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Spain Park's Will Freeman named a national finalist for Wendy's High School Heisman Award (photos, video)
Spain Park senior Will Freeman was the center of attention in the competition gym of his school as he was announced as a national finalist for the Wendy's High School Heisman Award. Already, he and fellow senior Madeline Held had the rare distinction of being state winners from the same school. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./screnshawjr@al.com)

HOOVER, Alabama - Will Freeman knew he would be one of two Spain Park students recognized at an assembly at his school this morning.

He didn't know that he would be the center of attention.

Freeman, , was announced today as

one of 12 finalists for the National Finalists for the 2013 Wendy's High School Heisman Award. The program honors remarkable high school students who distinguish themselves in academics, athletics and through community service.

Freeman is one of 48,000 students who applied for this year's award. He and fellow Spain Park senior Madeline Held came to the competition gymnasium believing they were being recognized as the male and female state winners.

"Never before that I can find that two state winners have come from the same school," David Westerfield, the Wendy's director of operations, told students in the Jaguar competition gymnasium.

But Westerfield acknowledged the real reason for him to be at the Hoover school, to announce that one of them would be a national finalist.

"One of you will be disappointed, one of you goes on," he said. "That being said, Will Freeman, congratulations."

The gym erupted in cheers for Freeman, a six-time state swimming champion. As a national finalist, he gets a gold medal and assorted prizes and his school receives ,000.

An ESPN camera crew is following Freeman around the remainder of today, collecting footage for the Wendy's High School Heisman Special on ESPN2 on Sunday, Dec. 15. Freeman will be in New York City for the collegiate Heisman Trophy presentation.

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