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The Rain City Flyers Scholarship

History: The RCF Scholarship was established in 2013 by the cross country team parent group to recognize Jim Neff for his “. . . generosity and dedication to Rain City and our kids.” Since inception, the parents have collected funds which are designated for the Rain City Flyers Scholarship as an expression of thanks to Jim for his time, energy and effort for their children and for the hundreds of youth he has coached and guided to become responsible athlete/citizens of the world over his 29 years of coaching RCF. Over time the scholarship has grown to recognize all the many coaches, parents, athletes and others who have contributed to RCF.

Purpose of the scholarship: The RCF Scholarship recognizes a graduating high school senior with plans to further their education. The recipient will have participated with Rain City Flyers and demonstrated “... a commitment to working to achieve their personal best, both as an individual and as a member of the team.” Additionally, the recipient will be a recognized role model of an exemplary responsible athlete/citizen. In the absence of qualified high school senior applicants, the application process may be opened to current collegians.

2018......2017......2016......2015......2014.....2019 RAIN CITY FLYERS SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION AVAILABLE NOW!

2019 Rain City Scholarships Announced [pdf]

We are pleased to announce that the 5 recipients of Rain City Flyers scholarships for 2019 are:  Harrison Fitch, Anya Hirschfeld, Dani Lockert, Lydia Montgomery, and Mina Young.  All will be graduating from Seattle high schools this spring and going on to college in the fall. 

Harrison Fitch
As a Rain City Flyer Harrison was a model of true grit. He was a determined competitor and team leader, competing with the cross country team from 2009-2015. His first JO National competition was Birmingham AL in 2010, with several more to follow.

When Harrison entered high school at Roosevelt, he exchanged his racing spikes for football pads. He also carried forward from Rain City his skills of perseverance and dedication and his ethic to work his hardest when the going got tough. This allowed him to excel on the field where he matured into one of Roosevelt’s star players.
As he got older, Harrison realized that while sports were great, academics and community involvement were also important. He worked very hard for good grades, creating good scholarly habits to carry into college and the work place. And he gave back to his communities, as a camp counselor at the annual RHS youth football camp, and through projects such as park clean ups across the city.

Harrison will study business at the University of Washington. He has a set a plan for his future and without a doubt attributes parts of who he is and plans to be to the experiences he had running for the Rain City Flyers. He identified both coaches and all the parents who helped out as inspiring him and expresses his gratefulness with “Win Rain City”!

Anya Hirschfeld
It was as a Rain City Flyer Anya first realized her passion for running. As with her interest in many childhood activities, Anya followed the footsteps of an older sibling onto RCF. However, she soon realized running as something more meaningful for her.

Anya competed in JO cross country from 2009-2018. She achieved All American at the 2011 JO national cross country meet in Myrtle Beach SC and was a JO track All American in the 800 in 2015. She holds the RCF team 800 record for 13-14 girls at 2:15.13. While Anya was motivated by her successes at meets, she was inspired by the friendships, games, teamwork and having an outlet with Rain City where she could just be herself.

Anya is a true scholar/athlete. Academically she has maintained a near perfect GPA and is graduating 12th in her class at Ingraham, all while exceling athletically. She qualified for the State cross country meet all 4 years, with a high finish of 7th in 2018. She was a 4-time state meet qualifier in the 800 (2nd in 2019) and 3-time qualifier in the 1600 (3rd in 2019), with personal bests of 2:11.84 and 4:57.42, respectively.

After graduation Anya will attend Dartmouth College where she will run competitively. She has yet to decide if she will major in comparative literature or human geography. But she is committed to both academic achievement and continuing to improve on the track. Her scholarship application salutation expresses her RCF spirit she will carry forward: “To many more years of inspiring kids through running.”

Dani Lockert
Rain City participation sparked a lifelong love of running for Dani. She came to her first RCF practice as a 6th grader who had been unsuccessful at sports. While she did not find immediate athletic success, she stuck with it and learned to work hard, focusing on cutting time off her own results rather than race place finishes. The slow but steady improvement she saw made running fun.

