2018-2019 HTA Scholarship Winners

SNYDER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS NAMED

Harness Tracks of America and International Sound Corporation are pleased to announce the four recipients of this year’s Harold Snyder Memorial Scholarships. The awards, totaling $15,000, are presented annually to the offspring of harness racing participants or to individuals themselves who are actively engaged in the business.

“We want to thank the 19 candidates who submitted their credentials, transcripts and reference letters,” said David Snyder, CEO of ISC, headquartered in Pikesville, MD. “The application process, which includes answering three essay questions, is quite rigorous, and our judges’ panel was impressed with the efforts put forth by these outstanding students.”

Winners of 2018-19 Academic Year Awards

SARAH BIRKHOLD, 24, Sarasota, FL, $5000. The second-year grad student at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine in Harrogate, TN secured her third consecutive top prize award from HTA’s six-person selection committee. She ranked 18th out of 122 in her first-year class with a 3.94 GPA. Tuition, room and board, books and lab supplies exceed $57,000 at the highly competitive school. Sarah plans to practice in the field of equine lameness and rehabilitation and has remained actively involved in harness racing.  She interned at Scioto Downs last summer with Dr. Barry Carter (Firethorn Equine Services, Lancaster, OH) and at the county fair in Greenville, OH with Dr. Chris Gilbert (Darke County Veterinary Services). This summer she joined her father George, an owner-breeder, and her Aunt Mary, an owner, trainer and amateur driver, to watch their three and four-year-old horses compete at Hilliard and other tracks in Ohio. While at home she also has shadowed Dr. William McGinty, a partner in Sarasota Equine Associates, who specializes in infectious diseases, preventative medicine and the diagnosis and treatment of lame horses. Upon graduation, Sarah’s goal is to obtain the certifications she desires and join her mentors in working at Saratoga Equine.

Sarah Birkhold

SYDNEY ELIZABETH TROTTO, 18, Springfield, VA, $5000. Ms. Trotto, a 4.3 GPA honors graduate of West Springfield High in Fairfax County, will be a nursing major this fall at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. She is the daughter of veteran trainer and Virginia Harness Horsemen’s Association Vice-President Greg Trotto and his wife Debra, a teacher who met Greg at her first job as an employee of Rosecroft Raceway’s marketing department. Sydney amassed a solid academic record in largely AP and Honors coursework. She was a district and regional MVP in varsity volleyball (second team all-state), leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, member of the American Sign Language Club and its honor society, inductee into the National Honor Society and a yearbook editor. In a letter brimming with praise, her Honors US History teacher included such references as “how seldom it is [to have] a student the caliber of Sydney…a serious learner…wrote one of the finest document-based question essays I have ever read [demonstrating] hard work and intellectual ability…kind and considerate…doesn’t complain…congenial…comfortable in her own skin, and has a quiet confidence that is unusual for a student her age.”

Sydney Trotto

JESSICA HALLETT, 19, Margate, FL, $2500. Jessica is a two-time recipient of the Snyder Scholarship, having been awarded a $1000 grant before she entered Ft. Lauderdale’s Nova Southeastern University last fall. Daughter of John and Michelle of the Hallett Racing Stable, Jessica has continued to be heavily involved with harness racing on weekends and during summers. She is renowned for her energy and work ethic. She paints statues, lawn jockeys and race bikes; writes regularly for Harness Link; grooms and paddocks for the Hallett, Hennessey and McNichol Stables in Florida and New York; and has accumulated certifications in First Aid, CPR and AED. (Lifeguarding is next on her to-do list during the fall or spring semester.) Jessica earned 34 credits and a 3.5 GPA her freshman year at NSU. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Biology and Behavioral Neuroscience. A participant in numerous extracurricular activities, Jessica was selected for the President’s 64, an elite group of student leaders who serve the NSU President and CEO in advisory and public relations capacities.Jessica Hallett

KATELYNN EICK, 18, Farmingdale, NJ, $2500. Another academic superstar, Katie compiled a cumulative GPA of 5.0, graduating near the top of her Howell High School class in the Freehold Regional District. Except for two B+’s in her junior year AP US History and AP Calculus classes, there was nary a sub-A grade in her AP and Honors-laden transcript. She excelled in field hockey all four years, serving as captain and winning the Rebel Pride Award in 2017. Katie was also a member of Student Council for four years and earned induction into National Honor Society. She worked eight hours a week throughout high school as a farmhand at a horse farm. Since 2013 she has been a participant and volunteer at the Harness Horse Youth Foundation summer camps, rising to a teacher in that organization’s Leadership Program. Bob Heyden, a fellow HHYF volunteer and a 2013 inductee into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communicator’s Corner, penned an effusive letter of recommendation, describing Katie as “knowledgeable, cooperative, reliable, attentive, sharing…[she] was special right from the start.” Katelynn is enrolled this fall at Rutgers University’s Bachelor of Science degree program, majoring in Animal Science with a focus on equine science. She is the daughter of Floyd Eick, an electrician, and Jennifer Eick, a homemaker.

Katelynn Eick

Harness Tracks of America and International Sound Corporation have made 224 grants to 152 students since the scholarship fund’s inception in 1973. A total of $840,950 has been awarded. The program remains one of the cherished legacies of deceased double Hall of Famer Stan Bergstein, the longtime Executive Vice President of HTA, and International Sound founder Harold Snyder, who died in 2015. HTA Scholarship Committee members Tom Aldrich (Northfield Park), Charles Lockhart (Dover Downs), Chris McErlean (Penn Gaming), Rick Moore (Hoosier Park) and Jason Settlemoir (The Meadowlands) are deeply grateful for the financial support of ISC CEO David Snyder and his family.  Their generous endowments continue to enrich the sport and touch the lives of harness racing families.

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