Meet 2021's Award Winners

Read more winner's profiles here

Alexandra Rupkalvis- South Brunswick High

Coach: Allison Brown

"Most notable among Allie's attributes is her ability to lead on her team. She demonstrated not only her dedication to improving her own skills, but her efforts at being a team leader and role model. Allie was not afraid to speak up during practice or a meet if it meant helping her team mates succeed. I witnessed time and time again, Allie working alongside her teammates throughout the season. In addition to her impressive academic successes and strong athletic leadership, Allie has a true heart of service... One of her greatest accomplishments was creating a nutrition and fitness program for disadvantaged youth called Healthy Habits. She partnered with the Boys and Girls Club and ran a camp that focused on the importance of nutritious food choices and daily exercise." Coach Brown

"It is truly an honor to be named the female recipient of the 2021 Wilmington Road Runners Scholarship. I greatly appreciate the generosity of the Wilmington Road Runners and your organization’s support of my education. This scholarship means so much to me because I have always been passionate about running. Running allows me to challenge myself, focus on my goals, and take time to think. It has taught me to be disciplined, manage my time, and work hard to achieve my goals. Over the past four years, my coaches and teammates at South Brunswick High School have instilled in me the importance of teamwork and an attitude to never give up when things get hard. They have taught me that I am mentally and physically strong and if I put my mind to something, I can accomplish it. I want to thank Coach Watkins, Coach Brown, and Coach Brock for mentoring me as a young runner and inspiring me to push myself and do my best. I would also like to thank my family for their love, support, and encouragement. In the fall, I will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I will major in nursing. Within the field of nursing, I would like to focus on becoming a neonatal nurse and specialize in caring for newborn infants. Ultimately, I would like to earn my Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) and become a neonatal nurse practitioner. This scholarship will enable me to focus on my studies and achieve my goal of becoming a nurse. As a future Tar Heel, running will continue to be an important part of my life, and I look forward to participating in the running clubs and events offered on campus. I would like to thank the Wilmington Road Runners for all you do for the community, runners, and your support of local student-athletes." Alexandra

Jackson Metty, North Brunswick High

Coaches: John Byers, Melissa Holden and Jerry and Debora Palazzo. 

"Jackson has been a coach's dream in that he provides selfless leadership that makes him the perfect youth partner to an adult coaching staff. He consistently demonstrates an extraordinary work ethic and does so in a manner that invites his teammates to follow, rather than coming across as demanding. He is the embodiment of a servant leader and consistently demonstrates what it looks like to give one's all to this very difficult sport." Coach Byers

"I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to receive a scholarship from the Wilmington Road Runners Club. I will be attending UNC Charlotte to major in Nursing. This scholarship opportunity will help to relieve some of the stress that comes along with college and will allow me to worry a little less about student loans. I will be able to focus on my school work and even running when I get the chance. Running has been a big part of my life for the last 3 years and I want it to stay that way. Running has changed my life for the better. I have met so many great people along the way and become part of a bigger family. As long as my legs can move I want to continue running throughout my life and bring others into this great sport as well.  I want to say a big thanks to not only Wilmington Roadrunners but also to my coaches: Coach Jerry, Coach Missy, Coach Debora, and Coach Byers. They have not only taught me how to be a great runner, but someone who is determined, a leader, and a hard worker. I also want to say thank you to my wonderful family, friends, girlfriend, and most importantly God who has gotten me to where I am now in life. Once again, I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to receive this scholarship and to Wilmington Roadrunners for all they do in the running community here in the Cape Fear region." Jackson

Zachary Knott-Hoggard High School

Coach: Billy Mason

"Zach has been a significant part of the Hoggard Cross Country and track teams since his freshman year. Showing the same traits he evidences in his academics, he is an extremely hard worker. Zach has been forced to deal with several injuries during his career. His resilience and dedication to rehabilitation allowed him to recover fully. Zach has a well earned reputation for honesty and personal integrity. He is diligent and dependable in his work. As a result of his dedication and leadership abilities, Zach was named one of the captains of the cross country team this year. His intervention with fellow runners often accomplished more than I could as a coach." Coach Mason

"I am very thankful that the Wilmington Road Runners provided me with this amazing opportunity. First, I would like to thank everyone who helped me become the runner I am today. I would like to thank Coach Mason, Coach Egger, Coach Rhonda, Coach Spell, and Coach Howell for all their hard work that they have put into making my teammates and I successful. I would also like to thank my parents for being there for me over these past few years that I have been running and my teammates for having my back. Being a member of Hoggard’s track and cross country programs has been an amazing journey with some amazing people and I am very excited to be continuing this journey at Belmont Abbey. I plan on majoring in Accounting and studying to become a CPA and so this scholarship means a lot to me. From hurricanes to global pandemics to injuries and burnouts, myself and my teammates have certainly experienced a few hardships over these past few years, but through it all we’ve been able to stay positive and work together to become the best cross country team Hoggard has ever seen, while also winning two consecutive conference titles for track, which I find is truly remarkable. I’m certainly going to miss this team and wish them nothing but the best going forward. Thanks again to the Wilmington Road Runners." Zach

Isabella Bufalini- Laney High School

Coach: Sam Bobbitt

"Not many young athletes are as committed too running as Isabella. She really takes the bull by the horns when it comes to how she views life. She truly is a go getter. She maintains a 4.0 unweighted GPA and still finds time to volunteer in her community. She even created a fundraising club ( Project Run) to raise money for the team. I think a big quality she has is that she takes time to make sure the younger girls understand that they can achieve anything if they consistently work for it. She really showed the girls and boys how a runner should carry themselves at practice, in school and in the community." Coach Bobbitt

"I am beyond honored and blessed to be one of the recipients of the Wilmington Roadrunners Scholarship. I am thankful for this scholarship to help me pursue a degree in medicine. Thank you to Coach Bobbitt, Coach T, Without Limits, and Breakaway Fitness for teaching me vital life lessons, always believing in me, and helping me achieve my goal of running cross country and track at the University of Pittsburgh. Through the ups and downs of running, I have learned the true meanings of genuine friendship, leadership, teamwork, failure, honesty, grit, and the power of positivity. Running has helped shape me into the person that I am today, and I wouldn’t change a single moment from my high school career. Thank you to my parents for being my biggest supporters, teaching me to remain optimistic and resilient in times of uncertainty, and standing up for what I believe in, even if I am the only one standing. The most important life lessons learned from running are that there is always a way to attain a goal, it only takes a small group to create change, not everyone has your best interest, and you can’t control everything except your reaction. Through Project Run, my teammates and I have directly supported the community and Laney XC/Track, even during adverse times. I am proud of all my teammates and what we have accomplished together. I look forward to what the future holds for Project Run. Most importantly, thank you to the Wilmington Roadrunners for providing this scholarship opportunity and for supporting all runners in the Wilmington area." Bella

Winners Gallery 2016-2021

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Isabella Bufalini- Laney'21
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