Fred Russell-Grantland Rice TRA Sports
Birnbaum, Heagney & Weinrib Awarded
Russell-Rice TRA Scholarship
September 11, 2012 - Adam Birnbaum, Nathaniel Heagney and Ben
Weinrib will enter the freshman class at Vanderbilt University as the 2012
co-recipients of the 54th Fred Russell-Grantland Rice TRA Scholarship for sports
writing, it was announced by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA) Tuesday.
Birnbaum, a graduate of Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Fla., Heagney, a
graduate of St. Louis University High School in St. Louis, Mo. and Weinrib, a
graduate of Providence Day School in Charlotte, N.C., were selected from a near
record 179 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.
Birnbaum was heavily involved in his school’s newspaper, The Circuit, serving as
sports editor and editor-in-chief for the online version. In addition to being
named first place Sports Columnist in the South Florida Sun Sentinel high school
journalism awards, he has worked as a sports writer for Sports Link Magazine and
was also Head Coach in the YMCA basketball program.
He has a passion for all aspects of sports and hopes to focus his education on
Heagney served as the editor and writer for the school publication, The Prep
News, along with being the editor of Sisyphus, the school’s literary magazine.
He was a National Merit Semifinalist and won “Best Story” at the high school
journalism institute at Indiana University. He has also contributed to
heardthisblog.com, a Fox Sports basketball recruiting blog.
He will be an Economics major at Vanderbilt and will continue sports writing
during his time at Vanderbilt.
Weinrib has written for his school newspaper, The Charger, for three years and
served as its sports editor during his junior and senior years. He also served
as editor for The Charger and another school publication, Charging Backwards. He
started his own blog, The Knuckle Blog, as a freshman and has freelanced for the
Charlotte Observer. His most ambitious project is an annual major league
baseball preview, started when he was in seventh grade, as a comprehensive
analysis of the upcoming season. The most recent issue totaled 105 pages of
stats and ratings for the entire league.
He plans on majoring in Economics and/or Psychology and plans to become a sports
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 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.
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.
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)
Florence, Ala. (87-88)
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. &