Bradford, Garrott win 2023 Tip Colley Award

Published 11:10 am Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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Pike Liberal Arts School seniors KC Bradford and Sarah Garrott were named the male and female recipients of the 32nd Annual J.O. Tip Colley Scholastic Christian Athletic Award at the annual award’s banquet at the Troy SportsPlex on Monday.

The award is presented annually, by the Troy Exchange Club, to a senior student-athlete in Pike County in honor of the late Dr. J.O. “Tip” Colley and goes to both male and female students that embody what the Troy Exchange Club emphasizes that Colley stood for: faith, academic, athletics and community.

Troy Exchange Club member Jerry Miller speaks at the 2023 Tip Colley Award Banquet.

“It truly is an honor just to be nominated,” Troy Exchange Club member Jerry Miller said. “This is not an award that you can just go get an application and fill out. You have to be nominated for this award by someone who sees something different in you that you’ve accomplished during your career.

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“I tell people that this is not an academic award or an athletic award. In fact, rarely is it the best athlete or best student that wins. It’s that individual that is well-rounded, the most-rounded in all facets of their life; academics, faith, athletics, community involvement and interactions in their school. All of those things factor into it.”

This year’s nominees included 24 students from Goshen, Charles Henderson, Pike Liberal Arts, Pike County and New Life Christian Academy. Representing Goshen was Haleigh Qualls, Brady Singleton, Kaci Wilkes and Jayleigh Adair. Representing Charles Henderson was Olivia Kirkpatrick, Blake Barron, Aeriel Frazier, Will Templin and Hannah Sparrow. Representing Pike Lib was KC Bradford, Brooklyn Fountain, Cade Renfroe, Caroline Senn, Briann Snyder, Sarah Garrott, Davis Kilcrease, Haley O’Brien, Bella Maulden, Tate Gardner and Molly Jordan. Representing Pike County was Kemel Floerws, Ian Foster and Kristin Head. Representing New Life Christian Academy was Ciara Laird.

Ever year a special speaker is brought in to to speak at the banquet and this year, Troy Head Coach Jon Sumrall – fresh off a Sun Belt Conference Championship – spoke to the nominees in attendance.

Troy Football Coach Jon Sumrall was the guest speaker at the 2023 Tip Colley Banquet.

“The list of accomplishments that I just heard listed off sounds like the resume of people that are a lot older than 17-18 years old,” Sumrall said to the nominees. “I’m very, very impressed and you have a lot to be proud of.”

Sumrall spoke about his football program’s core values to those in attendance but also issued a challenge to the nominees.

“John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, said that, ‘the true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.’ It’s easy in the spotlight,” Sumrall said. “It’s easy when the lights are on, it’s easy in your situations – as student-athletes – on Friday nights or at basketball games or whatever that environment is for you. The true test is what you do when no one is watching.

“What I challenge you with is when you go into whatever is next in your life, for some of you that is staying here locally and going to Troy, it still won’t be the same exact way as it was at home. Some of you going far away, it will definitely change. Do not succumb to the temptation of changing who your character is. Be the same, stay the course, do what has gotten you where you are and don’t give in. Know what you stand for. I challenge you to continue to be people of high character.”

The runner-up for each award receives $500 and the winner for each award receives a $1,000 cash scholarship. For the first time in the award’s history there was a tie for runner-up on the male side. Additionally, Troy University plans to match the winners’ scholarship if they choose to attend Troy.

Goshen’s Kaci Wilkes was the female runner-up.

This year’s female runner up was Goshen’s Kaci Wilkes. Wilkes is a senior at Goshen High School. She is the daughter of Chris and Sherry Wilkes. The family attends Hephzibah Baptist Church, where she is a VBS and Sunday school teacher along with working in the nursery.

In school, Wilkes is NHS Secretary, SGA Secretary and SGA Public Relations. She is also Miss Goshen and is on the Chancellor’s List as a dual enrollment student. She is a member of Peer Helpers, FBLA and the Class Ring Committee.

Wilkes is a captain on the cheerleading squad and UCA All-American. She is also a member of the Goshen volleyball team, where she earned All-Messenger and Messenger Volleyball Player of the Year honors, and is a member of the Goshen softball team. She serves in the community as a Pike County Junior Ambassador, youth softball coach and volunteers for food drives. Wilkes will attend Troy University.

The female winner was Sarah Garrott. Garrott is a senior at Pike Liberal Arts School and is the daughter of Brad and Erica Garrott. The family attends Banks Baptist Church, where she is a VBS teacher, assistant music leader and works in the outreach program, nursery and nursing home.