Participation at JO Nationals on the 11-12 Girls team in 2013 was transformative for Dani. First, making the team validated her hard work. Then, running against kids from all over the country was a lasting memory and inspired confidence. And because of team friendships strengthened by the shared Nationals experience running the next season was even more fun!

Dani took her RCF perseverance and work ethic to the Roosevelt HS Girls XC team and came to the season as the best freshman on the team. This marked the first time she was best at anything athletic and was a source of pride that gave her confidence in all aspects of life. As a high school runner Dani still didn’t break school records, but she is proud of her own performances. She pushed at practice and focused on long term success and goals, striving for the next PR, but not needing instant gratification.

Dani notes that her 12-year-old self, one of the slowest runners on her RCF team, would be shocked to know that in high school she would be the cross country and track team captains and that she would receive a four-year letter plaque. She credits Rain City as a place for learning that hard work and dedication produce achievement and for showing her that running can be fun! She will take her love of running and dedication to the University of Washington come fall.

Lydia Montgomery
Lydia’s start with Rain City as a fifth grader began with “stressful Saturdays.” RCF cross country was her first experience with caring about competing and she experienced self-imposed pre-race nerves when she toed the line of a race. She wanted to succeed, as much for teammates’ sake as her own.

Over time with Rain City Lydia learned the team didn’t require any particular skill or talent–just commitment. So, she came to practice each day, ran every meet through regionals during her four years on the team, ate a lot of post-race Skittles and made many incredible friends. The nerves didn’t abate, but her lasting memories of running with RCF are the hugs and cheers from teammates following every good (or lousy) race.

Lydia took her RCF commitment to Ingraham HS, where she had an outstanding running career. She qualified for the state cross country meet 3 years. On the track she competed in the Metro championships all 4 years in the 3200 and 3 years in the 1600. She was also dedicated to academics and volunteering, completing the rigorous International Baccalaureate program and serving on the youth board of a non-profit.

This fall Lydia will attend Occidental College in Los Angeles, majoring in Geology with an Environmental Studies concentration, subjects she is passionate about. She will continue running varsity cross country and track. She realizes that running in college is sure to be a new experience and there are sure to be some new nerves. But she will strive for her best and support her teammates with hugs, cheers and perhaps start a Skittle tradition - just as she experienced with Rain City.

Mina Young
Mina was an active Rain City Flyer runner from the age of eight through freshman year in high school. She competed in five national JO cross country championships and five regional competitions for track and field from 2011 through 2015. She was a dedicated team member and was recognized for her commitment with the 2012 “No Excuses” award for missing the lowest number of practices.

Mina carried her interest in running to high school, earning Rookie of the Year from Ingraham’s cross country team and competing, with Anya and Lydia, in the state cross country meet in 2016 as part of the first girls’ team from Ingraham to qualify for the meet since the 1980s. Over time her interests and involvement shifted from running to academics and to community service and activism. She completed her full International Baccalaureate Diploma, earning college credits. And she served as an officer in the Human Rights Club and was active in the Feminism Club and National Honors Society.

RCF track and cross country remain a part of Mina’s community and volunteer activities. She has assisted at practices, served as a course monitor at the Stampede and helped manage field events at meets. Participation in Rain City was influential and significant for Mina, producing many meaningful childhood memories and lasting friendships. From capture the flag and potato chip relays at practices to days spent with teammates at meets and competitions, s he learned to work hard for something and enjoyed being on such a fun team – something she will pass on.

Mina will also be attending Occidental College this fall. She plans to study diplomacy and world affairs. While she does not have plans to participate in athletics, she does hope to continue lifelong running for fun-- which has always been an RCF goal.

Congratulations to our 2019 RCF Scholarship recipients! They join 12 past recipients as exemplary athlete/citizen role models, having truly demonstrated “... a commitment to working to achieve their personal best, both as an individual and as a member of the team.” We are proud of their accomplishments, within and beyond Rain City.

2019 Scholarship Committee Members: Dave Fort, Beth Jaculewicz, Gina Tait-Selenis, Susan & Jim Neff

RECOGNITION EVENT ON MONDAY, JUNE 3:   You are invited to come to an event on June 3 to recognize our 5 scholarship recipients.   The event will be at the Nathan Hale track (or adjacent thereto) immediately following the RCF track team's Monday practice, which ends about 7:30.   Treats will be served.

