The Nighthawks won their first Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Award while the Warriors won their eighth
A new choice and an old standard were the recipients of this year's Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Award.
The Susquehannock girls' basketball program won for the eighth time in the award's 16-year history, while the Hanover boys' program won for the first time. The recipients are chosen by York area basketball officials, who vote at the end of the regular season after observing the sportsmanship and behavior of teams throughout the season.
Four seniors from each program are now eligible to receive scholarships of $20,000, $15,000, $10,000 or $5,000. The scholarships will be awarded in May by the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Foundation board of directors to players, cheerleaders or student managers who apply.
Gordie Kauffman, president of the York Chapter of PIAA Basketball Officials, said he "truly believes" the officials picked the two most deserving programs this year.
"I will say it was very competitive," Kauffman said. "During our meetings this year I encouraged officials to speak up about teams doing things the right way and having positive experiences, and those two were always mentioned."
Kauffman praised the Hanover boys' team and head coach Nathan Myers, who he called "a stand-up guy who instills sportsmanship in his players and does things the right way."
Myers said he wasn't expecting Hanover to win but was pleased his players have the opportunity to earn a scholarship. He credited the award to both the students and the school district for setting a good example of how to act at games.
"It means we have great kids, excellent young men who we have the opportunity to coach," Myers said. "And it's not just about the players, it's about the cheerleaders and the fans we have here at Hanover."
The Susquehannock girls' program has now won three times (2013, 2014, 2016) in the five years Dave Schreiner has been the Warriors head coach. Schreiner said the first thing he preaches to both players and parents at the beginning of the season is good sportsmanship.
"We have a meeting with everyone, and I tell them what I expect from parents and what I expect from players and coaches," Schreiner said. "Obviously I want them to play really hard but to still respect officials and opponents. It says something about how we run our program to get this award while having a successful season."
The amount of total scholarship money available to students went up from $30,000 last year to $100,000 this year. The large increase led to the decision for both winning schools to have up to four students receive different scholarship amounts. Last year, two students from Biglerville's girls' program and York County Tech's boys' program each received $7,500.
To be awarded a scholarship, interested students must fill out an application, write an essay and receive two letters of recommendation. They also must sit down for a face-to-face interview with the board of directors.
While the board doesn't have to pick eight total recipients, Kauffman said it is "very likely" that four students will be chosen from both Hanover and Susquehannock.
"Honestly, our goal is to get as many kids as possible some type of scholarship," Kauffman said. "It's not academic or need-based, just the quality of their sportsmanship."
Myers and Schreiner both said they will encourage their players to apply. Hanover and Susquehannock are both currently preparing for the District 3 playoffs.