The Finger Lakes Runners Club is proud to announce the Joseph P. Reynolds Scholarship Fund, named in memory of its founding father. The fund provides a minimum of two unrestricted $1,000 scholarships to be awarded to deserving high school seniors who have plans for continuing their education and have participated in their running community during their high school experience. Coach Joe believed the scholarship fund had value and would provide a legacy by supporting youth running. He was a strong advocate of all types of running for all types of people. He believed in equality, diversity, and the benefits of a good run.


You can donate to the Joseph P. Reynolds Scholarship Fund online.


Or, send a check made out to FLRC, with “Scholarship Fund” in the memo line, to:

P.O. Box 4984
Ithaca, NY 14852

FLRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so all donations are tax-deductible. Consult your tax professional for details.


  • A minimum of two unrestricted $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to deserving applicants who are at the completion of their high school education, will be continuing their education after high school, and have participated in their local running community during their high school experience. Qualifying activities may include but are not limited to interscholastic cross country and track and field, FLRC events, other running events, and volunteerism in running-related activities.
  • Eligible students must reside in Tompkins County or a surrounding county.
  • FLRC membership is not required.


  • To apply, submit a letter describing your academic, extracurricular, and running achievements. Include any plans you may have for a running career beyond high school and the personal benefits you have gained by participating in the sport. Please also describe how this scholarship will assist in furthering your education.
  • Applicants must include two letters of recommendation, one from your educational experience and one from your running experience. Please do not send complete transcripts or additional material for consideration, as these will not be reviewed.
  • Mail application materials to:

FLRC Scholarship Committee
Attn:  Lorrie Tily
P.O. Box 185
Locke, NY 13092

Identification of Recipient

  • Scholarship applications must be received by April 15, 2024.
  • FLRC will review submissions and identify recipients by May 10, 2024.

Past Winners


Banyan Love (Homeschooled) $1000

Banyan Love is homeschooled by his mom in Newfield, NY. He submitted a beautifully written essay comprising a story of who he is today and how he forged a passion for running at the age of twelve. Homeschooling allowed him to explore the natural world around him. He describes himself as “a freshly classified legal adult chasing my dreams of exploring, researching, and conserving the natural world around me.” He plans to pursue a degree in forestry and environmental sciences at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks.

Banyan tells of the relationship he has formed with the Finger Lakes Runners Club by participating in group runs. “I immersed myself in a community of people all driven by the same passion that had brought me to them.” For the past three years, Banyan represented FLRC on the club’s U19 XC team at the Pete Glavin XC series, eventually acting as team captain. Along with running numerous FLRC races, he regularly volunteers, helping with setup, timing, and breakdown, and he has been an active participant in the FLRC Challenge. He believes, “The sport of running can only thrive as long as this world remains healthy, so my way to give back to the sport that has shaped who I am today is by dedicating my life to the task of conserving the natural world around us.”

Banyan’s homeschooling chemistry teacher provided a letter of recommendation. She writes, “In summary, Banyan represents the values of ‘equality, diversity, and the benefits of a good run’ espoused by Coach Joe Reynolds. Through his years-long participation with FLRC, he has emerged as an excellent athlete with a promising post-high school running trajectory. Banyan truly exemplifies FLRC’s core values of sportsmanship, inclusivity, enthusiasm, and a genuine love of the sport.”

Banyan Love finishing his first trail marathon at Thom B.

Crosby Woods (Ithaca High School) $1000

Crosby Woods is a graduating senior at Ithaca High School who excelled on the school’s cross-country and track teams. His essay described his holistic approach to running, viewing the tireless efforts during training and the experience gained along the way as deserving as much credit as the outcome of a race. He places “emphasis on the process instead of the outcome” and believes “this method of thinking makes running much more enjoyable overall.” Crosby’s appreciation for running and trails also extends to an online setting. He designed and maintains the Trails Less Traveled website that “advertises the lesser-known trails in Central New York since 2022. The website includes runner-friendly trails from seven different counties.”

