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Winter Haven’s Garner put academics first

Anderson “Gunner” Garner was one of the top swimmers in the county. He won county and district titles and was a first-team, All-County selection, and he kept busy athletically in the spring by playing tennis.

But make no mistake: Academics came first.

“If I had some kind of academic commitment and sports got in the way, nine times out of 10, I’d choose the academics,” he said, later adding. “I play both for fun. My academics are more important, and those are kind of secondary, a break from everything.”

The valedictorian at Winter Haven, Garner is The Ledger’s 2022 Boys Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

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Garner, who played four years of varsity swimming and four years of varsity tennis, graduated with a 4,873 GPA. He was a graduate of the Winter Haven High Cambridge program and among his academic achievements, he was a Sunshine State Scholar and Sunshine State Scholarship winner and was honored during the annual Sunshine State Scholars conference in Orlando in his junior year.

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