EMPIRE RUNNERS STUDENT GRANT FUND RECIPIENTS 2020

The Empire Runners have a long-standing commitment to providing scholarships to deserving XC/T&F student athletes of Sonoma County making the transition from high school to college. Made possible by dues and contributions from our members, we are
giving our 3 recipients a total of $ 3000 in scholarship awards this year. All clubmembers should be proud of the part they play in this most wonderful of traditions

The ER SGF is substantially funded by the Kenwood Footrace as well and due to the Covid Status will not be receiving these monies for the 2021 scholarships. This year there is an Independence Day Weekend Challenge Virtual Race which is free if you sign up through the ER site and we are asking, if you choose, to give a donation which will be used for next years SGF Scholarships.

This group of 2020 recipients has had to deal with the most unique set of circumstances in generations- 2017 Tubbs Fire with entire sections of Santa Rosa burnt out impacting thousands, 2018 Camp Fire and being smoked out for weeks, Flood along the Russian River and this year Covid-19. They have missed more school, more training and more sports by far than any other class. And all 3 recipients were personally affected by these circumstances. Here is hoping their next 4+ years of University life and sports return to some sort of normalcy.

Our first recipient is a 4yr XC/Track & Field athlete. He was a 3 yr varsity performer, part of a league championship team and qualified for the California State XC Championships twice. His PR on the Spring Lake Course is 16:32 and his mile PR is 4:38. He has been an outstanding addition to his teams since freshman year with his upbeat personality initially and then developing excellent leadership and team building skills. He has been instrumental in bringing the new young runners into the team concept. Our first recipient’s coaches have thoroughly enjoyed their experience with him and will miss him as he leaves high school and begins his collegiate career.

Our first ER SGF scholarship recipient is looking forward to starting his collegiate career at Santa Rosa JC. As an athlete who has missed parts of 4 seasons he is still far from reaching his athletic and educational goals. While working extra hard due to a learning disorder he also made time for over 200 volunteer hours. His teachers and coaches will be following his progress closely, under the tutelage of Coach Wellman, as he embarks on his journey to be the best runner he can be and complete his prerequisites for transfer to a university and study Marine Biology.

Our first recipient is the former Piner Prospector and future Santa Rosa JC Bearcub, JEREMIAH CANO.

Our second ER SGF scholarship winner is also a 4yr athlete, in both Soccer and Track&Field. He has been accepted at the College of his choice and will be playing soccer primarily with the option of continuing in T&F if he can make it work. He has achieved at a very high level attaining All Empire in both Soccer and T&F, the highlight of qualifying for the NCS meet final in the 400 meters. He has been achieving at the highest level all 4 years as well with Alltime in Class Top 10s in the 400 meters- # 7 Freshman 51.84, #10 Sophmore 50.77 and #5 Junior 49.52. He also has PRs of 22.44 in the 200m and 1:57 in the 800m. Unfortunately our 2nd scholarship winner was unable to perform for his Senior season and continue up the Alltime Best Ladders.

Our 2nd recipient, too, has had to face many challenges during his high school career including the near total destruction of his school during the 2017 Tubbs Fire but that did not deter him. Even while playing Varsity Soccer all 4 years, T&F and performing significant community service(winning the Christian Gentleman Award) he has maintained an unweighted GPA of 3.9 in a College Prep course load with many AP classes. He also found time to participate in student council. Our 2nd recipient will take his talents, dedication and hard work to further his education in viticulture/agriculture. This scholarship winner will trade the cardinal & gold of Cardinal Newman for the blue & white of UC Davis in the Fall.

We are proud to announce our 2nd scholarship presented to the future Aggie from Cardinal Newman, JUSTIN PATTERSON.

Our final SGF scholarship winner began her high school career as an all star varsity volleyball and basketball player. She went out for the track team to put her in line for the Iron Lion Award(3 sports for all 4 years). To all who knew her it was a forgone conclusion she would go to college playing volleyball but she soon fell in love with the ‘throws’(Shotput and Discus) while scoring points in a variety of other events. Like the other recipients her education and athletic career was negatively impacted by fires, flooding and Covid but in addition she contracted a very severe case of Lyme’s disease and missed half a school year. She has worked very hard to get her physical level back and even improve it. This hard work was evident when after only 2 meets this year she improved her SP PR to 36’1.5”(50th AT RE) and her DT PR to 140’10”(#3 AT). Highlights besides many League championships, All Empire awards, multi event NCS qualifier peaked with a trip to the State T&F Championship for the discus last year. Our recipient was looking for a return trip this year with her 140+’ throw in March good for 5th in the state when the season was interrupted. She has been working fulltime improving her throws and adding the Javelin and the Hammer to her repertoire which she will be throwing in college.

Always an excellent student our final SGF Scholarship persevered through fires, floods, Covid and Lymes disease to maintain an unweighted 3.83 GPA in an AP College Prep track. She also made time to be a teachers aide in Math through high school, be a member of multiple clubs including Leadership and civic volunteering. This scholarship winner had multiple excellent Universities to pick from and decided on UC Irvine where she felt she had the best chance to meet her goals of being a D1 NCAA Champion and hopefully qualifying for the 2028 Olympic Trials. Considering what she has had to overcome so far I wouldn’t bet against it. This scholar athlete will be trading her Lion mascot to become an Anteater in the fall.

We are proud to give the ER SGF Scholarship to El Molino’s very own, KASSIDY SANI.

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