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Two FC student-athletes earn Bryant-Jordan scholarships

Two local student-athletes earned regional Bryant-Jordan Scholarship recently: Kolby Bragwell of Red Bay and Erica Gray of Tharptown.

These students were recognized at the 34th annual Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet in Birmingham, along with 102 other student-athletes from Class 1A-7A, all seniors.

As regional winners, Bragwell and Gray each earned a $3,000 scholarship to be used at the school of their choice.

Bragwell, a two-sport star at Red Bay, was a three-year starting quarterback for the Tigers. He starts at third base and pitches for the baseball team. He has earned a baseball scholarship to Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa.

“It is a great honor to be selected for one of these scholarships,” said Bragwell, who added he is thinking about majoring in special education or secondary education. “It was a great opportunity for me to meet other great athletes from around the stated and be recognized for my achievements.”

Red Bay football coach Michael Jackson said Bragwell’s “leadership and dedication to being the very best he can be are two qualities he has been blessed with. He loves to compete,” Jackson added, “and that drives him on and off the field. He is a great example of a student-athlete and will be highly successful in future endeavors.”

Red Bay baseball coach Richard Maggerise described Bragwell as someone who “has overcome adversity on or off the field.”

“He is one of the most competitive kids I’ve ever been around,” Maggerise added. “He might be blessed with talent, but he also works harder than any other kid I’ve seen.”

Gray was an instrumental leader on the Tharptown volleyball team and is the valedictorian of the Class of 2019.

“Erica was a driving force on the team,” said Tharptown volleyball coach Tracey Fretwell. “She pushed herself and the other players to work hard, and she never gave up on the team. I am very proud of her for receiving this award; it is well deserved.”

Tharptown principal Barry Laster agreed, adding Gray is “a great student and athlete despite the many challenges she has faced.”

“She has a passion for learning and great leadership skills,” Laster said. “I am excited to know she will be able to take her education to the next level.”

More than $1 million in scholarships were awarded at Monday’s banquet through the Bryant-Jordan Foundation, named in memory of former University of Alabama head football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and former Auburn University head football coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan.

Founded in 1986 by the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in partnership with the Alabama High School Athletic Association, the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Scholarship Program has awarded more than $12 million in college scholarship awards to more than 3,000 Alabama high school students.