Dowagiac senior Craig Zebell was one of 32 individuals who will be given a $1,000 college scholarship as the winner of a Class B Scholar-Athlete Award.

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Zebell Scholar-Athlete winner

Published 1:00am Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dowagiac senior Craig Zebell was one of 32 individuals who will be given a $1,000 college scholarship as the winner of a Class B Scholar-Athlete Award.

Zebell is only the second Dowagiac Union High School senior to receive such a scholarship.

Andrew Cuthbert was an award winner in 2007.

The Class C and D awards were announced last week. The Class B awards were announced Tuesday by the Michigan High School Athletic Association in conjunction with Farm Bureau Insurance, who is the sponsor for the award.

Also winning Class B scholarships were Sara Marie Barron, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; Kathryn MacDermid Bollman, Williamston; Julie Buursma, Holland Christian; Rachel Neumann, Flint Powers Catholic; Jordan S. Daley, Grand Rapids Christian; Andrew Kelley, Allegan; Nathaniel P. Gaynor, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; and Nicolas Huston Parnell, Spring Lake.

“I definitely feel honored and humbled too,” Zebell said. “Being friends with Andrew, I actually talked to him, so it’s cool that we could share that. Being only the second one, I feel privileged.”

Zebell has letter four years in soccer and was a three-time All-State performer for the Chieftains, including a first team selection this past season. He was Dowagiac’s captain his junior and senior seasons.

Zebell also helped the Chieftain basketball team reached the Class B state semifinals in March 2011 and is currently a member of the team, which is in the thick of the Wolverine Conference race and one of the favorites to repeat as district champion.

A former Outstanding Freshman Athlete winner, Zebell has also been Academic All-State in soccer. He is a four-year member of the student senate and is vice president this year.

In his essay about sportsmanship, Zebell wrote, “I have learned that if a player has an incredible talent but lacks sportsmanship, then he won’t leave a lasting legacy. I feel that sportsmanship is what makes a good athlete into an even better one, and sportsmanship isn’t to be displayed only in games, but also in practice and in life.

“I did work hard on that application,” Zebell said. “I was hopeful, but I guess I didn’t now if I would make it. I knew there were 32 kids from Dowagiac doing it and kids from all over the state. I was hoping, but I wasn’t expecting it.”

Actually, one of those 32 other athletes who also filled out the application inspired him to “step up his game.”

Zebell said he talked with Erica Greenwood, who was named Miss Dowagiac over the weekend, and she was really excited about her essay.

“I had to step up my game a little bit after she told me about hers,” he said. “She inspired me.”

Zebell will attend Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, where he will continue his soccer career. He will study either sports ministry or international studies.

“He is what we are looking for in our student-athletes,” first-year Dowagiac athletic director Brent Nate said. “He is a three-time all-stater. He will be valedictorian of his class. He demonstrates character on and off the court and he is respected by all his peers, teammates and staff. That’s what we look for in our Dowagiac athletes.

“We are honored and proud not only as an athletic department, but as a school district and a community. We should be honored and proud have him as a member of it and a representative of Dowagiac.”

Zebell and the other winners will be honored during halftime of the Class C boys basketball finals game March 24 at the Breslin Events Center on the campus of Michigan State University.

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