2022 Guntersville High School graduate and para-athlete swimmer Gabe Marsh was selected as the 2023 national recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSH) earlier this week.
Gabe will be recognized on June 28 at the NFHS summer meeting in Seattle, Wash, for winning the award, which, according to the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) was created to “recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of educated-based athletics.” Gabe was nominated by AHSAA Executive Director Alan Briggs and AHSAA Communications Director Ron Ingram.
Gabe, who was born with no legs and only one arm, began swimming competitively for the Guntesrville Aquacats at age six. He has won titles at the state level for the AHSAA State Championship, as well as the Alabama Paralympics. During his four years in high school, he competed in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. His Paralympic experience includes competing in the 2017 Canada-U.S. Games and the 2018 National Championships. His goal is to make the U.S. Paralympic Team for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.
“I found out just last week, out of nowhere,” Gabe said. “I didn’t even know I was nominated. The guy who was announcing the award at the ceremony was the one who nominated me. There were 7 people up for it and when I was reading about the award and the nominees online, I didn’t think I was worthy of this award. I just didn’t think I should have been the one who won it. But I prayed about it and it’s just another opportunity to share the Word of God with everyone.”
Last April, Gabe was the recipient of the 2021-2022 Bryant-Jordan Achievement Student-Athlete of the Year Award. Gabe frequently shares his testimony with others through public speaking engagements. He plans to go to seminary at Highlands College in Birmingham after attending Snead State Community College, where he is currently finishing up his second semester.
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