News 12 This Morning/ Friday Nov. 8, 2013
(WRDW)--"I'm really thankful to be able to represent Aiken High and my team. I love my team," said Ashbrook Gwinn
High School senior Ashbrook Gwinn is talking about representing her school and cross country team.
She's just been announced as one of only two South Carolina state winners of the Wendy's High School Heisman award.
"I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it," she said. "It's really really exciting."
The award recognizes seniors who've excelled in athletics and academics.
Gwinn started at Aiken High this year for her senior year and she made such an impact that her coaches, faculty and staff nominated her.
"She came in as a captain," said Roger Carpenter, Gwinn's coach. "When she came in, it was a really big boost to our team and she's been a real leader helping us teach some of the younger girls that's inexperienced about running."
Gwinn's part of the top two runners in the state and third in her class, both factors that went into her being nominated.
And with AP classes on top of practice six days a week, she's no stranger to hard work.
"I wake up usually around 6:30 am and then I'm at school all day," Gwinn explained. "I know some seniors have early release, but I stay all day for AP Biology and then [go] straight to cross country."
She tells me her key to succeeding on and off the track is planning ahead.
"As long as I stay focused, I love to run and I love to do well on my school work so I have to make sure I'm focused at practice and then go straight to doing my homework and look out at my schedule a couple weeks beforehand," she explained.
And for other students working to balance school and athletics, Gwinn suggests turning to a support system.
"When you've found yourself in a really difficult class or race or a game just remember all the people who help you get where you are," she said.
As a Wendy's High School Heisman State Winner, Gwinn receives a silver medal as well as a Heisman Patch and a $50 Wendy's gift card.
And if she makes it to the next level, she'll be one of 12 national finalists and win $2000 for her school.