Number Five Award Honors Liza Wellford Fletcher ’06
Meriel Rowland ’24 was announced as the inaugural Liza Wellford Fletcher Number Five award winner at the 2022-2023 year-end Sports Award Celebration.
Liza Wellford Fletcher ’06 wore the number five during her time at Hutchison. Members of the Hutchison athletic department created this award to honor Liza’s contributions, and it will be given annually to further her legacy. Liza not only had a passion for sports, but she also had a heart for lifting up younger athletes and helping them shine.
At the year-end Sports Awards Celebration, a junior will be named Hutchison’s Number Five. In the fall, the senior will be the only athlete across all sports and all ages to wear the number five for Hutchison. The Liza Wellford Fletcher Number Five award recipient will be a student who emulates the ideals of Hutchison athletics that Liza so beautifully demonstrated. In addition to striving for athletic excellence, she will demonstrate the kind of character, integrity, and leadership that Liza personified. This year’s recipient is Meriel Rowland ’24, a star athlete in cross-country, lacrosse, swimming, and track.
“This is really special, and it’ll motivate me,” Meriel Rowland said. “Sometimes in races, I just want to stop because it gets so hard. I’m doing it for Eliza and all that she had done. Even when it’s hard in a race or even in life, just keep going.”
One of the ways Rowland reminds the Hutchison community of Liza is that she exhibits incredible sportsmanship. She is a fierce competitor and usually one of the first to cross the finish line, but she goes back after to cheer on her teammates. Richie Fletcher, Liza’s husband, said Meriel was the perfect athlete for the award and that it was a beautiful tribute. Meriel Rowland ’24 told Geoff Calkins of the Daily Memphian that she met Liza Fletcher once two years ago. Meriel saw someone helping a homeless man lying flat on the street and stopped to assist as well. She later realized the person helping him was Liza.
“Life is so special, and it’s not guaranteed day by day. Love everyone around you,” Rowland said.