When describing Crosby, his coach states, “What I’ve come to not only know but to rely on is solid character, hard work, prudent judgment, leadership, and devotion.” Crosby runs and volunteers at FLRC races and track meets, and he has been an enthusiastic participant in the FLRC Challenge. He’s also an avid violinist and earned a New York State Seal of Biliteracy for German. Crosby intends to take a gap semester and attend Middlebury College starting in February 2025.

Crosby Woods (right) volunteering at Thom B.


Charles McCurdy (Trumansburg High School) $1000

Charles McCurdy, a student at Trumansburg High School, presented a compelling, well-written essay. He describes how running has become one of the greatest joys in his life. He drew parallels between school and running and how hard work in both pays dividends. He honestly writes about his struggles in school and how he “did not fit the mold of a traditional runner.” He fell in love with the sport he “least fit into.” After entering his first cross-country season, which was “less than stellar due to lack of preparation over the summer,” Charles discovered the benefits of preparing for the cross-country season during the off-season the following year. He found “the motivation to take running seriously,” “trained hard and vastly improved.” Charles goes on to write that running “connected me with a community of people who were positive and worked hard every day.… It has helped me balance myself and see the world through a different lens, one built on individual accomplishment, yes, but also a shared goal and a sense of community.”

Charles is in a New Visions honors program in engineering and plans to further his education in engineering at the collegiate level. His New Visions teacher states, “His curiosity, kindness, and overall joy that he finds in solving problems and working together make him exactly the type of engineer that I’d want designing my rocket ships and space stations.” He has a 4:49 mile PR, and according to his running coach, he is a frequent racer at FLRC events. He is a volunteer coach for youth track and cross-country programs and has “also shown an incredible ability to lead and teach as a team captain and volunteer coach.” Charles consults a trainer with an eye toward being a walk-on in the fall. He hopes to run for a D1 team.

Piper Young (Notre Dame High School) $1000

Piper Young, a Notre Dame High School student, used her essay to tell the story of her running journey beginning at a young age when she began running races with her father. She mentioned “the excitement that filled my body being a part of the race atmosphere” and the medal received that still hangs proudly in her bedroom. She signed up for the cross-country team in middle school and had to compete at the varsity level as a 12-year-old because the sport was only offered at the varsity level. It was intimidating. She was initially the slowest member of the team. Piper decided to continue to train throughout the summer because she missed running “so much.” Piper writes of her long-term goals, disappointments, and illness while trying to reach these goals. She credits the help of teammates, family, and coaches when she finally meets her goal. Eventually, she became the lone veteran on the team, but “thankfully, my predecessors had prepared me well for this moment. Just as my teammates did for me in seventh grade, I taught the new runners the ropes and attempted to instill the passion for running in them as my old friends had done for me.” Piper writes of the friendships that will last a lifetime, the work ethics her coaches instilled in her, and the love for the sport she believes will never diminish. She believed the lessons learned from participating in a sport carried over to the classroom by teaching her perseverance and time management skills. She is involved with several extracurricular activities and volunteer efforts.

Piper’s coach writes, “Her positive, warm personality combined with a strong work ethic has led her to be highly respected by her peers, coaches, and teachers.” She is not afraid to challenge herself and is a leader. Among many other awards, she received the “Molly Huddle Award for her running ability.” Piper will be attending Chatham University to study neuroscience in preparation for a career as a physician assistant. She plans to run Division 3 cross country, indoor and outdoor track.


