The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, in partnership with Rural Mutual Insurance Company, has selected the team Sportsmanship Award winners for the 2018 Spring State Team Tournaments and the final Summer Baseball Tournament.
The winners of the prestigious award are University School of Milwaukee in boys tennis, Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld in girls soccer, Burlington in softball, Ithaca in spring baseball and Plymouth in summer baseball.
University School earns the sportsmanship honor in boys team tennis for the first time. Its the fourth time the Wildcats have received the award overall. They also received the recognition in girls tennis in 2007 and 2015, and in girls hockey in 2013. University School finished as the State runner-up this spring, falling 4-3 to Edgewood in the Division 2 final after blanking McFarland 7-0 in the semifinals. Badger and Edgewood received honorable mention for the award.
It is first time the cooperative program of Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld has been selected with the Sportsmanship Award in girls soccer. The Vanguards fell in State semifinal to Cedar Grove-Belgium 1-0 in their first-ever appearance in the State tournament. Aside from the schools’ co-op in girls soccer, both have earned sportsmanship awards previously. Barneveld won the girls basketball award in 2003 and in 2007, and Wisconsin Heights received the sportsmanship award in girls volleyball in 2008 and 2010. The programs receiving honorable mention for the award are Belleville/New Glarus, Catholic Memorial, Cedar Grove-Belgium, New Berlin Eisenhower and River Falls.
Burlington demonstrated sportsmanship and enthusiasm over its three games of the tournament en route to a runner-up finish in Division 1. It’s the first time the Demons have been chosen as the recipient of the award in softball. They were cited for their outstanding sportsmanship on one other occasion, that was in 2001 in boys volleyball. Burlington rolled to a 9-1 win over Chippewa Falls in the quarterfinals and out-slugged Slinger 12-7 in the semifinals before falling to Sun Prairie, 7-1, in the championship game. Honorable mention for the award was extended to Appleton North, Assumption, Burlington, Chippewa Falls, Horicon, McDonell Central Catholic, Oak Creek, Oakfield, Pacelli, Portage, Poynette, Weyauwega-Fremont and Whitnall.
Ithaca is the recipient of the WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award for the first time in any sport. The Bulldogs fell 3-1 in their spring baseball semifinal match-up with Athens. They displayed outstanding sportsmanship and extended a respectful gesture of support to the Athens team and community for a player that had recently died in an UTV crash. Arrowhead, Burlington, Eau Claire North, Ellsworth, Johnson Creek, Kimberly, Mineral Point and Webster all received honorable mention.
Qualifying for the State Summer Baseball Tournament for the 13th time, Plymouth was select as the sportsmanship award winner this year, the final year of the tournament. The Panthers were no-hit in a 1-0 pitchers’ duel against eventual champion Muskego in a game that featured just one hit. It is the first time Plymouth has been selected for the Sportsmanship Award in any sport. Menomonee Falls and Muskego received honorable mention for the sportsmanship award.
The WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award is presented to one school and community in each of the State team tournaments. The award winners are determined by the conduct and sportsmanship displayed by athletes, coaches, cheer and support groups, mascots, bands and spectators. Additional consideration is given for the effort of school administrators and chaperones to insure support for their teams are positive and that the highest ideals of sportsmanship are upheld. Award winners receive a plaque and banner in recognition of the honor. Schools receiving honorable mention are acknowledged with a certificate of recognition.
Rural Mutual Insurance has sponsored the Sportsmanship Award program for more than 52 years.
The selection process includes evaluations from contest officials, tournament management, as well as, security personnel, crowd control and ushers, and WIAA staff members.