INDIANAPOLIS, June 18, 2014 — Eight U.S. trampoline and tumbling athletes were awarded USA Gymnastics Trampoline and Tumbling Scholarships at the conclusion of the 2014 U.S. Elite Challenge, held recently in Spokane, Wash. The USA Gymnastics Trampoline and Tumbling Scholarships recognize that college-age athletes are essential to they country’s international competitive standing. The scholarship fund was established more than 10 years ago in order to give these athletes every opportunity to meet the demands of higher education while still training and competing for the program.

This year’s scholarship recipients are the scholarship they received are as follows.

  • Jeff T. Hennessey Scholarship — Brandon Furr, Mt. Pleasant, N.C./ Cabarrus County Gymnastics, $5,000
  • Tyson Smith Scholarship – Kristle Lowell, Three Rivers, Mich./Branch Gymnastics, $5,000
  • Jordan Bonne Memorial Scholarship – Matthew Pettus, New Orleans, La./Elmwood Gymnastics Academy, and Hayley Atkins, Greensboro, N.C./Tumblebees Ultimate Gym, $2,500 each
  • George Nissen Memorial Scholarship – Stewart Pritchard, Greensboro, N.C./Tumblebees Ultimate Gym, and Aliaksei Shostak, Lafayette, La./Trampoline and Tumbling Express, $2,500 each
  • Samantha Ewertz Memorial Scholarship – Queen Washington, Lakeland, Fla./Elite World Gymnastics, and Hayley Butcher, Saint John, Ind./Midwest Training and Ice Center, $2,500 each

(L-R) Hayley Butcher, Queen Washington, Aliaskei Shostak, Stewart Pritchard, Krlstle Lowell
Not pictured – Hayley Atkins, Matthew Pettus, and Brandon Furr
Photo by Champion Images

Below is a description of each scholarship.

The $5,000 Jeff T. Hennessey Scholarship was established to afford deserving athletes the opportunity to pursue academic and athletic excellence. This scholarship honoring Coach Hennessey’s career and commitment to the sport of trampoline and tumbling is awarded yearly to the qualified applicant who best exhibits the attributes of athletic achievement, sportsmanship and scholarship.

The $5,0000 Tyson Smith Scholarship is named for the son of Carole Smith and the late Craig Smith, and brother of Brooke Smith. Smith was an outstanding all-around athlete who competed in the sport of trampoline and tumbling, was a member of the U.S National Team, and represented Naples Progressive Gymnastics in Naples, Fla. Smith was killed in a tragic traffic accident in February 2003. His many athletic accomplishments included seven national titles, three international titles, a three-time AAU All-American, and becoming the first athlete form Florida to represent the USA in international competition. This scholarship award is presented to the USA Gymnastics trampoline and tumbling athlete who has exhibited the talent, diversity and sportsmanship that defined Tyson’s life.

The $5,000 Jordan Bonne Memorial Scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Jordan Bonne, a USA Gymnastics trampoline athlete. Boone was an exceptional young man whose family and teammates were privileged to know his spirit, enthusiasm, sportsmanship and faith. The entire community felt the loss of Boone, but his young life served as an inspiration to his family, team and church. The recipient of this scholarship is an athlete whose career and performance best exhibits Boone’s love for trampoline and his sense of fairness, academic excellence and spiritual faith.

The $5,000 George Nissen Memorial Scholarship is dedicated to the memory of trampoline inventor George Nissen. Nissen’s contribution touches every athlete that has competed in the sport of gymnastics. He was a true inspiration to those around him and dedicated his life to the advancement of the sport of trampoline as well as the human spirit. This scholarship is presented to a trampoline competitor who continues to strive to reach new heights in the sport while pursuing academic excellence and inspiring others.

The $5,000 Samantha Ewertz Memorial Scholarship is dedicated to the memory of USA Gymnastics trampoline and tumbling athlete, Samantha Ewertz. Ewertz, a dedicated competitor, personally funded her participation in the sport through working at her gym, fundraising, and creating a partnership within her community to fulfill her trampoline and tumbling goals. On her way home from the 2012 national championships, she was killed in a tragic automobile accident. The recipient of this scholarship is an athlete who has shown dedication and perseverance to overcome hardship or obstacles in an effort to achieve his/her goals in the sport of trampoline and tumbling.

A five-member scholarship committee evaluates the applications and presents the awards. The annual scholarships are granted to trampoline and tumbling athletes based on many factors, including GPA, educational goals, previous competitive performance, financial need, athletic potential, leadership, reference letters, an essay, and any specific characteristics identified by the scholarship.