Colby Singletary Foundation pushing through with in-person banquet, adds fishing tournament

Greg Hardwig
Naples Daily News

Members of Colby Singletary's family established a foundation following the 18-year-old's death in 2019 to keep his memory alive.

A scholarship was established last year, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the awarding of it was virtual.

Now with the COVID-19 pandemic lessened, the foundation will have an in-person banquet Tuesday, and then an inaugural fundraising fishing tournament July 9-10 in Goodland.

"We started this pretty much when Colby passed away," said Niki Singletary, Colby's mother. "We wanted to make a scholarship in honor of him, and help out students and athletes."

A poster for the Colby Singletary Scholarship Fund hangs on the wall of Nana's Diner in Naples, where the family of the late wrestler announced winners of the Colby Singletary Scholarship last year. This year there will be an in-person banquet on Tuesday at Vineyards Country Club. For more information, go to colbysingletaryscholarship.com.

This year's scholarship also has a bigger footprint, beyond just Palmetto Ridge High School, where Singletary starred in football and wrestling, winning two state titles in the latter. Singletary died in a car accident on July 6, 2019.

"We decided to make it all of Collier County instead of just Palmetto Ridge to help all area schools," Niki Singletary said. "This year we've had a few more applicants (19) than last year."

Female finalists are: Aubree Blocker, Palmetto Ridge; Natalie Bongirno, Barron Collier; Aliya Ducham, Seacrest Country Day; Michelle Hubbs, Palmetto Ridge; Kirra Polley, Marco Island Academy;  Jasmin Schauer, Marco Island Academy;  Danielle Stavely, Gulf Coast; and Mackenzie White, Golden Gate.

Male finalists are: Joaquin Acuna, Golden Gate; Lais Cardero, Golden Gate; Carson Chambers, Lely; Roy Chiong, Community School; Jean Dumerzier, Golden Gate; Hunter Gideons, Palmetto Ridge; Mason Laur, Barron Collier; Antonio Petraglia, Palmetto Ridge; Evan Rodriguez, Palmetto Ridge; Frantzy Sylvestre, Immokalee; Matthew Vergo, Marco Island Academy.

More:Palmetto Ridge wrestlers remember Colby Singletary during school's signing ceremony

More:Who was selected as the Naples Daily News Wrestler of the Decade?

More:National Signing Day: Miami honors Colby Singletary's memory with preferred walk-on offer

Singletary credited Collier County Public Schools coordinator of interscholastic athletics Mark Rosenbalm, a former wrestling coach at Palmetto Ridge, and the county's athletic directors for spreading the word of the addition of other schools' student-athletes being eligible.

The scholarship also was added to the Community Foundation's Scholarship Connector, kind of a search engine for scholarships for students to apply for.

"I think that did help," she said.

Last year, Niki Singletary announced the six winners on a Zoom call, which she hosted from her best friend  Teonta Tems' restaurant, Nana’s Diner in Golden Gate. Palmetto Ridge seniors Trillyon Fils-Aime, a Bears wrestler and football player just like Colby, and Laurah Jean, a track athlete and cheerleader, won the top male and female awards.

This year, one boy and one girl student-athlete from a Collier County school will each receive a $2,500 scholarship.

The Foundation will debut Captain Colby's Memorial Fishing Tournament at the Crabby Lady in Goodland. To register, go to ColbySingletaryScholarship.com. All of the proceeds will go to the scholarship fund, which is a registered 501(c)(3). A captain's meeting will be July 9 at Cracklin' Jacks, with the tournament the following day.

"Colby definitely loved the water, and loved fishing," Niki Singletary said. "We thought this would be a great way to raise the money to honor him. We've had very good response from it.

"This is the one event we will do to fund the scholarship and help with the banquet as well."

The Foundation is happy to have the banquet, which is at Vineyards Country Club and open the public, be in-person for several reasons.

"For the kids, too, it's special to them, and they have their parents there, their families," Niki Singletary said. "It's just a little more personal. We will have last year's finalists there to actually give the award to the next ones."

School board member Roy Terry will be the keynote speaker at the banquet. Terry has been a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal, principal as well as a school board member.

Colby's brothers Cody and Chase, also champion wrestlers, will speak too.

"They'll do the opening ceremonies and closing ceremonies, which is nice," Niki Singletary said.

Having an in-person banquet also will be an opportunity to build community, something Colby strived to do.

"I just think it's important for them to know that we appreciate them signing up for the scholarship, and hopefully help them financially," Niki Singletary said.

Greg Hardwig is a sports reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @NDN_Ghardwig, email him at ghardwig@naplesnews.com. Support local journalism with this special subscription offer at https://cm.naplesnews.com/specialoffer/

Colby Singletary Scholarship Banquet

When: Tuesday

Where: Vineyards Country Club

Info: colbysingletaryscholarship.com

Captain Colby's Memorial Fishing Tournament

When: July 9-10

Where: Crabby Lady, Goodland

Info: colbysingletaryscholarship.com