THE FLATS – Junior Bria Matthews highlighted Georgia Tech track and field’s four honorees as a semifinalist for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Scholar of the Year awards on Wednesday. Senior Alex Grady and junior Jeanine Williams also received first- and second-team recognition, respectively, while senior Angelica Henderson was named an honorable mention.
Inspired by tennis legend Arthur Ashe, Jr.’s commitment to education and excellence on the tennis court, the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence and community activism as well as athletic ability. To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate sport, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher, be at least a sophomore academically and be active on their campuses or in their communities.
Receiving her second semifinalist award, Matthews is an electrical engineer at Georgia Tech who currently sports a 3.92 GPA. Despite not competing this outdoor season due to an injury, the 2016 all-American jumper and ACC Freshman of the Year holds 28 top-10 finishes for her career, as well as three school records. Her 2016 highlights include a career-long leap of 6.47 meters in the long jump to finish fourth and a personal best mark of 13.73 meters in the triple jump at the ACC Outdoor Championships.
Off the field, Matthews has volunteered with Girls on the Run for three years, participated in service trips with Jackets without Borders in Costa Rica and completed a Fellowship of Christian Athletes mission trip to the Dominican Republic. In addition to her 2017 Arthur Ashe Scholar Semifinalist nod, she was also named an Opportunity Research Scholar student.
Grady has displayed a tireless worth ethic in the community and on the track for four years at Georgia Tech. In addition to the Arthur Ashe Award, the CoSIDA Haier Achievement Award and the Peach of an Athlete Role Model Award, Grady has also been a leader for both the cross country and track and field programs. The Covington, Ga., native broke his own school record in the 2000-meter steeplechase in 2018 and is the men’s standout 3000-meter steeplechase runner as well. En route to 24 top-10 finishes for his career, Grady has also earned a 3.63 GPA in his mechanical engineering degree.
Williams has turned in an impressive performance on the track, in the classroom and in the community. After running the fourth-fastest 60-meter hurdle time in the country and 22nd-fastest time in the world, the junior took her 8.02 resume into the ACC Indoor Championships to win her first-career conference title. A first-team all-ACC selection and two-time ACC Performer of the Week, she also earned second-team all-America honors, all while maintaining a 4.0 fall GPA in her biochemistry major.
In the community, Williams has been an avid Girls on the Run volunteer while also working with the Michael Isenhour Toy Drive. The three-time letterwinner was also a 2017 Tower Award recipient.
Henderson was tabbed an honorary mention for her work on and off the track. The senior sprinter has recorded 13 top-10 finishes just this year, including two first-place finishes as central member of 4x400 relay team. A numerous time Dean’s List member, Henderson also represents track and field on Georgia Tech’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board as chair of the volunteer committee. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native has been a leader with Girls on the Run as well as worked for years in the St. Jude’s recovery center as a mentor and role model.
The Yellow Jackets will finish exams and jump right into the postseason, taking 22 top-10 conference performances into the ACC Outdoor Championships on May 10-12 in Miami, Fla.