Among the morning announcements yesterday at St. Mary's was that one of its football players, Jason Gonos, had been named the grand-prize winner at the Baltimore Touchdown Club's 46th annual Scholar Athlete Award Dinner on Wednesday night.
"A lot of my teachers were aware of this award," Gonos, 18, said. "I was definitely pretty proud when they told me, that while someone else might have had a regional award, there had never been a grand prize winner at St. Mary's before."
He was pretty proud Wednesday night, too. Gonos said that as he sat at his table at Martin's West reading the bios on each of the 96 scholar-athletes, including those of the regional winners in the running for the $5,000 grand prize, he was struck by the achievements of the other athletes in the room.
"When they called my name, I was definitely surprised," said Gonos, the South Region winner. "And happy. The money will go toward helping to pay my tuition to college."
Each year the club honors the top student-athletes in the state and selects five regional winners for $3,000 scholarship awards. The grand-prize winner, selected from that group, is given an additional $5,000 grant. In all, 96 scholar-athletes were honored.
Gonos, 6 feet 1, 200 pounds, played fullback and linebacker for St. Mary's this past season. He was voted first-team All-Anne Arundel County and All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference and second team All-State and was the Baltimore Touchdown Club's Defensive Player of the Year.
The team captain, he led the way on and off the field, ranking No. 1 in his class. He's a National Honor Society member, a Maryland Distinguished Scholar, a Princeton Book Award Nominee and a top lacrosse player. He plans to play lacrosse at Harvard this fall.
The other regional winners were Kurt Herzog, Friends (North); Eric Franklin, Archbishop Curley (East); Adam Dulberger, Middletown (West); and Antwan Branch, Lake Clifton (Central).
Nearly 1,200 people attended the dinner. Dunbar and River Hill were honored as state champions with the Ben Eaton Award, named for the late Dunbar coach.
River Hill also was honored as the No. 1 team in The Baltimore Sun's football poll with the A. Paul Menton Award, named for the late sports editor of The Evening Sun.
Doug DuVall, the recently retired Wilde Lake coach, received the chapter's Herb Armstrong Service to Football Award.
Nominees are listed on PG 2.