Marissa Wiemann (Southern Cayuga Central School District) $1000

Marissa Wiemann of Southern Cayuga Central School District has been running cross country since 7th grade. She grew from being a “run when the crowds can see me and walk the rest of the time” runner to receiving the Most Improved award. Marissa knew she wasn’t the best runner, so instead, she worked hard at being the “best teammate.” She wrote about the challenges of working as a team through the pandemic and the struggles of finding the necessary fifth teammate during her senior year. Nevertheless, she came away from the experience with pride in and admiration for the accomplishments of her teammates, along with numerous lessons from running, her teammates, and her coaches. She learned that:

  • The most rewarding things often come from the hardest work
  • Rest is as important as work
  • It is incredibly hard to laugh and run at the same time
  • You are really only ever competing against who you were yesterday
  • Every day is a chance to improve
  • Pain is only temporary
  • Good-fitting shoes definitely lessen that pain
  • Extra socks are never a bad idea

Marissa’s letters of recommendation describe a levelheaded young woman with drive and determination who is also thoughtful, considerate, selfless, and kind. Beyond running, she serves as president of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society, is involved with the arts, and participates in multiple clubs. Marissa will be attending Hunter College in the fall.

Matthew Gensel (Corning-Painted Post High School) $1000

James M. (Matthew) Gensel of Corning-Painted Post High School started running at age nine with Team PREFO, running in numerous FLRC track meets. Matthew built on those early years of running to compete in several cross country and track state championships, with a personal record in the mile of 4:35. He writes, “Running has helped my studies by building my mental endurance. Mental stamina, much like physical stamina, needs to be built and maintained. In this sense, my schoolwork and practice play off of each other, making me better at both.”

Matthew’s cross country and track and field coach describes him as “intelligent, studious, motivated, and talented.” He is academically honest, pursues his studies with genuine interest, and treats fellow students with respect and kindness. He is a member of the National Honor Society, participates in band, and, as a frequent volunteer, recognizes the value of community service. Matthew will be attending the University at Buffalo, where he plans to study bioinformatics.


Elinor Kops (Ithaca High School) $1000

Ithaca High’s Elinor Kops takes pride in pushing herself intellectually and genuinely wants to learn. She is active in her community, volunteering at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Second Wind Cottages, Habitat for Humanity, and the Ithaca Advocacy Center, where she focuses on athletic consent and sexual assault awareness on sports teams. In her application, she wrote, “I am very passionate about volunteering, and my love for sports and the track community absolutely shows in the projects that I take on.” She has participated in track and cross-country since 7th grade, joining the varsity track team as an 8th grader. In track, she was a multi-event athlete, and from cross-country, she learned “that failure is an opportunity for improvement.” She wrote of the difficulty of friendships and bonds formed with older teammates and how she became a mentor to the modified girls track team. Elinor plans to attend Vassar College, where she hopes to run on their track and field team as a multi-event athlete. She “plans to leave a legacy of a fearless woman.”

Nickolas Talijan (South Seneca High School) $1000

In his application, Nickolas Talijan of South Seneca High School wrote of being raised by a single mother, the strong ties he has to his uncle and grandfather, how he never thought college was “in my cards” until he had a conversation with his mom about his plans to go into the nursing program in the military. She told him he could be anything he wanted to be and asked him to look at some schools to see if he would change his mind. He did, and he will be attending Paul Smith College for Psychology. Academically, Nickolas struggled throughout school but credits his mother for believing in him and working two jobs to provide him the support he needed to be successful. In track, Nickolas started off with discus throwing because it was a small group and quickly achieved success, becoming the top thrower in New York State with a throw of 105.5 feet as a freshman. That success fed his confidence, and his coaches urged him to try running events as well. “At 6’ 3” and 185 pounds with legs like telephone poles,” he did not have faith he could be a runner. With encouragement from his mother, Nickolas decided to step up to the challenge. With training, he became the anchor on his school’s relay team because he had the speed to make up any lost ground from earlier legs. Nickolas plans on running for the rest of his life. “Running has given me an opportunity that I did not think I ever had making me step out of who I was. I know I have used the words confidence a few times, but really, I did not have any before track. It changed my life, who I am today, and, most importantly, the person I want to become.”


