FSRC Memorial Scholarship Winners


Madilyn Mandich

In 2016, Madilyn Mandich led the Tuscarora High School Cross Country Team to the Maryland State Championships for the first time in school history. However, running was not her first love. Madilyn left a long career of soccer to pursue running full time her junior year at Tuscarora High School. Running provided Madilyn with strength, a new attitude, and a purpose. She describes the butterflies in her stomach at first call, the adrenaline running through her blood before the gun, and the pain endured while competing. She loved the “brutal workouts” shared with her teammates, including hills, mile repeats, and trail runs. She says her teammates provided her with constant motivation and encouragement. Madilyn was a junior coach for the Ballenger Creek Elementary School Girls on the Run team, where she enjoyed helping the girls to grow confidence and realize their “limitless potential.”

Elly McGillvray

Elly McGillvray participated in the Potomac Valley Youth Association cross country and track during her middle school years. In high school, she ran cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track all four years for Brunswick High School. Her high school coach describes her as a leader through her support of her teammates and by the example she set as a distance specialist. In the fall of 2017, she lead her cross country team to winning the 1A Regional Championship. She placed 2nd in the individual standings. Elly’s accomplishments extend beyond running. She volunteered in the Random Acts of Kindness Club and the National Honor Society at Brunswick High School. She helped to keep score at youth sporting events, participated in tow mission trips, and with her church, helped rebuild houses destroyed by flooding. She has also volunteered at the JFK 50 Miler and Frederick Half Marathon.

Brennan Straits

Brennan Straits began running as a youth member of the Middletown Knight Striders and continued running through middle school until it culminated in a successful career in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track at Middletown High School. Like many runners, Brennan has had to persevere through injuries and life’s obstacles, not only to become the runner the he is today, but the person. In addition to his accomplishments on the track and cross country course, Brennan has been very active in his volunteering efforts as well. Brennan spends one week each summer traveling with his church’s youth group on projects like painting a house in Rochester, NY, building a retaining wall and fence in Pittsburgh, PA, and rebuilding a porch in Thomasville, NC. Whether he is providing service through Group Mission Trips, or supporting his local community through Empty Bowls banquets, Brennan knows and appreciates the satisfaction of being able to give back. Brennan’s dedication to the sport, the activity, and the pursuit of a life spent running can best be summed up in his own words – “I have traveled, I have cried, I have laughed, and I have run through it all.” 

Alexa Tarzy

Alexa Tarzy was a member of Oakdale High School’s cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track teams since the beginning of her freshman year. She was captain of all three teams since her junior year. Her inspiration came from her father and brother who both have successful running careers. Alexa states she was introduced to numerous driven individuals through running who motivated her towards volunteering. Alexa was a peer tutor, student ambassador, and a member of multiple honor societies at Oakdale High School. Outside of school she volunteered at Rehab 2 Perform and Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. Alexa’s goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. She spoke to what Rick and Larry represent when she stated, “the mentality of runners transfers to the attitude of the individual – to work hard in school is equivalent to the drive to finish a race,” and “running unites the mind and body.”


Reilly Caldwell

Starting with the Middletown Knight Striders at the age of eight, Reilly has been an avid runner throughout elementary, middle and high school. With all of her running experience it was natural that she would share her experience with others, coaching, and planning workouts for twenty plus young runners this past fall.

Not all has been easy going. An irritated metatarsal followed by a fractured sesamoid bone taught Reilly to “Listen to doctor’s orders”.

Her coach, Paul Spurrier wrote, “… She is a great teammate… a positive leader that goes out of her way to be support for any and all her teammates”.

Heading to Furman University in the fall of 2017, Reilly looks to continue running and volunteerism with the team at Greenville Children’s Hospital.

From her essay:

“Running has taught me patience in the face of adversity” … “Running has shaped what I want to do in college…. I want to focus on biomechanics”.

Catie Lee

Catie attended Frederick High where she was the Senior Class President. Her running career started early with the FAA Running Club under the direction of Mark Lawrence. She has a long history of running. Tearing an ACL in February 2016, Catie rehabbed in five months to run cross country events sporting a knee brace.

