HOUSTON (July 2, 2015) – The Houston Marathon Foundation (HMF) announced today that Laine Zizka of James E. Taylor High School and Chris Winski of Morton Ranch High School were named the first recipients of the Susan Poorman Blackie Scholarship. The two stand-out students and former high school cross country runners will each receive a $5,000 scholarship grant annually for four years, totaling $20,000 in financial aid toward their college tuitions.
The scholarship was created in honor of Susan Poorman Blackie, co-founder of the HMF and long-time Houston Marathon Committee volunteer board member. The Susan Poorman Blackie Scholarship is designed to recognize student-athletes in the Greater Houston Region who have demonstrated academic success, participated in high school cross country running, volunteered for extracurricular activities and applied to attend a college or university in the state of Texas.
“We are honored to support these two remarkable student-athletes over the next four years as they pursue their academic goals, and grateful for all of the wonderful young men and women who applied this year,” said HMF Board President Maddie Bunch. “The announcement of the first scholarship recipients is special because both individuals are so deserving, but it is also so meaningful because it recognizes a wonderful, passionate and generous friend who meant so much to our organization.”
Both student-athletes were captains of their respective cross country teams and members of the National Honor Society. A member of the school marching and concert band at Morton Ranch, Winske plans on running track and cross country at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio this Fall.
“Chris is the best distance runner that Morton Ranch High School has ever produced, and as great a runner that Chris is, he is twice the person,” said Shawn Siemers, Head Cross Country Coach at Morton Ranch High School. “One of the best kids I’ve ever known.”
Zizka, who was in the Spanish Club, a member of the Student Council and Editor in Chief of the school paper at Katy Taylor High School, will be attending Texas Christian University.
“Laine is an exceptionally mature and caring young woman,” said former James E. Taylor High School Cross Country Coach Amy Pitzel. “She has a giant heart and makes people and things around her better. She has been running her whole life and will be a lifetime runner.”
In addition to supporting these two students over the next four years, the Susan Poorman Blackie Scholarship will again be awarded in the Summer of 2017 to two students from the 2016 or 2017 high school graduating classes.
For more information on the Houston Marathon Foundation, visit www.houstonmarathonfoundation.com
About The Houston Marathon Foundation
Founded in 2008, the Houston Marathon Foundation is committed to support the advancement of running as an element of a balanced, healthy lifestyle in the Houston community and nationally. The national focus of the organization is dedicated to promoting and improving the sport of distance running while locally, the organization supports running related program and community needs that will improve and create effective health-based initiatives. Additionally, youth programs and after school running programs provide coaching, support, guidance and opportunity to over 1,000 Houston area students annually who would otherwise have few or no fitness opportunities and many of whom participate in the annual Houston Marathon Committee weekend events.
For more information, visit www.houstonmarathonfoundation.com or call 713.957.3453.