Kevin Murnane Scholarship Program Recipients 2022: Jake Hacker and Ben Cutler

Kevin Murnane Scholarship Logo

On June 8th, Jake Hacker and Ben Cutler were announced as this year’s recipients of the Kevin Murnane Scholarships. The awards were presented at North Tahoe High School by Murnane’s children Lily and Kai Murnane. Both Jake and Ben have been actively involved with cross-country skiing at Tahoe XC since they were small children, and have gone on to race at the high school level. And more importantly, they have a strong love for cross-country skiing that will most likely continue throughout their lives.

Who was Kevin?

Kevin Murnane was the manager at Tahoe XC from 1999 to 2015. When he died in 2015, he left a hole in the heart of many of those who had known him or worked with him. Folks wanted to pass on his legacy, and they thought the establishment of a fund to give scholarships to students who were part of the Tahoe XC family would be a great way to honor Kevin. If you would like more information on who Kevin was read this blog.

Kevin, Lily, Kai Murnane

Kevin Murnane and Kids

Recipient: Jake Hacker

Jake Hacker began cross-country skiing when he was two and later joined the Strider Gliders program. He went on to race at North Tahoe Middle and High Schools, and was a member of the TXC Devo Team as well as the ASC Comp Team. He competed in a number of Junior National Races and took first place in the State Championship this past winter. He also ran with Coach Warren Mills on the cross-country running team that took first place in the state Championships each year he was in High School.

“Of all the sports I have been involved in, Nordic skiing is by far my favorite. I selected Montana State University so that I can continue to have access to Nordic skiing in college,” said Hacker in his application for the scholarship.

He plans on earning an undergrad degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering and then go on to get his Masters degree. “I chose that school because it has a reputable Engineering program and I want to continue to have access to Nordic skiing, hiking, biking and be in a beautiful, active outdoor community. Tahoe is an amazing place to have been raised,” he said.

“Growing up in Tahoe, I have come to realize how incredible our community is for being so small. Across all of the sports and other activities I have done, I have seen so many people giving back to the community in various ways. I have tried to do the same by volunteering myself so that future kids can continue to benefit from such a supportive community,” he said.

KMS Recipients, Jake and Ben

Jake Hacker & Ben Cutler

Recipient: Ben Cutler

Like Hacker, Cutler has spent most of his life outdoors cross-country skiing and running.

In his application for the scholarship Cutler said, “Nordic skiing has been a huge part of my life. My first experience with nordic skiing was through the Strider Glider program at TXC. At first, I remember how incredibly difficult nordic skiing seemed to be. However, as my skiing progressed, the program became more and more fun. One of my favorite memories from strider gliders is the first time I skied up Lakeview. I was overheating in my heavy snow clothes, but it felt like such an accomplishment to make it to the top.”

Cutler joined Hacker as one of the seven varsity runners to win state championships in cross-country running, but says that “Nordic is the sport that I was most dedicated to. I train year round for nordic skiing,” He trained with both the club team at ASC and the North Tahoe High School team, but said, “This year as a senior and team captain, I adjusted my training to spend more time with the school team.” He believes this had a positive effect on the other skiers.

Headed to Montana State University

Cutler also will attend Montana State University in Bozeman this fall. He says Montana will give him the opportunity to keep living a life focused on the great outdoors and physical activities. He chose Bozeman because it is a mountain town where he can keep skiing, “I haven’t yet decided what I want to major in, or what I want to do for a career. However, I want to be able to find meaning and passion in my work. Seeking further education will allow me to explore where I want to take my life.”

Montana State University

Montana State University

The Kevin Murnane Scholarship is a growing scholarship fund managed by Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF). Each year two Kevin Murnane Student Scholarships are award to graduating North Tahoe High School student-athletes who demonstrate selflessness, decency, and good nature within our community. Each scholarship is worth up to $1,000. Donations to the fund are encouraged to provide an endowment for future scholarships. To learn more, visit here.