BOTHWELL – By Jarett Theurer – June 22, 2020
Baseball is a game of tradition.
From the sounds of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” being sung at hallowed professional stadiums across the country to the simple tradition of hotdogs and crackerjacks at the local ballpark, baseball players and fans alike love their traditions.
At Bear River High School, the storied baseball program has been built on traditions of their own but none as pivotal or impactful as the Justin C. Huggins Memorial Scholarship.
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Justin Huggins, son of Clark and Annemarie Huggins, was a 2002 graduate of Bear River High where he played baseball for the Bears for four years and was part of the first ever Bear River baseball team to play for a state championship during his senior year. Huggins was awarded the MVP of the 3A All-Star game in the summer of 2002.
After his time at Bear River High, Huggins played baseball at the College of Eastern Utah for one season before going on a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Tampa, Florida.
For many, it was not only the success that Huggins found on the ballfield that defined him as a baseball player but the manner in which he pursued it. Full of passion, drive, and a love for the game, Huggins represented himself on and off the field with dignity and respect.
After Huggins returned from fulfilling his mission, he chose to continue his education at Utah State University where he was pursuing a degree in Agriculture. However, on September 26, 2005, Huggins died in a tragic van accident while participating in a field trip for one his USU agriculture classes on I-84 in Box Elder County.
The accident claimed the lives of eight students and one instructor that day. Huggins was only 22 years old.
In honor of his life, the Justin C. Huggins Memorial Scholarship was formed to give back to the community which Huggins loved and to benefit Bear River baseball players for many years to come.
Every year the scholarship is awarded to a graduating member of the Bear River baseball team to provide them with financial aid in their pursuit of a higher education. Ballplayers who apply are not selected based on who is most successful on the ballfield alone but are considered and selected by a committee of individuals based on character and their meeting of the scholarships requirements.
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Each applicant submits a full resume and a certified transcript from their years attending high school. An essay is also submitted by each young man on why they love the game of baseball and how it has impacted their lives. Recipients are then selected and awarded the scholarship at the end of the year baseball banquet at Bear River High.
For each young man selected to receive the award, it is an opportunity to better pursue their education with the same drive and passion that Huggins lived his life with. Recipients also get to be a part of an ongoing tradition of betterment for the community and the Bear River High baseball program. For this year's 2020 recipient, Dillon Marble, the scholarship was a particularly special award.
Marble, a recent Class of 2020 graduate, was a four-year player for the Bears, was always aware of the Justin Huggins Memorial Scholarship. His determination to receive the award was only intensified as he entered his senior season.
“The requirements for the scholarship were more of a lifestyle thing, meaning everyone in the committee was able to see how each player acted. It means a lot to me in the fact that I feel like I have lived up to my Marble name,” Marble said.
“I am so grateful that the committee looked at me and thought I was worthy of earning this scholarship,” he added.
Marble, through his leadership and example on and off the ball diamond, will now add his name to a list of 15 other recipients who have been selected since the scholarship was started.
Marble is the son of Buster and Brett Marble of Bothwell and the oldest of four boys – all of which play baseball. He is a second-generation Bear River High baseball player and received the freshman MVP and JV MVP honors two years in a row at Bear River High.
Marble will attend Southern Utah University in Cedar City this fall before serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Dillon represents what this scholarship is all about. It honors a student athlete that has a team first attitude who is relentlessly pursuing excellence both on and off the diamond - a person that uplifts others that he or she is around and brings out their best,” said Bear River High’s head baseball coach Don Hawes.
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As Bear River baseball presses forward in the years to come, the impact of Huggins’ example will continue to be seen as more young men will be a part of an ongoing Bear River tradition.
Justin C. Huggins Memorial Scholarship recipients:
Alex “Spud” Heyer – 2006
Morgan Porritt - 2007
Danny Smith – 2008
Dustin Peterson – 2009
Josh Theurer – 2010
Dixon Marble – 2011
Blair Ballard – 2012
Kyle Zundel – 2013
Taylor Lund – 2014
Walker Riley – 2015
Nicolas Rasmussen – 2016
Jarett “Bear” Theurer – 2017
Alec Chournos – 2018
Jake Dahle – 2018
Hadley Davis – 2019
Dillon Marble – 2020
Justin C. Huggins Memorial Scholarship committee members: