Hillstriders Distance Running Scholarship

in memory of Fritz Kauffman

Hillstriders Scholarship Application


Fritz Kauffman was a past president of the Hillstriders Running Club and the 1994 March Madness Half Marathon Race Director.  An avid runner, Fritz completed over 100 marathons, including the 1995 Boston Marathon.

A University of Wisconsin Badger alumnus, Fritz died unexpectedly during the Sunmart 50K in Huntsville, TX in 2001.  In his memory, the Hillstriders Running Club has designated a portion of the annual March Madness Half Marathon proceeds to fund this scholarship.

The Hillstriders Distance Running Scholarship was established in 2002 to assist McHenry County high school graduates with college expenses.  Applicants must be participants in high school cross country or track distance (800 meters or longer) events.


In 2002 the Hillstriders Running Club made an initial donation of $ 5,000.  Thereafter, a portion of the “March Madness Half Marathon” will fund at least three $3,000 scholarships each year. Any additional earnings/contributions may increase that year’s scholarship or will be placed in the scholarship trust fund to grow in value.


The Hillstriders Distance Running Scholarship is available to all college-bound distance runners in McHenry County.  The scholarship is not based on academic or athletic accomplishments.  Our intent is to reward those runners who truly love the sport.  By supporting these runners we are encouraging healthy, productive and disciplined lifestyles.  

Summary of Scholarship Criteria:

The Hillstriders Distance Running Scholarship is a $3,000 non-renewable award. The scholarship is intended to help support the applicant in their pursuit of continuing education.  For that reason, anyone receiving fully paid tuition through the University Scholarships(academic or athletic).  Military Academy(Air Force, Naval, etc.) corporate sponsorships or any other means will not qualify for the award.  Should the scholarship be announced and awarded prior to notice on any of the above, the achievement of their place within the scholarship judging will remain recognized in our records, however, the financial award will be redistributed to the runner- up.

To qualify, the applicant must be a McHenry County resident and/or a graduating senior from a McHenry County High School in good academic standing.  The applicant must be a distance runner (800 meters or longer) on their school’s track or cross-country team. Applicant must have applied and been accepted at a college or university, and enrolling in the fall. Receiving the award does not preclude the applicant from applying for and accepting other scholarships, loans, grants or other aid.

The applicant must submit the following:

     1.      Hillstriders Scholarship Application

     2.     100 - 250 Word Essay

    In at least 100, but less than 250 words, describe on a separate sheet how running has changed your life.  This is a critical portion of the application that sets you apart.  Fritz was always telling a joke or a story.  Have some fun - share your favorite story or memory.  

     1.     Recommendation from a teacher TEACHER RECOMMENDATION

    A letter from a least one teacher verifying the applicant’s academic standing and discuss their leadership skills.

     1.     Recommendation from their cross country coach or track coach


    A letter from their coach should discuss the applicant’s contribution to sportsmanship, leadership, team spirit and their influence on the betterment of the sport of running.

     1.     List of community service and high school activities.

The completed application must be emailed to hrcscholarship@gmail.com by the third Friday in April.

The Hillstriders treasurer will send the recipient a $3,000 check payable to the school the student will be attending.  

Scholarship Acceptance:

A five-member Selection Committee will be appointed annually by the Hillstriders Board of Directors to review applications.  The Committee will include at least one high school running coach or athletic director.  The identity of the applicant will be withheld from the Selection Committee to assure complete objectivity.  The scholarships will be awarded each May.

Hillstriders Distance Running Scholarship Past Recipients

Total Scholarship Money Awarded ($ 138,000)


