yearbook, and the senior class secretary in student government at John Carroll. Kristyn is an aspiring veterinarian who plans on continuing her education at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She has dedicated over 200 hours to help animals at the Holy Family Veterinary Hospital and the Manatee Observation and Education Center. She was nominated for an organizational position at the Lawnwood Regional Medical Center after three consecutive years of volunteer efforts.
Nina Staviski, Gulf Breeze – Nina Staviski is an aspiring petroleum engineer who is planning to attend the University of Texas in Austin, Texas to make that dream come true. She is ranked five of 456 in her senior class. Nina has lettered four times in lacrosse and wrestling and twice in weightlifting. She represented her peers as class president every year of high school and received the Principals Award for her leadership this year. Nina previously took home first place in the Latin Region Competition in the Derivatives event and the Olympics. She has been on the Kids Unlimited Summer Camp board for four years, contributing over 280 hours to the camp. She has generously donated almost 900 hours of service to her community.
Alexandra Thomasson, Lecanto – As a nine-time varsity athlete and the valedictorian of her senior class, Alexandra Thomasson epitomizes the term scholar-athlete. Alexandra has a long list of accolades including: Best Female Jumper, All-County Team Volleyball, Advanced Placement Scholar Award, National Scholar Award, numerous Principal’s awards, and coach’s awards. Alexandra has a passion for art and has been a member of the Lecanto School of Art as an advisory council member and senior representative. She plans on continuing this passion for art as a double major in biology and art at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alexandra aids her peers as a National Honor Society academic tutor. She uses her free time to volunteer with Cinderella’s Closet, Colors for CASA, and as an elementary school teacher’s aide and intramural track coach.
Alison Walker, Pine School (Hobe Sound) – With a 4.0 unweighted GPA and 13 varsity letters, Alison Walker has a decorated high school career. She is a recipient of the Pine School Academic Achievement Award for highest grade point average and has been on the headmaster’s honor roll every semester. Alison’s varsity athletic participation includes volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, and track and field. This year she stepped into the role of team captain for both the volleyball and lacrosse teams. Alison’s school pride is shown through her four years as head tour guide and as the Head Ambassador Perfect of the Ambassador Perfect Committee. She is the founder and president of the Pine School’s chapter of Mu Alpha Theta, a mathematics honor society. She strives to study mathematics at the University of Miami, in Coral Gables.
Luke Bryan, Spruce Creek (Port Orange) – As an Advanced Placement scholar and eight-time varsity letter recipient in both cross country and track, Luke Bryan is a well-rounded depiction of a student-athlete. Luke is currently the executive vice president of student government, having previously served as a class representative. He is a part of the International Baccalaureate mentor program where he assists underclassmen with time management tactics and ways to stay focused. Luke served his community through roughly 440 service hours in his high school career. The majority of those hours were spent enriching the lives of younger student-athletes as a volunteer soccer, tennis and track coach. While still uncertain where he will attend in the fall, Luke is an aspiring doctor on the pre-med track.
Christian Cropp, Benjamin School (Palm Beach Gardens) – Christian Cropp has earned four letters in his high school career as a varsity lacrosse and golf player. His senior year, he obtained the title of captain in both sports. He is extremely talented academically as he plans on attending Yale University in New Haven, Conn. to study economics. He was the junior class president and is now the student body president. In this role, he is responsible for coordinating events to promote school spirit like Homecoming week, spirit assemblies and fan buses to away sporting events. He serves on the Benjamin School honor council and aids in the recommendation of disciplinary actions for honor code violations. Christian helps his peers through a peer counseling group and positively enriches the community through over 500 service hours.
Matthew DeSantis, St. John Neumann (Naples) – Matthew DeSantis participated in soccer, swimming and diving, and track and field earning nine varsity letters. He was the leading goal scorer for St. John Neumann in the ’15-’16 season and an All-Area Team selection for soccer. He was recognized for his character and leadership potential his junior year with the Holy Cross Book Award. Prominent in the National BETA Club, Matthew acted as the vice president in 2015 and the president in 2016 of St. John Neumann’s chapter. He served on the executive board of the Hugh O’Bryan Youth Leadership Alumni Association and was an ambassador for the association. As a member of the Make-A-Wish Youth Leadership Committee Executive Board, Matthew contributed to a fundraising total of $75,000 last year with an increased goal of $100,000 for this year. Their dual fundraising-leadership approach has been implemented around the country. Matthew will be relocating to Annapolis, Md. to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
Scott Etchechury, Barron Collier (Naples) – Accepted into Boston College’s Honors Program in Boston, Mass., Scott Etchechury is planning on studying political science. He is a three-time Barron Collier Academic Excellence award recipient and an Advance Placement Honors Scholar. He achieved this academic excellence while participating in varsity lacrosse and cross country, embodying the term student-athlete. He is very active within his school. Scott has been treasurer, secretary and senator within student government and was the president of National Honor Society, Model United Nations and Mock Trial his senior year. Earning the title of Eagle Scout, he helped the Humane Society of Naples through a toy drive and fundraising efforts.
Jack Fining, Charlotte (Punta Gorda) – The 2016 FACA 6A Academic Player of the Year, Jack Fining epitomizes the term student-athlete having lettered in football, weightlifting, and track and field for his sophomore, junior and senior years. He represented Charlotte High School at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Invitational Mathematics Competition for three years. Jack is a two-time All-Area First Team offensive lineman and was a key player on the 2015 and 2016 Charlotte district championship teams. Having dedicated many hours to community service, Jack organized a book drive for the Boys & Girls Club and participated in Relay for Life. He will be attending the University of Florida in Gainesville to pursue a career in computer science/engineering.
