STEVENS POINT – Darlington High School was recently announced as the recipient of a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) State Team Tournament Sportsmanship Award for the 2015 fall State Championships.
The WIAA, in cooperation with Rural Mutual Insurance Company, names team Sportsmanship Award winners during each sports season, and Darlington was among the five schools honored with the award for their run to the Division 6 State Finals in football.
Other winners included Altoona in girls’ volleyball, Kenosha Indian Trail in boys’ volleyball, Rice Lake in boys’ soccer and Neenah in girls’ team tennis.
Darlington was selected for its sportsmanship following the program’s third straight runner-up finish in the state football finals. It is the second time the school has been recognized for its sportsmanship, both coming in football. The Redbirds were chosen as co-winners of the award in 1997.
The ‘Birds advanced to the finals this season in Division 6 before falling to Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs, 39-20, in the title game.
Receiving honorable mention awards in football were Amherst, Bangor, Kimberly, Lodi, Notre Dame, Pepin/Alma and Spencer/Columbus Catholic.
“We’re definitely honored and happy it’s coming here. It’s a great honor to be recognized for our sportsmanship since there were a lot of good districts at the state tournament for football,” said Darlington High School principal Aaron Lancaster. “That’s a great tribute for our community, our students and our staff. I’m not surprised by it at all because I think every time you come to a Darlington sporting event you see a lot of good things going on with our crowd and with our kids.”
The WIAA/Rural Insurance Sportsmanship Award is presented to one school program and community–or communities in the case of cooperative programs– in each of the state team tournaments that exemplifies outstanding sportsmanship.
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 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, and area hotels and restaurants on occasion.