VSGA honors 40 scholarship winners at 2018 VSGA Day

Posted at 6:05 PM, May 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-10 18:05:52-04

RICHMOND — Thirty-seven high-school seniors and three turfgrass students at Virginia Tech were among the 40 scholars honored as the VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation announced its 2018 scholarship award recipients today at VSGA Day at Richmond Country Club.

The VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships to Virginia high school students with an interest in golf (ability not important). Other criteria for the awards are academic achievement, character and community involvement.

This year’s grants total $108,500, including $4,500 that went to three students studying turfgrass science in Blacksburg. Since being launched in 1984, the program has now distributed more than $2.21 million to 993 students. A portion of each VSGA VIP Golf Card sale helps fund the VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation.

“I want to congratulate this year’s scholarship recipients for the impact they have made both in the classroom as well as their local communities,” VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation president Michael Millen said. “The caliber of the applicant pool seems to get stronger and deeper every year and this class may be our most impressive to date in terms of well-roundedness.”

The 2018 grants include the 18 th C. Dan Keffer Award, which goes to an individual in honor of the former VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation Committee Chairman. This year’s recipient was Virginia Beach’s Ralph Sun.

For the 24 th consecutive year, Spencer-Wilkinson awards, which draw from a fund formed by Debbie Spencer and Mary Nell Wilkinson, went to two young women with an interest in golf, giving them an opportunity to pursue college and career development. The 2018 winners were Isabella Seip of Mechanicsville and Rachel Zhao of Glen Allen.

The Red Speigle Award, named in honor of the late longtime teaching professional and granted to a top applicant from the Peninsula, was given to Gloucester Point’s Hunter Martin.

The David A. King Award, which the senior amateur golfer established in 2002, went to Daniel Bannon of Virginia Beach. The Richard Smith Award, given for the first time in 2017 in remembrance of the VSGA’s longtime director of championships and supporter of junior golf, went to Kyle Cardenas of Stafford.

The VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation has a program in place to accept gifts and memorials. Anyone interested in naming a scholarship or contributing to the VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation should contact the VSGA.


Ralph Sun (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes HS) — $7,000, including the C. Dan Keffer Award  GPA: 4.4288. Class rank: 13 out of 503. Academic interests: Computer science, mathematics, physics, economics, history, politics. Activities: Varsity golf (captain 2016-17); Mu Alpha Theta; Model UN; Mathematics & Science Academy Symposium presenter; debate team; NHS; Spanish Honor Society; completed more than 200 hours of community service from 2015-present. College: University of Southern California.

Isabella Seip (Mechanicsville/Hanover HS) — $7,000 Spencer-Wilkinson Award  GPA: 4.72. Class rank: 3 out of 313. Academic interests: Neuroscience, education, human development. Activities: Founder of Cupcakes for Charity; Student Organization for Developing Attitudes; Summer Institute for Leadership and Public Service – selected participant; Hanover Youth Service Council; three-time class president and also president of the Beta Club; four-year member and three-time captain of the golf team; two-time state qualifier and four-year member of the varsity swimming team. Works 15 hours per week at Burkwood Swim & Racquet Club. College: Notre Dame.

Rachel Zhao (Glen Allen/Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School) — $7,000 Spencer-Wilkinson Award  GPA: 4.36. Academic interests: Math, finance and constitutional history. Activities: SCA president (2017-18); golf team captain; Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra; drama pit orchestra; Future Problem Solvers; Student Ambassador Co-Coordinator; president and cofounder of Cantante; tutor; counselor for high school diplomats; cellist (9th chair all state, 1st chair senior regional). Volunteer at: Music Orchard, RAMPS, Instrument Petting Zoo of Richmond Symphony, and Relay for Life. College: University of Virginia.

Daniel Bannon (Virginia Beach/Frank W. Cox HS) — $5,000, including the David A. King Award  GPA: 4.536. Class rank: 1 out of 442. Academic interests: Math and science. Activities: Swim team; Spanish Honor Society; Gifted Advisory Board Treasurer. Volunteer at: Holy Family Teen Clothing Closet, Winter Watch for the Homeless, Oasis Soup Kitchen, lifeguard manager. College: Notre Dame.

Hunter Martin (Gloucester Point/Gloucester HS) — $4,000, including the Red Speigle Award  GPA: 4.509. Class rank: 5 out of 447. Academic interests: Business and economics. Activities: Attended Boys State of Virginia (elected sheriff of best city award). Volunteer at: Gloucester Youth Baseball League, Gloucester Humane Society, LPGA Kingsmill Championship, Abingdon Ruritan Club, varsity baseball, golf, junior American Legion baseball, Daily Press golf All-Star member. College: Hampden-Sydney College.