Since its creation in 20013, the RCF Scholarship fund has awarded 18 scholarships totalling $11,900, thanks to the generosity of RCF parent, friends and supporters.   Thank you!

2018 Rain City Scholarships Announced

Click here to download the 2019 Scholarship Application

History: The RCF Scholarship was established in 2013 by the cross country team parent group to recognize Jim Neff for his “. . . generosity and dedication to Rain City and our kids.” Since inception, the parents have collected funds which are designated for the Rain City Flyers Scholarship as an expression of thanks to Jim for his time, energy and effort for their children and for the hundreds of youth he has coached and guided to become responsible athlete/citizens of the world over his 25 years of coaching RCF.

Purpose of the scholarship: The RCF Scholarship recognizes a graduating high school senior with plans to further their education. The recipient will have participated with Rain City Flyers and demonstrated “... a commitment to working to achieve their personal best, both as an individual and as a member of the team.” Additionally, the recipient will be a recognized role model of an exemplary responsible athlete/citizen. In the absence of qualified high school senior applicants, the application process may be opened to current collegians.

2018 Scholarship Recipients

We are proud to announce the winners of the 2018 scholarships (download pdf):

Henry Gruen participated with Rain City from 2010 to 2014. He was a member of the 2011 All American 11-12-boys team that finished third at USATF Cross Country Nationals in Myrtle Beach. Henry credits RCF with teaching him many things. Through long and grueling races and in both successful and struggle-filled seasons he learned perseverance. He learned commitment from showing up to weekly practices and racing every Saturday. And he learned leadership as a 7th and 8th grader when he was an older member of the team.

Henry applied this learning when he moved on to high school at Seattle Prep. He ran all four years on the cross country and track teams and was captain of both. Henry is currently a freshman at the University of Wisconsin where he runs on a club team.

Parker Rathbun joined the Rain City Flyers cross country team in 2008. He competed in several Junior Olympics national meets, becoming an individual All American in 2010 (7th place 9-10 boys) and a team All American in 2011 as a member of the third place RCF 11-12 boys team. Parker continued his running career at Bishop Blanchet High School, where he was captain of both the cross country and track teams.

For Parker, games at Rain City practices were a highlight of his day and competing with a team of friends was fun. What he didn’t realize until much later was that he was also learning dedication by showing up to practice and that through competing in races he was learning to build and maintain friendships. And most importantly, he was learning to persevere not only the snow, hail, and rain, but also the bad races. There was always the next day of training, a new season with teammates – who ultimately are what matter.

Parker is taking a gap year after graduating from Bishop Blanchet. He will continue school at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA in the fall of 2019, where he will run for the cross country and track teams.

Veronica Redpath moved to Seattle from out-of-state when she was in 7th grade and Rain City Flyers was a way for her to meet new people and make friends. In her four years with the team, she competed in JO cross country, finishing as high as 2nd at the Regional meet. Veronica attended Ballard HS where she was captain of both the XC and track teams and competed at the State XC meet all 4 years.

Running on the Rain City team helped Veronica develop confidence. She learned the value of practice, setting personal goals, and most importantly teamwork. The skills she learned with Rain City opened doors of opportunity that she enjoyed through high school, and now at the university level. Pursuit of that personal record and being a valued part of the larger team keeps Veronica motivated to compete and support the team.

Veronica is a freshman at California Lutheran University. She was the top freshman for the CLU Regals XC team and is on the track team. She is pursuing studies in film-making, theater and orchestra. Check out her short films on YouTube!
Congratulations to our 2018 RCF Scholarship recipients! They join all nine past recipients as exemplary athlete/citizen role models, having truly demonstrated “... a commitment to working to achieve their personal best, both as an individual and as a member of the team.” We are proud of their accomplishments, within and beyond Rain City.

