Taylor Brown didn't get a free trip to Disney World on Sunday night during the 2010 Lehigh Valley Soccer Scholar Athlete banquet, but he did walk away with the night's grand prize. Brown, of Moravian Academy, was named the scholar athlete for the 2010 season in front of a capacity crowd at the Fullerton Firehall in Whitehall.
The award came as a surprise for Brown, but shouldn't shock outsiders considering Moravian's penchant for cranking out the academically talented.
It marks the third time in head coach Bob Hartman's tenure at Moravian to crown his own scholar athlete, which comes as no surprise when you consider the pedigree of Moravian Academy students.
"They just have a great work ethic," said Hartman of Moravian's student body. "The kids don't fool around. After practice is done, they're doing homework. After their games, they're doing homework. Taylor is no exception to that. He was one of the hardest working players I've ever come across. He wasn't a big player on the field, but he was an inspiration to our guys to see someone of his size play so well and work so hard."
Brown, who stands at 5-foot-6, came up big on the night which featured PIAA Associate Executive Director Robert Lombardi as the guest speaker. Three new members of the Lehigh Valley Soccer Hall of Fame were also inducted, as Joseph Dueh, Jane Ervin and Gary Toth each found their place in local history.
But for Brown, finding his name atop the leader board was the biggest achievement he could have asked for.
"Being distinguished from such a large group of individuals is truly an honor," said Brown, who plans on studying in some realm of business at the University of Texas or at Boston College. "I was just really surprised to win, considering the quality of students that were apart of this."
Every school in and around the Lehigh Valley had a representative present and Brown distinguished himself from the pack of 40 candidates.
Moravian was knocked out of the district semifinals by Southern Lehigh following a 5-1 loss in November, but Brown hopes he can give it a shot in college as a walk-on.
"I would like to play again," he said, noting that Texas doesn't have a varsity program, "but obviously academics are the most important thing on my mind going forward. My father [Dan] has been a great influence on my life in the sport and outside of it and Moravian has helped me tremendously become the person I am today."
Local players that were up for nomination included Lehighton's Jason Addy, Northern Lehigh's Scott Bechtel, Northwestern's Austin Marich, Palmerton's David Kenion, Jim Thorpe's Mitchell Franko, Weatherly's Christian Ormiston and Pleasant Valley's Richard Forte.