Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Although area high schools have closed their classrooms and athletic facilities for the remainder of the spring semester due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, a Glencoe High senior recently received a bit of good news.
Anna Beth Giles (pictured above) was selected as the Bryant-Jordan Foundation’s Class 3A, Region 6 Scholar-Athlete. Along with 51 other high school seniors across the state, Giles will receive $3,500 scholarships for college. The state Bryant-Jordan winners will be announced April 13.
“I was very excited when I found out,” said Giles, who signed with Birmingham Southern College for basketball in January. “The competition was strong, so it feels good. I definitely need all the scholarship money I can get!”
Named after University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and Auburn University football coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan, the Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Program awards college scholarships to high school senior student-athletes from 52 regions across Alabama. The Scholar-Athlete Award honors high school seniors who are both superior athletes and outstanding students. Selection considerations include scholastic standing, sport involvement, athletic honors, student leadership and civic/church leadership.
Giles scored a 32 on her ACT super score and currently maintains a 4.0 grade point average on an AP track. She earned the Highest GPA awards in Pre-Calculus (2019), Honors Chemistry (2018), Honors English 10 (2018) and Honors Geometry (2017). She also was Class Secretary for 2019-2020 and Junior Class Vice President for 2018-2019. She is a member of the school Key Club, BETA Club, Junior Civitan and Family Career and Community Leaders of America as well as a member of the Etowah County Chamber of Commerce Student Leadership Council for 2018-2019.
“I was really upset when they cancelled spring sports,” said Giles. “We were supposed to be really good in soccer this year and had the potential to have the best team is school history. In track, we were supposed to be really good in our 4×400 and 4×800 relays. It was also sad because it was the last time that I would be playing with my sister [Katie, who is a freshman].”
Ironically, Giles’ senior seasons of soccer and outdoor track ended shortly before the Coronavirus shutdown. In an area soccer game against Donoho on March 12, Giles injured her kneecap after colliding with a Donoho player in the first minute of the game.
“I didn’t tear anything, but sometimes [the kneecap] pops out and slides around,” she said. “I’ll eventually need surgery, but it won’t be anything major. I should be fully recovered by the time basketball practice starts (in October).”
Giles acknowledged the sacrifices she made in order to maintain her academic and athletic success.
“You don’t have time to do what you want to do because you have to study after games and late practices, but it definitely was worth it.”
With Giles in the starting lineup since her freshman year, the Glencoe High varsity girls basketball team went 79-39 while finishing as the Northeast Regional Tournament runner-up the past two seasons. 2019-20 was the third straight year in which the Lady Yellow Jackets won at least 20 games.
Giles averaged 12.3 points, four rebounds, 4.5 assists and four steals this year as Glencoe finished the regular season as the ninth-ranked team in Class 3A. She and her fellow seniors have a 67 percent career winning percentage.
As a junior in 2018-19, Giles averaged 14 points, 5.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds while helping the Lady Yellow Jackets post a 21-9 record, win a county tournament championship and qualify for a third straight regional tournament berth. She was the area tournament MVP, a Class 3A All-State third team selection and was Player of the Year on the All-Messenger girls basketball team as well as a three-time All-Etowah County Schools team selection. For her career, Giles has accumulated 1,327 points, 526 rebounds, 439 steals and 450 assists.
In cross country, Giles is a four-time All-Etowah County selection and a four-time qualifier for AHSAA state meet.
See Glencoe – page 6A
In outdoor track, Giles and her 4×800-meter relay teammates won the third-place bronze medal at the 2010 state meet in Cullman. She won the sectional meet gold medals in the 300-meter hurdles in 2018 and the 4×400-meter relay in 2019. At the Etowah County meet, she finished first in the 300-meter hurdles in both 2019 and 2018 and the 4×400-meter relay in 2019, 2018 and 2017.
“When I looked at the [Bryant-Jordan Scholarship] application form and saw what all Anna Beth has accomplished as a 17 or 18-year old, I was in awe,” said GHS girls head basketball coach Jamie Barkley. “She’s very well-deserving. I always knew what to expect from her on the court, in the classroom and out in public. She leads our team well on and off the court. There were so many times during games when I told Anna Beth that I needed something done, and she went back out there and did it.
“Anna Beth’s a go-getter that makes things happen in a positive way. I’ve seen her set goals and then go out and achieve them, and that will serve her very well in the future.”
Barkley noted that although the premature end to their athletic careers hurts at the present time, Giles and her fellow seniors will one day appreciate the life lessons currently being taught.
“There’s a lot of growth that comes from learning in a classroom, but the real-world practical things that these kids are now learning from the circumstances that they were put in will pay off down the road.”
This article was supplemented by ahsaa.com