Neither Claire Ford of Notre Dame Prep nor Matt Stambaugh of Eastern Tech sought the spotlight in their high school sports careers.
On Monday night, however, both seniors found themselves literally bathed in it at the 74th Annual McCormick Unsung Heroes Awards in Hunt Valley.
Ford, who switched from shooting guard to point guard her senior year of basketball, and Stambaugh, who excelled as a guard in football despite his 5-foot-9, 165-pound frame, each were named winners of the event's crowning prize, the Charles Perry McCormick Scholarship, worth $36,000 over four years.
The two were among 113 seniors from 72 schools nominated for the award, which annually goes to a male football player and female basketball player who demonstrate "unselfish team play" and "contribute substantially to the success of their teams without receiving acclaim."
Ford, who plans to attend Maryland, helped her team to eight wins last season after giving up the glory of scoring to become her team's primary distributor. Winning this scholarship, however, gave her more time in the spotlight than she ever anticipated.
"I was shaking," Ford said. "I knew there were over 100 other fitting candidates. This is just really exciting."
NDP coach Katie Marks praised Ford for "her work ethic and her selfless attitude, despite almost always being the smallest person on the court."
Stambaugh, whose Eastern Tech team finished 5-5 last season, was equally shocked.
He said he never saw being small in stature as an obstacle in the trenches.
"It's just all about the technique," said Stambaugh, who plans to attend Stevenson. "It doesn't matter about your size. If you have the technique, you can do it."
"He probably will not play college football, but he will be an excellent father, son and community member for the rest of his life, and everyone that has been associated with him will be a better person," Mavericks coach Marc Mesaros said.
Player nominations came from coaches or athletic directors, and were then blindly evaluated by an independent judging panel.
Nominees for the 2014 Unsung Heroes Awards
Archbishop Curley: Football - Morgan McColgan
Archbishop Spalding: Basketball - Alexis Rowland, Football - Zachary Hill
Baltimore City College: Basketball - Koraan Sydnor, Football - Terrill Heath, Jr.
Baltimore Lutheran: Basketball - Catherine Bruzdzinski, Football - Tyler Woolsey
Baltimore Polytechnic Institute: Basketball - Jasmine Smith, Football - Dashaun Horshaw
Benjamin Franklin, Masonville Cove: Basketball - Raneshia Galloway
Bluford Drew Jemison: Football - Kyron Wallace
Boys' Latin: Football - Michael Whitehurst
Bryn Mawr: Basketball - Alexa Philippou
Calvert Hall:Football - Nicholas Auvil
Carver A&T: Basketball - Kristina Brown
Carver Vo-Tech: Basketball - Tyearna Fullard, Football - Ian Anderson
Catholic High: Basketball - Courtney Torbeck
Catonsville: Basketball - Breya Wallace
Chesapeake-BC: Basketball - Taylor Barnett, Football - Nate Montgomery
Digital Harbor: Basketball - Jennifer Jones, Football - Wayne Smith, Jr.
Dulaney: Basketball - Francesca Brancati, Football - Blaik Thompson
Dunbar: Basketball - Leslie Ann James, Football - Eddie Nelson
Dundalk: Basketball - Saeida DeJesus, Football - Shane Dial
Eastern Tech: Football - Matt Stambaugh
Edmondson: Football - Taje Langston
Forest Park: Basketball - Shaunta Brown, Football - Daquan Ritch
Franklin: Basketball - Precious Ross, Football - Alexander Webb
Frederick Douglass: Football - Darnell Edwards, Jr.
Friends: Basketball- Rose Woolson, Football - Charlie Emrich
FAET: Football - Keith Luck, Jr.
Garrison Forest: Basketball - Luci Shepherd
Gilman: Football - Dale Waters
Hereford: Basketball - Kendra Herbenar, Football - Wyatt Bosley
Institute of Notre Dame: Basketball - Brooke Fields
John Carroll: Basketball - Haley Kyger, Football - Andrew Reininger
Kenwood: Basketball - Starr Speller, Football - Davin Harris
Lake Clifton: Basketball - Elexis Faulkner, Football - Corey Claybon, Jr.
Lansdowne: Basketball - Miranda Ritter, Football - Brian Voyce
Loch Raven: Basketball - Courtney Genovese, Football - Robert Lease
Loyola: Football - Tommy Baird
Maritime Industries: Football - Shakyrys Charles
Maryvale: Basketball - Kalyn Crocetti
McDonogh: Basketball - Maya Wynn, Football - Dan Tiberii
Mercy : Basketball - Kristina Bayton
Mervo: Basketball - Jasmine Henley, Football - Joshua Holley
Milford Mill: Basketball - Krishea Thompson, Football - Rashawd Thompson
Mount de Sales: Basketball - Anne Tavera
Mount Saint Joseph: Football - Shane Lowman
National Academy Foundation: Basketball - Keehyn Fields, Football - Kieron Robinson
New Town: Basketball - Tiana Davis, Football - DaMarco Spears
Northwestern: Basketball - Shantae Byro, Football - Kali Tyree
Notre Dame Prep: Basketball - Claire Ford
Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Football - Kody Dietsch
Overlea: High Basketball - Meaira McPherson, Football - Ibn Moore
Owings Mills: Basketball - Briana Forbes, Football - Ja Juan Rhue
Parkville: Basketball - Catherine Nicholl, Football - Key Dennis
Patapsco: Basketball - Savannah Clough, Football - Brandon Benner
Patterson: Basketball - Tanesha Smith, Football - Mackramat Egborebhe
Perry Hall: Basketball - Stephanie Roche, Football - Patrick Whitty
Pikesville:Basketball - Nicole Elover, Football - Jay Shaw
Randallstown: Basketball - D'Anna Dawson, Football - Rashid Tallie
Reginald F. Lewis: Basketball- Mela nie Dodd, Football - Alexander Bullock
Roland Park: Basketball - Tatyana Carter
Seton Keough: Basketball - Caitlin Alley
Severn: Basketball - Lauren Manning, Football - Brian Dennin
Southwestern High: Basketball - Angel Williams, Football - Darius Thorpe
Sparrows Point: Basketball - Kelsey Baumgart, Football - Christopher Byrd, Jr.
St. Frances: Football - Justin Rogers
St. Mary's: Basketball - Maria Sanchez, Football - Hunter Sears
St. Paul's: Football - Henry Ford
St. Timothy's: Football - Morgan Berman
Towson: Basketball - Aylish Ptak, Football - Davey Thomas
W.E.B. DuBois: Football - Terry Brown
Western: Basketball - Maya Lee
Western Tech: Basketball - Sheena McKnight, Football - Sean Bhatia
Woodlawn: Basketball - Dorshera Queen, Football - Xavier BrooksCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun