STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, in cooperation with Rural Mutual Insurance, has chosen the recipients of the team Sportsmanship Awards for the 2023 winter State Tournaments.
The winners of the prestigious sportsmanship recognition are Hartford Union in gymnastics, Baldwin-Woodville in team wrestling, Fall River in boys basketball, Albany in girls basketball and the De Pere Co-op in girls hockey. Boys hockey did not have a recipient.
Hartford was named as the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award in gymnastics for its positive engagement in placing fourth in Division 1 this season. It’s the second time the Orioles have been bestowed the honor in gymnastics and the third time for all sports. They also received the award in 2020 when they captured the State gymnastics championship, and they received the award in girls soccer back in 1997. Also receiving consideration for the award were Chippewa Falls, Franklin/Muskego, Nicolet and West Bend West.
The sportsmanship evaluations and staff observations at the State Team Wrestling Tournament led to the selection of Baldwin-Woodville as the Sportsmanship Award winner for 2023. The enthusiastic fan support and sportsmanship efforts by the coach and participants were on display in the Division 2 State semifinals. The third-seeded Blackhawks fell 45-21 to second-seeded Prairie du Chien in their semifinal matchup. It’s the third time the school has won the award overall. Baldwin-Woodville was also the recipient in softball in 2021 and in boys team tennis in 1999. Honorable mention for the award was extended to Cedar Grove-Belgium, Evansville, Luxemburg-Casco, Mukwonago, Shiocton and Stratford.
Fall River returned to the tournament field in boys basketball for the first time in 23 years, and the sportsmanship demonstrated by both the team and school community earned the Pirates the Sportsmanship Award. As the #3 seed in the Division 5 bracket, they fell 66-62 to second-seeded McDonell Catholic in the semifinals. It’s the first time Fall River has been selected as recipient of the award in the program’s history. The schools receiving honorable mention are Brillion, Lakeside Lutheran, Neenah, Royall and Whitehall.
The award winner in girls basketball is Albany. The Comets were the only undefeated team at 28-0 entering the State Tournament, its first appearance at State in program history. The fourth seed in the Division 5 bracket fell to top-seed and eventual champion McDonell Catholic 59-20 in the semifinals. It is the third time Albany has been presented the award and the first time in girls basketball and as a stand-alone program. The previous two recognitions were as members of a co-op. They shared the award with Evansville, the host team of the co-op for team wrestling in 2014, and with Juda, which was the host school of a co-op in softball in 2017. The schools receiving honorable mention are Colfax, McDonell Catholic, McFarland and Wabeno/Laona.
The De Pere Co-op consisting of 11 schools, including De Pere, Ashwaubenon, Bay Port, Green Bay East, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Southwest, Green Bay West, Notre Dame, Pulaski, Seymour and West De Pere, won the award in girls hockey after winning the State Tournament in the program’s first-ever appearance. The top-seeded Ice Bears defeated Superior/Northwestern 3-0 in the championship game after downing the Middleton Co-op 4-1 in the State semifinals. As the lead program in the configuration of the co-op, De Pere claims its second sportsmanship recognition, also receiving the recognition for boys soccer in 1999. The Middleton Co-op received honorable mention.
The WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award is presented to one school and community in each of the State team tournaments that exhibits exemplary sportsmanship. The award recipients are determined by the 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 showcased. Award winners receive a trophy 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 since 1965, and their partnership contributes to the promotion of sportsmanship in education-based athletics as a valued corporate partner of the WIAA.
# WIAA #