Staci Lovell, Kyle Grieser, and Jordan Winar were named the 2019 Dave DeSantis XTERRA Legacy Grant recipients.
DeSantis was a true XTERRA Warrior and an inspiration to everyone he met. In 2013, he was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma and was given a year to live. He fought the cancer with everything he had and continued to race XTERRA off-road triathlons through his treatment. He lost his long and valiant battle with melanoma on June 5, 2017.
In his memory, XTERRA renamed the recurring XTERRA Warrior Award the Dave DeSantis XTERRA Warrior award and to perpetuate his legacy further, his wife Kathy Doyle established the Dave DeSantis XTERRA Legacy Grant, affording others the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.
“Dave traveled and raced XTERRA all around the world. He rode with passion in his heart and love in his soul,” said Doyle. “The sport brought immeasurable joy into his life, and his happiness was obvious when you heard him cheerfully whistling while pedaling away for another ride, another race, another challenge.”
The $2,500 grants are intended to help recipients pursue their boldest XTERRA travel dream and result in a connection with the global XTERRA community through a shared love of the “Live More” spirit.
“When I got the call from Kathy that I had been selected, I was speechless,” said Lovell, a 15-year-old from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii who is entering her second season of XTERRA racing. “I had just gotten out of class for the day and was walking to track practice and as soon as I hung up the phone, I was freaking out, screaming in joy. After the initial shock, I broke down in tears. I am so humbled to have even been considered.”
Selection committee member Rachael DeSantis, Dave’s niece, said her uncle would have loved to read Lovell’s application and the initiative it took for her to apply.
“Staci really embodies what Uncle Dave worked so hard for all of us kids to do,” she explained. “Research, figure it out, take action, let our voices be heard, and chase after our dreams. It takes a lot for a 15-year-old to apply for something like this and I really think he would be so psyched to see a young girl like her advocating for herself and trying to make it happen on her own. Awarding this grant to her is investing in the future and is exactly what Uncle Dave and Kathy always did for us.”
Lovell says she will use the grant to travel and race at XTERRA Greece on April 21.
“I think it will be an amazing experience, and I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity to help carry on Dave’s legacy and share the Live More spirit across the world,” said Lovell. “Dave truly represented the heart and soul of XTERRA. He lived his life loving the people, the sport, just everything that XTERRA is, and that is what I aspire to do. I have never met such an incredible group of people in my life, and I feel lucky to have known such an amazing man.”
The men’s grant was awarded jointly to Grieser and Winar, friends and competitors from the heart of XTERRA’s South Central region in Texas. Grieser, a firefighter by trade, has been racing XTERRA for 15 years and won 12 regional titles, while Winar, a sales director, is in his third season and has won two regional titles in a row. The two proposed to split the grant and travel together along with Jordan's wife and three kids in Dave’s memory.
“Over the past week that initial feeling of excitement has turned into being humbled about it,” said Winar. “We’re grateful for Dave and his wife Kathy’s generosity, and have committed to living out his mission to chase goals, do things that seem impossible, help others, give back, and live more.”
Grieser and Winar, who have a trip to Maui on their minds, also plan to pay it forward by dedicating their season to DeSantis while fundraising to perpetuate his Legacy Grant for another year. The grant was established to award one man and one woman each year for five years (2018-2022) with an opportunity to experience a destination XTERRA race. If successful, the grant will extend into 2023.
Applications for the 2020 Dave DeSantis XTERRA Legacy Grant are being accepted now through September 29, 2019 at xterraplanet.com/DeSantisLegacyGrant.
2019 – Kyle Grieser/Jordan Winar and Staci Lovell
2018 – Tad Norton and Stephanie Brunnemann