Phs Senior Honored For Academic, Athletic Success

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Payson High School senior Brian Schwind has added another honor to his long list of accomplishments.

The accolade was given last week when the Arizona Interscholastic Association selected Schwind one of two finalists for the Class 1A-3A Scholar Athlete of the Year award.

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Brian Schwind, a defending state champion high jumper, has been named an Arizona Interscholastic Association Scholar Athlete award finalist. He will learn May 20 at an awards ceremony if he has been selected the 1A-3A winner.

The other finalist is Andrew Schroeder of Arizona Lutheran Academy in Phoenix.

"I was really surprised," he said. "I had no idea I would be a finalist."

Schwind will learn if he is the top award winner at the Everyday Heroes award gala to be held May 20 at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix.

Schwind will be accompanied to the Academy Awards-style show by his parents Bill and Chris Schwind.

As a finalist, the PHS honor student will be awarded prizes, a scholarship and an invitation to attend a VIP reception and celebration before the show.

The AIA Scholar Athlete of the Year award is intended to recognize outstanding senior girls and boys who have participated in a varsity athletic program for at least two years while maintaining a 3.75 or higher grade point average.

Also at the prestigious awards ceremony, the AIA will name the coach, administrator and athletic official of the year.

In addition to Schwind receiving the AIA award, he was named last fall an Arizona Wendy's High School Heisman state finalist.

Only 18 students from around the state received the prestigious honor.

Following Schwind's graduation in the spring, he plans to enroll at New York University as a pre-med student, with an eye toward someday working in sports medicine.

At Payson High, Schwind is an honor student who maintains a 3.86 grade point average while taking advanced placement classes.

Last fall, he achieved "Commendable" status in the National Merit Scholarship Program for attaining a score in the top 5 percent on the pre-SAT test.

"That's the elite of the elite," PHS counselor Don Heizer said. "Only the top 10 percent take the test and he was in the top five percent of those."

As a three-year varsity basketball letter winner, Schwind was the Longhorns' most proficient inside weapon the past two seasons.

The 6-foot-5-inch senior center/forward led the Longhorns in scoring with a 12.1 ppg game average. His shooting percentage of 56 percent was second on the team.

At the conclusion of the campaign, he was named All-East Region first team in a voting of coaches.

Schwind also excels in the jump events for the Longhorn track and field team.

In the spring of 2005 he was the Grand Canyon Region and Class 4A state champion high jumper, with a leap of 6 feet, 4 inches.

In addition to the high jump, Schwind was a state qualifier in the long jump, taking third in the GCR finals, with a personal best 20 feet, 6 inches.

He narrowly missed qualifying for state in the triple jump, finishing fourth at 40 feet, 9 inches.

Schwind will be battling for this second consecutive state high jump championship when the 3A finals are held May 12 and 13 at Mesa High School.

In addition to basketball and track, Schwind competed in cross country his senior year.

When not participating in sports or attending classes, Schwind finds time to serve as a peer counselor at PHS.

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