2024 Legacy Scholarship Awardees

Emilio Benitez
Emilio BenitezStudent Triathlete
My name is Emilio Benitez and I am a third year Kinesiology student at UNLV. I was born and raised in the Las Vegas Valley. I am a new triathlete, however I am not new to being a student-athlete. During my youth I was always involved in sports; whether it was soccer, basketball, or baseball I was always doing a sport. However, none of these sports fulfilled me. Eventually when I reached high school, I competed as a cross-country athlete at Southeast Career Technical Academy. I found joy in running, however that joy was cut short when COVID-19 cut off my senior year of running. Following the lockdowns of COVID-19 I attempted to get back into running and found that the joy of running was gone. I no longer had a sport and struggled to stay focused in school. Then coming into the fall semester of my third year at UNLV, I discovered triathlon. In my biomechanics class, Dr. Mercer mentioned that UNLV was starting its own triathlon club. I was hesitant to attend at first but I walked through those doors of the club and rediscovered my joy for exercise.
Ashlyn Thomas
Ashlyn ThomasStudent Triathlete
Ashlyn Thomas is a senior at UNLV in the Nutrition Sciences program. She is the current UNLV Triathlon Club President, current Student Nutrition and Dietetics Association Vice President of Activities, former SNDA President, and former Tri Club Treasurer. She has been accepted to Horizon Specialty Hospitals Dietetics Internship which she will complete in the summer of 2025. Ashlyn was born and raised in Las Vegas and began running in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her husband, Levi, encouraged her to join him at his second triathlon in 2022 and the two have been racing together ever since. Ashlyn is passionate about helping students enter the community of triathlon by connecting them with financial assistance, helping them understand efficient training schedules, and make friends within the sport.
Levi Thomas
Levi ThomasStudent Triathlete
Hello My name is Levi Thomas! I am a senior at UNLV majoring in Kinesiology. I hope to continue my education in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UNLV. I’ve been an endurance athlete my whole life. I liked to run with my dad when I was little, then joined the cross country team when I was in high school. I wasn’t a fan of Track and Field so I joined my friends on the swim team. I loved being part of the high school swim team even though I wasn’t very good at it. Early in college, one of my high school friends invited me to join him in the Kokopelli sprint triathlon. I agreed to race with him and immediately fell in love with the sport. As I continued to participate in triathlons I realized UNLV didn’t have a triathlon team. I immediately began researching what it would take to start a triathlon club at UNLV. Thanks to the help of many wonderful faculty and community members, the UNLV Triathlon club is now approaching its first year as a team. Because of our wonderful community support we have been able to compete in State, Regional, and National Championships. I hope to continue to help support the UNLV triathlon team while improving myself as an athlete. As always I cannot express how grateful I am for the support I have received in my endeavors.