Fred Russell-Grantland Rice TRA Sports
McGrath & Meisel Awarded 2013
Russell-Rice TRA Scholarship
Thomas McGrath and Caroline Meisel will enter the freshman
class at Vanderbilt University as the 2013 co-recipients of the 55th Fred
Russell-Grantland Rice TRA Scholarship for sports writing, it was announced by
the Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA).
McGrath, a graduate of The Hopkins School in New Haven, Ct., and Meisel, a
graduate of The Potomac School in McLean, Va., were selected from a near-record
174 applicants for this year’s scholarship in the amount of $20,000 per year for
four years each at Vanderbilt.
Named in honor of two legendary sports writing alumni of Vanderbilt, the
scholarship has an extraordinary record of producing prominent and successful
writers and television personalities, including Roy Blount, Jr., Bill
Livingston, Skip Bayless, John (Joe Bob Briggs) Bloom, David Sheinin, Tyler
Kepner, Lee Jenkins, and Daniel Wolken.
McGrath was actively involved in his school’s newspaper, The Razor, serving as
assistant entertainment editor and assistant sports editor. He served as
Director of Content for the Crispus Attucks Clothing and Lifestyle Blog, writing
and shaping content for the summer lifestyle blog targeting students at the
country’s top colleges and prep schools. He has been a volunteer at the
Connecticut Food Bank and also founded Captain’s Practice, LLC, a service that
provided local families with an alternative to higher-priced private sports
lessons and academic tutoring.
He was point guard for four years on his school’s basketball team and was named
captain of the varsity squad as a senior. He also was second baseman on the
baseball team, which recently won its league’s regular season title and
Meisel has written for her school newspaper, The Current, for three years and
served as its sports editor during her senior year. She has served as a senior
writing tutor and was a member of her school’s Senior Athletic Committee. As a
competitor, she was a highly ranked junior tennis player in the Mid-Atlantic
region and worked as an assistant tennis professional during her summer breaks.
She has been active in many community service projects, most notably serving as
a volunteer teacher at The Red Rose School in Nairobi, Kenya, for three weeks in
She will be a Communications major with a minor in Psychology and would like to
pursue a career in broadcast journalism. She is one of only 20 first-year
students to be accepted into Vanderbilt’s Media Immersion Program, which focuses
on the study of media in relation to television.
The scholarship winners, selected by a panel chaired by Oaklawn Park President
Charles J. Cella, have distinguished themselves not just in sports writing and
broadcasting, but in other fields as well.
The scholarship honors Vanderbilt alumni Grantland Rice and Fred Russell, two of
the greatest sports writers of all time. Initially, the scholarship was created
in 1956 to honor Grantland Rice, the dean of American sports writing, who died
in 1954. The scholarship received a funding endowment from Mr. Cella on behalf
of the TRA in 1986, and its name was amended to include the late Fred Russell,
the famed Nashville Banner sports columnist for 69 years and a mentor to many of
the scholarship winners.
The four-year scholarship is co-sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the TRA
and is awarded to an outstanding high school senior with special interest and
potential in the field of sports writing. The TRA represents 48 member racing
associations conducting Thoroughbred racing at 41 racetracks in North America.
Prior winners of the scholarship were:
1956 Charles Nord, Nashville, Tenn.
1957 Thomas Templin, Lexington, Ky.
1958 Larry Daughtrey, Nashville, Tenn.
1959 Roy A. Blount, Mill River, Mass.
1960 Saxon K. Chapin, Atlanta, Ga.
1961 Thomas D.Quinn, South America
1962 Robert E. Theil, Millbrae, Calif.
1963 Richard S. Osborne, Sharon, Pa.
1964 Leonard Goldstein, Miami, Fla.
1965 Michael Kierman, Arlington, Va.
1966 William Livingston, Voorhees, N.J.
1967 Barry (Mackie) Morris, Columbia, Mo.
1968 Dennis P. McAuliffe
1969 David R. Rapp, Nashville, Tenn.
1970 Skip Bayless, Dallas, Tex.
1971 John I. Bloom, Dallas, Tex.
1972 Irving Muchnick, New York, N.Y.
1973 Kevin Cuneo, Erie, Pa.
1974 Kevin McDonald, Silang, Cavite Phillipines
1975 David Brooks, Teaneck, N.J.
1976 Michael L. Jackson, Laconia, N.H.
1977 Edward O. Wilson, Greenwich, Conn.
1978 Charles Euchner, Huntington, NY
1979 Kenneth C. Ray, Boise, Idaho
1980 Zachary V. Wenger, Eagle River, Aka (81-82)
Columbia Blauvelt, N.Y. (83-84)
1981 C. Richard Bush, Lenoir, N.C.
1982 Mike D. Cornwell, Carlsbad, N.M.
1983 Tena B. Robinson, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
1984 Thomas Wilson, Troy, Ohio (85-86)
Chuck Manson, Florence, Ala.
1985 Paul J. Richman, Hacienda Heights, Calif.
1986 Michael Holmes, Haverville, Mass.
1987 David Shenin, Carrollton, Ga.
1988 Andrew Maraniss, Austin, Tex.
1989 Mitchell Light, New Providence, N.J.
1990 Clay Hensley, Cleveland, Tenn.
1991 Matthew O'Keefe, Wilmington, Del.
1992 Andrew M. Derr, Braddock Heights, Md.
1993 Tyler Kepner, Gwynedd Valley, Pa.
1994 Allan Owen, Klein, Tex.
1995 Lee Jenkins, La Jolla, Cal.
1996 Not Awarded
1997 Daniel J. Wolken, Hot Springs, Ark.
1998 Samuel Heide, Birmingham, Ala.
1999 Jeffery D. Lowe, Dallas, Texas
2000 Matthew J. Meenan, McLean, Virginia
2001 Robert C. Murray III, Brentwood, Tenn.
2002 Byron P. Dubow, Alphretta, Ga.
2003 Matthew McDavid, Bethesda, Md.
2004 Christopher Fielding, Atlanta, Ga.
2005 Not Awarded
2006 Not Awarded
2007 David Aaron Namm, Clearwater, Fla.
2008 Meghan Rose, Towson, Md.
2009 Eric Single, Marietta, Ga.
2010 Jack Kuhlenschmidt, Los Angeles, Calif. &
Jackson Martin, Atlanta,
2011 Matthew Citak, Riverdale, N.Y. &
2012 Adam Birnbaum, Weston, Fla.
Nathaniel Heagney, St. Louis,
Ben Weinrib, Charlotte, N.C.
2013 Thomas McGrath, New Haven, Ct.
Caroline Meisel, McLean, Va.