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Year In Sports Exhibit

The Virginia’s Year in Sports exhibit recognizes 16 high school student-athletes honored as part of the Hall of Fame’s Student-Athlete Achievement Awards. The exhibit also honors the Steve Guback Distinguished Virginian Award recipient, and award that highlights an individual’s philanthropic contributions through sports. The Distinguished Virginian award is named in honor of Hall of Fame inductee Steve Guback, who is recognized as one of Virginia’s great sports journalists.

2020 Distinguished Virginian
Award Recipient

Priority Automotive President and CEO, Dennis Ellmer is the 2020 recipient of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame’s Steve Guback Distinguished Virginian Award. Ellmer has helped revive the longest running charity football game in North America, the Priority Toyota Charity Bowl, now in its 53rd year. In 2010 the Charity Bowl was in danger of being cancelled, as interest in the game, and overall fundraising efforts declined. Initially founded to support the Joy Fund in Hampton Roads, the Charity Bowl was struggling to provide that support for just one charitable organization. Through Ellmer and Priority’s involvement, the Charity Bowl received a second wind and in 2021 alone raised over $800,000 which was used to support 39 Southeastern Virginia charities. All told, the Charity Bowl has raised more than $3.8-million since 2011.

2021 Student-Athlete
Achievement Awards

The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame awarded $12,000 in scholarships to 16 deserving student-athletes from high schools across Virginia, as part of its 2021 Student-Athlete Achievement Awards. Congratulations to these amazing student-athletes:

Student-Athletes of the Year – $1,500 scholarship awards

  • Zella Bailey, 12th grade, Frank W. Cox High School, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Chris-Ann Nelson, 12th grade, Meadowbrook High School, North Chesterfield, VA
  • Ella Valente, 12th grade, Potomac Falls High School, Sterling, VA
  • Tobin Yates, 12th grade, Western Albemarle High School, Crozet, VA

Student-Athlete Finalists – $500 scholarship awards

  • Austin Heft, 12th grade, Ocean Lakes High School, Virginia Beach
  • Noelle Koo, 12th grade, Riverside High School/Academy of Science, Leesburg
  • Josie Mazzeo, 12th grade, Catholic High School, Virginia Beach
  • Alaysia Oakes, 12th grade, Heritage High School/Central VA Governor’s School, Lynchburg
  • Caroline Porter, 12th grade, Floyd E. Kellam High School, Virginia Beach
  • Hailey Rorick, 12th grade, Catholic High School, Virginia Beach
  • Alexis Schwarting, 12th grade, York High School, Yorktown
  • Robert Sloan, 12th grade, Powhatan High School, Powhatan
  • David Smythe, 12th grade, Norfolk Academy, Norfolk
  • Abigail Spear, 12th grade, Frank W. Cox High School, Virginia Beach
  • Dillon Stowers, 12th grade, Liberty Christian Academy, Lynchburg
  • Hayden Wasson, 12th grade, Powhatan High School, Powhatan

About Steve Guback

Steve Guback

Steve Guback spent 75 years covering sports on the local, regional, and national levels for publications in Virginia and Washington D.C. Writing primarily for the Richmond Times Dispatch, and Washington Star, Guback was named Virginia/District of Columbia Sportswriter three times, and served on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. A 1989 inductee into the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, Guback served as director of information for the President Ronald Reagan’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Guback’s legacy lives on through the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame’s, Steve Guback Distinguished Virginian Award.


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