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Granucci, Howarth win top scholarships from section

Wixon also is honored with Lacky/CSEA award
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Seniors Kayla Granucci of Roseville High School and Kyle Howarth of Granite Bay are the inaugural recipients of the Clarke Coover Scholarship Award.

The $1,500 awards are given to the two top honorees as part of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s annual A. Dale Lacky/California School Employees Association Scholarships, which were announced Tuesday. Coover was a section commissioner.

Student-athletes must apply for the scholarships. Overall, 49 are on the list of this school year’s winners and will receive $34,400 total in scholarships, including a $600 award to Oakmont water polo/baseball player Drew Wixon.

“These kids are all outstanding student-athletes; they play sports, volunteer in their communities,” Will DeBoard, director of communications for the section, said in an e-mail. “They’re more than deserving of the publicity.”

The scholarship winners and six model coaches, including Woodcreek JV softball coach Nancy Holt, will be honored Tuesday at the section’s Breakfast Awards Ceremony at Hutchins Street Square in Lodi.

Granucci has a 3.73 GPA. She plans to attend the University of Nevada-Reno and major in psychology and education (child development). She’s set to become the only member of her senior class to earn the school’s three-sport athlete award all four years, and she’ll pick up her ninth varsity letter with the completion of girls soccer.

Granucci has been an athletic and academic award winner all four years, and she’s a five-time team captain. She’s a midfielder for the Tigers soccer team that last season won the Division II section championship.

On campus, Granucci is involved in student government and plays guitar. Off campus, she’s a volunteer for California Police Youth Charities, St. Rose Catholic Church, Roseville West Little League and the Jerry W. McNeil Foundation, and she’s a model.

“She’s one of those rare gems that come along every several years,” Roseville varsity basketball coach Ron Volk said. “I’d want her on any team I coach. She’s as humble as you can be and about as well-rounded as any young lady of her age I’ve coached.”

Howarth has a 4.27 GPA and will study pre-med at UC Davis. He’s a three-year letterman in soccer, basketball and volleyball and a four-time team captain. A three-time all-league performer in soccer, Howarth has been on four section-title teams – two each in soccer and volleyball.

Howarth is a Link Crew leader, volunteer youth basketball camp coach, lifetime CSF member and has received a National Merit Award. Last fall, he coordinated Youth Soccer Night on campus, and more than 1,000 fans – many of them youth soccer players – attended the event.

“He earned nine varsity letters, and maintaining over a 4.0 GPA is really what we’re proud of,” said Kyle’s dad, John Howarth. “He couldn’t have done it without the support of Granite Bay High School – the athletic director (Tim Healy) and the coaches working together. They made it flexible for him to play all three sports and still take a rigorous schedule. I’m just really appreciative of that.”

Wixon will major in engineering and play baseball at Covenant College in Georgia. He has played water polo and baseball all four years at Oakmont. Wixon was a team MVP in water polo and is a two-time all-league selection. He’s a team captain in baseball this season.

Wixon has won American Legion and Gold Plus Academic Merit awards. He also volunteered at Bikefest 2007. He has helped feed the homeless and packaged food that was sent to Africa.

Oakmont athletic director Dean Perkins said in an e-mail Wixon has traveled to Mexico numerous times to help build houses. Perkins also is the Vikings’ baseball coach.

“Drew is an outstanding student-athlete,” Perkins said of the pitcher/catcher/infielder. “He is looked upon highly by teammates, coaches and faculty. He is among the school’s top athletes. He is among the top students in his class. He has a great work ethic for both athletics and school.”

More than $24,000 in scholarship money was raised through volleyball and basketball Foundation Games. The rest came from the CSEA.