Event updates, fun stuff, and encouragement...just a click away!

Sports Backers Blog

Walker Wallace, Mary Caroline Heinen Earn Top RTD/Sports Backers Scholar-Athlete Awards

Richmond, VA – The Richmond Region’s finest high school scholar-athletes were rewarded for their hard work last night at the Times-Dispatch/Sports Backers Scholar-Athlete Awards ceremony which was presented virtually during a livestream on Top honors and $5,750 scholarships went to Walker Wallace of St. Christopher’s and Mary Caroline Heinen of Maggie Walker. The $3,500 runners’ up scholarships went to Megan Mann of Lee-Davis and Erik Engelke of Steward School.

2020 celebrates the 29th anniversary of the program that honors area scholar-athletes for their athletic, academic, and extracurricular achievements. Since the program’s inception in 1992, $1,236,000 in scholarships has been awarded to 580 outstanding student-athletes from the Richmond region.

The remaining 16 scholar-athletes won scholarships of $2,500 each. They were:

                                                    Girls                                                                                                                      Boys

Jailah Channer St. Catherine’s   Chris Barfield L.C. Bird
Rachel Crytser Hanover   Matthew Birken Deep Run
Emma Grace Ficara Clover Hill   Darius Gray John Marshall
Sammy Finnegan Maggie Walker   Malcolm Greene Highland Springs
Bailey Hairfield Cosby   Simeone Holmes Cosby
Courtney Isley J.R. Tucker   Luke Lamberson James River
Willa Shannon St. Catherine’s   Gabriel Slate Benedictine
Sydney Whiting Trinity Episcopal   Connor Speidell Douglas Freeman

Additional scholarships for 2020 included the Cheryl Lockett Oliver Memorial Scholarship, which was awarded to Lyndsay Corrigan of Colonial Heights, and the Raymond Delaware Patterson Memorial Scholarship, which went to Eric Thomas-Talley of John Marshall. They were awarded scholarships of $2,500 each. Thomas-Talley will attend Bridgewater College, and Corrigan will attend Christopher Newport University.

The Williams Mullen Community Impact Award was also announced, and the winner was the Huguenot High School Girls’ Varsity Volleyball Team for their work supporting their fellow students at Huguenot and organizations in the surrounding community. Their community outreach efforts included fundraising initiatives to sponsor a portion of the schools’ Homecoming celebrations during the 2019-20 school year after they were canceled the previous year, partnering to support Richmond Fire Station #24, located several blocks from the school on Forest Hill Avenue, and ensuring that a number of team members are actively involved in the school’s CFA Leadership Academy and Student Council Association. The honor includes a $2,500 award, which the team will use to expand their community and mentorship efforts in the future. The Williams Mullen Community Impact Award aims to recognize a Richmond region high school-based sports team for improving their community through volunteerism, fundraising, or other altruistic activities.

Due to restrictions on gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s awards ceremony was held virtually through a livestreamed event organized by Sports Backers and the Richmond Times-Dispatch and hosted at, rather than an in-person awards ceremony and dinner. Each finalist and award winner was recognized for their outstanding academic and athletic achievements, and the program can be viewed on-demand at