2017 Scholarship Recipients

We are proud to announce the winners of the 2017 scholarships:

Leo Donlea joined Rain City in 2010 as a 5th grader afraid of racing. He came to practices, reluctantly raced, but stuck with it. By the next year he was a second scorer on a 3rd place JO national team. He wrote, “I didn’t really understand what that meant at the time, but I now know that that changed my life forever.” Leo credits the environment at Rain City, juxtaposing hard work and fun, as contributing to both his continuing running and academic success. He approaches both with tenacity and willingness to work hard. Leo competed in three state cross-country meets for Ingraham High School and has maintained a 3.9 GPA. He capped off his high school running career with a third place finish in the 3200 meters at State. Leo returned to Rain City after each season, competing in JOs or helping out with practices and even coaching a younger runner. He will attend the University of San Francisco studying biology with an eye toward sports medicine. Leo will continue to represent the blue and yellow in fun runs wearing his RCF singlet, which is traveling to SF with him!

Nora Fujita-Yuhas competed with the Rain City Flyers cross country team from 2008-2013. Following early success on her Bantam Girls team which won the JO Regional Championship, she had five years learning about “sweat, grit, and comradery.” She carried the determination and resolve learned running the inside and outside loops with RCF into her high school cross country and Ultimate Frisbee team experiences with Lakeside. Nora kept her connection to Rain City, volunteering at the Labor Day Half Marathon water table and assisting with the Meadowbrook Community Center track team. Photography has become an interest for Nora, who served as the Photography Editor of the Lakeside high school newspaper and has exhibited in shows at the Seattle and Bellevue Art Museums. She will attend Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA, studying photography and international relations. Racing may not be in Nora’s future, but she knows she will continue to run for her own health and happiness!

Christopher Walker loves to run. He started participation in cross country races in middle school and competed as an independent before finding the Rain City Flyers. Unlike most RCF runners who come to the program in grade or middle school, Christopher first competed as a Flyer as a high schooler at JO Nationals 2014 and in 2015. He planned to compete again following his high school XC season in 2016, but a sudden medical challenge forced a change in plans. For the remainder of his senior year Christopher focused his running mentality on regaining his health and graduation, living up to the O’Dea cross-country team awards he had received -- Most Inspirational, Most Improved and the Work Horse. Christopher notes that “… running is great but I enjoyed the sidelines too.” You’ll find him there when he’s not racing, encouraging others and being an inspirational role model for us all. Come autumn Christopher is heading to University of Puget Sound – where he plans to start a running club.

Alex Whalen competed with the Rain City Flyer cross country team from 2009-2013 and experienced three Junior Olympics Nationals. The highlight of his Rain City cross country career was a third place team finish in the 2011 Nationals in Myrtle Beach SC. Alex ran on the Ballard High School cross country team for two years and was on Ballard’s soccer team for four years. The next chapter of Alex’s life will be at the University of Oregon, where he plans to play club soccer and apply to his academics the lesson learned as a runner at RCF-- that hard work pays off.

Owen Whalen ran three seasons with Rain City Flyers, competing at two JO National meets, including as a member of the 11-12 boy’s teams that placed third in Myrtle Beach in 2011. He writes that as a Rain City runner he learned “… that hard work pays off, the value of teamwork, and that he is really good at sharks and minnows.” Owen put these lessons to use for four years on the Ballard High School soccer team. Come fall Owen will attend Western Washington University. He’s not decided on a major, but knows that he will play club soccer and take his RCF learning along. Perhaps he’ll teach his soccer team how to play sharks and minnows!


2016 Scholarship Recipients

We are proud to announce the winners of the 2016 scholarships:

Flora Davis competed with the Rain City Flyers cross country team from 2008-2014. In 2008 she was a member of the 9-10 girls team that finished second at the Junior Olympics National Championships in Richmond, Virginia. Flora continued to compete in cross country and track at Roosevelt HS. She was a 4 year letter winner in cross country and captain of both the cross country and track teams.
Starting at an early age, Flora states that “Rain City ignited by love of running, and it quickly became my favorite sport. I have grown stronger both mentally and physically through my pursuit of better races and faster times…” She has taken this “can-do” attitude to the University of Washington where she is pursuing a degree in the business program.
During her freshman year in Seattle at UW Flora showed her continuing support for the Rain City Flyers when she returned to the Stampede to volunteer as a course monitor. We look forward to her continuing connections.

