PHILADELPHIA - It's become an annual tradition: Verizon sponsors the heralded USA vs. The World competition at the Penn Relays, and then hands out scholarship checks to four deserving high-school athletes.
Verizon, in its fourth year as presenting sponsor of the NBC broadcast of the April 24 USA vs. The World contest, will present the winners of the Verizon Youth Progress Award with $5,000 checks to be used for their college tuition and expenses. The relays will be held today through Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field.
Verizon also is an official sponsor of USA Track & Field, the national governing body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States.
"This premier track and field event is a great opportunity for Verizon to recognize young athletes who excel in athletic competition and in the classroom," said Bob Ingalls, president of Verizon's Retail Markets Group. "The students selected are great role models for their fellow competitors and classmates in their home towns. We congratulate all of them on their success on and off the track."
USA vs. The World, the featured event at the 110-year-old Penn Relays, pits the United States' top runners against the best relay teams from around the globe in a unique and exciting international competition. Among the Americans competing in USA vs. The World are five-time Olympic medallist Marion Jones; Olympic gold medallists Jearl Miles-Clark, Alvin Harrison, Jon Drummond and Inger Miller; and world champions Tryee Washington and John Capel.
The 2004 Verizon Youth Progress Award scholarship program provides a $5,000 college scholarship to four high school seniors who participate in track and field, cross-country or both, and who have maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average throughout high-school. This year's recipients are:
Alison lives in Wheeling, Ill., and will attend Northwestern University in the fall. She has competed in the Junior Olympic Cross Country National Championships from 1998-2003.
Kyle lives in Berkeley, Calif., and attends boarding school in Claremont, Calif. He will be attending Stanford University in the fall. Kyle had competed in the Junior Olympic Track & Field National Championships from 1994-2003 as a thrower.
Heather lives in Grahamsville, N.Y., and will attend Princeton University in the fall. She has competed in the Junior Nationals from 2001-2003. She was scheduled to compete in the Girl's Mile (4th seed) at this year's Penn Relays, but was forced to withdraw due to a foot injury.
Jason lives in Bowling Green, Ky., and will attend Western Kentucky University in the fall. He has competed in the Junior Olympic Cross Country National Championships from 2002-2003.
The academic accolades will continue when the company presents a $1,500 college scholarship to the winner of its Verizon Youth Tech Essay Contest. When the event was held last fall, students throughout the Philadelphia area were asked to write about how technology can help improve their communities. Ten other winners received a new personal computer.
The scholarships are provided through Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications.
"Verizon has been a linchpin of several of our successful programs the last three years," said Craig Masback, CEO of USA Track & Field. "That is especially true of their support of our youth programs. Verizon helps to promote youth involvement in track and field, but more important is that the company supports the student side of the student-athlete equation."
The Penn Relays kicks off the elite U.S. outdoor track and field season and traditionally draws some 110,000 visitors over the three days of competition.
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