Connellsville graduates score scholarships

| Saturday, July 9, 2011

The John Woodruff 5K Race is a source of pride for the Connellsville community. Aside from bringing together hundreds of area runners to celebrate the life of the 1936 Olympic gold medalist, it also has raised funds for a pair of scholarships that benefit Connellsville High School graduates.

This year's John Woodruff Scholarship award winners are Nick Cicio and Ameesha Mickens.

"This is the 23rd year for the scholarship," race committee member Nancy Dye said. "Initially, it was only given to one winner, and then we were able to expand it to have a male and female winner. The scholarship has grown to $1,000 per person, and we've financed it through the funds raised from the race each year."

Determining the winners is based on two factors: academics and track ability.

"We try to balance it because those were the wishes of Mr. Woodruff," Dye said. "He didn't want it to be just an athletic scholarship."

Cicio was a four-year letterman in track and earned three letters in cross country. He was a member of the Connellsville National Honor Society and student council. He graduated with a GPA near 3.2 and will attend Penn State Fayette to study electrical engineering.

"The scholarship means a lot," he said. "The Woodruff Race was my first 5K, and I've seen the runners that have won the scholarship before. They are all good athletes and runners, and this is something I really wanted to get."

Cicio does not plan on running competitively in college but said he is "pretty excited" to compete in the 29th annual Woodruff race Wednesday at Connellsville Stadium.

Mickens won two varsity letters in track and lettered one year in tennis. She was a member of the Connellsville National Honor Society, graduated with a GPA near 3.5 and was a member of the student council and Connellsville Patriots. She will attend Penn State Fayette to study nursing.

"I'm glad that I won it because it will help me out with school," she said. "I did well at (track), and the scholarship makes it worthwhile because I feel like I'm being recognized for it."

This year's race will commemorate the 75th anniversary of Woodruff's victory in the 800 meters in Berlin. He died in 2007 at the age of 92.

Additional Information:

On tap

The 29th annual John Woodruff 5K is Wednesday at Connellsville Stadium. A schedule of the night's activities:

6 p.m.: Kids fun run for 9 and younger

7 p.m.: 5K run

7:05 p.m.: 5K walk

Post-race celebration at Bud Murphy's

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