SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - For 67 years, the Ashley Dearing Award has been one of the highest honors a male high school student-athlete in Chatham County can receive.
For this year’s winner, it’s a family tradition.
“There was definitely always pressure," said this year’s winner Gavin Stewart. "I’ve thought about it every year.”
But that pressure has also pushed Stewart to finally achieve his goal.
On Thursday, the Benedictine three-sport standout was named the 67th winner of the Ashley Dearing Award as Chatham County’s most versatile male athlete. It’s an honor his family is quite familiar with.
Stewart’s older brother, Brad, is a two-time Dearing Award winner. Gavin and Brad are now the first brother duo to claim the Dearing Award. His older sister Sarah twice won the Hollis Stacy Award as Chatham County’s most versatile female athlete.
“I would always hear stuff like, ‘Are you going to win it?’ and things like that," Stewart admits. “There was a lot of pressure on me and what I had to live up to. At the end of the day, I believe I lived up to it.”
Stewart led the Cadets to a pair of state soccer championships and also was a member of BC’s state football championship in 2016. He also played basketball for the Cadets.
The senior says winning this award was always a personal goal of his.
“That’s how it’s been every single year. I’ve wanted it more and more," he says. "It’s definitely something I’ve wanted for a long time.”
Stewart’s head football coach Danny Britt says the pressure Gavin put on himself to succeed is a big part of why he’s earned this award.
“That’s kind of the kid he is," Britt said. "He’s extremely driven, extremely conscientious. He wants to make sure he’s doing the absolute best he can do.”
After four years at Benedictine, Gavin will now head off to fulfill another Stewart sibling tradition as a college athlete. He’ll play football at Georgia Tech this fall just like his older brother Brad did years ago.
“Whatever way I can contribute to the team, I’m willing to do it," Stewart says. "That’s kind of the attitude I’m going up there with.”
Gavin will go to Tech as a Dearing Award winner and try to prove himself all over again.