Kyle Cardenas (Stafford/Colonial Forge HS) — $4,000, including the Richard Smith Award  GPA: 4.087. Class rank: 69 out of 462. Academic interests: Engineering, computer science and math. Activities: Golf (four varsity letters, captain two seasons, MVP four years), Math NHS, Chess Club. Volunteer at: Stafford County Public Schools Gifted Advisory Committee, Big Brother/Big Sister, First Tee of Prince William, St. Francis Catholic Church, Nursery Volunteer, Army Navy CC Activities Liaison, Fredericksburg Food Bank. College: Virginia Tech.

Brayden Bird (Carrolton/Smithfield HS) — $3,000  GPA: 4.35. Class rank: 13 out of 306. Academic interests: Medical and electrical engineering. Activities: Golf team, soccer team, Green Club, NHS, Math NHS, Beta Club, works at Food Lion, 20 volunteer hours. College: Virginia Tech.

Alston Carson (Roanoke/Patrick Henry HS/Roanoke Valley Governor’s School) — $3,000  GPA: 4.64. Class rank: 1 out of 396. Academic interests: Politics, history, Spanish, pre-law. Activities: Seventeen varsity letters in six different sports; Roanoke Valley Governor's School tour guide and Ambassador; peer mentor; peer tutor; Planned Parenthood Roanoke's Founding Youth Advisory Board; Title IX committee and trained peer educator; Second Presbyterian Church Nursery employee. College: Princeton.

Alexis DiZinno (Alexandria/Stone Ridge) — $3,000  GPA: 3.5. Academic interests: Environmental science, biology, engineering, aerospace engineering, zoology. Activities: Golf (Since third grade, captain of varsity team 10th-12th grade); Spectrum Co-Leader; Help2O; PAWS; True Colors; Feminism Club; Music Ministry; guitar. Volunteer at: Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School and Sprout Creek Farm, golf instructor and camp counselor at Mount Vernon Country Club. College: Florida Institute of Technology

Patrick Murphy (Glen Allen/Douglas S. Freeman HS) — $3,000  GPA: 4.48. Class rank: 35 out of 395. Academic interests: Economics, finance, mathematics, government. Activities: NHS; Beta Club; Mu Alpha Theta; French Club; Real Talk for Gender Equality; varsity golf (two-time MVP, two-time captain); more than 120 hours of community service throughout high school with various foundations; sales. College: University of Virginia.

Thomas Orr III (Roanoke/Cave Spring HS) — $3,000  GPA: 4.2083. Class rank: 1 out of 221. Academic interests: Engineering. Activities: Insight Program (Internship); varsity golf; Key Club; Beta Club; baseball umpire; dishwasher; Roanoke Valley Governor’s School Project Forum. College: University of Alabama.

Matthew Teasley (Belle Haven/Nandua HS) — $3,000  GPA: 4.22. Class rank: 1 out of 170. Academic interests: Commerce, economics, finance, law. Activities: Golf (captain); cross country (captain); wrestling (captain); baseball (captain); Youth Group Leader; Church board member. Volunteer at: Riverside Shore Cancer Center and ESO School of Dance. Works at Virginia Tech Agricultural Research and Extension Center. College: University of Virginia.

Cassidy Chambers (Goodview/Staunton River HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.0. Class rank: 13 out of 240. Academic interests: Physical therapy. Activities: President of NHS; part of the Roanoke Valley Hall of Fame All-Metro team; All-District and All-Region (golf); Participated in Virginia Girls’ State Championship (golf). Volunteer at: Roanoke Rescue Mission, Straight Street in Roanoke, and Agape Center in Moneta. College: Western Carolina University.

Riley Cutler (Herndon/Westfield HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.264. Class rank: Top 10 percent out of 600. Academic interests: Bio-medical science, and studio art and design. Activities: Golf team; American Sign Language Club; National Art Honor Society (Co-President of Executive Board). College: Mississippi State University. Hannah Damron (Wise/Central HS) — $2,000  GPA: 3.88. Class rank: 25 out of 148. Academic interests: Sports management. Activities: Forty hours of community service through NHS; golf team; Pep Club; Key Club; International Club; tennis team; FBLA; Mu Alpha Theta. College: University of Virginia-Wise.

