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HEAD OF THE CLASS: Ripon’s Ilardi, Sausedo each receiving $1k in scholarships
Sac-Joaquin Section also awards De Jesus, Lingley
Lacky Awards 2019-20
Reina Sausedo and Nico Ilardi were crowned Ripon High’s homecoming queen and king in the fall. They’ve each earned $1,000 in scholarship money from the Sac-Joaquin Section. - photo by GARY JENSEN/

Two members of Ripon High royalty are among the big winners receiving the Sac-Joaquin Section’s annual A. Dale Lacky Scholarship Award.
Seniors Nico Ilardi and Reina Sausedo, the school’s reigning homecoming king and queen, are each getting $1,000, the SJS announced on Thursday. Manteca High’s Jacob De Jesus and Nolan Lingley of Ripon Christian have been awarded $500 apiece.
The section is forking out $30,000 in scholarships to 48 student-athletes from the Class of 2020 who excelled not only in sports but in the classroom and community service over their four years in high school.

Lacky Awards 2019-20
Manteca High receiver Jacob De Jesus runs into the open field in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III quarterfinal game against Vista del Lago. - photo by Wayne Thallander
The award is named after former SJS and California Interscholastic Federation President A. Dale Lacky.
Only four males and four females are selected for the $1,000 scholarship, while the remaining nominees get $500. Merced’s David Chen and St. Francis’ Alexa Edwards are the top overall honorees — they’re the Clarke Coover Scholarship Award recipients, earning the grand prize of $1,500 each.
Ilardi goes out as one of Ripon’s most accomplished three-sport athletes.
This past fall, the star quarterback led the Indians to the SJS Division IV and CIF State Division 4-AA championships. He went on to help Ripon’s boys basketball team claim a piece of its fourth straight Trans-Valley League title, and he was named to the all-league first team for a second time. Ilardi is also a standout golfer, earning both Most Valuable and Most Outstanding in the TVL last spring.
Ripon’s class salutatorian, who boasts a 4.31 GPA, is headed to Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State and looking to pursue a career in biomedical engineering or forensics. He’s a National Hispanic Scholar and a member of California Scholarship Federation, United Club, Chess Club and Link Crew. He has also volunteered with the Ripon Recycling Center, Love Ripon and organized a fundraiser to get new helmets for the football program.
This is the second scholarship Ilardi is receiving from the SJS and CIF. Last month, he was one of two winter sports athletes from the section to earn $500 via the CIF Spirit of Sport Award.
Sausedo is the all-time leading scorer with 1,700 career points while playing four years for the Ripon girls basketball team. She’s a two-time All-TVL MVP and the current Manteca Bulletin All-Area MVP. She also competed with the school’s track team for two years.
Sausedo holds a 4.22 GPA and is a member of Link Crew, Girls League, Sacred Heart and secretary for CSF. She volunteers with Ripon’s annual Hoops for the Cure Classic game against East Union, local youth basketball clinics and Ripon Recycling Center.
Sausedo remains undecided on her college choice but plans on studying kinesiology or biology. Her goal is to become an orthopedic nurse or physical therapist.
De Jesus starred on Manteca’s football team, earning two SJS championships while setting single-season and career records in three varsity seasons. The dynamic wide receiver was named Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the Valley Oak League in 2018 and Most Valuable Player this past fall. He also played basketball for three years and is a four-year track athlete.
De Jesus is a recipient of Manteca’s Honor the Code Award, Baby Buff Award and is on the Brasmer List for earning a GPA of 4.0 or better. His GPA currently stands at 4.03. His volunteer work includes Feed the Hungry, coach for a local youth football team and basketball official for Manteca Parks and Recreation.
Undecided for college, De Jesus will major in fire science, business or kinesiology and is considering a career in firefighting, real estate or engineering.
Lacky Awards 2019-20
Nolan Lingley delivers a pitch for Ripon Christian in their Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI consolation semifinal against Waterford on May 22, 2019. - photo by WAYNE THALANDER
The Pepperdine-bound Lingley played football and baseball four years each at Ripon Christian, winning multiple Southern Athletic League championships and major awards.
He is the reigning Outstanding Offensive Player in the SAL for football. In baseball, he was all-league Offensive MVP in 2018 when the Knights captured the SJS Division VI title and the overall MVP in 2019. Lingley will continue playing baseball for the NCAA Division I Waves in Malibu.
Lingley has twice won the Distinguished Christian Student Leadership Award, is a member of CSF and involved with student government all four years. He does volunteer work with Tracy Interfaith Ministries and Night to Shine in Modesto. His GPA of 4.14 is ranked No. 4 in his class at RC. He will major in business administration at Pepperdine.
Much of the A. Dale Lacky Scholarship funds are garnered from Foundation Games during volleyball and basketball seasons. These exhibition contests do not count against records but produced more than $24,000 of the scholarship money this year.
Awardees are typically treated to breakfast and recognized in a ceremony hosted by the SJS, but this year’s function has been cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic.