New Oxford junior named Most Inspirational Athlete
NEW OXFORD, Pa. (WHTM) -
A New Oxford Senior High School junior is getting national recognition.
USA Today and the National Guard have named 16-year-old Aaron Gebhart the Most Inspirational Athlete in the United States.
Gebhart received the honor by telling his life story.
"When I was younger, my mom, she was an alcoholic," he said. "I struggled going to school and stuff and keeping my grades up and not wanting to go to school."
Gebhart moved in with his aunt and uncle. That and sports made a huge difference.
"Cross country and track came and changed my life in high school," he said. "I broke the 3,200 meter record in track as a freshman."
Gebhart's running career took off, and so did his grades.
His advisor suggested he apply for the award.
"Life is all about choices and Aaron had many choices to make in the face of adversity when he was a child," Lori Althoff said. "He didn't use it as an excuse, but rather as a motivator."
Gebhart's biography was online for everyone to read and vote on.
"Aaron won with over 330,000 votes from the school, and the community, and people from all over the United States because the word had spread," Althoff said.
Gebhart was honored and recognized Monday by the school, his community and even the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I thought it was pretty neat seeing everyone go crazy when they said my name and stuff, and having pro football players shake my hand and tell me that I inspired them," he said.
He says he hopes to inspire many more.
"Don't let anyone hold you back and tell you don't do it," he said. "I've had a lot of that in my life, telling me I can't do this, that, but I put it in the back of my mind and focused on what I wanted to do."