Kyle Bretherton competed with the Rain City Flyer cross country team from age 8 through 14, where he was a committed team and individual competitor. He attended Lakeside Upper School where he continued to compete in both cross country and track and field, earning six varsity letters. He was captain of the cross country team as a senior. During the track season he competed not only in the distance events, but also as an unusual combination, in the pole vault. Kyle was a National Merit Scholar finalist and winner of the Lakeside Scholar-Athlete Award.
For Kyle, Rain City started as an activity to help “make it through the day without bouncing off the walls,” and grew to what he hopes will be a life-long passion. We hope running continues to serve him well at Dartmouth College where he is currently completing his freshman year.

 

2015 Scholarship Recipients

We are proud to announce the awarding of two scholarships this year, both to long-term Rain City team contributors who are current university students.

Kendall Sahl, is a Dean’s List student, entering her last year as an undergraduate at the University of Washington. Using AP credits and hard work, Kendall will finish her bachelor’s degree in three years. She writes, “My unyielding mental fortitude in the face of all challenges, academic or not, is a direct result of growing up as a cross-country athlete.” That growth started with Rain City Flyers, where Kendall competed on cross country teams from 2003-2009. She was a scoring member of Rain City’s 2005 Junior Olympics National Champion 9-10 girls team, and the JO Nationals third place 11- 12 girls team in 2006.

Kendall credits her involvement with Rain City as providing the foundation for her success in cross- country at Roosevelt High School where she competed from 2009-12. As a team captain she worked to build a supportive and fun team atmosphere “similar to the one that Rain City had constructed for me.”

While no longer running at a competitive level, Kendall continues to use the mental determination of cross country running to pursue her passions. We are pleased to be able to support Kendall completing her education. She hopes to apply her Human Centered Design and Engineering degree to developing products and services helping global organizations that support real people.

Jackson “Jack’” Pearce, the inaugural RCF Scholarship recipient for 2013-14, completed his freshman year at Gonzaga University, fulfilling pre-requisites for a BS in nursing. While achieving his academics, Jack was also a member of GU’s men’s cross-country and track teams, where he was named Outstanding Freshman. In addition to contributing on the course and track, Jack participated in Gonzaga athletics community events such as food drives. He writes, “...it was as a member of Rain City that I learned my core philosophy ... to pursue what I love ... be serious about being my best and about enjoying every single moment of that process ...”

Jack joined Rain City Flyers as a bantam in 2005 and was a member of the cross country team for nine seasons. He was a USATF Junior Olympics All-American 4 times, including being national champion in 2005. Jack had an outstanding cross country and track career at Mountlake Terrace HS, where he was recognized as one of the Edmonds School District scholar athletes of 2014.

As a Rain City Flyer and beyond, Jack has been known for his mentorship and support for his teammates and all other competitors. We are pleased to support him and encourage his continuing efforts as a scholar-athlete

2014 Scholarship Recipients

The first RCF Scholarship, for the 2013-2014 season, was awarded to Jackson “Jack’” Pearce!

Jack graduated from Mountlake Terrace High School and will attend Gonzaga University pursuing a degree in nursing. Jack joined Rain City Flyers as a bantam in 2005 and was a member of the cross country team for nine seasons. He was a USATF Junior Olympics All-American 4 times, including being national champion in 2005. Jack had an outstanding cross country and track career at Mountlake Terrace HS, where he was recognized as one of the Edmonds School District scholar athletes of 2014.
While Jack always gave his personal best, where he truly separated from the field was in his support for his teammates and all other competitors. Jack is always the first to offer encouragement and congratulations to everyone in the race. As a Rain City Flyer he has been a mentor to many younger team members, both by the example he sets and by the encouragement and advice he shares with them. Jack will continue his commitment to running in Spokane, wearing Gonzaga Bulldog blue. But he remains a Rain City Flyer forever.

The Gallery

The Rain City Flyers Photo/Video Gallery is currently under construction. While we work on the details, feel free to take a look at the old Gallery. (This is a private area. For access, please request a password via the Contact Us page.)