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Guntersville’s Gabe Marsh, Rogers’ Erin Brown Capture 2022 Bryant-Jordan State Awards

Winners selected for their excellence in athletics and academics, ability to overcome major obstacles during high school careers
Gabe Marsh and Erin Brown win Bryant-Jordan awards
Gabe Marsh and Erin Brown win Bryant-Jordan awards(WAFF)
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 10:57 PM CDT
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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - North Alabama well represented Monday night for outstanding student-academic and athletics achievement. Guntersville High School’s Gabe Marsh and Rogers High School’s Erin Brown were selected the overall state winners at the 37th annual Bryant-Jordan Student Athlete Awards Banquet held at the Sheraton Ballroom Monday night. A total of 104 high school regional senior honorees were recognized and awarded more than $380,000 in scholarships.

Brown, a volleyball and basketball standout at Rogers High School located in the small community of Green Hill in Lauderdale County, was the recipient of the 2022 Larry D. Striplin, Jr., Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Guntersville’s Marsh, a swimmer, was selected the 2022 Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship Student Achievement Athlete of the Year Award.

The scholarship program, named in honor of the late coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant of Alabama and Ralph “Shug” Jordan of Auburn, recognized 52 regional scholar-athlete winners selected for their excellence in athletics and academics and 52 achievement winners chosen for their ability to overcome major obstacles during their high school careers.

Each of the 104 regional winners received a $3,000 scholarship; the 14 Class Winners received an additional $3,500; and for each overall state winner, the additional stipend received was $4,000.

In addition, several other individuals and organizations have also joined the Bryant-Jordan Program and present additional scholarships as well. Since the Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Program’s inception, 3,430 senior student-athletes have received approximately $10.8 million in scholarships through last year.

Brown was the first Class 4A scholar-athlete to receive the Larry D. Striplin, Jr., Scholar-Athlete of the Year award since 2005. She has a 4.39 weighted grade-point-average on a 4.0 scale, scored 33 on the ACT college entrance exam and ranks first in a senior class of 84. She was also an outstanding volleyball and basketball player. She earned All-State Tournament honors in 2019 and 2021 helping the Pirates win the Class 4A basketball crown both years. She also helped the volleyball team clinch a berth in the Class in the 2021 state volleyball tourney. She served as captain and earned All-Lauderdale County honors in both sports.

Academically, she is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and 30+ ACT Club. She served as junior class president, senior class treasurer, Scholar Bowl captain, and has been active in her community as a Bible School teacher and community volunteer. She plans to attend the University of North Alabama in nearby Florence and study chemistry and industrial hygiene, following in the footsteps of both parents. When she gets to college, she’ll already be a sophomore, thanks to 32 hours of dual-enrollment credit earned through Northwest-Shoals Community College and UNA.

“I feel like sports taught me how to handle adversity,” Brown said. “Just like in a game, there’s going to be highs and lows, and it’s going to seem like nothing is going right for you. But you just have to keep doing what is right, and most of the time it works out for you. You just have to weather the storm.” She added, “I cannot thank my family, my coaches, teachers, teammates, friends and school enough for what they have meant to me.” Marsh, who was born with no legs and one arm, was adopted by his foster parents at an early age. He learned how to swim by the time he was 4 years old and began competing in swimming competition – inspiring everyone who has watched him compete ever since. He swam for Guntersville High School all four years earning the state in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle twice. Working to become a member of the U.S. Paralympic Team for the 2024 games, he has already competed internationally in the Canada-US Games (2017) and the National Championships (2018).

Gabe voiced a deep appreciation for a lengthy list of people who helped him – some in small ways, others like his adoptive parents in big ways – and believes finding personal success will repay them for their kindness and direction. He also credits his deep Christian faith, encouraged by his parents’ devotion, for helping him cope with his personal challenges.

”Many people would/may think I have a disability and feel sorry for me,” Marsh said. “They should not. I do not see myself that way. When life happens and challenges are present, I see my blessings, my family, and my friends. God has put us on a path he has prepared us for. This honor is a milestone in my life I will always remember.”

Both state recipients received a total $10,500 in scholarship funds Monday night. Sports broadcaster and former University of Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy was the keynote speaker.

The list of other class and special scholarship recipients honored Monday night were:

2022 Bryant-Jordan Winners Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship Student Achievement Winner

OVERALL: Gabe Marsh, Guntersville HS

CLASS WINNERS1A – Katelyn Frazier, Phillips HS2A – Makayla Lindsey, Winston County HS3A – Styles Hughes, Sylvania HS4A – Kasia Nicholson, Wilcox-Central HS5A – Gabe Marsh, Guntersville HS6A – Gabe Gamble, Pelham HS7A – Ty Roper, Foley HS

Larry Striplin Jr. Scholar-Athlete Winners OVERALL: Erin Brown, Rogers HS

CLASS WINNERS1A – Megan Roe, Sweet Water HS2A – Reave Metcalf, Westminster-Oak Mountain3A – Hayden Floyd, J.B. Pennington4A – Erin Brown, Rogers HS5A – William Jameson, St. Paul’s Episcopal6A – Preston Reed, Jasper HS7A – Davis Amare, Fairhope HS

2022 Bryant-Jordan Special Scholarships Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Coaching Scholarship Elijah Kirby, Fort Payne High School

Dr. Gaylon McCollough Medical Scholarship McKayla Lindsey, Winston County High School Katelyn Frazier, Phillips High School Styles Hughes, Sylvania High School JaKarrie McPherson, McKenzie High School

W. Edgar Welden Service Scholarship Savannah Downey, Jackson High School Hudson Hill, New Hope High School

Alabama “A” Club Educational and Charitable Foundation Scholarship Scholar Division: Riley Jordan, Carroll High School

Achievement Division: Madison Martin, Oakman High School

Auburn Football Lettermen Club Scholarship Scholar Division: Wesley Hawkins, Douglas High School

Achievement Division: Thomas Stovall, Alabama Christian Academy

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