2015 Empire Runners Scholarship Winners

The Empire Runners Student Grant Fund was established in the year 2000 with the goal of helping deserving high school student athletes go on to college by awarding monetary grants.  The Club awards a minimum of two grants of $500 each year, one each for a graduating male and female.  To qualify, a student must have participated in track or cross county at any Sonoma County high school and be planning to run on a college team after graduating from high school. These Grants are made possible in part through funding provided by Empire Runners Club membership dues. Additional funding is provided through donations by members and by a raffle held at the monthly club meetings. This years awardees are: 

Graham Herder – Sonoma Valley HS

Graham is an outstanding student with a GPA in access of 3.5 in a variety of honors and advanced placement curriculum. Throughout his high school career he participated in a wide variety of sports including football, baseball, track & field and cross-country, establishing himself as a varsity performer in football, cross-country and track. In track he ran sprints and performed the shot and disc in the field events. He also made time for multiple clubs including the Interact club. He volunteers for many community events including Relay for Life, coaches Little League and participates in the Nathanson Creek cleanup. His coaches and teachers have appreciated his hard work, positive interactions with classmates and his being an example to his teammates of what it means to be a true student athlete.

Graham is planning on continuing his education and athletic future at Cal Maritime Academy.

Angela Romero – Cloverdale HS

Angela is an excellent student with a GPA in excess of 3.75 while taking honors and AP classes. She has been running track since she was a freshman and cross-country for her junior and senior years. A self-described long-distance addict, she plans to continue her cross-country career in college. The number one runner on her team and a two-time all league performer in cross-country, Angela is driven to improve and work hard. Highlights for Angel this year included: 25th at the Viking Opener 2-mile in 13:49, 2nd place at NCL I finals, 6th place at Coastal Mountain Conf. finals. Her capacity for hard work, self-discipline and strong goal setting will aid her to succeed in her pursuit of becoming a teacher and coach.

Angela will be attending Concordia University in Irvine.

Anna Drake-Tripp – Healdsburg HS

Anna is an outstanding student athlete who started high school as a shy young girl with no real goals or expectations. Running changed that, especially after summer training for cross-country in her junior year. By working harder than she had at anything else in her life and gaining strength from the boy’s team and her cross-country family she attained her goal of making it to the State cross-country Championships. To say this young lady’s life is on an upswing is to minimize the point. Both her coaches and teachers have noted her strong leadership and teammate skills as well as her improvement as a student during these last 2 years. Coach Wellman at SRJC will be excited to get this proverbial ‘diamond in the rough’. She started the year with a 21:26 at the Super Septo (SLC) in September and just exploded to a 2nd place overall finish at the SCL finals with an excellent 19:22 at the Spring Lake Course. To complete her senior cross-country season, she went to the NCS finals and stunned many if not herself by finishing 9th in the D4 race in a mud-bath qualifying herself for the prestigious State cross-country championships, making her only the fifth female runner from her school to attain this level of excellence.

This former Healdsburg greyhound will be matriculating to SRJC to further her educational and running career. Look for this young lady to blossom under the JC coaching staff.

The Kenwood Footrace, July 4th,  2015. Photo by Douglas Murdoch
The Kenwood Footrace, July 4th, 2015. Photo by Douglas Murdoch

Adam Harwood – Casa Grande HS

Adam has been called a great leader and teammate by his head coach. Adam was a teammate who stressed the importance of sportsmanship and effort to all runners whether new or experienced. He was the leader of team-bonding dinners and activities. Adan was literally the heart and soul of a championship quality team. This scholar-athlete is an excellent student who has found his path with a plan to become an elementary school teacher. In cross-country he has been a scoring varsity member for two years with a best of 16:36 on the Spring Lake course and a 12th place finish at the NBL finals this year to garner all league honors. He finished 35th at NCS on the first place D2 squad and qualified with his team to the State cross-country championships for the last two years. He had a best of 11:00 at the Viking Opener 2-mile. On the track he had a best of 2:07 in the 800M.

As impressive as his resume is, his love of running is even more so. He has enjoyed the natural running environment of Sonoma County some amazing races with a great team throughout California and the positive impact it has had on his life.