Logan Locascio, Gainesville – Logan Locascio is the valedictorian of his graduating class with a 4.0 unweighted GPA. Logan has been recognized for this academic achievement all while earning eight varsity letters in cross country, track and field, and water polo. Some of his accolades include Scholar Athlete of the Year (Track and Field), Bonnie Tilson Leadership Award (Cross Country), and AP Scholar with Honor. He is also active within the Gainesville community as he worked his way up from vice president to president of the March of Dimes club and raised over $2,200 individually for research, care and education to help fight premature births. Logan wishes to pursue a career in medicine at either the University of Florida in Gainesville or Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.
David Mahan, Bishop Verot (Fort Myers) – David Mahan is a six-time varsity letterman with an extensive history of academic excellence. He is the salutatorian of Bishop Verot class of 2017. David was honored as a National Merit Commended Scholar in 2016 and on track to graduate Summa Cum Laude. He was awarded both the Rotary South Sam Sirianni Scholar Athlete Award and the Bishop Verot Football Scholar Athlete award in 2016. Off the field, David participated in Model UN, National Honor Society, student ambassadors, and student government as the National Honor Society liaison. He has gone on mission trips to Guatemala for four consecutive years aiding at a malnutrition center. David has held fundraisers to purchase water filters from a Guatemalan based company to provide 300 filters and counting to families in need. He is currently assisting in research for an alternative nutrition source for the malnutrition center. David plans on furthering this dedication to others through studying microbiology on a pre-medicine track at the University of Florida in Gainesville or the University of Miami in Coral Gables.
Zachary Moser, Rutherford (Panama City) – Zachary Moser is the varsity tennis and swim captain at Rutherford High School. He is a leader that will continue to develop these skills at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. in the fall studying ocean engineering. Zachary is a four-time Academic Honor Roll with Distinction member and a National Merit Commended Scholar. He is the treasurer of Coding Club and the Engineering Experience club president. As the Mu Alpha Theta Statistics Team Captain and a four-year member of the National Honor Society, it is amazing that Zachary has had the time to dedicate over 800 hours to Boys Scouts of America. He is a member of the prestigious Order of the Arrow organization in scouting and will soon have the rank of Eagle Scout.
Daniel Orcutt, Fort Walton Beach – A four-year three-sport athlete graduating Summa Cum Laude, Daniel Orcutt is as decorated academically as he is athletically. He is the 2016 Wendy’s High School Heisman National Winner. He has represented his class in student government as class treasurer during his junior and senior years. He is a member of Fort Walton Beach’s 2017 Viking Hall of Fame, an honor only 12 seniors receive. As the son of an active duty military officer, Daniel has served his community through over 500 volunteer hours contributing to deployed families and airmen, Eagle Scouts, his church and local recreation and middle school swim teams. He plans on studying chemical engineering while swimming for the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
Alex Quinones, Southeast (Bradenton) – Alex Quinones from Bradenton, Fla. was one of 10 student-athletes chosen by Southeast’s Athletic Director to represent the school on a district leadership committee known as the Positive Coach Alliance. Alex is a four-year varsity baseball player and a two-time captain. His leadership skills allowed him to be a captain of the swimming team as only a second year member. Alex is prominent in Southeast’s television production club as lead camera engineer and as a Skills USA – TV club member. They placed second in the state in both 2015 and 2016 for broadcast news. He is an active member of the National Honor Society and has dedicated many hours of community service to the special needs camps Dream Oaks and Miracle League Baseball of Manasota. Alex will be studying biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.
Vinson Rafael, MAST Academy (Miami) – Vinson Rafael is an Advance Placement scholar-athlete with plans to attend the University of Florida. Vinson will pursue a degree in civil engineering. He participated in basketball and cross country to earn seven varsity letters throughout his high school career. Vinson is a four-year member of the Equal Access Bible Club and serves as the clubs vice president. As a member of Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society) and National Honor Society, Vinson is dedicated to academic success. He is a 2016 recipient of the University of California Berkeley Book award and received a letter of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Program. Vinson devoted over 300 hours of community service to the Brockway Memorial Library and the Filipino American Ministries.
Ryan Savoldy, Fivay (Hudson) – With aspirations to attend Duke University in Durham, N.C. as a bio medical engineer major, Ryan Savoldy is on the right track as an eight-time varsity athlete with a 4.0 unweighted GPA. He has been recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction and is a four-year honor roll recipient. Ryan was a Wendy’s National High School Heisman State Finalist as a soccer and tennis player. A member of the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Ryan has acted as an advocate for the more than 240,000 FHSAA student-athletes. He has sat on Fivay’s school advisory council his entire high school career. Ryan has served his community through continued volunteer efforts with Metropolitan Ministries, Rotary Club Seven Springs, and the Pack-a-Sack Program. Ryan was recognized by his school this year as an outstanding senior.
About Florida Dairy Farmers
Florida Dairy Farmers (FDF) is Florida’s milk promotion organization, representing more than 100 dairy farming families who work every day to provide a steady supply of wholesome milk. FDF’s sponsorship of the Academic All-State Team compliments the organization’s long history of supporting Florida’s student athletes. In its 25th year of sponsoring the Florida Dairy Farmers High School Sports Awards program, FDF also honors the state’s top athletes and coaches in all 30 FHSAA sanctioned sports.
About the FHSAA
The Florida High School Athletic Association supervises and regulates interscholastic athletic programs for high school students at member public, private and charter schools. The organization also recognizes and honors academic achievement among student-athletes at almost 800 middle, junior and senior high schools statewide. Headquartered in Gainesville, it is the official governing body for interscholastic athletics in Florida.