About the only person surprised when Keith Beasley Jr.’s name was called out last week at the Durham Sports Club meeting was Beasley. The Hillside High senior won first place for a $1,000 Harold Strawbridge Male Scholar-Athlete Scholarship Award.
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics senior Caroline Liu won the $1,000 Mildred Barnes Female Scholar-Athlete Scholarship Award.
Liu is a four-year all-conference swimmer, including finishing in the top three in the state the past four years. She also holds five school records. She has a 5.519 weighted GPA and will attend MIT in the fall.
Durham Academy senior Eliza Dekker and Northern’s Dillon Leovic each took home a $500 scholarship from the club.
Beasley’s high school career at Hillside has been one highlight after another. He played football four years on a team winning four PAC-6 championships; he was all-conference twice, and was named a Wendy’s Heisman High School Award winner.
Off the field, he was even more impressive: class valedictorian, a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and the Superintendent’s All-A Honor Roll for three years. He has an unweighted GPA of 3.97 and a weighted GPA of 5.09.
He will attend UNC-Chapel Hill on a Morehead-Cain Scholarship, the first ever Hillside student selected. And he’ll play football.
“It is such an honor to be a (scholarship) recipient,” Beasley said Wednesday night at the sports club. “Not everybody can win it. And to be the first from Hillside makes it even more special.“
Beasley said he had no qualms about attending the Tar Heels in spite of the recent NCAA reports.
“I’m looking forward to going there and helping defeat the negativity about athletes,” he said.
The DSC’s annual banquet honors the brightest scholar-athletes in Durham. To qualify, schools must have a minimum of 400 students in grades 9 to 12 and field at least 10 varsity sports teams. Newcomer Voyager Academy was eligible this year for the first time.
Mick Mixon, the voice of the Carolina Panthers, kept the audience in stitches with his quips.
“As a student at Chapel Hill High School, I always hated students like you: volunteering for everything, messing up the Bell Curve,” he said. “I had a hard time explaining to my father why a C-plus was a good grade.”
But the evening had a serious side as club Chairman Jon Fletcher honored the late Willie Bradshaw who passed in March. Mr. Bradshaw was a longtime coach and administrator at Hillside and was the first black athletic director for Durham city/county schools.
He was a loyal Durham Sports Club member, and could always be seen in his favorite seat at a back table near the window.
Below are the remaining scholar-athletes, their college of choice if applicable and their highlights:
- Durham Academy
- Dekker (Dartmouth): five-time cross country conference champion and three-time state champion; state record holder in the 800 meters.
- Aaron Therien: played soccer, baseball and swam; DA’s 2012 Offensive Player of the Year in baseball.
- Durham School of the Arts
- Danielle Perry (East Carolina): basketball for three years and softball for four years; won the Coach’s Award in both sports; National Society of High School Scholars.
- Jack Leinbach (Tulane): golf, basketball and baseball; National Honor Society and AP Scholar with Distinction; awarded Premier Scholarship to Tulane
- Hillside High School
- Mya Webb (Davidson): cross country, volleyball and basketball; Superintendent’s A-honor roll entire high school, National Honor Society.
- Keith Beasley Jr. – see above
- Jordan High
- Jordyn Brown (UNC Charlotte): indoor and outdoor PAC-6 state champion in the high jump; team most outstanding player for three straight years.
- Isaac Nicchita (Duke): team captain in soccer; National Honor Society and AP Scholar of Distinction.
- N.C. Science & Math
- Caroline Liu – see above
- Nicholas Walker (UNC): state champion in cross country for past two years; all-conference in track and field; Superintendent’s Honor Roll and AP Scholar.
- Northern High School
- Sarah McAdon (UNC): four-year soccer all-conference and captain of swim team for four years; National Honor Society; Morehead-Cain Scholarship recipient.
- Leovic (Duke): played basketball, football and tennis, earning all-conference honors in all three; National Honor Society and AP Scholar Award.
- Riverside High School
- Leland MacDonald (Texas A&M): all-conference in tennis, cross country and track and field; AP Scholar, National Merit finalist, National Honor Society and Superintendent’s Honor Roll.
- Zachary Balleisen (Yale): tennis and swimming; AP Scholar, National Honor Society and valedictorian.
- Southern High School
- Candi Massey (N.C. Central): softball and A/B Honor Roll.
- Jeremy Griffis (U.S. Naval Academy): all-conference in football and 2013 state champion in 400 meters; National Honor Society and salutatorian.
- Voyager Academy
- Kinsey Blount (Brigham Young): all-conference in tennis, as well as conference player of the year; soccer, golf and swimming; National Honor Society.
- Josh Glazer (N.C. State): cross country for four years; AP Scholar and National Society of High School Scholars.