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RIHS Students Awarded the James O'Melia Jr. Athletic Award

The 2024 James O'Melia Jr. Athletic Award was presented to two Rock Island High School dual-sport athletes, Eva Essman and Conner Dilulio Thursday, May 16 at Rock Island High School.

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The James O'Melia Jr. Award is considered the highest honor that Rock Island High School bestows on student-athletes. One male and one female student-athlete receive the award each year. 

The Rock Island-Milan Booster Club supported the James O'Melia Jr. Athletic Recognition Award with a $1,000 college scholarship to each athlete.

The James O'Melia Jr. Athletic Award is given in memory of Rock Island High School graduate James O'Melia Jr. During his time as a student, James O'Melia Jr. was an outstanding multi-sport athlete. He graduated in 1966 and continued to be a dedicated supporter and an enthusiastic fan of Rocky athletics. However, Jim's life was cut short and he died in a drowning accident on May 27, 1981. The first award was presented in 1982, and there have been 74 athletes who have received the James O'Melia Jr. Athletic Award since that time. 

Eva Essman is the daughter of Mary and Barrett Essman. She is outstanding in three major sports, Eva has earned an impressive total of 13 varsity letters competing for the Rocks in Cross Country, Football Cheerleading, Competitive Cheer, and Track and Field. Eva was a 4-year member of the Football Cheerleading Squad, Boys' Basketball Cheerleading Squad, Girls' Track and Field, and a 1-year member of Girls' Soccer.

 Football Cheerleading Honors:

 - 4-year member

 Basketball Cheerleading/Competitive Cheer Honors:

- 4-year member

 Cross Country Honors:

 - 4-year member

 Soccer Honors:

 - 1 Year Member


Scholastic Achievements:

  • GPA:  4.0000 unweighted, 4.2931 weighted
  • Ranked #4 in class of 344 (unofficial)
  • National Honor Society - Secretary
  • Charles O. Austin Scholar
  • Illinois State Scholar
  • IHSA Academic Achievement Award
  • WB6 Academic Achievement Award
  • RIHS Student Athletic Advisory Council
  • RIHS Student Council
  • Gray Matters Collective Member
  • Rocky Riveters
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Eva’s outside activities include:
  • Quad Cities Marathon Volunteer
  • QC Animal Welfare Center
  • Autism Society
  • Closet2Closet
  • Girls on the Run
  • Humble Dwellings
  • Rock Island Criterium
  • Rock Island Parks and Recreation
Eva plans to attend Iowa State University in Ames, IA for a degree in Biology Pre-med. 
Conner Dilulio is the son of Jamie and Joey DiIulio. He is outstanding in 2 major sports, Conner has earned in impressive total of 7varsity letters competing for the Rocks in Football and Baseball. Conner was a 4-year member of the Football and Baseball teams.


Football Athletic Honors:
- 4-year member

WB6 Honorable Mention– Offense

- 2nd Team All-Metro

Baseball Athletic Honors:
- 4-year member

WB6 Honorable Mention

All Metro Honorable Mention

WB6 2nd Team

ISHA 3A All-State

Scholastic Achievements:

  • GPA:  2.8333 unweighted, 3.1509 weighted (unofficial)
  • Educational Internship
  • RIHS Student Athletic Advisory Council
  • Illinois High School Activities Foundation  Scholarship (14 Seniors selected for the state)

Conner’s outside activities include being: 2-year Wrestling Volunteer Coach at Washington Junior High School.

 Conner plans to attend Southeastern Community College to play baseball and earn a degree in Elementary Education—Physical Education.