May 16, 2013 9:45:38 AM
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- Phil Fikes doesn't consider himself a "jock."
That moniker is typically used to label individuals who are more accomplished in athletics that in the classroom.
As a member of the Pickens Academy football, boys basketball, and baseball teams, Fikes fits that description. But he, Marion Colvin, and Elisabeth Hankins have shown that athletes can accomplish just as much in the classroom as the can on a court or on a field.
The Alabama Independent School Association agrees, which is why Fikes, Colvin, and Hankins recently were honored with the AISA's Student-Athlete Awards. The honor recognizes athletic and academic achievement.
"It is rare to have three people from one school, so it is cool to be a part of that," Fikes said. "It is nice to get recognized for what you do because they see you doing well on the field and they say, 'That is a jock.' It is nice to be honored for what you do in the classroom, too."
Fikes plans to concentrate on general studies at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Ala. His goal is to transfer to the University of Alabama, where he would like to study pre-law. This past season, Fikes led the Pickens Academy baseball team with 18 RBIs. He also hit .314 and had seven doubles in splitting time as a first baseman and a pitcher.
To earn recognition, students must have earned 24 hours or more units of credit, they must be in advanced curriculum, and must have participated in two or more sports in grades nine through 12 with a minimum of two years in AISA schools.
Fikes, Colvin, and Hankins have grown accustomed to juggling the demands of being multi-sport athletes and top-notch students. Colvin, a transfer from Central Academy in Macon, and Hankins have been mainstays on the schools girls basketball and fast-pitch softball teams.
"At times, it gets hard to balance, but I can't sleep at night if I don't have my schoolwork done," Colvin said. "I also have to practice as hard as I can. You just have to find that balance. You kind of get used to it because there are so many sports and you never really get a break from it. I guess it has just become my lifestyle, school and sports."
In January, Colvin signed a scholarship to play softball at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Called a "workhorse in basketball" and a "workaholic in softball" by Pickens Academy girls basketball and softball coach Wade Goodman, Colvin has pushed herself to strive for the highest levels in the classroom.
Hankins, who will be a student at the University of Alabama in the fall, admitted to being a little surprised that Pickens Academy received three award winners. Like Colvin and Fikes, she said she puts a lot of pressure on herself to make good grades and to perform on the field or on the court.
"It is just what is expected," Hankins said. "I know I am going to do my schoolwork, and I know I am going to everything I can to do my best on the field. Whether I get home at a decent hour or not, I am going to get it all done. I just have gotten used to it."
Fikes shares that sentiment. That shouldn't be surprising because all three have what it takes to excel in academics and in athletics.
"At the end of the day, if my grades aren't good I am kind of upset with myself, too," Fikes said. "(That attitude) was instilled in me as a child. Growing up, I played Dixie Youth Baseball, but grades always came first, so it just didn't just happen when I came to high school."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.