Pam Toth and Dan Bowers never thought they had a chance.
But Wednesday night at the Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood, the Fallston seniors received top honors -- $5,000 scholarships -- at the eighth annual Al Cesky Scholarship Awards Banquet.
"It was a real shock for two Fallston people to win with so many great athletes and students there," said Toth, who will use the money to attend James Madison University. "Dan and I talked about it at school, and we thought anybody could have had a chance."
Since the scholarships were first awarded, however, Fallston athletes have dominated -- winning seven of the 16 grand prizes. Fallston also swept both awards in 1990.
Despite their amazement at winning, Toth and Bowers have full resumes that include outstanding academic accomplishments, extensive community service and numerous extracurricular activities.
Toth, who plans a career in medicine, stands sixth academically in a class of 192. Named to the distinguished honor roll 14 straight quarters, the National Honor society member was a Maryland Distinguished Scholar semifinalist. Editor of the school paper, she was nominated for the Amateur Athletic Union/Mars Milky Way High School All-American Award.
Co-captain of three sports, Toth received All-County honors in soccer and basketball this year. She led the basketball team in scoring while helping the Cougars to the state final four for the second straight year. Last spring, she won a gold medal in the 1,600-meter relay at the state championship track meet.
Bowers, who plans to major in environmental science, ranks in the top 24 percent of the class and made the honor roll every semester. His extracurricular activities include cabinet member of the Student Executive Council and former treasurer of Students Against Drunk Driving.
Named second-team All-County in soccer, Bowers helped the Cougars to the state title last fall. Also named All-County in lacrosse last spring, he captained both teams this year.
The awards honor former Bel Air High football and baseball coach Al Cesky, who was supervisor of physical education and athletics in Harford County after his coaching days. He 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.
This year's $500 winners were: Lanell Ward and Zack Fowl, Aberdeen; Jen Emig and Timothy Hintz, Bel Air; Julie Jakum and Chad Boyle, C. Milton Wright; Nicole Chmura and Jim Morrison, Edgewood; Jen Kreisel, Harford Christian; Jason Snyder, Harford Tech; Kerrie Bauer and James Jenkins, Havre de Grace; Amy Dean and Jeff Raymond, John Carroll; Crystal Carr and Chris Carr, Joppatowne; and Chrissy Pardew and Chris Mills, North Harford.