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 participated on their school’s cross-country and/or track & field teams. 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 high school seniors who participated in their school’s cross country and/or track and field programs.
  • Eligible students must reside in Tompkins County or a surrounding county.
  • FLRC membership is not required.


  • To apply, applicants must submit a letter describing their academic, extracurricular, and running achievements. They are asked to include any plans they may have for a running career beyond high school and the personal benefits they have gained by participating in the sport.
  • Applicants should include two letters of recommendation, one from a teacher and one from a coach. 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 8th, 2023.
  • FLRC will review submissions and identify recipients by April 25th, 2023.

Past Winners


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 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 being “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 has 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 and 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 actives 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