From left to right: Dalton Hudspeth, Ashleigh Christopher, Louis Montesi III, Madeline Griffin and Mason Irby.
Every year at Newscenter Eleven, we dedicate twelve weeks to traveling across the viewing area to meet the twelve members of our All-Scholastic sports team. They are bright, they are talented and they embody everything that Lindsey and I enjoy about the world of high school sports. But it's for only one night a year we have the chance to honor them.
The twelve scholastic team members and their families gathered at Meridian's Holiday Inn Wednesday to be recognized. Seven of this year's finalists were the top ranked students in their respective classes, all of them finishing in the top ten. Nine of the twelve were two-sport athletes. Three of them competed in three.
The speaker for this year's banquet was East Central Community College President Dr. Billy Stewart, who spoke of what it really means to be a leader as we move into a new generation.
Only four of our twelve could could be selected for a College Scholarship, and those winners were Madeline Griffin of Meridian High School, Dalton Hudspeth of Louisville, Mason Irby of Southeast Lauderdale, and Ashleigh Christopher of Patrician Academy.
"Oh, I was shocked. It's such an honor to be named this. I just look forward to using this scholarship at Alabama to my advantage, so I can participate in all the things there," said Christopher. "It's really such an honor."
"I'm sure appreciative of my teachers and my parents, of course, and everybody who's been involved in my life up to this point," said Hudspeth.
"We had the interview, and the whole time, I'm just nervous, but the judges were really easy to talk to," said Griffin "They didn't make me nervous really at all. Once I got in there, I was like, 'This is isn't as bad as I expected.'"
"I was surprised... thankful to be able to [win], because it was a select group of people." said Irby. "To even be one of the twelve, and to be selected after that... was [I was] just thankful"
Sponsors for the All-Scholastic sports team are Rick Justice Honda and
Rush Sports Medicine. Lindsey Hall and Louis Montesi, III hosted the event, and WTOK news director John Johnson gave the invocation.
A special thanks goes out to the entire WTOK sales team who worked behind the scenes to make the banquet possible.