Steven Segal (Corning-Painted Post High School) $1000

Steven’s essay highlighted his love of speed, his grit and determination, lessons learned by not respecting his limits, and learning “the art of running, ironically, is actually the art of patience.” Steven’s letters of recommendation highlighted his academic success, taking the toughest course load offered. His accomplishments as a pianist and his volunteer work in his community. His teacher mentioned his Extended Essay in History with a specific focus on the impacts of barefoot running and athletic performance. His coach states, “He is the kind of person who makes others around him feel better.” Steven will continue his education and running career at Cornell University.

Kia Moore (Charles O. Dickerson High School in Trumansburg) $1000

Kia writes about resilience, determination, and growth. She states “I’ve come to love running for its unrelenting honesty, nothing holds you to your word more and I learned the hard way”. Kia writes about her struggles with body image and an eating disorder. “when I started running I was given a chance to take control and truly appreciate all that my body does for me instead of hating and fighting it”. Kia holds multiple officer positions in several school clubs. Her coach is impressed with her commitment, perseverance, and enthusiasm. Although she was never the fastest on her cross-country team and usually the slowest, she was team captain and MVP because she “worked her butt off”, “never gave up”, always “a good citizen, a great student, a great volunteer, a great teammate”. Kia will be continuing her education at Ithaca College.


Miranda Wolf (Cincinnatus High School): $1000

Miranda participates in Track & Field for a school that does not have a track or fields. Originally a soccer player, she started running to stay in shape for soccer. She discovered the thrill of pushing herself to run harder and faster and has discovered the stress-relieving value of running. Miranda has a GPA of 97.6, is second in her class, and has taken advantage of every AP course offered. She participates in many extracurricular activities and volunteer work. She had outstanding letters of recommendation. As one so elegantly wrote, “At the core of her personality is someone who brings other people along with her on her path to greatness. She roots for others’ success along with her own.”

Elena Chung (Ithaca High School): $1000

“Elena was not one of my best runners, not even close. But that never changed her attitude towards practices and races. Every day, she came to practice in a good mood, ready to work hard and be a good teammate,” her coach writes. Her essay speaks of the mental health benefits of running, how she used it to overcome body image and appearance dissatisfaction. She cites her coach telling the team “running will always be your therapy.” She and her friends brought a chapter of Active Minds to their school. It is a mental wellness club that welcomes everyone. Having conversations with her peers has taught her how to “differentiate between my performance as an athlete and my self-worth.” She plans to join a running club to continue to share her passion for running. She will be an assistant coach for a recreational youth track program. She will be attending Cornell University in the Fall.


Elizabeth Rayle (Ithaca High School): $1000
Natalie Thomas (Marathon Central School): $1000


Carmen Bezner Kerr (Ithaca High School): $1000
Jake Avery (Ithaca High School): $1000
Tatianna Trojnor-Hill (Moravia Central School District): $1000


Colin Pritchard (Owego Free Academy): $1000
Ashleigh Crawford (Tully Junior-Senior High School): $1000
Abby Yatsko (Dryden High School): $500
Abigail Everett (Horseheads High School): $500


Matthew Lin (Ithaca): $1000
Julia Tantillo (Trumansburg): $1000
Eric Sinton (Ithaca): $500
Jacklyn Hoch (Cortland): $500


Jade Auchmoody (Homer): $1000
Freideric Handelmann (Homer): $1000
Bradley Dewitt (Moravia): $500
Matt Gill (Watkins Glen): $500
Samantha Gill (Watkins Glen): $500


Elizabeth Jewiss (Marathon): $1000
Derek Johnson (Horseheads): $1000
Emily Stansfield (Tioga): $500
Joshua Langley (Watkins Glen): $500
Allison Cronk (Groton): $500


Shauna Murray (Trumansburg): $1000
Josh Greenberg (Ithaca): $1000
Zoe McAlear (Ithaca): $500
Christopher Gill (Watkins Glen): $500


Kayla Prochnow (Trumansburg): $500
Sarah Danner (Trumansburg): $1000
Shannon Hazlitt (Watkins Glen): $500
Chris Handelmann (Homer): $1000