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Panther grapplers win Sportsmanship award

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, in cooperation with Rural Insurance, has selected the team Sportsmanship Awards for the 2008 winter State Tournaments.

The winners of the prestigious award are Antigo in gymnastics, Ellsworth in team wrestling, Oostburg in girls' basketball, Iola-Scandinavia in boys basketball, Superior in boys ice hockey and the Mosinee co-op in girls ice hockey.

Ellsworth receives its second Sportsmanship Award following its display of sportsmanship at the team wrestling tournament. The Panthers were also the co-recipients of the award in wrestling in 1999. They finished runner-up in Division 2 this year, following a 36-22 dual defeat to Lodi in the championship match. They advanced to the finals with a 33-28 victory over Luxemburg-Casco in the semifinals. Arrowhead, Clear Lake, Franklin, Kaukauna, Milton, Pewaukee, Random Lake and Tomah received honorable mention for the award.

Ellsworth head coach Jack Radabaugh said that good sportsmanship is part of the learning process of the team's wrestlers as wrestling fundamentals and skills are.

"We always tell our kids to respect authority and respect our opponents," Radabaugh said. "We shake hands with our opponents and walk off the mat like a man, win or lose. We tell them that the best way not to get upset over a bad call or judgement from an official is never to put themselves into that situation."

The WIAA/Rural Insurance Sportsmanship Award is presented to one school and community in each of the State team tournaments. The 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 plaque 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.