Sportsmanship on Display In Winter IHSA Sports

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Sportsmanship on Display In Winter IHSA Sports

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As a part of the IHSA Do What’s Right! Sportsmanship Program, member school personnel and licensed IHSA officials have the ability to recognize acts of exemplary sportsmanship and integrity that occur in IHSA events throughout the school year via the Sport A Winning Attitude Report (SAWA). Those who are recognized receive a special certificate from the IHSA and select SAWAs are featured here on the IHSAState website.

The following is a compilation of SAWA Reports submitted by IHSA officials from winter sports during the 2015-16 season:

My officiating crew would like to commend the Morrison varsity boys’ basketball players and coaching staff for exhibiting outstanding sportsmanship throughout the game we officiated. The game was tightly contested with several "close" calls ... the team responded in an appropriate manner in all circumstances. We also witnessed multiple displays of respect to the opponent and coaches. In particular, we would like to single out the team's captain, Joey Brackemyer, for his exemplary attitude and leadership. Despite being called for 2 fouls early in the game, Joey verbally acknowledged one of the fouls as being correct and several times complemented our crew on calls that went against him and his team. It was apparent to us that the team was having fun playing the game, which in turn made the game even more fun for the officials. Great job!

Peoria Christian had a player break the school’s all-time scoring record during our game. Peoria Christian game administration recognized the player for breaking the record and everyone applauded the effort. After the few moments of recognition were over, the Canton Coach Jay Murphy came out and shook the players hand and congratulated him as well. It was a very classy move by the visiting head coach in a hard fought game. I was impressed by this action and I believe Coach Murphy deserves a SAWA for this sportsmanlike act.

As an IHSA Certified Basketball Referee, I've officiated several volleyball and basketball contests in the past several years. I've always been very impressed with how positive and disciplined Hiawatha Athletic Director coach Mark Zych has been with officials, players and fans. Mr. Zych, and administrative assistant Kim Sterling provide a very positive and cheerful environment for IHSA Sports. They should be commended and recognized for their efforts!

HIGH FIVE to the Monticello HS Cheerleaders and Coach Tristin Duffy! These young athletes, along with their coach, have shown exemplary sportsmanship throughout the season. The team as well as Coach Duffy supported EVERY team at the Illinois Cheerleading Coaches Association Championships with genuine enthusiasm. These athletes deserve wonderful recognition for their tremendous sportsmanship. Coach Duffy has continued to be a positive leader within the cheerleading community and has modeled the most outstanding behavior for her athletes. The Monticello administration and staff should be so very proud of these athletes and Coach representing their school and community.

Huntley High School ran an invitational for Middle School, Freshman, JV and Varsity teams on January 24th. Varsity athletes not only escorted each team to where they needed to be, they sat on the side and cheered on each team. If a team did not have any cheerleaders to cheer them on in the coaches box, extra Huntley had varsity cheerleaders come over there to support that team. Those ladies and coaches should be applauded for the sportsmanship they have shown to other teams throughout their own contest.

The Bloomington HS Varsity Cheer team showed exemplary sportsmanship at the BIG 12 Conference Championship at Peoria High School. The team and coaches showed true, honest support for all of the teams that took the floor and cheered extra hard for those teams who faced difficulty within their routines. These athletes and coaches are the epitomize sportsmanship! Thank you Bloomington for being remarkable leaders in the sport of competitive cheerleading!

Last night was the first time I have officiated Quest Charter in Peoria. I had heard good things about their players and was able to see all those comments were true last night. No player ever questioned a call. They acknowledged the foul and apologized to their teammates if they committed it. Loose balls were always picked up immediately and given to the closest official. They helped players off the floor from either team if someone fell during play. The most impressive event of the evening was when a Dee-Mack player hurt his ankle opposite the bench in the lane. As he got up from the floor and tried to walk on it, one of his players came to help along with #11 from Quest. This player got under a shoulder and helped the Dee-Mack player to the end of the bench where the trainer was waiting. I have NEVER seen a show of sportsmanship like this. I was impressed beyond belief. This game was the best sportsmanship game I have witnessed, in 20 years of officiating, by both teams.

