ST. LOUIS – May 19, 2021 – Katie Morwick, Tal Dean, Hayden Hatley, Emily Mattler, Josette Partney, and Jacob York are the recipients of the 2021 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarships. The scholarships are awarded by the St. Louis Sports Commission’s young professionals group – the Sports Commission Associates – and recognize high school seniors from the region who embody outstanding sportsmanship. The six students were selected by the Associates’ scholarship committee, which reviewed nominations from throughout the St. Louis area.
Morwick, who will be graduating from Valmeyer High School, received the top scholarship award of $10,000 in recognition of her extraordinary class, selflessness and overall giving attitude toward cross country opponents and teammates. She will continue her education at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill.
Dean, Hatley, Mattler, Partney, and York each received scholarship awards of $1,000. Dean will graduate from Parkway North High School and is enrolled at Truman State University. Hatley attends Northwest High School and will continue his education at Missouri University of Science & Technology. Mattler will graduate from Fox Senior High School and is attending Missouri Baptist University. Partney attends Lafayette High School and is enrolled at Missouri Baptist University. York will graduate from Fort Zumwalt East High School and will continue his education at Monmouth College (Ill.).
Bios highlighting all six scholarship recipients and the reasons for their selection appear later in this news release. Their photos are available at sportsmanship.org/scholarship.
The Sports Commission Associates created the Sportsmanship Scholarship in 2009 to recognize and reward local high school seniors for their kindness, integrity, selflessness, and civility in athletic competition. The Associates have since awarded $157,500 to 48 college-bound students. The scholarship program supports the mission of the Sports Commission’s affiliated St. Louis Sports Foundation, which celebrates and elevates sportsmanship in the community. Candidates are evaluated strictly on their approach, character and respect for others on the playing field – athletic performance does not factor in the selection – making the Sportsmanship Scholarship unique.
In addition to choosing the recipients of the scholarship, the Sports Commission Associates raise funds to maintain the program. The Associates host an annual trivia night fundraiser in the fall to support the scholarship. More information on this year’s trivia night will be announced soon.
The Sportsmanship Scholarship is named in honor of the late Carl Fricks, who embodied the virtues of sportsmanship. Through this gesture, the Associates recognized the selfless efforts of Carl’s daughter, Holly Yoakum, who chaired the group and was a champion for the scholarship initiative. Holly passed away unexpectedly in 2017, leaving so many friends and colleagues heartbroken. The Sports Commission and the Associates are dedicated to honoring Holly’s memory and legacy by growing the Sportsmanship Scholarship and carrying out her passion for doing good in the community.
The Valmeyer High School cross country standout and cheerleading co-captain showed extraordinary class, selflessness and an overall giving attitude toward opponents and teammates. In her scholarship application, Katie wrote, “At every meet, I cheer for the last place runners. Usually, parents and coaches only stick around to see their kids cross the finish line, and it breaks my heart. Others come across the finish line with no encouragement. As a runner, I know people cheering for me as I cross the finish line gives me a final spurt of energy.” Katie’s actions bolstered the reputation of Valmeyer’s cross country program as a whole. Katie’s determination and motivational spirit make everyone feel like a champion.
The Parkway North soccer player is being recognized for his selflessness and kindness. Earlier this year, Tal and another player went up to challenge for a head ball and collided. Both players not only hit each other hard but landed hard. Tal immediately went over and checked to see if the other player was okay and motioned to the referee to signal that the player needed medical attention. Tal sustained a concussion as a result of the collision but thought of the other player before himself. His display of compassion and respect for his opponent will not soon be forgotten by anyone on the field that day.
The character of the Northwest High School senior was noticed by an official during one of Hayden’s soccer matches. Following the game, the official wrote a note to Hayden’s coach and said, “Not sure if they have more than one captain, since I’ve seen only #2 Hayden Hatley prior to each game, but Hayden is a great captain who leads by example. My fingers are crossed that more schools and teams can display this type of conduct on the field.” Hayden’s overall approach to the game shows a maturity beyond his years.
Most athletes share the field or court with their competitors, but in dance competition, teams do not perform in the same space at the same time. Emily didn’t let that impede her idea of sportsmanship, going out of her way to share positive messages with other dance teams. Emily said, “At dance camp my junior year, we made sticky notes with positive messages on them for the other teams. I met a senior from another team that year and admired the way she led her team with confidence, so I decided to write her a sticky note telling her what a great dancer she was and how she inspired me.” Emily’s positive and inclusive attitude toward opponents helps create a more positive experience for everyone.
As a state champion wrestler and first-degree black belt in Taekwondo, Josette has the physical tools to hold almost anyone down. However, she used exceptional abilities to lift up and console an opponent and rival during the state wrestling tournament. Josette said, “It was an exciting time for me, but one of my opponents (my number one rival) lost on a bad call in her third-place match. She was extremely upset, so I went and hugged her and consoled her and gave her a really heartfelt pep talk.” Josette continues to make a difference and treats all officials, coaches, and fellow competitors with respect.
The Fort Zumwalt East basketball player was injured during a game against rival Fort Zumwalt South. While Jacob was disappointed about the injury, he came out of the locker room to meet with a scout. In a display of selflessness, Jacob told the scout about how great it would be if a player from Fort Zumwalt South would become his teammate someday. The player Jacob was talking about was the one who set the screen that dislocated his shoulder. Jacob ignored his pain and lifted someone else up.