DAPHNE, Ala. – Daphne senior Lillie Yazdi has been recognized for her commitment to achievement on and off the field. The longtime varsity swimmer and assistant athletic trainer for the Trojans football program and other sports plans to study and focus on sports medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles. Yazdi also hopes to become part of UCLA’s intern programs and eventually work with the Bruins’ football team. While there, she also plans to eventually seek an internship with the NFL’s L.A. Chargers.
In what sport(s) do you participate and do you plan to continue in college?
Lillie Yazdi: I first started swimming when I was around four because my mom (Pari) wanted us to learn. After a few years she noticed it was something that my siblings and I were good at, so she signed us up for a team. I have been competitively swimming since I was about 6-years old. It was something I always did to keep me active and have something to do. I don't plan to swim in college because I never thought about doing it professionally, so I chose to focus on my academics when I do go to college.
What do you plan to major/concentrate in?
Lillie Yazdi: Since my freshman year in high school, I have been an athletic training assistant to my high school's football team. I was introduced to this program my first week of high school by my sports medicine teacher. Since then, I have worked at almost every single football practice and football on the sidelines. This helped to develop my love and passion for sports medicine and it is ultimately what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I am attending UCLA in the fall without a specific major yet. The main reason I am going to UCLA is because of the career opportunities that I can take advantage of. UCLA has its own sports medicine internship and so does the LA Chargers, my favorite NFL team. When going to school there, I am going to apply to both in hopes of getting one and continue my work with football.
What are you doing to stay in shape during this COVID-19 time out?
Lillie Yazdi: For the first few days, as any teenager does, I slept in, ate really bad, and did not get out of bed. After about a week or so, I realized how much I missed the feeling of being active. Now, I wake up every day and run from my house to school and back, which is about three miles. I then do around a 30-minute full body workout. There really is no need for me to do all this because I won't be a collegiate athlete, but my entire life had been focused on being active and that is a part of me that I will continue to do.
Who would you like to thank for helping you (in academics and athletics) get to this point?
Lillie Yazdi: I certainly would not be here without the help of any of my former swim coaches (I have had a lot!) and my parents for continuing to support my dreams and always being present at my events. I specifically owe my future and motivation to Alicia Cox, my sports medicine teacher. She gave me the guidance that lead to me having clarity on what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Without her, I have no idea where I would be going or what I would be doing right now.
Coach (Kenny) King is another huge figure in my life. Not only did he open his arms to me and allowed me to work with his program, but he was generous and trusting enough to allow me to be a part of the program as well and be a part of the team.
Because of that, I have developed life-long relationships with many of the players and coaches and it has caused me to truly know that I wasn't just some random girl down in the field doing little tasks, but I was someone that was included on the inside jokes, downfalls, and even got to pretend I was a player during practice one time. Even throughout times where there were people who tried to stop the work I was doing with the team, he advocated for me.
- Look for another upcoming feature on Baldwin’s other Bryant-Jordan winner Albany Casey of Baldwin County High in the pages of Gulf Coast Media newspapers.
The Bryant-Jordan Foundation honored all 104 AHSAA high school seniors on Monday night with its 35th Bryant-Jordan Awards program. But this year, in lieu of an actual banquet which has been held annually since 1986, the Bryant-Jordan Foundation recognized the regional recipients, the class and overall winners via television and online streaming. The Bryant-Jordan Foundation and WOTM TV produced the television and webcast show for broadcast over the AHSAA TV Network and the NFHS Network. The banquet was canceled due to crowd restrictions mandated by Governor Kay Ivey with respect to COVID-19 precautions. The Bryant-Jordan Awards Banquet emcee Chris Stewart served as host of the broadcast.
The Bryant-Jordan Program, named in honor of legendary coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Ralph “Shug” Jordan, has annually recognized 52 senior student-athletes, one from each of the eight AHSAA districts in Classes 1A through 6A and one from each of the four districts in Class 7A in the Bryant-Jordan Achievement Award category and the Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete category.
Each regional winner is presented a $3,000 scholarship to the college of their choice from the Bryant-Jordan Foundation. During the ceremony the seven Scholar-Athlete Class winners and seven Achievement Award Class winners were also announced. Each received an additional $3,500 scholarship. The Larry D. Striplin, Jr. Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipient and the Ken and Betty Joe Blankenship Achievement Award Student-Athlete of the Year recipient were also announced. Each received an additional $4,000 scholarship. Several other special scholarships were also presented.
The Bryant-Jordan Awards Program has been held annually since 1986 with more than $10.8 million in scholarship funding distributed to 3,222 student recipients.
Visit AHSAA.com for more information on additional scholarship winners and possible replays of the event.