Herscher and Bishop McNamara both displayed great sportsmanship in a contest that was played with hustle and great attitude by the players on the court. Examples are giving the dead ball to the official that was administrating free throws, helping each other to their feet after a whistle had blown for a foul being called and overall great spirit in a game that saw one team lead big throughout. Sometimes in a game like this teams show frustration, so behavior was appreciated. I applaud both schools’ leadership.

I have officiated Joliet West High School wrestling matches on all levels this season and have been impressed with the sportsmanship of their team members each time I have worked their events. Tonight, 220 pound JV wrestler, Juan Sanchez, took sportsmanship to its highest level. In his last round of wrestling, he was paired against an opponent he could have easily beaten by a major amount. Instead, Juan wrestled a full six minute regular decision match while encouraging and even at times coaching his opponent. This demonstration showed a true respect for the sport as well as his opponent. Juan and the Joliet West wrestling program are to be commended.

Coach Nazos did a tremendous job of recognizing the families of two Batavia alums who recently passed away. He had every player on the team go out and shake hands with the family members while an announcement was read by the announcer. It was a first-class tribute and Coach Nazos should be commended by school administration for the great job that he did with this. I'm very glad I was there to experience it.

After the completion of the IHSA Competitive Cheerleading state series in Bloomington, the newly crowned coed division state champion athletes of Buffalo Grove took it upon themselves to help clean up the US Cellular Coliseum arena by rolling up the mats, putting garbage away, and cleaning the floors. What makes this even better is that these young adolescents initiated these tasks without being asked to of their coach. As a state final official, I was pleased to witness this. What great individuals these children are!

Oak Park-River Forest’s Coach Maloney and his players exhibited exemplary sportsmanship. Throughout the game there were tough calls both ways. Coach Maloney was very respectful in his dealings with officials and if he had a question, he asked in a polite manner. There was a specific incident where my partner called a foul on an OPRF player and tried to explain to the player what he did. The player ignored my partner and was walking away when Coach Maloney directed his player to be respectful, go back and listen to what the referee had to tell him, as the referee was only trying to help him. I called a charge against an OPRF player where the basket went in but was disallowed. That same player, in the most courteous and polite way asked what he did wrong, at a later time in the game. I explained and he was very understanding and accepting of my explanation. It was very refreshing to officiate a team where the coaches coached, the players played, and where all parties acted in a manner indicative of the utmost regard for sportsmanship.

Last night boys varsity game between Belvidere and Belvidere North was an excellent high school basketball game with student sections from both schools well represented. Both student sections cheered for their respective teams in an enthusiastic & positive manner. Of course you would expect a large student representation when two schools from the same town play each other. Our crew was so impressed on how the student sections represented their schools and it was a thrill to officiate this hard fought game. Well done by both student sections & both schools can take pride on how their students represented themselves last night.

In a meet vs. Ottawa high school, Ottawa's 182 lb. wrestler was injured by normal, legal action. He was hurt badly enough that he had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. The next wrestler for Ottawa (195lb.) was the twin brother of the injured wrestler. Without prompting or hesitation, coach Medema forfeited the match to Ottawa so that the injured wrestler's brother could go to the hospital with him. Coach Medema's actions exemplify sportsmanship at the highest degree. He taught everyone present a lesson in selflessness and respect that will not soon be forgotten.

Jersey High School’s Austin Kimbrel asked his coach for permission to wrestle a young man from Mascoutah in the 126 weight who has special needs. In the first match they wrestled, Austin let the young man wrestle to 3rd period and let him win by tech fall 16-1. In the second match later that day Austin let the same young man pin him in the 2nd period. Austin showed great compassion for his opponent.

I was refereeing a varsity wrestling match between St. Rita and De La Salle. The wrestling was competitive and during the 106 match Marth from St. Rita got a takedown and was attempting to turn his opponent when he stopped wrestling and I immediately saw that his opponent from De La Salle was injured. The wrestler from De La Salle had some type of neck injury. After a few minutes he recovered well enough to get up and walk off the mat. I feel that Marth stopping when he did and not pushing the situation any further prevented the wrestler from being injured more seriously. This was an excellent display of good sportsmanship and needs to be recognized.

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