Bryant-Jordan regional awards humble area athletes


Gadsden City’s Khalid Cannon has a 4.0 GPA and scored a 33 on his ACT. (Photo by Nick Johnston | Gadsden Times | File)


Humbled, honored, excited and shocked.

Those were the words used most by three Etowah County athletes to describe what they felt when learning they had won regional Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete Awards earlier this week.

Gadsden City’s Khalid Cannon, Glencoe’s Jordan Sims and Westbrook Christian’s Rae Leach each won their respective regions.

Cannon, who has a 4.0 GPA and scored a 33 on his ACT, won Class 6A, Region 5. He’s the first Gadsden City student to win the Bryant-Jordan regional award.

“It’s real exciting,” Cannon said. “I’m real proud of it. This is something I work for, playing three sports and doing well in academics.”

The senior plays football, basketball and also is a member of the track team. He signed a scholarship in February to play football for Yale.

Sims, also a three-sport star, won the award for 3A, Region 5. One of the most dominant pitchers in the area, she signed a softball scholarship with Jacksonville State University.

“I was humbled by it for sure,” said Sims, who has a 4.1 GPA. “I’m just so glad I got it. I was shocked — and honored.”

Leach, the 2A, Region 6 winner, boasts a staggering 4.28 GPA and scored a 30 on her ACT. She is a distance runner for the Warriors, competing in the mile, two mile and 800. She ran cross-country in the fall and also is a cheerleader.

“I was really excited when I was nominated for it, but to win the area and then to go on to win the region, it was a really big deal,” said Leach, who recently signed a track scholarship with Troy. “My whole school is excited about it.”

The Bryant-Jordan Foundation selected its regional winners Tuesday. There are eight region winners in each classification in two categories — Scholar-Athlete and Student Achievement. All 96 regional winners were given a grant of $2,500.

A banquet will be April 8 at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel where each classification’s winner will be selected and given a $3,000 grant. Two individuals will be selected for the highest honors the Bryant-Jordan Foundation gives — the Larry D. Striplin Jr. Scholar-Athlete Award and the Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship Achievement Award. Those winners will receive another $3,000 grant, meaning they will receive a total $8,500 in scholarships.

The Bryant-Jordan Foundation will give out more than $800,000 this year and, in its 28th year, has shared nearly $9,000,000 in scholarships.

Other Scholar-Athlete Award regional winners from the area included Cedar Bluff’s Levi Mintz (1A) and Douglas’ Ian Wisener (4A).

Regional winners for the Student Achievement Award included Plainview’s Dallas Guffey (3A), Crossville’s Timothy Lowrey (4A) and Boaz’s Connor Davis (5A).

Two area student-athletes won awards at the state level last year. Glencoe’s Christopher Tinker took home the 3A Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete Award, while Albertville’s Nathan Spence won in 5A and the prestigious Larry D. Striplin Jr. Scholar-Athlete Award.