2016 CIF/Farmers Scholar-Athletes of the Year Announced

Kelly Blake from Loyola High School and Sophia Brown from Foothill High School were selected as the 2016 CIF/Farmers Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Twenty CIF Section winners, moreover, were recognized. Since 1982, the scholarship award identifies student-athletes who excel in the classroom, athletics, and are strong contributors to their schools and communities. 

“The students of California and our CIF scholar-athletes continue to confirm for all of us involved in education-based athletics that the future is bright,” CIF Executive Director Roger L. Blake said. “There were an exceptional group of nominees this year and I want to congratulate all of them and thank them for their contributions to their local school community. I also want to recognize Farmers Insurance, who without their generosity and support of CIF education-based athletics and the Scholar-Athlete Scholarship program, California schools and students would not be able to reach the high level of success that exemplifies the best of California.” 

Blake and Brown were selected from a pool of 400 candidates representing 1,576 CIF member schools statewide. The State Capitol and Senate and Assembly Floors will honor Blake and Brown on Thursday, May 26 in Sacramento. In addition, each will receive a $5,000 scholarship award.

Additionally, thanks to the generous support of Farmers Insurance Group, two winners (one male, one female) from each CIF Section earned a $2,000 scholarship award. (See below for complete list)

“Farmers is proud to continue to support high school student excellence through the Farmers Scholar-Athletes of the Year program,” said Dan Lewis, Head of Territory for Northern California, Farmers Insurance. “Our agents are always looking to give back to the communities in which they are privileged to serve and this program allows them to make a real impact by honoring and rewarding young men and women who work hard both in the classroom and in their athletic endeavors.”

“At Farmers Insurance we believe in the power of smart.  Mirroring that belief, we are honored to present college scholarships to these bright and talented scholar-athletes,” said Bill Walrath, Head of Territory for Southern California, Farmers Insurance. “We are delighted to be able to help these young men and women advance their educational aspirations and we look forward to following their continued success in the future.”


Kelly Blake, Loyola High School (Southern Section)

Blake has been a member of the Loyola football team for the past four years, serving as team captain as a senior. His commitment to his studies earned him National Merit Scholar Commendation, as well as AP Scholar with distinction recognition. Blake has also been active in many extracurricular activities including serving as President of the Monogram Club, an exclusive organization for varsity athletes who also perform well in classrooms and are exemplary student-athletes. He also makes time to serve his community as a four-year member of Amigos Unidos, a mother/son community service organization serving the greater Los Angeles area in a wide variety of philanthropies. His dedication to serving the community has earned him Loyola’s President Volunteer Service Award, twice.

“In my mind, respect is the most important trait one can have,” states Blake. “I believe that respect for any and all people is important in being successful in anything, because people listen to you if you respect them. Respect creates relationships and I believe I have created great relationships with my teachers, coaches and peers in high school.”

“Kelly is extremely level-headed, focused, smart, multi-talented and well-rounded while staying very humble about his accomplishments and talents,” said Loyola high School Counselor Yoojin Han. “He truly embodies being a well-rounded individual, let alone and exceptional student-athlete. He has a deep appreciation for learning on and off the field and is a great role model for any Loyola students.”

“Chris O’Donnell, Loyola High School athletic director adds, “Kelly’s caring and compassion that he has for his fellow students and others that he comes in contact with always shines through.”

GPA: 3.97 

ACT: 35   

College: Stanford 

Career Interests: Engineering, Business, Finance 

College Major: Engineering, Economics 

Primary Sport: Football


Sophia Brown, Foothill High School (North Coast Section)

Brown is a four-year member of both the basketball and lacrosse teams at Foothill High School, serving as team captain on both squads as a senior. She also excels in soccer, as she is a member and team captain of RAGE Soccer Club. For her accomplishments in the classroom, Brown has earned National Merit Scholar Commendation, as well as AP Scholar with distinction recognition. She is also involved in her school as ASB President as well as previously serving as class president. Brown’s involvement in her local community includes being a six year member and leader of the National Charity League, as well as a Youth member of the Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Committee. She has received senior level Silver and Gold Torch Awards from Girls Scouts of America and has also volunteered with Special Olympics Bay Arena and Kids against Hunger. Additionally, Brown is an accomplished pianist, having played since kindergarten.

“Now, as the end of my high school career approaches, I learned through retrospect that my proudest accomplishments were achieved by emulating those more successful than I,” states Brown. “Thanks to those preceding me, I pushed myself to realize my potential and now it is my turn to inspire those following me. It is, and always has been, my ultimate goal to better myself in order to inspire others to do the same.”

“Sophia is a hardworking, compassionate and intelligent student who serves as a model for all students at Foothill High School,” praised Principal Jason Krolikowski. “I hold Sophia in the highest regard for her maturity and ability to relate to others in a responsible, adult manner. She is devoted and committed to her work with and excellent work ethic. Sophia exemplifies the Six Pillars of Character by being her toughest critic and a willingness to always get better.”

Foothill Athletic Director, Dustin Collins adds, “Sophia is one of the best examples of a student-athlete I have encountered in my 20 years of teaching and coaching. She is an outstanding classmate and teammate who has shown her peers what it takes to be a true leader.”      

GPA: 3.95

ACT: 35 

College: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo 

Career Interests: Astronaut   

College Major: Aerospace Engineering 

Primary Sport: Soccer 


2016 CIF/Farmers Scholar-Athlete SECTION Winners
Central Section
Zachary Acencio, Monache High School

Ashton Peckinpah, Redwood High School 

Central Coast Section
James Kelbert, Leland High School 

Carina Burdick, Los Altos High School 

Los Angeles City Section
Luis Palmero Marquez, Los Angeles Academy of Arts & Enterprise

Delaney Arth, Palisades Charter High School

North Coast Section
Alexander Kelly, Acalanes High School 

Hannah Flynn, Middletown High School 

Northern Section
Ben Harper, Trinity High School

Megan Gallion, Fall River High School

Oakland Section
Zachary Katzman, Skyline High School 

Susana Lopez Alcala, Castlemont High School 

Sac-Joaquin Section
Brody Pearman, Union Mine High School 

Anna Medema, Mariposa County High

San Diego Section
Cameron Burnett, Francis Parker High School

Porter Verfurth, Westview High School 

San Francisco Section
Thomas White, Lowell High School

Kristen Leung, Lowell High School

Southern Section
Kyle Trieu, Walnut High School

Lindsay Masukawa, Cypress High School

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