Jillian Drinkard (Appomattox/Appomattox County HS) — $2,000  GPA: 3.91. Class rank: 18 out of 188. Academic interests: Professional golf management. Activities: Golf team; yearbook staff; Teachers for Tomorrow; Model UN Representative; threetime letter winner in varsity basketball; softball team; Youth United Organization/Young Life. College: Methodist University.

Carson Durham (Dinwiddie/Dinwiddie HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.3. Class rank: 13 out of 301. Academic interests: Business, economics, government. Activities: Varsity golf (captain sophomore-senior years); Social Studies Club; Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Volunteer at: Fort Lee, local elementary schools, Special Olympics, Wreaths Across America, and LPGA at Kingsmill. Works at CC of Petersburg. College: Virginia Military Institute.

Kurtis Grant (Herndon/South Lakes HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.0. Academic interests: Business, agronomy, sports management, sports medicine. Activities: Volunteer at First Tee of Greater Washington; 2017 Kitchen-Aid Senior PGA Championship Junior Ambassador; won the inaugural VSGA Junior Golf Circuit Championship and also captured the 64th VSGA Junior Stroke Play Championship. Has represented the Commonwealth in several team events and won the Mid-Atlantic Cup as well as an AJGA event. Volunteered at South Lakes High School concessions stand. College: West Virginia University.

Benjamin Hiter (Mineral/Louisa County HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.06. Class rank: 43 out of 374. Academic interests: Math, history, science. Activities: Swim team (captain); golf team; tennis team; attended Boys State at Radford; High Five Club (Treasurer). More than 100 hours as Volunteer at: Junior coach for summer swim team and camp, Louisa County athletics, Louisa Boosters, and Mineral Fireman’s Fair. College: HampdenSydney College.

Kassidy Irby (Halifax/Halifax County HS) — $2,000  GPA: 97.593 (100-point scale). Class rank: 3 out of 366. Activities: National Honor Society; secretary of FBLA chapter; 2017 Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Student Athlete finalist; varsity golf and tennis; all-academic golf and tennis; tennis camp volunteer; golf camp volunteer; church hand bell choir participant; Green’s Folly women’s club champion. College: University of Virginia.

Samuel McNamara (Charlottesville/St. Anne’s-Belfield) — $2,000  GPA: 3.43. Academic interests: Marketing, economics. Activities: Golf team (captain 2017); 2016 Virginia Independent School Athletic Association Player of the Year; 2016 Richmond Junior golf championship winner; Attended Sankaty Head Caddie Camp in Nantucket the past three summers; color commentator for the St. Anne’s Belfield student broadcast network; president of Student Life Committee; assistant manager for varsity basketball team. College: Transylvania University.

Cameron Moore (Glen Allen/Glen Allen HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.0. Class rank: 90 of 427. Academic interests: Business, finance. Activities: Jacob’s Chance (Buddy Ball); Bandit’s Adoption and Rescue of K-9s (BARK); Ronald McDonald House; Millionaire's Club; DECA. Qualified for the USGA Junior Championship, the Virginia State Amateur and the State Open of Virginia. He also posted a top 5 finish in the AJGA Greg Norman and won the club championship at the Dominion Club. College: Virginia Tech

Skylar Morgan (Galax/Galax HS) — $2,000  GPA: 3.9. Class rank: 6 out of 83. Academic interests: Sports medicine. Activities: Varsity basketball; golf; softball; yearbook; Galax Backpack Buddies (pack groceries for students to take home on weekends); hosting a golf tournament to raise money for Galax Social Services (Senior Project). College: Virginia Tech.

Charles Nelson (Woodbridge/C.D. Hylton HS) — $2,000  GPA: 3.8. Class rank: 59 out of 513. Academic interests: Pre-veterinary, sports medicine. Activities: Boy Scouts (Eagle Scout); First Tee of Greater Washington D.C.; varsity golf and tennis; scholastic bowl; cooking at Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center. College: William and Mary.

Jordan Parker (Colonial Heights/Colonial Heights HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.1. Class rank: 16 out of 193. Academic interests: Business, environmental science. Activities: Key Club; Beta Club; varsity golf; JV soccer; FCCLA; ProStart Culinary Team; Model UN. Volunteer at: Optimist Club, Kiwanis Club, Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Surry United Methodist Church, FCCLA, Colonial Heights Soccer Association, & The First Tee of Chesterfield. College: Richard Bland College.

