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Gretchen Wolf Swartz scholarships to increase, honor four basketball programs

Beginning next spring, the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Fund will award four scholarships totaling $20,000.

In previous years, one scholarship was awarded to a member of a York area boys' basketball program and a girls' program. Beginning in 2014, the board will award two $7,500 scholarships -- one from each winning program -- and a $2,500 scholarship to the runner-up from each program. Applicants must be seniors and can be players, team managers or cheerleaders.

Each spring, the sportsmanship award recognizes basketball programs for displaying the highest levels of sportsmanship, as determined by a vote of the York Chapter of PIAA Basketball Officials. Member officials cast their votes after observing the behavior of fans, faculty, students, players and coaches from the junior high to varsity levels throughout the season.

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 scholarship fund to promote and honor the sportsmanship she so effectively displayed.

This marks the second consecutive year in which the scholarship amount has been increased. In 2013, Susquehannock’s boys and girls were both honored and its two winners -– Tim Frey on the boys’ side and Leah Deter on the girls’ side -- each received a $5,000 scholarship. Those awards reflected a significant increase over 2012’s two $3,500 scholarships, which went to York Catholic’s Karli McFatridge and York Suburban’s Dylan Keller.

This year’s scholarship increase was made possible by the success of the first Donnie Swartz Memorial Basketball Classic, held in January of 2013, which raised more than $18,000 for the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Fund.

Plans are being finalized for the second annual Donnie Swartz Classic, which will be held Saturday, Jan. 11, at York College.

The first scholarships -- both in the amount of $1,000 – were awarded in 2001. More than $50,000 in scholarship money has since been awarded.

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