The winners of the prestigious sportsmanship recognition are Valders in boys basketball, Marshall in girls basketball, Schofield D.C. Everest Co-op in girls hockey, Hudson in gymnastics and Ellsworth in team wrestling.
Valders displayed outstanding sportsmanship in finishing runner-up in Division 3 at the State Boys Basketball Tournament. After a 63-61 overtime victory over Kettle Moraine Lutheran in the semifinals, the Vikings fell to Prescott 63-62 on a last-second shot in the championship game. It is the first time Valders has been chosen as winner of the sportsmanship award. Bangor, Clear Lake, Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran, Marathon, Oshkosh North, Pardeeville and Prescott each received honorable mention for the award.
Marshall is the recipient of the sportsmanship award in girls basketball to earn its second sportsmanship award. The first came in boys basketball in 2000. The Cardinals and their faithful modeled good sportsmanship en route to winning the Division 3 championship. They defeated Wisconsin Dells 58-47 in the semifinals, followed by a 63-55 victory over Amherst in the championship game to capture the crown. Bangor, Black Hawk, Clayton, Crandon, Hortonville and Manitowoc Lutheran were also in contention to receive the award and were recognized with honorable mention.
The D.C. Everest Co-op, which includes Schofield D.C. Everest, Marathon, Merrill, Mosinee, Wausau East and Wausau West is bestowed the sportsmanship award in girls hockey for the second time. In a slightly different configuration of the co-op, the Storm was selected for the honor in 2015. They fell 5-2 to the Eau Claire Memorial Co-op in the semifinals of the State tournament. The Sun Prairie Co-op received honorable mention for the award. There was no sportsmanship award recognition awarded in boys hockey this year.
Hudson receives the Sportsmanship Award in gymnastics for the first time and for the third time overall. The Raiders also earned the honor in girls soccer back in 1996 and then again in boys soccer in 1998. They placed seventh in the Division 1 team competition at the State gymnastics championships in March. The schools and communities receiving honorable mention include Antigo, Ashland, Dodgeville/Mineral Point, Hartford Union, Mount Horeb, Nicolet, River Falls and the West Salem Co-op.
Ellsworth was determined to have exhibited the sportsmanship worthy of the award at the State team wrestling tournament last month. It is the fourth time the Panthers have received the award in wrestling. They were also recognized for their sportsmanship efforts in 1999, 2008 and 2010. The Panthers cruised to a 53-6 victory over Chilton/Hilbert in the Division 2 semifinals before falling to Luxemburg-Casco in the title match, 30-28. Hartland Arrowhead, Chilton/Hilbert, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau/Melrose-Mindoro, Luxemburg-Casco, Random Lake, Slinger and Stratford were given honorable mention for the 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 ensure 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. The selection process includes contributions and evaluations from contest officials, tournament management, police and security personnel, crowd control and ushers, WIAA staff members, area hotels and restaurants. Rural Mutual Insurance has been a sponsor of this award for 54 years, and their partnership is essential to promoting sportsmanship and education-based athletics as a valued corporate partner of the WIAA.