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The torch of sportsmanship has found another new home.

For the first time in the 19-year history of the of the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Awards, the York High girls’ basketball program has been named a winner. Meanwhile, the boys’ traveling trophy will go to New Oxford High School for the second time in the past three years.

The winning programs were 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 some senior members from each team with scholarships for the two programs combined that could reach or even exceed $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.

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.

“Players are showing that they can compete and play hard while doing it the right way,” said Phil Miller, president of the York Chapter of PIAA Basketball Officials in a news release. “As time was winding down of an intense and highly competitive rivalry game, two players gave each other a congratulatory embrace at half court. That was a true sign of sportsmanship and respect for each other’s effort during the contest. 

“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."

Last year’s winners were York Suburban’s girls and South Western’s boys.

When South Western earned the first Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Award in 2001, only one $1,000 scholarship was awarded — that to Andrew Kern. More than $300,000 in scholarship money has since been awarded.

Information for this story was provided through the York Chapter of PIAA Basketball Officials and the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Awards Committee.

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