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(Enlarge) John Carroll School's Brian Hunt, left and Fallston High School's Christina Conrad were awarded this year's $5000 Al Cesky Scholarships. (Matt Button | Aegis staff)

Updated at 5 p.m., Thursday, May 19.

On Wednesday night, 24 Harford County high school athletes, their families, teachers and administrators got out their suits and dresses and packed into Abingdon’s Richlin Ballroom for the 26th annual Al Cesky Scholarship Awards Banquet.

At the conclusion of the event, two students among the 24, all of whom were selected because of their outstanding performance in the classroom and on the athletic fields, were named as the recipients of the night’s biggest prize, a pair of $5,000 college scholarships.

Taking home the scholarships this year were Fallston’s Christina Conrad, and Brian Hunt, of the John Carroll School.

Both Hunt and Conrad, who were asked to say a few words after they were announced as the winners, said they had prepared speeches, but neither was sure they would have to use them.

“I had something ready, yes,” Conrad said. “But I definitely wasn’t expecting ever to have to read it. There’s so many students here, and I thought everyone else had such great resumes also, so I was really honored to win it.”

“It was right before the [announcements], when we were eating dinner, I wrote some quick notes down, just in case I got called up to say my thank you’s,” Hunt said.

“I wasn’t even thinking about winning the big [scholarship]. I was happy to have gotten the $2,000, because that’s going to help out a lot. It didn’t really even cross my mind, winning the $5,000.”

The Al Cesky Scholarship, named in honor of the man who served Harford County for 30 years as a teacher, coach, vice principal and athletic director, has been awarded since 1986, the year following Cesky’s death.

Each year, after receiving letters from applicants, the Al Cesky Scholarship Fund’s selection committee picks one male and one female student from each school based on their academic and athletic achievements, service toward others, financial need and adherence to “the spirit and principles of sportsmanship and personal responsibility.”

The students who are not awarded $5,000 each receive a $2,000 scholarship.

Conrad, who plans to study engineering at Drexel University starting this fall, finished second among Fallston’s graduating seniors, is a member of the National Honor Society, and is a Maryland Distinguished Scholar selection.

On the athletic field, Conrad earned four varsity letters as a member of the most successful high sports program in Harford County history, the Fallston field hockey team, which won three straight Maryland titles, and four consecutive regional titles during Conrad’s tenure.

“Being on that team definitely impacted who I am, and what I’ve done,” Conrad said. “I have a lot of role models [on the field hockey team] that I look up to: my coaches, players that played in the past. It was great to be part of such a good team.”

An All-State and All-Harford field hockey selection during her junior and senior years, Conrad also found success on the tennis court, where she was a regional champion in the girls doubles event, and a member of the The Aegis’ All-Harford team.

Hunt, a National Honor Society member, as well as a National Scholar Athlete, has been a standout on the football field and the track.

As a football player, Hunt has been the Patriots’ starting cornerback since his freshman season, and was selected for The Aegis All-Harford first-team, and the All-MIAA team at the conclusion of the 2010 season. A captain of both the indoor and outdoor track teams, Hunt had brought home MIAA medals in the long jump, 400-meter dash, and 4 x 400-meter relay.

Following graduation this June, Hunt, who will have finished with first honors from John Carroll, said he will most likely attend the University of Maryland at College Park, and study architecture there.

“I have to thank my parents, most of all,” Hunt said after Wednesday’s banquet. “They’ve pushed me and supported me the whole time. They’ve had a huge impact on my life, so they would be the people I’d have to thank first.”

The students awarded the $2,000 scholarship are: Havre de Grace’s Travonn Bond; Edgewood’s Molly Gallagher; C. Milton Wright’s Greg Caspero; Harford Christian’s Allyson Heatwole; Harford Tech’s Jeff Dickens; Havre de Grace’s Candace Knight; Patterson Mill’s Jess Martin; North Harford’s Benjamin Miller; North Harford’s Michelle Meeder; Harford Christian’s Josh Petty; Bel Air’s Kathryn Merrick; Patterson Mill’s A.J. Pieffer; C. Milton Wright’s Rachel Neff; Joppatowne’s Mustafa Sidik; John Carroll’s Allison Siegel; Bel Air’s Tyler Szekalski; Harford Tech’s Anna Spiropoulos; Edgewood’s Alex Windsor; Aberdeen’s Emily Whittie; Aberdeen’s Deen Wright; Joppatowne’s Tyanna Whyte; and Fallston’s Bryce Yapps.

The earlier version of this story incorrectly gave the amount of the $2,000 scholarships.

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