With a strong history of volunteerism to match her running resume, Catie met and exceeded all that we are looking for in a scholarship winner.

From Catie’s scholarship essay:

“Running is not about being the fastest. It’s not about being the strongest. It’s not about winning, running is about heart and character” …… “Running is not just a sport; it is a way of life”

Tim Rivard

Dealing with setbacks was a part of Tim Rivard’s running career at Urbana High School.   

After a stellar sophomore year running with the Varsity Cross Country Team, Tim hit a rough patch, dealing with a series of injuries, flu, and bronchitis. Missing spring track, he trained hard over summer break just to break his heel three days prior to the start of cross country.

Tim decided to stay with the team volunteering as team manger during his junior year returning to the team as a Senior Captain the next.

From his essay Tim wrote, “It wasn’t the actual running that had the biggest impact on the person I am today; it was the NOT running that did” …..  “it taught me how to take setbacks in stride and keep moving forward.

Hannah Ropp

A twelve season runner at Brunswick High School, Hannah began running and volunteering early in life, joining the Blue Ridge Express Running Club when she was in fourth grade, even earlier with a lemonade stand, raising dollars for Hurricane Katrina residents when she was six.

In addition to running cross country, and indoor and outdoor track, Hannah was a top student, class officer, and somehow found time to be a violinist. (Seated as first violin with the Frederick Regional Youth Symphony)

From her essay:

“I have enjoyed opportunities where I can directly help those less fortunate than me” ….. “My values and goals are important to me: running and volunteering help me to achieve them.”

Braden Smolko

Dreading PE “Mile Day” in elementary and middle school, Braden struggled to keep up with his classmates. “Heavy legs” plagued him, as well as weight and self- image issues.

Heading to Urbana High School, with an understanding of his condition, Braden changed his diet and constructed a training plan with his mother to try out for the Urbana Cross Country Team. A 16:30 two mile time was required; with hard summer work behind him Braden sprinted to the finish in just under 16:30.

From just barely making the team to senior captain, Rev. Chris Bishop (Character Coach for Urbana) wrote, “Braden’s humble leadership is amazing to watch. He doesn’t lead out of a feeling of athletic superiority, or any expectation that power is owed him because he is a senior. He leads because he wants everyone to get better.”

Perhaps his experience in elementary and middle school led him to creating an anti-bullying website as a freshman. (ncourageteens.com). He has participated in multiple volunteer trips to Haiti, community service work, and tutors other students struggling with math.

From his essay:  “My volunteer activities have made me realize I can make a difference” …… “Overcoming my own challenges made me want to give back to others” ….


Blake Capella

Blake Capella set the bar high as one of the first recipients of the Frederick Steeplechasers Running Club Memorial. Blake ran throughout high school. While he may have quick feet with 5:12 mile and 17:59 5k PR’s, what sets Blake apart from others is his character.

Blake’s volunteer work is extensive. In addition to volunteering for aid stations at local ultra races, he has volunteered at the Walkersville Community Food Bank and participated in the United Way’s Summer Serve Program. He was also the vice president of the National Honor Society at Walkersville High School, and facilitated volunteer events such as Relay for Life and a Thanksgiving food drive.

Anna Hartman

Anna Hartman stands out as the first deserving honoree of the inaugural FSRC Memorial Scholarship in 2016 because of her commitment to serving runners, her strong character, and selflessness. You would never know Anna was a teenager when runners pull into one of her aid stations, be it Rick’s Run or the C&O Canal 100. She greets each runner as if they are family, anticipates their needs, and provides them with fuel and encouragement to finish the race.

Anna participated in 12 seasons of running as a high school athlete, becoming captain for indoor and outdoor track during her senior year. She is proud to have qualified for states with her cross country team her junior and senior years.

Running for Anna though is about more than competition. At Rick’s Run in 2016, Anna successfully challenged her boundaries of distance by running three loops. “I just felt so good – so encouraged, so happy, so blissful. That’s what running is about to me. Not running for competition, but for the spirit of the run.”