Carly Bivens and Ty Long Nguyen are more than just athletes.
The Bel Air field hockey star and the Edgewood wrestler boast jam-packed resumes that include outstanding academic accomplishments, extensive community service and extracurricular activities.
That variety of involvement earned Bivens and Nguyen top honors -- $5,000 scholarships each -- at the the seventh annual Al Cesky Scholarship Awards Banquet Wednesday night at the Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood. Both will use the money to attend the University of Maryland at College Park this fall.
The award honors former Bel Air High football and baseball coach Al Cesky, who served as supervisor of physical education and athletics in Harford after his coaching days. Cesky died of a heart attack in 1985.
Soon after Cesky's death, former players, friends and associates formed the Al Cesky Scholarship Fund Inc., which presents the $5,000 scholarships annually to two Harford County seniors, one girl and one boy. Awards of $500 each are presented to finalists representing each school in the county.
The grand prize winners are chosen by the scholarship fund's selection committee on the basis of athletics, academics, community service, sportsmanship and financial need.
Bivens and Nguyen were selected from a field so impressive that both thought they had little chance to win.
"It was just so close," said Nguyen, who was named to the Maryland State Wrestling Association State All-Star team this year. "When I was nominated, I thought maybe I had a slim chance. Then I saw the other people and I thought there was no chance. They were all great athletes with great community service. Everyone was so close."
Bivens fought back tears during her acceptance speech. "I can't believe it," she said later. "I never thought I had a chance."
Bivens, an All-County field hockey player, was also captain of the Bobcats' hockey and lacrosse teams. She has carried straight A's through her senior year and ranks eighth academically in a class of 250. A member of the National Honor Society, she was class treasurer, a three-year member of the Student Government Association and worked on the yearbook staff.
Bivens, who plans to study physical therapy, also volunteers for the Special Olympics and at a soup kitchen. She wishes more of her peers would donate their time.
"Teen-agers should volunteer a lot more," said Bivens, a Distinguished Honor Roll member for three years. "I always like ,, to volunteer and be involved in different organizations. We had some problems with our SGA this year, and what we need is more kids to come forward and be involved."
Nguyen's resume is similar to Bivens'. He ranks seventh scholastically among 198 in his class. He has been class president since the eighth grade and served last year as president of the Harford County SGA. Born in South Vietnam, Nguyen has been news editor of the school paper for two years. Also a Peer Helper, he tutors classmates and volunteers for Edgewood High food and blood drives. He also sets up wrestling tournaments for the Edgewood Parks and Recreation Council.
Nguyen, as well as Bivens, seemed to thrive on so much activity. "Many times I didn't think I could do it," said Nguyen. "You have to push yourself. That's what I hope all students would do. I just enjoy all these things so much."
The winners had something else in common, too: They needed the scholarship money.
"I was just down at College Park today applying for everything I could," said Nguyen. "I'm in search of money, but this really helps out a lot."
The other nominees, who received $500 scholarships, were: Greg Cooper and Kim Haker, C. Milton Wright; Jennifer Francis and Tim Miller, Joppatowne; Jake Hollin and Jenny Lund, John Carroll; Carty Ingram and Kimberly McCleary, Harford Christian; Tammy Kloiber and Brett Seidel, Fallston; Chris Kloss and Valerie Phipps, North Harford; Paul Melton and Betty Piner, Harford Tech; Amy Moxey and Matt Slutzky, Aberdeen; Karen Romanelli and Sami Zaman, Havre de Grace; Rob Smallwood, Bel Air; and Cindy Sotaski, Edgewood.