2019 Erika Wells Memorial Scholarship Co-Winner Jada Coleman

For four years in a row, Indy Runners has awarded two $500 scholarships to local high school graduates whose lives have been positively impacted by the sport of running. This years’ winners are Jada Coleman from Ben Davis High School and Katie Manion from North Central High School.

Erika Wells, who the scholarship is named after, was a beloved member of Indy Runners who passed away in October 2016. Her dedication to service, personal growth, and social engagement was unparalleled, and she embodied Indy Runners’ belief in the transformative power of running as part of a healthy lifestyle and a way to unify a community. The Erika Wells Scholarship is awarded to high school graduates who exemplify these characteristics.

Jada Coleman (Ben Davis High School)

Jada was a four-year varsity Track and Field athlete for the Ben Davis Giants. She ran the 4 x 100 relay, the 4 x 400 relay, and the 300 intermediate hurdles. In addition to Track and Field, she was a four-year varsity basketball player and a three-year member of the volleyball team. She graduated last May with a 3.92 grade point average and will be attending Marshall University this fall.

Each scholarship applicant was asked to write and submit an essay on how they came to love running, what the sport of running means to them, or how they believe running will impact their future. We are happy to share Jada’s essay below.

I fell flat on my face and attempted to run again. I did not get to the finish line in time to secure my place but I did not give up. I was in first place. I clipped a hurdle during the Girls’ Track and Field 2017 Sectional Championship at Ben Davis High School on my last hurdle.

The next season I worked ten times harder than I already had. When I felt like giving up and wanted to stop during workouts, I replayed falling over the hurdle in my head and remembered that I had to redeem myself from the past year. I studied videos of professional hurdlers, worked out during my off-season, and worked on staying on my tippy toes while running. I had a great season and now it was time for Sectionals again. It was such a larger crowd than before and it was almost as if more people had come my junior year just to see me fall again. I told myself I was not going to fail and was more ready than ever. By the end of my race in 300 meter hurdles, I got a personal record and became the 2018 Sectional Champion!

This whole experience was very chaotic, sadly, but it gave me the knowledge of believing in myself even if thousands of people do not. It made me learn how to have self-confidence and gave me a reason to never give up on something no matter how many times I fail. After an experience like that, most weak-minded runners would have quit. I faced my mistakes and improved upon them.

The adrenaline running gives me makes me push myself more and more. I love running so much that even when it felt like I did not belong on the track anymore, one more workout and one more result reassured me of the reasons why I do belong on a track. I have come to realize that it is not always about running perfect races, it is how you finish. My love for running drove me into a mindset that anything is possible when you have faith. I had faith in myself and went out there the next year and surprised everyone watching me run. They did not expect me to get that far knowing how I performed in the previous year.

Love conquers all. When you love something and want it you will do anything in your power to go and get it. I went after what I wanted. I knew that I loved to run and that it was my destiny to be on the track so I was going to show everyone why they should believe in me the way I did. I love the wind in my face, the soreness after a workout, and that my body aches are a symbol that it all will pay off. I love running and I realized that when I failed but kept trying. Loving to run is in my blood.

Make sure to check out our next blog post, as it will feature this year’s other winner: Katie Manion from North Central High School. And if you think you know a deserving young candidate for the 2020 Erika Wells Scholarship, encourage them to apply this upcoming winter/spring!