Four to receive UPSHF scholarships

ESCANABA — North Central’s Jason Whitens will be among five student-athletes to be recognized Saturday night at the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame banquet at Island Resort & Casino in Harris.

Four will receive $2,000 scholarships for four years from the UPSHF.

The honorees include North Central’s Jason Whitens, Gladstone’s Leigha Woelffer, Munising’s Frankie Mattson, Negaunee’s Thomas Ziegler and Sault Ste. Marie’s Ryley Alaspa.

Whitens led North Central to three straight Class D state basketball championships and back-to-back eight-player state football titles.

He has earned all-state first-team honors the past three seasons and was the Associated Press Class D Player of the Year a year ago and shared that honor with Southfield Christian’s Brock Washington this season.

Whitens helped the Jets post a 108-1 record during his four years on varsity. The Jets own the nation’s longest winning steak at 83.

Whitens, who maintained a 3.8 grade point average, is headed to Western Michigan University where he will play basketball next season and plans to major in business.

Since he has accepted an NCAA Division 1 scholarship, Whitens will not be eligible for an UPSHF scholarship.

Woelffer has 10 varsity letters in three sports (cross country, basketball and track and is valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA at Gladstone.

She scored a 34 on the ACT test as a junior and received All-U.P. honors in cross country and basketball.

Her out-of-school activities include West Point Academy Summer Leaders in 2016 and Michigan Tech computer and engineering activities.

She organized a five-kilometer run in Gladstone from which all the funds went to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Woelffer was accepted at West Point Military Academy, but has elected to attend Michigan Tech where she’ll major in engineering and mathematics.

Mattson is this year’s valedictorian at Munising, where she also earned a 4.0 GPA.

She has 20 varsity letters in five sports (tennis, volleyball, basketball, track and golf) and has earned several individual awards, including U.P. Division 2 Player of the Year in tennis and Most Valuable Player awards. She has also led the Mustangs to district championships in basketball and volleyball.

Mattson will attend Alma College where she will play basketball and major in secondary education to become a high school math teacher.

Zeigler has eight varsity letters in cross country and track and has taken the most rigorous curriculum possible at Negaunee, where he is valedictorian with a 4.33 GPA.

He is active in many school and out-of-school musical groups and at the Ishpeming Ski Club where he teaches the physically handicapped kids to ski.

Ziegler will attend Michigan Tech to major in aerospace and computer engineering.

Alaspa is this year’s valedictorian at Sault High where he carries a 4.07 GPA and earned seven varsity letters in three sports (football, basketball and baseball).

He has shown compassion and consistency as a volunteer with long-term care patients at War Memorial Hospital.

Alaspa will attend the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. where he’ll major in mechanical engineering and play football.

He will miss Saturday’s banquet to compete in national competition in the Business and Professional Students of Americal in Global Marketing in Orlando, Fla., but will be represented by his parents.

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