Matthew Parker (Arlington/Wakefield HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.04. Class rank: 1 out of 434. Academic interests: Political science, government. Activities: Wakefield Young Democrats (President 2016-17); The Write Place (tutoring); Dimes for Dining; Wakefield Chieftain newspaper; Symphonic Band – percussionist; basketball; baseball; golf; piano. Volunteer at: Holy Trinity Church, multiple political campaigns, Arlington Rec Basketball, and KaBOOM. College: Virginia Tech.

Riley Pendry (Springfield/West Springfield HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.36. Academic interests: Mathematics, engineering. Activities: Varsity golf; baseball; wrestling. Volunteer at: Special Olympics Golf Program, Challenger Baseball. Employed at Burke Lake Golf Center. College: Virginia Tech.

Ashley Pultz (Swoope/Buffalo Gap HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.2. Class rank: 6 out of 121. Academic interests: Aeronautical engineering, air traffic control. Activities: Travel softball; Augusta County Parks & Rec; student volunteer at Sentara RMH Medical Center; toy drive through Salvation Army; mission trips; on multiple high school sports teams; high school class president (grades 9-11); Student Council. College: The Ohio State University.

Chaney Sheehan (Farmville/Prince Edward HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.24. Class rank: 5 out of 131. Academic interests: Economics, computer science, chemistry. Activities: Head counselor at Global Village Camp; Prince Edward Soccer (captain); Future Business Leaders of America (president); exchange student host; participated in Global Leadership Institute program. Volunteer at Prince Edward HS and Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Soccer. College: University of Virginia.

Joseph Justin Shelton (Alexandria/West Potomac HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.2. Academic interests: Sports marketing and management. Activities: Worked at Army Navy Country Club; golf captain; baseball; volleyball. Volunteer at: Veterans Service Day, West Potomac Baseball Camp, West Potomac Athletic Boosters Club, Top Soccer Coach. College: Virginia Tech.

Hannah Sowers (Roanoke/William Byrd HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.15. Class rank: 1 out of 265. Academic interests: Exercise science, occupational therapy. Activities: Beta Club; varsity basketball; varsity softball; student council; LEO Club; field and base umpire; RELATE Program Facilitator; Springtree Health and Rehabilitation Center Activities Volunteer; First Tee of Roanoke Valley. College: High Point University.

William Terrell (Lynchburg/E.C. Glass HS) — $2,000  GPA: 3.94. Class rank: 77 out of 320. Academic interests: Business. Activities: Track and field captain; golf team captain; community service through church youth group; worked at Boonsboro Country Club. College: Undecided.

Cole Vincel (Charlottesville/Monticello HS) — $2,000  GPA: 3.941. Academic interests: Soil science, agriculture. Activities: Boy Scouts of America; varsity lacrosse (captain); varsity golf (captain); County Student Council (executive representative); Monticello HS Spirit Organization; UVA Junior Volunteer; 50 hours of community service yearly; cross country; track; ultimate Frisbee. College: Virginia Tech.

Zoe Voettiner (Haymarket/Battlefield HS) — $2,000  GPA: 4.1. Class rank: 138 out of 685. Academic interests: English, political science, pre-law. Activities: Fellowship of Christian Athletes; History National Honor Society; varsity lacrosse; varsity golf; freshman volleyball (team captain). Volunteer at: Haymarket Food Pantry, Mountain View Elementary School tutor, US Lacrosse. College: Colorado College.

Everett Whiten (Chesapeake/Great Bridge HS) — $2,000  GPA: 3.6. Class rank: 120 out of 333. Academic interests: Business. Activities: Chesapeake Scholar Athlete; varsity golf; varsity basketball. Volunteer at: Chesapeake Regional Hospital, Global Youth Volunteer Day, Paint Your Heart Out With Kappa Alpha Psi, and Youth Summer Golf Camp. College: Hampton University

TURFGRASS RESEARCH AWARDS John Brewer (Blacksburg/Virginia Tech) — $1,500: Received undergraduate and Masters degrees from University of Tennessee at Martin. … Is doing Ph.D. research at Virginia Tech assessing the mechanism of herbicide resistance in annual bluegrass (poa annua).

Jordan Craft (Newport/Virginia Tech) — $1,500: Received undergraduate and Masters degrees from Mississippi State University. … Is doing Ph.D. research at Virginia Tech examining factors that govern zoysiagrass response to herbicides during green-up.

Travis Roberson (Blacksburg/Virginia Tech) — $1,500: Received Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Tech in 2016. … Is working toward a Master of Science degree at Virginia Tech in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science with a concentration in Applied Pathology. Has worked on the course maintenance staffs at both Kinloch Golf Club and the Highland Course at Primland.