Carmen Carlos, Blake Byrd Named Bryant-Jordan Overall Students of the Year

BIRMINGHAM – McGill-Toolen’s Carmen Carlos and Corner’s Blake Byrd were named the overall winners at the 28th annual Bryant-Jordan Student Athlete Awards Banquet here Monday night at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel as 96 high school regional honorees were recognized and awarded approximately $1 million in scholarships. 

Carlos, a senior track and cross country standout, was the recipient of the Larry D. Striplin, Jr., Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.  Byrd, a three-sport standout in basketball, football and baseball, received the Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship Student Achievement Athlete of the Year Award.

The program, named in honor of the late coaches Paul "Bear" Bryant of Alabama and Ralph "Shug" Jordan of Auburn, recognized 48 regional scholar-athlete winners selected for their excellence in athletics and academics and 48 achievement winners chosen for their ability to overcome major obstacles during their high school careers. 

Carlos, who has won 17 individual state track and cross country championships and helped win two other firsts in relay events, is the most decorated distance runner in AHSAA state history. The salutatorian of the McGill-Toolen Class of 2013, she is an AP Scholar of honor with a 4.27 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and a 33 on her ACT college entrance exam, a member of the National Honor Society, made the President’s List for each quarter, and earned four academic letters.

The four-time Class 6A state cross country champion holds the course mark (17:19.76) in the AHSAA state championships. She finished 46th as a seventh grader, eighth as an eighth grader and won the 6A title each of the last four years.  In indoor track she holds state records in the 800-meter run (2:11.28), 1,600-meter run (4:49.17) and the 3,200-meter run (10:34.02). She was a member of McGill-Toolen’s 4x800-meter relay team that set the state record (9:26.11) her junior year.

The Vanderbilt track signee has captured eight championships and added five runner-up finishes in the Class 6A outdoor state track and field championships with her senior season still remaining.  Carlos also serves as president of the McGill-Toolen Student Ambassador Club and is a member of the McGill-Toolen Pro-Life Club, Pride Club and Servants of the Poor Club. She also studies advanced art with private instruction. 

Byrd lettered four years in football (quarterback and safety), basketball (guard) and baseball (shortstop, third baseman, outfield and pitcher) during his career at Corner. He has served as team captain in basketball and football and earned the Birmingham News Metro Player of the Week and All-Metro honor during the 2012 season. He was also selected All-Jeffco in basketball and to the Birmingham News All-Metro Baseball Team. He is also active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

He has faced many obstacles, including a dysfunctional family situation early in his life that made it difficult for him to adjust socially.  He has worked hard to improve those social skills as he adjusted to the leadership role athletics thrust his way.

 “I love sports,” said Byrd. “I have loved sports from the time I was seven years old. It has allowed me to be around coaches and teachers who have really helped me. This is awesome. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and family. I am not the most perfect kid in the world, but I know if you go to God he will fix everything in your life.”

Carlos and Byrd were each awarded scholarships totaling $8,500. Each regional winner received $2,500 and each class winner an additional $3,000. The state winners also received an additional $3,000.

Carlos said, “Words can’t express how honored I am right now. I am so honored.”  Her coaches described her this way. “She is what every student-athlete should aspire to be.”

Class winners in the Scholar-Athlete division were: Garrett Waites, Marion County (1A); Brett Davis, Sweet Water (2A); Tanner Cox, Trinity Presbyterian (3A); Colton Campbell, Holtville (4A); Maggie Williams, Homewood (5A); and Carmen Carlos, McGill-Toolen.

Class winners in the Student Achievement division included: Aaron Dillard, Hubbertville (1A); Hector Ramirez, Samson (2A); Dallas Guffey, Plainview (3A); Blake Byrd, Corner (4A); Amanda Dean, Mortimer Jordan (5A); Ethan Holland, Northview (6A).

        Several special scholarships were also presented to some of the regional winners:

        Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Coaching Scholarship: Amanda Dean, Mortimer Jordan.

        Alabama “A” Club Educational & Charitable Foundation Scholarship: (Achievement) Genesis Perez, Florence; (Scholar) Lance Goodwin, Montevallo.

        Auburn Football Lettermen Club Scholarship: (Achievement) David Baumohl, Grissom; (Scholar) Hannah Cornelius, Cullman.
        Dr. Gaylon McCollough Medical Scholarship: Tyler Orem, Spanish Fort and Mary Caitlyn Wilhite, Northridge.
       University of Alabama All-America center Barrett Jones delivered the keynote address to the 96 regional winners.

