The Empire Runners have a long-standing commitment to providing scholarships to deserving 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 4 recipients a total of $3000 in scholarship awards this year. All club members should be proud of the part they play in this most wonderful of traditions through generous donations.
It has been 3 years since the last Kenwood Footrace and the presentation of our scholarships. Last year we were able to provide 3 awards but no race to present them. It is so fantastic again to be running the Kenwood Footrace and presenting the grants to 4 very deserving student athletes.
This group of Student Grant Fund recipients has just about experienced it all: from fires and smoke in 2018, 2019 to floods in 2019 to the Covid pandemic in 2020 until now. They have had to deal with fire, smoke, evictions, quarantines, zoom schooling, masks and vaccines. They have had partial seasons, lost seasons, severely shortened seasons with no post seasons. It would have been easy for any of our recipients to just ‘fold up the tent’ for any or all of these reasons but they did not. In fact, they somehow not only persevered but excelled during their high school careers.
1. Kevin Manni, Windsor HS
Our first SGF recipient has been running XC and Track since sophomore year. A self-described “newbie” with no running background, our student athlete found his first year very difficult; but with a group of ‘newbies’ training, learning and experiencing XC together he was drawn to keep running. This group developed nicely and won the league title in 2019. With hard work he continued to develop and improve his performance each year in both XC and Track. He also paid back those that came before and became a leader and team captain senior year. This led to him being 2nd team All-Empire in XC for 2021 with bests of 16:57 on the Spring Lake Course and 16:30 at NCS in Hayward. His track bests include: 4:44.7 for 1600 and 10:23.9 for the 3200.
Not content to simply improve as an athlete our first SGF recipient is an outstanding student ranking first in his class with an unweighted GPA of 3.93. His teachers were effusive about his work ethic as well as his excellent scholastic output even excelling through a year of zoom education which is a testament in itself.
Our scholarship recipient will be continuing his running and scholastic career at the Green and Gold of Cal Poly SLO. He will be running with SLO running club under the direction of Armando Siqueiros with goals to continue improving at trail and road races. He has already completed his first marathon, the SF Marathon, and plans on running many more with the goal of qualifying for the major marathons of the world and travelling the world running them.
Please welcome to the stage the former WHS Jaguar and current Mustang of Cal Poly: Kevin Manni
2. Alexis Lorenzana – Roseland Charter
Our 2nd SGF recipient tells a running tale split into 3 parts: Initial excellence freshman year, 2 years of retrograde development and missed seasons, followed by a resurgent senior year with great improvement and excellent results at many big time XC and track meets. This is not a unique running experience, but his mature attitude, hard work and leadership skills has led to being recruited by his college of choice to run XC and track on scholarship.
Senior year accolades included: All Empire 2nd Team in XC, Team captain, medaling at Viking Opener, Ed Sias, Woodbridge and Clovis. He was top 15 at NCS and just missed qualifying for State in XC. In his first year of track he PR’d each race all season with bests of 4:31 in the 1600 and 10:02 in the 3200 finishing his high school career with school records in the 800,1600 and 3200.
As a student our SGF awardee was exemplary achieving a 3.8 unweighted GPA as well as being the ASB President. His teachers were effusive with praise of his demeanor, maturity, leadership and resulting course work. Showing extreme maturity our recipient managed to traverse the recruiting process by himself (no easy task) and was rewarded with a scholarship to Cal State Monterey and will continue his running career with Coach Jake Bermel and his Otter teammates.
Please put your hands together for former Roseland Charter student: Alex Lorenzana.
3. Jacob Donahue – Maria Carrillo
Our 3rd ER SGF recipient has managed the great running trifecta: 1- Star 8th grader determined but not quite able to make a historically good varsity XC team as a Freshman. 2- Making the Varsity as a sophomore, developing into a leader and team captain by senior year. 3- Having an historically great senior year with excellent times throughout California’s most competitive tournaments and leading his team to a podium finish at the State XC Championships.
This SGF winner had bests of 15:21 on the Spring Lake Course (20th AT), 15:19 at Hayward HS (5th All NCS), 16:03 at Woodward Park and a Redwood Empire AT best of 14:41 for 3 miles at Woodbridge Invite. He also ran 14th best AT 9:19.89 for the 3200 and 4:24 for 1600m on the track. His accolades include: 3 time All Redwood Empire XC with Runner of the Year in the Redwood Empire for 2021, 2 time All Empire for Track.
Not satisfied with excellence in running this student athlete also excelled in the classroom carrying an unweighted GPA of 3.5 while also playing the piano and a member of the Maria Carrillo Chorale. After 4 years of good planning and hard work this student athlete has been accepted to his university of choice, Cal Poly SLO to continue his running and scholastic career.
Let’s bring to the stage, this former Maria Carrillo star and future Mustang: Jacob Donahue
4. Sebastian Bohn – Santa Rosa HS
Our 4th and Final SGF recipient is a 3rd Generation Empire Runner following his grandfather, Ernie and father, Eric both outstanding open and age group racers. Our SGF recipient has been literally a lifelong member of the Empire Runners running many of our races since he was a toddler. He has grown up in front of our eyes and has impressed, in both his running ability from a young age and his social development. Even as a youngster he was part of the group.
As a runner this young man has improved each and every year while also becoming a strong leader for his Santa Rosa HS team and team captain. He managed this while only running XC due to being a rather talented baseball player therefore missing 4 years of track which could have made him even faster. This bodes well for his future running for his university of choice, Colgate. He is truly a diamond in the rough for his new coach, Kim Keenan-Kirkpatrick and I expect great improvement as he trains fulltime and his speed begins to match his already great endurance. He has excellent times at 3-mile courses- 17:08 at the SLC, 17:10 at Hayward HS but I feel he will be even better with the longer distances of Division 1 season(8-10K).
Our final SGF recipient ended his high school career as a 3-year varsity XC, 2-year team captain and 2-time Heart of the Panther Award. He managed this while maintaining an unweighted 3.95 GPA (weighted to 4.77) in an All AP curriculum, an accomplished violinist in the well-respected SRHS Orchestra and a Nordquist dance instructor. He also excelled in Math, President of the Math Club and participated in the California Math League. If that doesn’t make you feel a bit dizzy both his teachers and coaches state his most outstanding ability may be his leadership skills with students of all ages, younger and older.
It is easy to see that Colgate University has made an excellent choice. Please give a warm welcome as he comes to our stage, the former SRHS Panther and future Colgate Raider: Sebastian Zach Bohn
Student Grant Fund co-chair Brad Zanetti presenting checks to Alexis Lorenzana and Kevin Manni at the July 4th Kenwood Footrace.
Very funny and entertaining as usual Brad! Great job also great pics, kudos to your camera person
Great story John. You’re always so good with the place names.
Hilarious John, what me worry?
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