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2011-12 Do What's Right! Sportspersons of the Year Announced

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The Illinois High School Association is proud to announce its 2011-12 Do What's Right! Sportspersons of the Year. The seven individuals from across the state that were honored for their outstanding sportsmanship during interscholastic competition were:

Division 1    , Chicago (De La Salle)
Division 2    Katherine McGrath, Grayslake North
Division 3    Ryan Coyle, Wheaton (St. Francis)
Division 4    Connor Frakes, Taylor Ridge (Rockridge)
Division 5    Michael Clevenger, Decatur (MacArthur)
Division 6    Holly Crocher, Athens
Division 7    Jessica Hirsch, DuQuoin

Applicants were judged by a committee of IHSA staff members based on letters of recommendation highlighting their leadership skills and sportsmanship, participation in sports and activities, academic performance, application essays and overall involvement in their school and community.

"These individuals should be very proud of how they represented their respective high schools, just as we are proud to have them represent the IHSA," said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Beth Sauser. "The ideals that these young people have exuded in competition are the same values that will make them great leaders in their lives and communities in the future. They truly represent the mission of the IHSA.”

Each winner will receive a plaque and a $500 dollar scholarship, along with being honored at an IHSA State Final tournament of their choice during the 2012-13 school year. The Sportsperson of the Year awards encompass an individual’s entire high school career, thus, all seven winners were seniors in 2011-12.

A brief bio on each Sportsperson of the Year is listed below or click here for past winners:

FRANCESCA CASTAGNA, CHICAGO (DE LA SALLE)
Involvement: Girls Basketball, Softball, Peer Ministry, Science Club, Big Sister/Little Sister, National Honor Society
Francesca on Sportsmanship: “Sports give young people a foundation for how to treat other people on and off the field. Watching and playing the game should always be an enjoyable experience.”
De La Salle Girls Basketball Coach Jennifer Markoff on Francesca: “A natural leader…she is an important part of our school community and admired by her peers, teachers, and coaches.”


KATHERINE MCGRATH, GRAYSLAKE NORTH
Involvement: Girls Volleyball, Girls Basketball, Girls Soccer, Link Crew, Erica’s Lighthouse, National Honor Society, Athletic Council, Operation Click
Katherine on Sportsmanship: “Small acts of sportsmanship, such as shaking the officials’ hands after each game - win or lose - shows the players’ thanks for their hard work.”
Grayslake North Athletic Director Tina Woolard on Katherine: “Katie is the epitome of good sportsmanship. She is a fierce competitor, but will be the first player to lend a hand to a fallen opponent.”


RYAN COYLE, WHEATON (ST. FRANCIS)
Involvement: Boys Basketball, Boys Volleyball, S.A.D.D., Market Day, Feed My Starving Children, Youth Coach & Mentor
Ryan on Sportsmanship: “Sports should promote sportsmanship, teamwork and competition. I feel it is my responsibility to fill the void that so many professional athletes leave for young athletes to look up to.”
St. Francis Boys Basketball Coach Bob Ward on Ryan: “In my 35 years of teaching and coaching I have often said that he is the best team player that I have ever coached. He is truly an ambassador for all the positive things that the IHSA represents.”


CONNOR FRAKES, TAYLOR RIDGE (ROCKRIDGE)
Involvement: Football, Boys Basketball, Boys Track & Field, Show Choir, Chorus, Yearbook, Spanish Club, Student Council, National Honor Society, Operation Teen Safe Driving
Connor on Sportsmanship: “I think sportsmanship is very important to show because it is contagious. By being a good sport, it rubs off on others and makes the game enjoyable for everyone.”
Rockridge Principal Katy Hasson on Connor: “Connor is a young man of impeccable character. He has strong family values that are displayed in the way he carries himself in the hallways and in the athletic arena.”


MICHAEL CLEVENGER, DECATUR (MACARTHUR HIGH SCHOOL)
Involvement: Boys Track & Field, Boys Cross Country, Boys Soccer, National Honor Society, Macon County Teen Court
Michael on Sportsmanship: “Competitors respect the time and dedication the members of their teams have put into the sport. This unspoken connection creates a bond that is above trash talk and foul play.”
MacArthur Cross Country coach Angelo Rinchiuso on Michael: “Michael is an asset to the community and the country. He meets all challenges with a mix of talent, intelligence and unrelenting work ethic.”


HOLLY CROCHER, ATHENS HIGH SCHOOL
Involvement: Girls Volleyball, Girls Basketball, Girls Track & Field, Leadership Committee, Teens Making A Difference, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society, Spanish Club
Holly on Sportsmanship: “Sportsmanship can define a person on and off the court. If a person would not act that way in a public place, than there is no need to be acting that way at a game.”
Athens Volleyball coach Elizabeth Barrett on Holly: “Holly displays her eagerness to win, but not at the expense of someone else’s downfall. She is friendly and out-going and respects the referees by adhering to their decisions.”


JESSICA HIRSCH, DUQUOIN HIGH SCHOOL
Involvement: Girls Volleyball, Girls Basketball, Softball, Student Council, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Class Treasurer, Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Jessica on Sportsmanship: “Sportsmanship is about coming to the realization that your opponent puts just as much time and hard work in as you do, and they desire to achieve the same goals.”
DuQuoin Guidance Counselor Eric Kirkpatrick on Jessica: “I have witnessed her growth and development as a student and a person. She has consistently demonstrated an ability to lead and rise to any challenge she must face.”
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