Inaugural Frank Dolson/Penn Relays Award to be Presented

PHILADELPHIA - When the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association holds its 103rd annual Awards Banquet on Monday evening, January 22, 2007, a new major award will be introduced and presented for the first time.

In recognition of past President Frank Dolson, the former Inquirer columnist and sports editor who passed away in October, the Sports Writers Association has initiated the Frank Dolson/Penn Relays Award. Frank was a lifelong supporter and fan of the Relays, and last April he bequeathed a $1 miilion endowment to the University to maintain the position of Director of the Penn Relays. The Association deemed it fitting that Frank be remembered for his contributions to the local sports community with this new award, which will be presented annually to one of the four winners of the Relays College Athletes of the Meet, awards which are sponsored by the Sports Writers Association.

This year's initial recipient is Garrett Johnson, a 2006 graduate of Florida State University with a joint degree in Political Science and English Literature who is currently studying at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

At last April's Penn Relays, Johnson broke the 22-year-old record for the Men's College Shot Put Championship with a throw of 68-feet, 4 1/2-inches (20.84 meters), just bettering the standard of 68-4 1/4 (20.83m) set by Mike Carter in 1984. At the time, Johnson described his accomplishment to Inquirer reporter Joe Juliano as “overwhelming.”

Johnson, the 2006 indoor and outdoor NCAA champion in the shot, is studying Migration Studies at Oxford, and said he plans to continue his "commitment to alleviating economic and health disparities." While at Florida State, he volunteered to distribute food and medical supplies in Haiti, worked as a Legislative Assistant to the Governor of Florida, and wrote a comprehensive analysis of two U.S.-Haiti trade agreements.

“I am honored to receive this award, a truly humbling experience considering the tremendous contributions made by Mr. Dolson to promoting college athletics,” Johnson said when informed of his award. “More importantly, in a sport that too often gets back-page coverage, he made track and field a priority.For this, we are all grateful.”

The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s Awards Banquet will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the former Hilton Hotel, on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, NJ. Tickets can be reserved by contacting Robbie Kenney at 609 - 702 - 7473.