HMRRC Selects Winners of the 2024 Shrader Memorial Scholarship

by Denis Hurley

The Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club has selected the six winners of the 2024 Bill Shrader Sr. Memorial Scholarship. The Shrader Memorial Scholarship is awarded each year to six student athletes who participate in track and field and/or cross country at a Section 2 high school and plan to continue running in college on either a team or with a club. The purpose of the award is to encourage and support young runners in their efforts to make running a lifelong part of a healthy lifestyle.

The Scholarship Committee considered extra-curricular activities, running experience, and an essay regarding the importance of running in each applicant’s life, as well as letters of recommendation, one from an individual, other than a parent or relative, who is familiar with the applicant’s running endeavors and the importance of running in her or his life, and one from a school official familiar with the school’s running program.

This year’s winners represent a diverse group of highly talented young people. Each winner will receive a one-time $3000 scholarship to apply towards educational expenses. 

The winners in alphabetical order include:

Liam Burgess from Glens Falls High School. As a member of his school’s cross- country team, Liam has competed in the New York State Championships twice. He has competed in the New York State Federation Meet and has twice been selected as a Foothills All-Star. Liam has been a member of the varsity track team all four years of high school. He created his school’s first ever indoor track team in 2023. In his essay, Liam discussed his appreciation for older teammates who helped guide him when he first started running and how he has tried to emulate their supportive words and actions by helping younger teammates now that he is a senior. He strives to encourage his current younger teammates “to make them feel as loved and excited about running as I did when I was their age.” He organizes ice cream socials for them, gives them running advice and strives to demonstrate and model the “running culture.” He is committed to preserving and extending the welcoming environment of the running community to the next generation of runners at his school and in the future to the broader community. Liam will be attending Colgate University in the fall where he plans to continue running by either joining or creating a running club.

Samuel Burns from Lake George Junior Senior High School. Sam’s many accomplishments have included receiving the Scholar Athlete Award in cross-country for the Adirondack League every year from 2018 (modified) through 2023 (varsity), the 2023 Adirondack League MVP award in track and field, and placing seventh in the New York State Championship for Pentathlon, Division 2. He has also participated in many 5K community races including the Teal Ribbon 5K for Ovarian Cancer every year since 2015, Randy’s Run, and numerous Turkey Trots. In his essay, Sam discussed his great appreciation for the running community: “…it has given me a refuge, a place to go, and a community to be part of whenever I need it.”  Sam will attend St. John Fisher University in the fall, where he intends to participate in both indoor and outdoor track.

Emily Bush from Saratoga Springs High School. Emily has been on the varsity running team since seventh grade. She has won cross-country sectionals twice, claimed multiple indoor and outdoor sectional wins, won the cross-country state championship, won the 300m indoor state championship with a school and Section 2 record of 9:20, won the Nike Cross Regionals twice, and has received various awards including New York State athlete of the year for her grade, the New York State Sportsmanship Award, and many Times Union athlete of the week and athlete of the year awards. In her essay, Emily discussed the compelling question of why she runs and explores the satisfaction, beauty and joy that comes with the pain and challenges of running. Emily will attend Providence College in the fall where she will be running Division 1 cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track.

Neil L. Howard, III from Taconic Hills High School. Neil has numerous national and New York State championships in several events. During the summer of 2023, he won his third national championship in the decathlon at Nike Outdoor Nationals in Oregon, an event for which he also holds the New York State record.  In 2024, Neil was the Nike Indoor Track and Field National Champion with 3,881 points, a New York State record. More titles and records for Neil include:  the 2023 New York State and Federation Outdoor Track and Field Champion in the 400m hurdles (Section 2 record, 52.41 seconds) and in pole vault, and the New York State and Federation Indoor Champion in pole vault; the 2022 New York State Division 2 and Federation Outdoor Track and Field Champion in long jump. This spring, Neil became the first male competitor to ever capture three individual titles in the Loucks Games winning in the long jump (23 feet, 9 ½ inches), pole vault (16-3) and 400 hurdles (52.68 seconds), where he was also named the meet’s outstanding field competitor. He holds the number 1 ranking in New York State in five events. In his essay, Neil celebrates that “Running creates a chance for everyone to be included and to belong…[and]…provides an opportunity for everyone to express who they are.” Neil will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall where he will run indoor and outdoor with the track and field team.

Avery Kerr from Guilderland High School. Avery’s running accomplishments include three-time member of the Times Union All Star Team, Times Union Athlete of the Week, two-time Section 2 Pentathlon Champion, Section 2 high jump champion, lead-off runner in the 4x800 relay placing 5th in New York State, and five-time competitor in the New Balance Nationals. In her essay, Avery discussed the “joy” of running and that she plans to  “…continue to prioritize my health, growth, and happiness through running.”  Avery will be attending Tufts University in the fall where she will run track.

Isabella Miller from Fonda-Fultonville High School. Isabella has been running for Fonda-Fultonville since seventh grade where she has earned recognition for the “Best Newcomer to Indoor Track” in 8th grade, “Most Dedicated in Cross Country” in 9th grade, and “Most Valuable Runner on Cross Country” in 10th and 11th grade. Isabella is a three- sport varsity athlete and scholar athlete. This past fall she participated in the New York State championship meet for girls’ cross county where she was the third senior to finish. She also placed third in the Section 2 girls’ cross- country championship. She has received the NYSPHSAA Sportsmanship Award and the Section 2, Class C, Sportsmanship Award. In her essay, Isabella discussed how running has always been in her life because her dad, uncle and cousin have all been runners for her entire life.  She and her dad share a love of running and they often train together. She is looking forward, even after college, to competing in road races: “My love of running will never stop and it’s something that I will stick with for life.” Isabella will be attending Hobart William and Smith Colleges in the fall where she plans to continue running  and hopes to train for a marathon.

To view past award recipients click here:

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