The torch of sportsmanship has found another new home.
For the first time in the 18-year history of the of the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Awards, the York Suburban High School girls’ basketball program has been named a winner. Meanwhile, the boys’ trophy will return to South Western High School for the first time since the Mustangs captured the inaugural boys’ sportsmanship award back in 2001.
The York Suburban girls' varsity team is coached by Jess Barley. The South Western boys' varsity team is coached by Clayton Wilcox.
The winning programs are determined by a poll of members of the York Chapter of PIAA Basketball Officials. In May, members of the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Foundation Board will recognize up to four seniors from each team with scholarships that could total up to $100,000.
Gretchen Wolf Swartz was a York County basketball official from 1981 to 1995. Following her death from leukemia in 1997, her fellow officials created the memorial team awards and a scholarship fund to promote and honor sportsmanship — a trait that the organizers of the award said she effectively displayed.
At the conclusion of each regular season, York-area basketball officials vote to recognize a boys’ and girls’ program after observing the season-long conduct of York-Adams League players, fans, faculty, students, managers, coaches and cheerleaders from junior high to varsity. Both winning programs receive a traveling trophy in recognition of their accomplishments.
Phil Miller, president of the York Chapter of PIAA Basketball Officials, said that each of the 23 Y-A member schools received votes this year.
“It is becoming clear that players, coaches and fans are buying into the sportsmanship message of showing mutual respect for all participants in gyms across the (league)," he said in a news release. "These displays of sportsmanship are giving student-athletes the opportunity to continue their education by playing a sport they love and doing it right way."
Individual scholarship awards of $20,000, $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 could potentially go to students from each program.
When South Western earned the first Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Award in 2001, only one $1,000 scholarship was awarded. More than $200,000 in scholarship money has since been awarded.