Merrimack wrestler awarded scholarship

The Merrimack Youth Wrestling Program celebrated the end of its 11th season at a banquet on April 7.

The highlight of the evening was the awarding of the first annual Kiki Walker Memorial Scholarship to Merrimack High School Senior, Connor Vance.

The scholarship is a $500 scholarship awarded by the Merrimack Youth Association’s Youth Wrestling Program to a graduating high school senior.

To be eligible, the graduate must have wrestled for one full season in at least one of the Merrimack wrestling programs, MYA Youth Wrestling, Merrimack Middle School Wrestling or Merrimack High School Wrestling, and be pursuing a degree or technical certificate at any accredited institution of higher learning.

This scholarship honors the memory of Kierra "Kiki" Walker, a girl who tragically died in 2012 at age 11. Kiki found confidence and camaraderie through the sport of wrestling as a part of the Merrimack Youth Wrestling team.

The Merrimack Wrestling community celebrates her life by helping other wrestlers achieve their dreams.

In Vance’s scholarship essay, he noted his humble beginnings as a first-grader in the MYA Wrestling Program.

He credited the impact of the early start stating, "The loses created learning experiences for me and helped me to become a stronger wrestler. Those years in (the) MYA helped shape my future as a wrestler."

Vance went on to note his strong family heritage in the sport. His father, Jerry Vance, has coached him since his MYA days and his grandfather was a national champion wrestler back in the 1960s who went on to have a 30-year coaching career.

Vance plans to attend New Hampshire Technical Institute in the Fall in the Criminal Justice program. He hopes to eventually transfer to Husson University to study forensic science.