There was plenty of sunshine and smiles to go around on and off the track Saturday at the 15th annual Dr. Daniel Cepero Memorial Track Meet at Ratliff Stadium.
On another warm morning, two athletes were awarded $1,000 scholarships.
Orlando Romero, a recent graduate of the Texas Leadership Charter Academy in San Angelo, was awarded the Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Cepero scholarship. Romero will be attending West Texas A&M University to continue his track career.
Hannah Slate, another San Angelo native and graduate of Cornerstone Christian Academy, was awarded the Walgreens scholarship. She will continue her athletic career at Sterling College in Sterling, Kan. competing in track and basketball.
Being able to provide opportunities for student-athletes to continue their playing careers is something that Susan Cepero is thankful for.
“It’s an honor to be able to offer these scholarships and watch these young men and women do their best and shine in their accomplishments in track and field,” Cepero said. “It’s nice to be able to give them recognition and a little financial help.”
Meet director Stella Neboh added that these scholarships are an important part towards the mission of the event.
“It’s very rewarding because I want to show the community that we are behind these student-athletes,” Neboh said. “We want them to succeed both on the track and in the classroom.”
Romero, who ran unattached, posted times of 52.28 in the 400 meter and 23.68 in the 200 Saturday, winning both events.
He said that the scholarship will help him continue pursuing his goals on the track.
“It means a lot,” he said. “It just makes it easier and a little less stressful to attend school. It just goes to show that the hard work pays off.”
As for Slate, she competed in the shot put (31 feet, 4 inches), discus (108-6) and high jump (4-8) over the weekend. Her plans after graduation include attending nursing school. She looked back at her time competing at the Cepero track meet with pride.
“I’ve been coming to this track meet for as long as I can remember,” Slate said. “I’ve always loved it because I’ve made so many friends and memories here and have gone up against a lot of great competition.”
Donn Renner, Walgreens district manager for Midland-Odessa, was on hand to present the scholarship to Slate and was happy to be back to present the award once again.
“Any time we can give back to the community like this, it’s always a good thing,” Renner said. “The meet is always well run and it’s a great cause that promotes health, happiness and education.”
The two scholarship winners were not the only honorees Saturday.
Neboh was honored by Walgreens with the Champion of Champions award in the Corporate Social Responsibility category.
She will be recognized later this summer at the company’s leadership summit in Orlando, Fla.
“Stella has been an amazing asset to the area,” Renner said. “She builds a lot of great relationships in her work and with the kids and parents.”
Neboh said she’s grateful for the recognition, but at the end of the day her focus is on the kids and putting on a good event.
“I don’t put on this track meet because of any award, but I do it from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “I’m very grateful to be recognized like this. The kids are the actual winners and this wouldn’t be possible without them and the work they do all summer long.”
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