This former Gaucho will continue his cross-country and track life as a Bear Cub at SRJC under the watchful eye of Coach Wellman.

Sheena Blackwell – Piner HS

When you think of Sheena Blackwell think time management.  Sheena has been a top scholar-athlete with a GPA of near 4.0 in an honors/AP curriculum while taking multiple classes concurrently at SRJC. She was the MVP of her cross-country and track teams, an active member of six clubs and multiple volunteer efforts throughout the year and competed in six events in track with top times in the 100H (12th AT), 300H (#10 AT), HJ (1st League), LJ, 800 and the SP (5th League) plus relays all while working in her family’s group-home for developmentally delayed adults. Sheena does all of this without complaint or special attention from her teachers and coaches. In cross-country and track she is an inspirational leader and a knowledgeable coaching influence. This young lady has a PR on the Spring Lake Course of 20:01, 7th in the SCL finals, 38th at NCS XC. She is all league in XC and 4 times All Redwood Empire in track.

Sheena is looking forward to furthering her education in Neurobiology and Behavior with a goal of being a Chiropractic Doctor, blending her talents to make a physical impact in the quality of her patient’s lives.

This Piner Prospector will be heading to UC Davis in the fall for school and competition utilizing her wide range of physical talents in the Heptathlon.

Allison Scranton – Petaluma HS

Allison Scranton has been involved in sports year-long throughout high school. She competed at the varsity level in volleyball, softball, basketball and track & field. In basketball she was all-league three times and MVP as a junior. She was also All Empire multiple years and plays on an AAU travel squad. In track & field she came on the scene as the area’s top shot-putter as a freshman which she has maintained and she has developed into the finest discus thrower in Empire history. Somehow she has found time to maintain a 3.8 GPA, a four-year CSF membership and remained an active member of her school leadership program. A leader – her highly competitive and athletic nature is tempered by her innate ability to get the best out of herself and her teammates alike.

Allison’s track and field career reads as:

Four time all league, four times all empire including athlete of the year last year, four times to MOC, #2 AT in the shot, #1 AT in the discus. This young lady qualified two times for State; finishing 6th last year in the disc. But this years state discus competition was how all athletes dream of finishing their career. Our scholar athlete had five throws greater than 145 feet, five throws better than the previous empire record, five PRs topping out at 149’4”. The college of her choice must be licking their chops at the chance to develop this talent. Her goal is to medal at nationals in college and become an elementary school teacher and coach. We look forward to following her development.

Now an Aggie and heading to Utah State University at Logan Allison is the female Empire Runner scholar athlete of the year!

David Eik – Maria Carrillo HS

David began his high school career as an undersized immature JV runner. But his effort was exemplary and it was clear that he would be an overachiever. His coach has stated that several rival coaches have asked him, “who is that kid”. Can I borrow him for a few days to show my kids what I want?” But David’s running is only part of the story. David is a winner in everything he does. He is a 4.0 student, as in no ‘B’s’ in an AP curriculum and multiple classes at the JC. He is an integral member of the Jazz Band, the Symphonic Band, and the Choir. He excels in cross-country, track and swimming. He is a finalist for the CIF Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He does all of this with aplomb and a smile and has left a lasting impact on his school’s historic program. He finds time to serve on the SOCO Climate Protection Youth Board and the ECOS club organizing activities to preserve the environment. Through hard work and consistent improvement this student-athlete worked his way up to varsity cross-country his senior year and wasn’t just happy to be on the top seven but excelled. He finished the year, #10 overall NBL, all league, 37th NCS to qualify with his team to State XC, a 16:29 PR at the SLC and All Empire. On the track he improved to an outstanding 9:57 3200. His high school goals complete, he is looking forward to matriculating to Colorado College in Colorado Springs to continue his education in Biology and run cross-country and track under the tutelage of Ted Castenada. We look forward to following his running career and his attack on the Boston Marathon.

David is a future Tiger and our male Empire Runner scholar-athlete of the year!

Brad Zanetti and the ER Blog Editors

The Kenwood Footrace, July 4th,  2015. Photo by Douglas Murdoch
The Kenwood Footrace, July 4th, 2015. Photo by Douglas Murdoch


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