The Coach Joel Wingard Cross Country Scholarship fund was established by colleagues and friends of Coach Wingard. Joel taught in the Peninsula School District for 25 years, six at Peninsula High School and 19 at Gig Harbor High School. Today, he still coaches cross-country and track & field at Peninsula High School. Over his teaching and coaching career, he has helped to lead many young athletes to both team and individual championship titles, which led to being one of the most successful coaches in state history.

The purpose of the scholarship is to recognize outstanding accomplishment by a member or members of the Cross Country team who have exemplified the values of commitment, integrity, goals and achievement that formed the basis of Coach Wingard’s coaching philosophy at Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools.

Annually, up to four scholarships will be awarded, two at Peninsula High School, two at Gig Harbor High School, provided sufficient funds are available, and qualified candidates are nominated. Annually, beginning in the 2014-15 school year, an equal number of scholarships will be made available to each high school.

The Foundation’s Education Core Area Board (CAB) provides oversight to the scholarship fund.




The coaching staff of the Gig Harbor and Peninsula High School Cross Country teams shall nominate scholarship candidates. Nominations will be presented to respective scholarship committees. The respective Scholarship Committees or its designees shall select recipients from the nominees, based on the established criteria.

A recipient of this scholarship shall meet the following criteria:

  • Has prepared a scholarship notebook.
  • Has been a member of the high school cross country team for at least two years, preferably three or more.
  • Has maintained at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
  • Has been a leader on the team in season and out of season, i.e., has been a significant contributor to the success of the team.
  • Has shown a commitment to the team through attendance, work ethic in practice, preparation to race, encouragement of teammates and belief in the team.
  • Has been a spirited competitor at whatever level he or she has attained.
  • Has given back to the community and school through volunteer service, especially in conjunction with the team.

Exceptions may be made to one or more of these criteria if in the judgment of the committee a candidate’s other qualifications are sufficiently outstanding as to override them.

Donate today to join in honoring Coach Wingard and our community’s young athletes who have taken the sport of Cross County to new heights.