2013 Bryant-Jordan Regional Winners
Scholar-Athlete Award 
Class 1A

Region 1: Austin McNeill, Florala
Region 2: Laken Johnson, Brantley
Region 3: George A. Howell, Wadley
Region 4: Emma Herren, Berry
Region 5: Levi Mintz, Cedar Bluff
Region 6: George McMillan, Donoho
Region 7: Garrett Wates, Marion County
Region 8: Jacob Hagewood, Athens Bible

Class 2A
Region 1: Lauren Knighten, Zion Chapel
Region 2: Zachary Pierce, G.W. Long
Region 3: Brett Davis, Sweet Water
Region 4: Lindsey Zimmer, Reeltown
Region 5: Edward Roe, Pleasant Valley
Region 6: Rae Leach, Westbrook Christian
Region 7: Tyler Williams, Vincent
Region 8:  Mitchell Lovell, Sheffield

Class 3A
Region 1: Molly Pinniz, Bayside Academy
Region 2: Lance Johnson, Pike County
Region 3: Tanner Cox, Trinity Presbyterian
Region 4:  Landon Goodwin, Montevallo
Region 5: Jordan Sims, Glencoe
Region 6: Zachary Roberts, Pisgah
Region 7: Katie Humphries, Hamilton
Region 8: Benjamin Cyr, Westminster Christian

Class 4A
Region 1: Wilson Parker, Andalusia
Region 2: Spaulding “Ricky” Solar IV, Alabama Christian
Region 3: Colton Campbell, Holtville 
Region 4: Britton Cawthon, Calera
Region 5: Lela Brown, Lincoln
Region 6: Ian Wisener, Douglas
Region 7: Lydia Eubanks, Ardmore
Region 8: Hannah Kohler, Central-Florence

Class 5A
Region 1: Peyton Jemison, Faith Academy
Region 2: Josh Bush, Eufaula
Region 3: Alexis Jones, Demopolis
Region 4: Zachary Berger, McAdory
Region 5: Maggie Williams, Homewood
Region 6: Cody Hasselbring, Scottsboro
Region 7: Orion Recke, Mortimer Jordan
Region 8: Hannah Cornelius, Cullman

Class 6A
Region 1: Carmen Carlos, McGill-Toolen
Region 2: Kasey Cooper, Dothan
Region 3: Garrett “Reid” McClenny, Smiths Station
Region 4: Blake Sowers, Prattville
Region 5: Khalid Cannon, Gadsden City
Region 6: Wendy Feng, Vestavia Hills
Region 7: Mary Caitlin Wilhite, Northridge
Region 8: David Hergenroeder, Bob Jones


2013 Bryant-Jordan Regional Winners
Student Achievement Award 
Class 1A

Region 1: Mason Wood, Kinston
Region 2: Demarcus Woods, A.L. Johnson
Region 3: Frederick Wright, Verbena
Region 4: Aaron Dillard, Hubbertville
Region 5: Jessica Snow, Jefferson Christian
Region 6: Grant Ball, Woodville
Region 7: Jackee Dodd, Lynn
Region 8: Alexandria Gholston, R.A. Hubbard

Class 2A
Region 1: Dane Howard, Washington County
Region 2: Hector Ramirez, Samson
Region 3: Karissa Shepherd, Highland Home
Region 4: Jonathan Knox, Hale County
Region 5: Ashley Alexander, Ohatchee
Region 6: Zebulon Reece, North Sand Mountain
Region 7: Brindon Sutton, Altamont
Region 8: Haven Albright, Lexington

Class 3A
Region 1: Jabe Thompson, Opp
Region 2: Ashton  Brinley, Geneva
Region 3: Starkerria McKenzie, Central-Coosa
Region 4: Mitchell Partlow, Ashville
Region 5: Chandler Dare, American Christian
Region 6: Dallas Guffey, Plainview
Region 7: Taylor Stidham, Hamilton
Region 8: Kadejia Cheatom, Colbert County

Class 4A
Region 1: Tyler Beard, UMS-Wright
Region 2: Kenneth Todd, Ashford
Region 3: Breanda Cobb, Beauregard
Region 4: Blake Byrd, Corner
Region 5: Syretha Pride, Madison County
Region 6: Timothy Lowrey, Crossville
Region 7: Clay Smith, Locust Fork
Region 8: Cameron Thorn, Wilson

Class 5A
Region 1: Tyler Orem, Spanish Fort
Region 2: Taylor Kelly, Saraland
Region 3: Tatum Gandy, Benjamin Russell
Region 4: Alexander Click, McAdory
Region 5: Connor Davis, Boaz
Region 6: Dar’quavious Swann, Moody
Region 7: Amanda Dean, Mortimer Jordan
Region 8: Victoria Draper, Lawrence County

Class 6A
Region 1: Julius Fantroy, Jr., Alma Bryant 
Region 2: Ethan Holland, Northview
Region 3: Sierra Keeling, Opelika
Region 4: Jordan Gray, Chelsea
Region 5: David Baumohl, Grissom
Region 6: Brian Smith, Mountain Brook
Region 7: DeAnna Ellis, Minor
Region 8: Genesis Perez, Florence