By Tamas Mondovics
As part of its annual runner scholarship program, FishHawk Road Runners, led by founder and president, Steve Dunn, awarded two local seniors for their commitment to the sport and to academics.
Newsome High School students Brianna Jackson and Lars Benner, both of whom will run for the University of Tampa, each received $750, and have been chosen this year by members of the club in order to support their further education as well as athletic careers.
“This is a our fifth year giving scholarships from funds we made over the year putting on races including the FishHawk Road Race,” Dunn said, adding that the scholarship fund was created to help local students from within the community with their college expenses, as a way of rewarding them as examples through their mentoring, volunteerism and as ambassadors to the sport.
Jackson graduated from Newsome with an unweighted GPA of 3.75 and weighted 6.00.
While battling a few injuries during high school, Jackson stood out as an athlete who never missed a cross-country or track season.
“Brianna is a quality person who always led her team, was very modest and a team captain since her freshmen year,” Dunn said.
Benner also finished his high school senior year on a high note, sporting an un-weighted GPA of 4.00 and weighted 6.56., while leading the Newsome team by encouraging everyone, and becoming an outstanding athlete himself.
“Lars led by example,” Dunn said. “He was the team captain from sophomore year on.”
Reflecting well on its selection, Dunn emphasized that the FishHawk Road Runners base its selection on grades, participation in the running community and most importantly continuing to run in College, which Jackson as well as Benner are set out do at UT.
The club’s scholarship is normally awarded to one student, but according to FishHawk Road Runners treasurer, Mike Conti, the annual selection is by no means easy.
“Each year it seems we have to choose two scholarship recipients due to the quality of our student-athletes,” Conti said.
For more information about the FishHawk Road Runners, please visit www.fishhawkrunning.com.