Kimberly Jo Weidner, Marengo High School (Augustana College) $ 1,000

Christopher Stanich, McHenry High School (Iowa State) $ 1,000

Janelle Summerkamp, Jacobs High School (Elgin Community College) $ 250

Gregory Hamm, Cary-Grove High School (Undecided) $ 250


Stephanie McHone, Crystal Lake High School (Augustana College) $ 1,000

Steve LaBracke, Marian Central High School (Northwestern University) $ 1,000

Katie Birn, McHenry High School (Southern Illinois University) $ 250

Nick Fuhs, Crystal Lake Central High School (University of Illinois) $ 250


Katherine Anderson, Richmond High School (Eastern Illinois University) $ 2,000

Marty Ciszon, Cary-Grove High School (University of Illinois) $ 2,000

Ryan Kunde,    Marengo High School (Marquette University) $ 500

Megan Matteson, Harvard High School (Illinois State University) $ 500


Megan Hofstetter, Cary-Grove High School (Mars Hill College)  $ 2,000

Ryan Fuhs, Crystal Lake Central High School (University of Illinois) $ 1,250

Mike Lawson, Prairie Ridge High School (Georgia Tech) $ 1,250

Stephanie Erhard, Cary-Grove High School (University of Illinois) $ 500


Jill Weidner, Marengo High School $ 2,000

Joe Boyer, Marengo High School $ 2,000

Rachel Grammer, McHenry East High School  $ 500

Nic Aubert, Crystal Lake South High School $ 500


Caitlin Woolridge, Cary-Grove High School (University of Iowa)  $ 2,000

Brian Lane, Johnsburg High School (Bradley University) $ 2,000

Kristin Leonhardt, Cary-Grove High School (University of Illinois) $ 500

Mark Rivera, Crystal Lake Central High School (University of Illinois) $ 500


Chelsey Tyllia, South High School $ 2,000

Carson Sterchi, Crystal Lake Central High School $ 2,000

Michael McNamara, Cary-Grove High School $ 2,000


Molly Macinnes, Cary-Grove High School $ 2,000

Sarah LaRue, Marengo High School $ 2,000

Scott Meyers, Marengo High School $ 2,000


Ryan Alvarez, Crystal Lake Central High School (Oral Roberts University) $ 2,000

Edward Gibbons, Cary-Grove High (Notre Dame)  $ 2,000

Elizabeth Hiinley, Johnsburg High School (University of North Texas) $ 2,000

Monique Marchwianny, Jacobs High School (University of Illinois) $ 1,000

Taylor Miller, Crystal Lake Central High School (University of Wisconsin-Parkside) $ 1,000


Andrew Wozniak, Marian Central High School (St. Ambrose University) $ 2,000

Phillip Meyer, Woodstock High School (St. Olaf College) $ 2,000

Rachel Bush, Crystal Lake Central High School (Loyola University) $ 2,000

Marianne Collard, Crystal Lake South High School, Cornell University $ 2,000

Kathryn Sprague, Marengo Community High School, University of Colorado $ 2,000


Luke Wajrowski, Crystal Lake South ( University of Dayton)  $ 2,000

Timothy Semmen, Woodstock High School (Luther College)  $ 2,000

Kelly McNeely, Crystal Lake Central (Central Michigan University) $ 2,000

Katherine Wollney Cary Grove  (Miami of Ohio ) $ 2,000

Sara Lejsner Crystal Lake South  (DePauw University) $ 2,000


Madeline Lundin,   Cary Grove High School  (Miami University) $ 2,000

Jessica Stumpner,  Crystal Lake South  (Wisconsin Lutheran College) $ 2,000

Joe Cowlin, Prairie Ridge (University of Illinois) $ 2,000

Calvin Quarterman,  McHenry West (Drake University)  $ 2,000

Nick Kopp, Crystal Lake South  (University of Minnesota)  $ 2,000


Alexandra Sprague, Marengo High School  (University of South Carolin-Columbia) $ 2,000

Avery Robertson,  Crystal Lake Central  (Arizona State) $ 2,000

Erin Wagner, Prairie Ridge (University of Wisconsin-Madison) $ 2,000

Griffin Dempsey,  Cary-Grove High School (University of Minnesota)  $ 2,000

Tyler Splitt, Crystal Lake South  (University of Illinois)  $ 2,000

Nick Amato, Crystal Lake Central (University of Minnesota)  $ 2,000


Laura Van Vlierbergen, Jacobs (University of Michigan) $ 2,000

Sarah Semmen,  Woodstock (Butler University) $ 2,000

Andrea Shine, Prairie Ridge (University of Iowa) $ 2,000

Emma Baumert,  Marian Central (University of St. Thomas)  $ 2,000

Tyler Stordahl, Cary Grove (Gustavus Aldolphus College)  $ 2,000

Michael Saxon, Cary Grove (Boston College)  $ 2,000


Kate Mitchell, Huntley (Valparaiso) $ 2,000

Alexandra Lorenz, (University of Michigan) Jacobs $ 2,000

Madysen Gerlinger, (Iowa State) Prairie Ridge $ 2,000

Breanna Bogucki, (Harper College) Cary Grove  $ 2,000

Andrew Payton,  (Geirgia Institute of Technology) Marian Central  $ 2,000

Austin Albrecht, (Florida Gulf Coast University) Jacobs $ 2,000


Theresa Grimes (Marquette University)  Johnsburg  $ 2,000

Peyton Wood (Drake University)  Woodstock North  $ 2,000

Madalyn Weaver (Drake University) McHenry West $ 2,000

Molly Gniady (Lake Forest College) Crystal Lake Central  $ 2,000

Cole Barkocy (Bradley)  Crystal Lake Central  $ 2,000

Weston Sterchi (Illinois Institute of Technology) Crystal Lake Central $ 2,000


Ashley Molidor (Saint Norbert College)  Johnsburg  $ 3,000

James Lasak (Western Michigan) Prairie Ridge   $ 3,000

Rebecca Harder (Judson University) McHenry East $ 3,000

Katelyn Smith (Carthage) Crystal Lake Central  $ 3,000

Jonathon Lewis (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis) Cary-Grove $ 3,000