The female Tip Colley Award recipient was Pike Lib’s Sarah Garrott.

Garrott is the PLAS Valedictorian and class vice president. She also serves as NHS secretary and SGA scrapbook editor. She’s a member of the Scholars Bowl, Math Team, HOBY and is the class historian. She is the Farm City Youth of the Year and is a dual enrollment student.

Garrott is also the community service organizer for Interact Club and is president of Twilighter Club along with being a member of Patriot Pal, Excel Club, Calculus Club, Spanish Club, Government Club, Economics Club and Drama Club. Garrott is the captain of the PLAS cheer squad and is a two-time state champion and was UCA Camp Champion along with winning the Lauren Austin Award.

In the community, Garrott volunteers with Operation Xmas Child, Salvation Army, First Responders Breakfast, Turkeys from Heaven and Hospital Blessings. Garrott will attend Auburn University.

“I am so thankful to be able to get this award,” Garrott said. “I’m so grateful and excited about it.”

For the boys, the runners-up were Goshen’s Brady Singleton and Charles Henderson’s Will Templin.

Goshen’s Brady Singleton, center, was one of two male runners-up.

Singleton is a senior at Goshen. He is the son of Keith and Kristen Singleton. The family attends Hephzibah Baptist Church, where he is a part of the youth group, Children’s Church and Operation Xmas Child. He also serves as sound and lights technician.

In school, Singleton is a member of NHS, STEM Academy, HOBY, Beta Club and is a U.S. Space and Rocket Scholar. He has already received his associate’s degree and was on the Chancellor’s List as a dual enrollment student. Singleton is also a member of the robotics team and the ALFA Farmers Federation.

He is a member of the cross country and track team. He qualified and has competed at the state meet in cross country. He serves in the community with Turkeys from Heaven, Pike County Juniors Ambassadors and Troy University Drama Club. Singleton will attend Auburn University.

Templin is a senior at Charles Henderson High School. He is the son of Bobby and Heather Templin. The family attends Collegedale Church of Christ, where Templin is a member of Lads to Leaders, Bible Bowl, VBS and Youth Group. He also is audiovisual leader.

Charles Henderson’s Will Templin, center, was the other male runner-up.

Academically, Templin is a member of CHHS Boys State, NHS, Beta Club and Pike County Junior Ambassadors. He also was the recipient of the Demario Harris Character Award and Mr. CHHS. He is an office aide at the high school and is a member of the Interact Club and Twenty-One Club. He’s is the president of Trojan Ambassadors.

Templin is a captain of both the CHHS football and baseball teams. Templin was a part of a state runner-up football team. He volunteers with Backpack Buddies, Miracle League and Collegedale School Supply Giveaway. Templin will attend Gadsden State on a baseball scholarship.

Bradford was the winner of the award on the male side. Bradford is a senior at Pike Liberal Arts School. He is the son of David and Melissa Bradford. The family attends Southside Baptist Church, where he is Small Group Leader and a member of the Youth Council, Children’s Church Operation Xmas Child, choir, drama and is an offering bearer and usher.

Bradford is the team MVP and captain of the PLAS football team and was a member of two state championship teams. He was a Blue-Gray All-American and All-Messenger. He was a captain on the basketball team and is a two-time state champion with the PLAS baseball team, as well as earning all-state honors in baseball.

Pike Lib’s KC Bradford was the 2023 male winner of the Tip Colley Award.

Academically, Bradford is Pike’s salutatorian and a member of the NHS and SGA, where he serves a chaplain in both. He’s also the president of the Calculus Club and a Bryant-Jordan Scholarship nominee. He took part in Boys State and Space Academy and won the Heisman High School Award along with being on the Chancellor’s List as a dual enrollment student.

In the community, Bradford is a Pike County Junior Ambassador and contributes to the Special Olympics, Miracle League, Turkeys from Heaven, American Legion Veterans and Fireman’s Breakfast. He is also a member of the Historical Society. Bradford will attend Troy University, where he will play football.

“I was very thankful and appreciative of this,” Bradford said. “This award, I really don’t know what to say, I’m just honored, and like Coach Sumrall was talking about character, to be up there with all these nominees – in this room full of great people – is very special and I’m very honored tow in this award.”

Bradford is also a legacy of the award as his mother, Melissa (Thompson) Bradford, was the 1992 female winner.

“It’s coming back full circle and trying to fill her shoes a little bit and make her proud,” Bradford said. “That’s always what I want to do, make my family proud.”