Three students earn Bryant-Jordan honors

Three Franklin County students have earned Bryant-Jordan scholarships.

Phil Campbell’s Emma Ergle and Russellville’s Maddy Green and Nathan Brockway were all awarded $3,000 scholarships from the Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Foundation to the school of their choice. They were officially recognized at the annual Bryant-Jordan banquet in Birmingham this past week.

Green, who plays basketball and softball for the Golden Tigers, earned the Class 5A Region 8 Scholar-Athlete Award. She made a 33 on the ACT test and will be attending Mississippi State University and majoring in Anthropology.

“I am very honored to have been picked by my school to even compete for the scholarship,” said Green. “There are a lot of smart and talented athletes at Russellville, so being selected meant a lot to me. I was even more surprised when I won the region.”

To be a top student while also competing in multiple sports takes a lot of sacrifice and hard work.

“I think I have been able to succeed in the classroom and at sports by doing the little extra,” said Green, who also earned a Presidential scholarship to Mississippi State. “I stay late and ask questions after class, do external reading and spend many late nights studying. In sports, I have always tried to stay after practice and put in extra work.

“None of this would have been possible if not for teachers, family and coaches pushing me further and providing me with encouragement.”

Russellville High School Principal Jason Goodwin said Green is always willing to go the extra mile.

“Maddy is a phenomenal student athlete who works just as hard in the classroom as she does on the field,” said Goodwin. “It’s amazing to see how well she has excelled in the classroom and the things that she has accomplished in her time at Russellville High School on and off the field. Her leadership in holding multiple class/organization offices and in her community sets her apart.”

Ergle, who plays softball for Phil Campbell, earned the Class 3A Region 8 Achievement Award.  Achievement awards go to student-athletes who have excelled in the classroom and athletics while also overcoming big obstacles along the way.

Ergle is the Phil Campbell High School valedictorian and scored a 32 on the ACT. She will attend the University of Alabama to pursue a degree in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity.

Ergle has been a softball pitcher since she was 10 years old and had Sever’s Disease at a young age. Sever’s disease is a painful condition of the heel in growing children in which the Achilles Tendon that attaches to the back of the heel pulls on the growth plate of the bone of the heel. She went through many hours of therapy and played through pain until the pain was too much.

Ergle had tendon lengthening surgery on both legs and was in a cast for six weeks. She has also had to endure knee and shoulder surgery and fractured her leg twice.

“It was an honor to be selected,” said Ergle. “I was glad to get to go to the banquet and meet other athletes that take school as seriously as I do.

“I have never been able to stay consistently healthy during a softball season. I have had a lot of injuries and surgeries that have had long-lasting effects on my body.”

Phil Campbell Principal Darit Riddle said the choice to nominate Ergle was an easy one.

“Emma was the first person I thought of when it was time to nominate a student for the Bryant Jordan Achievement Award,” said Riddle.  “She is an excellent student, she works hard on the softball field, and she is an awesome representation of Phil Campbell High School.”

Brockway earned the Class 5A Region 8 Achievement Award. He was injured during the 2020 football season and played through the pain.

In December, Brockway had an MRI and was diagnosed with a torn labrum in his hip. He had to undergo surgery in February 2021.

It was expected he would have to go through rehabilitation for six months but was released early because of his hard work at therapy and being pushed by his support group of family, friends, coaches and physical therapist.

“It was an incredible honor to be nominated for such a big award, and to actually receive it was unbelievable,” said Brockway. “I am very thankful to have received this honor.

Brockway said he plans to attend Northwest-Shoals Community College and play baseball for the newly-formed Patriots baseball team. He intends to become a certified electrician.

“Nathan is an outstanding three-sport athlete that excels on the playing fields, classroom and the community,” said RHS Principal Jason Goodwin. “Nathan’s resilience to succeed and ability to work through adversity made him a strong candidate for the scholarship”

The Bryant-Jordan Scholarship is named after legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and Auburn coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan.