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Novak, Kerr Earn Top Scholar-Athlete Scholarships

Top 20 regional high school scholar-athletes recognized at The Jefferson Hotel

Richmond, VA – The Richmond Region’s finest high school scholar-athletes were rewarded for their hard work last night at the 24th annual Times-Dispatch/Sports Backers Scholar-Athlete Awards Dinner at The Jefferson Hotel.

Top honors and $7,500 scholarships went to Matthew Novak of Deep Run High School and MacKenzie Kerr of Douglas Freeman High School. The $5,000 runner’s up scholarships went to Fleet Wallace of St. Christopher’s and Eliza Bellamy of Maggie Walker. The remaining 16 scholar-athletes won scholarships of $2,500 each. They were:

                            Girls                                                                            Boys

Abby Bellows Hermitage   Nigel Chavis Armstrong
Campbell Brewer Collegiate   Nic Enright Steward
Sarah Goodrich Godwin   Collin Hahn Midlothian
Taylor Holt Powhatan   Logan Harvey Douglas Freeman
Kayla Huffman King William   Eric Kim Maggie Walker
Michelle Knizner Hanover   Ryan Pearson Henrico
Madison Nardi Henrico   Benjamin Taminger Manchester
Cecelia Negron Cosby   Strib Walker Collegiate


HCA Virginia Sports Medicine also presented its male and female Comeback Athletes of the Year at the dinner. The awards recognize high school athletes who have overcome major injuries or illnesses during their careers and returned to playing their sports. The male winner was Bender Vaught, a football player from Patrick Henry, and the female winner was Olivia Tuck, a basketball player and track and field athlete at Lee-Davis. They each received a $1,000 scholarship and a $500 donation to their respective high school.

New in 2015 was the Sports Backers Sportsmanship Award, which recognizes a student-athlete that demonstrated an act of honesty and integrity that went beyond the norm or committed an act of selflessness or kindness that lifted up a teammate, coach, or opponent. This year’s winner was Michiah Watts from Armstrong High School. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship upon graduation and will be eligible to win one of the St. Louis Sports Commission’s Stan Musial Awards on December 5th in St. Louis.

Williams Mullen will also be awarding a $1,000 scholarship to the male and female Teams of the Year as well as a $500 scholarship to the runner-up teams. These winners will be announced at the conclusion of the spring sports season.

This was the 24th year of the program, which has now awarded a total of $856,000 to 456 outstanding student-athletes from the Richmond area.

Karen Schwartzkopf has her dream job as managing editor of RFM. Wife, mother, arts and sports lover, she lives and works in the West End with her family, including husband Scott, who not coincidentally is RFM’s creative director. You can read Karen’s take on parenting her three daughters – Sam, Robin, and Lindsey, also known as the women-children – in the Editor’s Voice.

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