Optimist Junior Golf recently announced the junior golfers who will make up the 2010 Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team. The team recognizes junior golfers who excel on the golf course and in the classroom. After reviewing the qualifications of a number of impressive applicants, the Optimist Junior Golf Committee selected five exceptional student athletes for the team.
Optimist Junior Golf bestowed the 2010 All-Scholastic Team honor on Michelle Chen of Plano, Texas; Kristen Helmsdoerfer of Westerville, Ohio; David E. Mills of Evansville, Indiana; Shane Stewart of Dublin, Ohio; and Peyton Vitter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Helmsdoerfer also received the “Bringing Out the Best in Kids” Community Service Award.
The members of the 2010 Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team will receive automatic exemptions into the 2010 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships July 27 through August 1 at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. In addition, the members of the scholastic team will have their registration fee for the tournament waived. All of this year’s honorees will also be recognized for their accomplishments at the tournament’s opening ceremonies on July 28.
David E. Mills
“This year’s field of applicants impressed the selection committee not just with their achievements on the course but also their success in the classroom and the service they provide in their communities,” said Steve Feinstein, chairman of the Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team Committee. “I’m confident the members of this year’s team have bright futures not just in golf but far beyond the course.”
Applicants were required to be 16 to 18 years old and past participants of the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, Optimist International Tournament of Champions or Optimist District qualifiers. Those making the team exemplified an impressive balance between golf and academics.
Michelle Chen is finishing her junior year at Plano West Senior High School. She has a cumulative 3.98 GPA and excelled in all areas of the SAT. Chen is involved in National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society and has competed in state-level science fairs. She also volunteers with the Hawaii Red Cross Summer Buddies Swim Program and the Collin County Teen Court. She is a student mentor for younger students as well as those with special needs. Chen has been on her school’s golf team for three years and served as captain this year. She was her team’s most valuable player in 2008-2009 and was also named Texas Junior Golf Tour Player of the Year. She competed in the 2009 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships and 2009 Optimist International Tournament of Champions.
Kristen Helmsdoerfer is finishing her senior year at Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio. With a 4.08 GPA, she is ranked sixth out of 240 students and has excelled on the SAT and ACT. Helmsdoerfer, who plans to attend Ohio University in the fall, was instrumental in starting the girls’ golf team at her school and teaching newcomers to the sport. She competed in the 2009 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships and lost in a sudden-death playoff at the FCWT Yankee Trace last spring. Outside of golf, Helmsdoerfer has participated in show choir, an a cappella group, theater and varsity swimming. She has dedicated more than 100 hours to service throughout the past school year and received this year’s “Bringing Out the Best in Kids” Community Service Award. She is president and founder of her school’s Interact Service Club, a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, an Ohio Reads tutor and a Sunday school teacher. She also helped raise more than $1,000 each for a Mexican orphanage and efforts in Haiti.
David E. Mills is completing his senior year at Evansville North High School, where he is ranked first in a class of 318 students. Mills has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout high school. He scored high on both the SAT and ACT and will attend Indiana University in the fall. Mills devotes time to the AJGA Playing It Forward Campaign and has volunteered with Race for the Cure, Toys for Tots, Christian Life Center and Goodwill Industries and as a peer math tutor. He has played golf for his high school for four years and is an inductee into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He is an AJGA HP Scholastic All-American and an FCWT Academic All-American Honorable Mention. Mills is ranked 114th by Golfweek and has a Junior Golf Scoreboard ranking of 140. He took first in last fall’s Champion Spikes Showdown and the Puma Junior Hoosier Championship. He finished in the top 10 in the 2009 Optimist International Tournament of Champions and 2007 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships.
After graduating from Dublin Jerome High School in Dublin, Ohio, at the top of his class of 275 students, Shane Stewart is heading to Penn State University this fall on a golf scholarship. Stewart has a 4.427 GPA and scored high on the ACT, particularly in English. Stewart is a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club. He volunteers his time as a student “buddy” for younger students, as a middle school golf instructor and with the Salvation Army’s Christmas Cheer Program and “Dylan’s Dream” cart caddying to fight disabilities. Stewart has played varsity golf for three years and received the Team Sportsmanship Award in 2007. He finished tied for first in last summer’s Optimist International Junior Golf Championships District Qualifier and went on to compete in the international event. He took first in the FCWT Whistling Straits Challenge last May and tied for second in last fall’s FCWT Tampa Bay Challenge. He tied for third at the Men’s U.S. Open Local Qualifier last summer.
Peyton Vitter is heading into his senior year at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. With a 4.83 GPA, he is ranked 12th in a class of 275 students. Vitter is a member of the National Honor Society and has received National Latin Exam Silver and Gold medals. He has been nominated for the National Young Leaders Conference, the National Student Leadership Conference and the Congressional Youth Leadership Council. At school Vitter is involved in student council, the Pro-Life Club, the Christian Life Club and the Ping Pong Club and has been a drummer for seven years. He assists disadvantaged with sports and tutoring, volunteers at a day care for the disadvantaged and helps with a Thanksgiving food drive. His school’s golf team captured the regional championship title in 2008 and 2009. He has taken second place in the Louisiana State Junior Amateur for the past two years. He also competed in the local Optimist International Junior Golf Championships District Qualifier in 2007 and 2009.
The All-Scholastic Team is named for Hugh Cranford, who served as Executive Director of Optimist International from 1967 to 1986. He was instrumental in starting the Optimist Junior Golf program and in 1978 led the efforts to co-sponsor the Optimist Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego, the forerunner to today’s Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Cranford served as chairman of the Optimist Junior Golf Committee and is an emeritus member of the committee.
About the Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team
To learn more about the All-Scholastic Team, click here.
Past All-Scholastic Teams
2009 -- Nicole Agnello (Longwood, Florida), David Catt (Shawnee, Kansas), Kaitlyn
Hutcherson (Greeneville, Tennessee), Brandon Jobe (Fayetteville, North Carolina)
and Patrick Cansfield* (Port Huron, Michigan). To read more about the 2009 Optimist International All-Scholastic Team, click here.
*"Bringing Out the Best in Kids" Community Service Award Winner
2008 -- Adam Carpenter (Little Rock, Arkansas); Katherine Jean (Rantoul,
Illinois); Patrick Rodgers (Avon, Indiana); and Mark Wehner (Cincinnati,
Ohio). To read more about the 2008 Optimist International All-Scholastic
2007 -- Daniel Maurer (Longmont, Colorado); Chris Olson (Midlothian, Virginia);
Alyssa Roland (Newtown Square, Pennsylvania); and James Rowland (Bolivar,